Should I Become a Travel Insurance Agent?
Travel agents offer insurance to prospective travelers to protect their trip and ensure that they will not lose their money should the trip need to be canceled. This insurance can also provide assistance with emergency medical care that might not be covered by medical insurance in some instances, especially for those traveling outside the country.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or GED equivalent|
|Degree Field||Studies in travel and tourism training can be helpful|
|Licensure and Certification||Varies since each state and insurance companies have their own set of licensing procedures for travel agents|
|Experience||On-the-job training may be available; experience is required for some certification options|
|Key Skills||Communication, and sales organization skills, adventurousness and detail oriented; ability to operate the computer systems used in the travel industry|
|Salary (2014)||On average, $37,730 per year, although many are paid from commissioned work|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Study the Travel Industry
Although not required for all positions, taking courses related to the travel industry can be beneficial. Students can find certificate and associate's degree programs in areas like travel industry management and travel and tourism. These programs offer a variety of related courses, such as travel industry management and reservation systems.
Work on communication skills. Good interpersonal skills are vital in this field. Both spoken and written communication skills can help agents effectively deal with clients and other industry professionals. Students may consider English composition and speech communication courses to gain the necessary skills in this area.
Step 2: Obtain a State License
Some states require travel agents to obtain a licensure in order to offer certain services, such as travel insurance. The requirements for this licensure can vary by state. For example, in California, agents only need to be employed in the industry and will not need any previous education.
Step 3: Seek an Entry-Level Position
Entry-level positions typically require some form of on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced agent. In 2012, the BLS noted that 83% of travel agents worked in the travel reservation services and arrangement industry, while 12% were self-employed. The BLS also notes that agents with training in a specific area of travel, such as destination trips, should have the best job prospects.
Pursue certification. Agents can further demonstrate their skills by pursuing professional certification, such as the Travel and Tourism Professional (TTP) credential offered by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The TTP certification requires 2-3 years of experience, based on the agent's level of education.
Step 4: Advancement through Networking and Education
Becoming a member of an organization, like the US Travel Insurance Association, can provide networking opportunities with other travel industry professionals and other resources. In addition, bringing in plenty of business to a travel agency along with getting a degree in business management may allow a travel insurance agent to go on to management positions.