Most online travel agent courses are part of diploma programs that prepare graduates for national travel agent certification. Online travel agent programs can typically be taken fully online and depending on the school, can usually be completed in six months or less. After completion, graduates are prepared for entry-level jobs as travel agents.
There are several certifications available to travel agents. First is the Travel Institute's Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test, which certifies that graduates have entry-level understanding of the travel industry. For those who successfully pass the test, six months of work experience is required for the second certification, the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) certification. CTA agents are prepared for a career with a travel company or through independent practice.
For those who wish to advance into management roles, Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification qualifies travel agents in business negotiations and marketing strategies. The Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) credential is geared toward agents in upper-level management and indicates a higher-level understanding of business relations.
Online Travel Agent Classes
Commonly offered online travel agent courses are summarized below.
- Travel Agent Training Course: The initial component of this class covers the history, function and marketing of the travel industry. Geography and travel technology are discussed, as well as the financial and business aspects of the travel industry, including marketing, communication and specialized sales. A second component of the course covers the function and use of industry-standard travel agent computer programs and students learn to operate by using a simulation mode that mimics real-world travel agent operations. The course culminates with career education, and students learn job-searching techniques and the fundamentals of working in the travel industry.
- Certified Travel Associate (CTA) Certification Course: Travel agents must have 18 months of full-time industry experience or 12 months with TAP test completion to qualify for this program. Classes build upon topics covered in the travel agent training course, with emphasis on specialized travel sales techniques, consumer-focused professionalism and office skills. Students also choose four electives to supplement the eight core courses, with options ranging from management of time to sales of specialized travel packages.
- Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) Certification Course: This 6-month program is designed for the established travel professional with CTA certification and at least five years of experience. Courses focus on marketing and consumer relationships and classes discuss the development of marketing strategies, productive management of office politics and effective presentation tactics. Graduates must complete relevant continuing education classes every year to keep certification.
- Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) Certification Course: Candidates for this program must have at least five years of experience within the field and CTC certification. Courses cover advanced elements of travel industry business management and topics include the logistics of travel law, mutually beneficial conflict resolution, bookkeeping and marketing management. Students can have 18 months to complete the program.
- The Hospitality Industry Course: This course provides students with a broad overview of the travel industry. Coursework typically includes the history of the hospitality industry, the influence of food and beverage services, sales and reservations technologies and branding.