Travel Agent Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

College certificate programs focus on aspects of the travel and tourism industry in addition to relevant business concepts, such as marketing and communications.

Essential Information

Professional certification options range from entry-level to advanced professional. Credentials can be earned through testing or a combination of coursework and testing. Students usually learn one of the major computer reservations systems, like Sabre, Apollo, Worldspan or Amadeus GDS.

  • Prerequisites: Some schools require a GED or high school diploma; online courses often have no prerequisites
  • Course Availability: Courses offered online
  • Experiential Learning: An internship is sometimes required

Travel Agent Certification

Students take courses that prepare them for jobs with travel agencies, airlines, cruise lines, tour companies and corporate travel departments. The following classes are typical in a travel agent certificate program:

  • Introduction to the travel and tourism profession
  • Introduction to hospitality
  • Computer reservations systems
  • Tourism sales and marketing
  • Geography
  • Business communications

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 12 decrease in employment opportunities for travel agents from 2012 through 2022 ( The popularity of travel booking websites has slowed demand for travel agents; however, travel agents with expertise in particular destinations, types of travel or special-interest travelers still have opportunities. The median yearly salary for travel agents was $34,800 as of May 2014, the BLS noted.

Professional Certification and Credentials

Graduates of travel agent certificate programs can take the test for the entry-level Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) credential available through The Travel Institute. The Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program is available for professionals who have at least 18 months of full-time experience in the travel industry; certification must be renewed annually. Travel professionals with at least five years of full-time experience can enroll in the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) program. Both the CTA and CTC certification programs include around 12 self-paced courses and culminate in certification exams.

Continuing Education Information

Travel professionals who graduated from certificate programs can often transfer their credits into related associate's degree programs. Travel and tourism bachelor's degrees are also available. Professional organizations, such as the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), offer continuing education and professional development courses for travel agents at any experience level (

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