Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Travel and Tourism Degree Overview

Students in Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Travel and Tourism programs learn effective methods of organizing individual, group and corporate travel itineraries. Find out more about the curriculum and future options for graduates.

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Essential Information

Students in Associate of Applied Science in Travel and Tourism programs gain practical training in vacation marketing, airline ticket sales and hospitality management. These associate's degree programs also often incorporate cultural education along with business fundamentals.

A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically required for admission. Degree programs in this field can be completed in two years. Some schools require students to complete internships or directed participation programs, giving students real-world experience in sales, planning and customer relations in the industry.

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Associate of Applied Science Degree in Travel and Tourism

These programs typically require 64-66 credit hours of coursework. Students learn about different cultures through courses in geography, landmarks and tourist attractions worldwide, giving students the ability to communicate knowledgeably with clients about their travel destinations. Other topics covered in the coursework include the following:

  • Transportation
  • Casino operations
  • International travel
  • Convention planning
  • International landmarks
  • Travel marketing

Popular Career Options

Graduates are qualified for entry-level or management training positions in hotels, travel agencies, airlines and recreation facilities. Job titles could include:

  • Travel agency assistant
  • Tour operator
  • Airline ticket sales associate
  • Conference planner

Employment Outlook and Salary

From 2014 to 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that travel agents will see a 12% decline in jobs while meeting, convention and event planners are expected to see a 10% rise in work opportunities. The Bureau noted that as of May 2015, the median salary for travel agents was $35,660. For this same period, travel guides made a median annual wage of $34,180 and the median annual salary for planners was $46,840.

Continuing Education

Certificate programs are available for graduates interested in expanding their knowledge base in a specific area, such as hospitality management, casino operations and destination tourism. Those seeking advanced career opportunities can apply to bachelor's degree programs in tourism, recreation or hospitality management.

After earning an AAS in travel and tourism management, students have the fundamental industry knowledge they need for an entry-level position. Still, many graduates benefit from higher degrees or certification in specialty areas.

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