In two-year associate's degree programs in travel and tourism, students learn business, management and marketing concepts specifically related to the tourism and hospitality industries. Most degree programs culminate in tourism or hospitality internships and field experiences. Some courses may be offered online.
Associate's Degree in Travel & Tourism
Associate's degree programs in travel and tourism introduce students to the kinds of services and products available to vacationers and tourists, and they provide students with the business knowledge to effectively market and sell tour packages, transportation, travel, lodging and other services. Coursework in a travel and tourism degree program may include the following classes:
- Consumer behavior
- Tourism or business law
- Services marketing
- Destination marketing
- Airline ticketing and reservations
- Event, convention or meeting management
Popular Career Options
The travel, tourism and hospitality industries offer careers for people interested in planning travel itineraries for customers, marketing tour packages, operating travel agencies and selling destination travel. Other options include managing hotels and other accommodations. Although education and training requirements vary, individuals with an associate's degree in travel and tourism management may be qualified for careers as:
- Travel agents
- Tour marketers
- Flight attendants
- Hotel or resort managers
- Convention center managers
- Visitor information specialists
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for travel agents will decrease by 6% between 2018 and 2028, while lodging managers will have little to no change by 1% in job openings during that same time period. Jobs for flight attendants are also expected to increase from 2018 to 2028, gaining about 10%. As of May 2018, the median salary for flight attendants was $56,000. For travel agents, it was $38,700, and for lodging managers, it was $53,390 .
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, prospective tourism and hospitality industry employees may be required to complete job training and obtain education beyond an associate's degree. In addition to the business skills needed to operate a travel agency or tour company, job applicants may also need firsthand travel experience, knowledge of geography and the ability to speak at least one foreign language to be competitive for employment in the travel industry.
Hotel, resort and convention center managers may be required to hold a bachelor's or master's degree, depending on the size of the establishment. According to the BLS, flight attendants must complete training to earn Federal Aviation Administration certification, and airlines may have other training and hiring requirements. Because travelers and tourists can plan their own vacations, book transportation and reserve accommodations using the internet, travel agents typically benefit from further coursework that emphasizes industry technology and destination travel.
Students may choose to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree in travel or hospitality management, which provides additional business training, internship opportunities and the ability to specialize in tourism, hospitality, or hotel, travel or food service management. Additional education options include bachelor's or master's degrees in a general business, marketing or management field.
In conclusion, an associate's degree in travel or tourism can prepare you for a range of entry-level hospitality jobs. Many graduates also choose to pursue advanced education in order to prepare for higher level careers in the industry.