Online Travel Agent Courses
Commonly offered online travel agent courses are primarily for certification preparation, but fundamental coursework may also be available. These topics include:
- 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 have up to 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.
- Itinerary Planning Course: In this course, students develop their skills for planning a travel itinerary. The curriculum focuses on the seeking out flight availability and creating packages with cars and hotels.
- International Travel Course: This course familiarizes aspiring travel agents with the issues related to international travel. Topics of study include U.S. customs procedures, currency exchanges, and making international reservations.
Most online travel agent courses are part of diploma programs that prepare graduates for national travel agent certification. Online travel agent programs can 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 pass the test, the second level of certification is the Certified Travel Associate (CTA), which expects the applicant to have at least six months of work experience. Once attained, 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. There's also the Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) credential, which is geared toward agents in upper-level management and indicates a higher-level understanding of business relations.
Aspiring travel agents can enhance their career skills and prepare for voluntary industry certification exams by completing online courses. Topics include how to build a travel itinerary, an overview of the hospitality industry, and the basics of international travel.