Schools generally do not offer travel agent degree programs online, but students may complete entirely online travel agent certificate and diploma programs that can prepare them for taking the National Travel Agent Proficiency certification exam. Individuals can learn how to determine airfares, plan itineraries, book tours and tailor vacation packages toward specific clients. The program typically consists of modules and exercises that students can complete at their own pace. Students typically need word processing and web-browsing software.
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Travel Agent Certificate
Travel agent certificate programs ready students for certification through the National Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) exam, created by the Travel Institute and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). This test assesses whether an individual has gained the necessary skills and education for entry-level work in the travel business. The exam is knowledge-based, and training for the exam can be done completely online.
Information and Requirements
Online travel agent training programs are typically self-paced. Some schools have a limit to the amount of time a student may take to complete the course, generally around six months.
A student must have access to a computer with Internet capabilities for these online training programs. Students often can confer with their instructors by email or phone. Current word processing and web-browsing software are usually recommended. Supplemental materials, such as books and CD-ROMS, can often be purchased online through the school's bookstore.
Online travel agent certification programs typically consist of one or two courses covering a variety of topics relevant to customer service and comprehensive travel knowledge. Training includes how to book customer reservations for airlines, trains, car rentals, cruises, tours and accommodations such as resorts and hotels.
Students gain familiarization with various computer reservation systems, and some programs include access to these systems upon training completion. Instructors outline successful methods for finding travel agent positions or building one's own travel agency. Frequently addressed topics in travel agent training include:
- Sales and Marketing for Travel Agencies
- Geography for Travel
- Domestic and International Travel
- Career Search and Development
Career Information for Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median yearly income for a travel agent in 2015 was $35,660 (www.bls.gov). The BLS cautioned potential travel agents that the success of a travel business is dependent on the economy and workload may fluctuate with seasonal and holiday travel.
Certificate and diploma programs for travel agents are available fully online, and prepare students for taking a nationwide travel agent certification exam. Students gain skills related to customer service, booking reservations and travel knowledge.