An associate's program in travel and tourism covers the basic business skills students need in the profession, along with specific information about vacation destinations, tariffs, reservations and software used in the industry. These 2-year programs are fairly common and prepare students for employment or further education.
An associate's degree in travel and tourism can't be earned completely online; students are generally required to complete an internship with an employer in the industry. The degree program includes general education courses as well as courses related to this diverse field. Applicants typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Associate's Degree in Travel and Tourism
Online associate's degree programs in travel and tourism provide students with skills in convention and meeting planning, tour operations, resort and hotel front-office operations, promotions and marketing. Programs are generally made up of online classes paired with an in-person internship at resorts, restaurants, hotels or casinos in order to meet degree requirements. Internship requirements vary by the program. Student may transfer credits to a bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution.
Information and Requirements
To be accepted into an online associate's travel and tourism program, students must have a high school diploma or GED. An institution may ask students to have completed courses in computers, math and geography as well as possessing good communication skills
Students must have access to a computer, which meets certain criteria. Computers should have a recent operating system, high-speed broadband Internet connection, speakers and a sound card. Current Web browsers are advised, and students should check with their school to see which ones are recommended.
List of Common Travel and Tourism Courses
Students take general education courses that will help them in their careers, including world geography, communications, math, marketing and salesmanship. After completing courses, students start their practicum, which provides them with first-hand knowledge concerning industry practices.
Tariffs and Reservation
Students learn about airline reservation systems. They are instructed in airfare computation and airline reservations for domestic travel and international travel.
Travel Professionals and Geography
Students investigate most traveled destinations in the Western and Eastern hemispheres. Topics include tourist attractions, airport locations, transportation, cultures and climates.
Tourism IT (Information Technology)
This course examines Internet usage and technology use in the hospitality and tourism industry. Various software applications for management of retail travel and hotel operations, among others are investigated.
Students learn each state's major destinations and places of interest along with travel information. Other topics include ticket procedures, fares, travel codes and airline operations.
Graduates of an online associate's degree in travel and tourism may find jobs in tour operations, corporate travel or travel planning or with the government, cruise lines or airlines. Specific positions may include a tour operator, meeting planner, rental car or travel agent, reservation clerk for a cruise ship or ramp or airline reservation agent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that positions for travel agents will decline by 12% from 2014-2024. Many individuals use the Internet to plan their own trip, reducing the need for travel agents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), travel agents earned an average salary of $38,750 as of May 2015.
Graduates can increase their employability by earning certifications through the many professional organizations in the travel and tourism industry; these groups also offer continuing education programs.
Continuing Education Options
Students who have graduated from an online associate's degree program in travel and tourism and wish to continue their education may earn a bachelor's degree in hospitality management. An alternative path is to enroll in a bachelor's of business administration with a concentration in hospitality or travel and tourism.
Online travel and tourism associate's degree programs typically require an internship or practicum, and courses cover topics such as reservations, geography, and technology used in the tourism industry. Additional education is available at the bachelor's degree level in hospitality management or business administration.