Students pursuing a degree in travel management may earn an Associate of Applied Science in Tourism and Travel Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Tourism and Travel Management, or a Master of Science in Travel Management. At the bachelor's and master's levels, students often specialize in travel management through a broader business administration or hospitality management program. Internships or field experiences are usually available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Associate of Applied Science in Tourism and Travel Management
Students may start their journey toward a travel management career with a two-year associate's degree. Such programs are often set up as transfer programs and prepare students to complete their bachelor's degree and a different institution. Students are introduced to the theories of travel and tourism, and taught travel arrangement processes and basic business skills.
Associate's degrees are generally awarded by community colleges, which usually require a high school diploma as part of their admissions requirements. Students interested in the hospitality industry should generally have excellent customer service and communications skills.
Travel management program curricula are comprised of business and communications courses, as well as a specified number of hours of professional experience. Courses may include business, economics, travel arranging, and accounting in addition to the following:
- Domestic travel
- International travel
- Event Management
Bachelor of Business Administration - Tourism and Travel Management
A Bachelor of Business Administration degree program with a concentration in tourism and travel management combines basic business theory with coursework that prepare graduates for managerial positions in a wide range of locations, including travel agencies, hotels, entertainment complexes and many others. Programs are generally four years in length and are popular due to the varied professional opportunities available to graduates.
Entrants to baccalaureate programs in business administration should have either a high school diploma or have completed an associate program in the field. Communications skills and the ability to work as a fast pace under pressure are key skills for travel professionals.
Students often complete a professional internship prior to graduation in addition to taking such courses as accounting, tourism geography, food and beverage management, and finance as well as the following:
- Human resources
- Hotel and resort management
- Transportation management
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Master of Science in Travel Management
A variety of graduate programs with an emphasis on travel management are available, often in locales with a strong tourism industry. Some are offered as concentrations within business administration programs, while some are independent programs. Such programs emphasize solid business management skills as they apply to airlines, hotels, cruise lines and convention centers.
Applicants to master's programs in travel management are generally preferred to have a bachelor's degree in a travel-related field. Students without such experience generally have a number of prerequisite courses. Additionally, students must also achieve minimum GPA standards and usually have satisfactory scores on the GMAT or GRE.
In addition to traditional business courses, travel industry management students complete courses on resort development, global tourism analysis, and travel marketing as well as the following topics:
- Transportation management
- Hotel and travel law
- Information systems
- Human resource management
- Sustainable tourism
Popular Career Options
Travel management professionals work within the hospitality and tourism industries at hotels in a variety of roles, such as hotel, rooms, food service, human resource or sales managers. Graduates of associate degree programs are prepared for entry-level managerial or administrative positions within the travel industry. Specific roles may include:
- Travel agent
- Travel coordinator
- Hotel management trainee
Graduates of baccalaureate programs in travel management may choose to find employment in a variety of locales, including travel agencies, airlines, convention centers, cruise lines or theme parks, among others. Specific roles may include:
- Convention manager
- Travel agency manager
- Manager trainee
- Marketing developer
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Career opportunities and salaries within the travel industry vary widely depending upon position, employer and years of experience. Lodging managers were expected to experience about as fast as average job growth between the years 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported in 2015 that lodging managers earned $49,720 as a median annual wage.
Students interested in managing business in the travel industry may seek an Associate of Applied Science in Tourism and Travel Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in tourism and travel management or a Master of Science in Travel Management. While the associates degree primarily prepares students for a bachelor's degree programs, the bachelor's and master's degree programs prepare students for various management levels in the hospitality industry.