Travel Agent Career Information
Travel agents are tasked with helping individuals, families, and other groups of people plan their vacations and travels by booking flights, hotels, and tours. Travel agents might also curate specific travel packages, track down cost-saving deals, and use their expertise to make recommendations and give advice on destinations, places of interest, modes of travel, tour options, and more for their clients. Since certification is not a requirement and is usually completed after having gained work experience, and since there are no formal postsecondary education requirements, this career field is relatively easy to prepare for online.
|Required Skills||Communication, customer service, sales|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||-6%|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$38,700|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Online Steps for Becoming a Travel Agent
Below you will find a list of steps you can take to become a travel agent. Most of these steps can be completed online, including the optional education and testing.
Step One: Hone Your Skills
Travel agents need to be excellent communicators with great customer service and impeccable sales skills. While refining these skills is not always a straightforward process, especially when using online resources,, there are video lessons available on everything from charisma to sales advice. There is even advice specific to being a travel agent, including information from successful professional travel agents. Developing and practicing these skills could be one way to begin not only preparing for the career itself but also for any other education and certification steps you wish to pursue.
Step Two: Consider Completing an Online Course
Although not necessarily a requirement for becoming a travel agent, enrolling in an online course is a step you can take toward pursuing this career. These courses can provide you with an industry-relevant education at your own pace that fits into your unique schedule. Courses such as these can be completed in around 4-6 months and can prepare you not only for the career itself but also for the next step in this process, certification. These courses offer information on the travel industry and could cover topics like air travel, transportation, and travel sales and marketing. They might also include preparatory instruction for certification.
Step Three: Become Certified
Certification isn't an official requirement to begin working as a travel agent, although it can demonstrate competence to potential employers and clients, giving you a leg up on the competition for employment and business opportunities. Successfully passing the Travel Agent Proficiency test could be your first step toward earning certification.
The Travel Institute, the organization that administers the TAP test, provides a kit that features information on the various required skills and knowledge areas of travel agents as well as preparatory information for the test itself. Testing can be completed online but must be proctored by someone who is 21 or over, not related to the test taker, and not preparing for the TAP test themselves. If you pass this test, you will have proof that you are familiar with the basics of the industry, which is required for pursuing certification as a Certified Travel Associate (CTA). To earn your CTA certification, you must pass the CTA exam and complete a year of work in the travel industry.