Travel consultants serve individuals, groups, and businesses in arranging for travel. In addition to making itineraries, consultants advise about destinations, lodging, entertainment, scheduling, and costs. Read on to learn about more about job duties, education and certification requirements.
A certified travel consultant works with clients who are planning a vacation or business trip. They make travel and hotel reservations and arrange for tours and car rentals. A bachelor's degree in travel and tourism provides excellent preparation for a career in the field. Certification for travel consultants is handled by the Travel Institute.
|Required Education||High School Diploma|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-12% (decline; for all travel agents)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$35,660 annually (for all travel agents)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Career Information for Certified Travel Consultants
Millions of Americans go on vacation each year and are assisted by certified travel consultants. A certified travel consultant works with clients to ensure that their travel needs are met. This work may involve booking arrangements for hotel stays, car rentals, airplane tickets and additional tours. In some instances, a certified travel consultant suggests a packaged vacation that includes many of the features a client may need. Additionally, a certified travel agent may give clients information about the climate, local traditions and customs and ongoing attractions of their destination.
Vacationers who are traveling abroad may be informed of current exchange rates, required travel documents, such as a visa and a passport, and any travel warnings. Travel agents working with a large agency may also handle travel arrangements for a corporation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a 12% decrease is expected in the employment of travel agents between 2014 and 2024. The rise of the Internet has reduced the need for the information provided by a certified travel consultant. Many would-be travelers simply go online to find the best deals. The BLS also reports that the median annual salary of travel agents was $35,660 in 2015.
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While a high school diploma is required for entry- level positions in the travel and tourism industry, many community colleges and vocational schools offer technical training in the field. Some colleges offer bachelor degree programs in Travel and Tourism though employers also value personal experience with travel and an outgoing, adventurous, entrepreneurial personality.
Bachelor of Arts in Travel and Tourism
A Bachelor of Arts in Travel and Tourism not only provides adequate preparation for a career in travel advising but also prepares graduates for management-level positions within the travel industry. Coursework includes management, marketing and leisure studies. Some common management classes cover the theory of management, human resource management, and organizational behavior. However, a majority of the degree focuses on the completion of recreation and leisure studies classes. Students learn about travel and tourism principles, convention planning, commercial recreation, hotel management and leisure services administration. Some programs may also include a field experience component that allows students to work with local hotels and travel agencies.
Certification is primarily handled by the Travel Institute, which offers training and certification through its certified travel associate (CTA) program. In order to be eligible for this program, candidates must have at least 18 months of experience in the travel industry. Currently, there are two ways to earn the CTA credential. The first is to complete eight core courses and pass a CTA test. The second option is test-only, which is less time intensive and is recommended for candidates who have many years of experience. Once a candidate successfully completes the program, he or she is awarded the CTA credential.
A high school diploma is the minimum education required to work as a travel consultant, but a bachelor's degree in travel and tourism may offer opportunities for management positions. Travel consultants must meet training or experience requirements in order to take the certified travel associate exam offered by the Travel Institute. Employment opportunities for travel consultants are expected to continue to decline in the next ten years.