The minimum of a high school education is required for those seeking entry-level travel consultant jobs, though, most employers prefer applicants who have formal training, either through travel certificate programs, found at vocational schools and community colleges, or through bachelor's degrees in travel or tourism. Both types of the programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED before admission. Applicants who have a strong background in geography or foreign language would benefit by being able to discuss specific locations in depth with clients.
Travel and Tourism Certificate
Travel and tourism certificate programs prepare students for entry-level jobs as travel consultants or provide up-to-date industry information for established professionals. Certificate programs in travel and tourism typically take one year to complete. Coursework includes:
- Sales and marketing
- Specific destinations
- Airline computer systems
- Timeshare management
- Travel industry law
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
Bachelor's degree programs in hospitality and tourism management require four years of study. Most programs require students to complete a semester-long internship at local travel and tourism facilities. Students develop strong organizational and communication skills by taking classes in the following:
Popular Career Options
Employers require knowledge of basic computer skills, as most travel arrangements are made via the Internet or other electronic reservation systems. Applicants must also possess strong communication skills as well as a professional demeanor when dealing with clients and other travel representatives.
Some travel consultants begin their careers as receptionists at travel agencies or reservation clerks. Once they obtain formal training and have two to three years of employment experience, they can take on greater duties and assume the responsibilities of travel consultants.
Entry-level travel consultant positions are available if applicants only possess a high school diploma or GED. With this type of job, applicants learn first-hand how to multitask, communicate with clients and operate specific computer reservation systems.
Travel consultants don't need a federal license in order to do their job, but they can earn certifications to prove their abilities, depending upon their area of expertise. The Travel Institute offers two applicable credentials.
Applicants for the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) certification program, which is a 3-6 month program, learn how to fine-tune their customer service skills, close more sales and expand their knowledge of world geography and travel. Applicants must complete the CTA exam and have 18 months of full-time experience.
The Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) program is a 6-9 month program that teaches applicants how to analyze business opportunities, negotiate with clients and improve marketing abilities. Applicants must complete the CTA program, pass the CTC exam and have five years or full-time industry experience.
Seminars and Workshops
Professional organizations in the travel consultant field provide multi-day or week-long seminars and workshops covering topics including how to find ideal locations for niche clients and how to be an effective and successful consultant. Single-day seminars address the business aspects of home-based travel consultants and marketing in the industry. Webinars, or Internet-based seminars allow travel consultants to stay up-to-date on industry changes and include instruction on how to build connections using social networking services.
Travel consultants can complete continuing education classes, which are often offered online. Coursework may address changes to the industry or specific destination areas, reservation software updates and business skills. Professionals can also obtain a master's degree in travel and tourism management, which prepares graduates for leadership and management positions within the travel industry.
While not required by some employers, Travel and Tourism Certificate programs and Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management degree programs offer hands-on and in-class courses that teach the communication, geographic and computer skills used by travel consultants.