Working as a travel agent means that you’ll help other people to fulfill their vacation dreams. You’ll also get to learn more about many states and countries, and people will happily turn to you for advice. How can you become a travel agent? The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook provides some detailed information.
Where and How
While a college education is not generally required for such a position, employers usually look for individuals who have studied in the travel industry. You could pursue a degree path related to the industry, or you could dabble in courses. Employers will want to see that you’ve taken courses with an emphasis on international travel, booking systems and marketing. Some colleges actually offer degrees in travel and tourism. If you really want to be a travel agent, opting for this degree path can give you a significant boost in the industry.
After you have passed the initial stages of the interview process, your job may require you to receive specific certifications and licenses. However, these requirements vary amongst states. Remember, be sure to check the requirements for the state in which you intend to work. If you aren’t sure where you’ll end up, get a general feel for the requirements by browsing through those of several states. The Travel Institute and the International Airline Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute are the two places from which you will likely receive any certifications required by your employer.
Becoming a travel agent is not all about the education, certifications and licenses though. You also must possess a specific skills set. Communication skills and social skills are crucial because you’ll be spending the majority of your day meeting with clients. Additionally, travel agents see a vast number of people throughout their days at work; therefore, it’s important to be organized and maintain all of your clients’ files properly.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists some other qualities that you must have as a travel agent. In addition to spending time with clients, the other main focus of your job is to make sales. If you don’t like selling products, services and packages to people, this likely is not the job for you. In order to sell the best product for the customer, you must be detailed oriented and pay attention to the clients’ needs.
Of course, it’s excellent if you’ve actually done a lot of traveling. Clients want to know that you’re truly an expert in the subject about which you’re speaking.
Author Bio: Mike Martin blogs about travel and travel information/research. In his spare time he enjoys traveling with friends.