Computers and the Internet have given everyone the ability to be their own travel agent.
This may make it a little harder to be a travel agent, but it is still a viable career option with a lot of rewards.
There are no requirements to become a travel agent, but an online course can give you accreditation that will give you credibility in the industry and with clients.
Online courses can be completed fairly quickly and you can be on your way to becoming a travel professional.
As a travel agent, you can work from anywhere, and you will have a lot of opportunities to travel.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Courses Are in an Online Travel Agent Program?
- 2 Can You Earn a Travel Agent Certification Completely Online?
- 3 How Long Does it Take to Earn a Travel Agent Certification Online?
- 4 How Much Does an Online Travel Agent Certification Cost?
- 5 Benefits of Online Travel Agent Training Programs
- 6 Drawbacks of Online Travel Agent Training Programs
- 7 Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Travel Agent Training Programs – Summary Table
- 8 Types of Travel Agent Certifications
- 9 4 Self-Study Tips for Travel Agent Online Students
- 10 Schools Offering Online Travel Agent Training
- 11 Summary
- 12 Frequently Asked Questions
What Courses Are in an Online Travel Agent Program?
The Travel Institute is one of the most respected names in the travel industry.
They offer several accreditation services that are recognized throughout the travel industry.
There are eight basic courses and four advanced courses.
Completing these will give you a Certified Travel Associate (CTA) certificate.
Some of the courses include:
- Customer-focused selling is where you learn travel salesmanship that focuses on the customer’s needs.
- Business writing helps you learn effective writing skills for business settings.
- Understanding customer needs can help you learn the motivation of different types of travelers, and the best travel products to offer them.
- Special interest in travel considers how to plan travel for specialized interests, and how to meet those unique needs.
- Customer service and communication. Learn how to relate to your customers in a way that will make them want to trust you, and therefore purchase travel packages from you.
- Some electives include:
- Planning itineraries is a class in how to adjust when what a customer wants does not fit into any of the packages that are available.
- Preventing ID theft and credit card fraud.
- Time management, because being a travel agent can eat up a lot of time.
- Destination specialists and niche market specialists are two more courses that can be helpful. The destination package focuses on learning about different parts of the world. The niche market focuses on certain types of travel like golf, luxury, adventure, and other special interests.
Can You Earn a Travel Agent Certification Completely Online?
Yes, you can earn your certification completely online, and this is the best way to get the certificate.
In the modern world, most of the work travel agents do is online, so it makes sense the training would be as well.
There are traditional classroom courses you can take concerning the travel industry, but those are not needed for a travel agent certificate.
The essential classes you need to be a certified travel agent can all be taken online.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Travel Agent Certification Online?
The time it takes to earn your certificate can be as little as two or three weeks, or as long as three or four years.
Some recommend combining your certificate with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in tourism or some other related field.
That might help, but it is not a legal requirement.
The Travel Institute’s program takes a year to complete, and you have to pass your final exam to pass the course.
You could complete it in less time if you desired.
You must also work for a professional travel agency for a certain amount of time to get your final certificate.
You must also complete continuing education classes in order to maintain certification from the Travel Institute.
There are other institutions offering similar courses and similar certifications that take less time.
It is a good idea to check to make sure the certificate you earn will be accepted in the job you want to pursue.
How Much Does an Online Travel Agent Certification Cost?
There are free programs you can download, and they offer training.
The certificate is not highly regarded though, but you could make it work if you already have some background in the travel industry or plan to start your own agency.
The Travel Institute charges $379 for its certification program that includes the exam at the end of the course.
If you want more specialized training, there are additional classes at an additional cost.
Generally, the cost of getting the basic certificate ranges from just a few dollars to $500 or more.
Consider how the certification from that institute will be regarded by the industry when shopping for a program.
Benefits of Online Travel Agent Training Programs
You can work this class into your schedule instead of having to adjust your life to a traditional classroom.
You can take as long or as short of a time as you wish to complete the class.
If you are working now, it will cause no disruption to your job.
Learn the secrets
Being a travel agent is harder than ever.
You will need some inside knowledge on how to best plan travel for people.
Using specialized computer programs is something you need to learn to be a good travel agent.
Learning how to access airlines, hotels, and how to manage that knowledge is something that will help you be a success.
You could get a four-year degree in the travel and tourism industry, and that would help a lot, but you can become a travel agent with a lot less effort and expense.
Certification courses are done online, and the cost is very low.
It is much lower than in traditional classroom settings or colleges.
Become a specialist
Many travel agents do well by specializing in or finding a niche.
You can get detailed training in a niche such as wedding travel, adventure travel, or any other area of travel, with an advanced online class.
Drawbacks of Online Travel Agent Training Programs
The main drawback is similar to the main benefit
The flexibility to study where and when you cant can end up making it take you longer, or you could get distracted and never finish.
It takes more self-discipline with an online course.
Finding the right one can be difficult
Since there are no requirements for becoming a travel agent, there are very few objective measures to consider when looking at online training options.
Look for the type of accreditation they offer, and make sure it is the kind people in your area like, or that is credible in the area you want to specialize in.
No placement help
The online courses give you the know-how and a credential, but they do not normally help you with finding a job.
Many people start their own agency or start working as freelance travel agents when they begin work.
When you finish the course you are on your own as far as career development.
One disadvantage to all online education is one of isolation.
It is missing the human connection of seeing teachers and fellow students in the flesh.
That missing interaction can be an obstacle for some people.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Travel Agent Training Programs – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Travel Agent Training Programs||Drawbacks of Online Travel Agent Training Programs|
|Flexible training||The main drawback is similar to the main benefit|
|Learn the secrets||Finding the right one can be difficult|
|Lower cost||No placement help|
|Become a specialist||Isolation|
Types of Travel Agent Certifications
Here are the types of travel agent certifications available from the Travel Institute.
There are other institutes, and the certifications are very similar.
The Travel Institute is widely recognized as a professional training organization for travel agents.
A Certified Travel Associate is the basic certificate, and the one most necessary for basic sales of travel packages.
This covers 15 areas of study, such as planning itineraries and customer service.
A Certified Travel Counselor is a program for business owners or managers.
It is more for those managing travel agents.
Certified Travel Industry Executive.
This is a certificate for advanced agents who have become managers or leaders in their agencies.
This is a program that goes beyond the CTA with greater detail for group travel, such as schools or other organizations.
Destination Specialist (CDS)
As the name implies, the focus of this certificate is destinations around the world.
In this course, students learn about different locations and popular travel areas.
This one is similar to the destination specialist but focuses on various interests.
Examples of this could be golf vacations, weddings, luxury travel, adventure travel, and things of this nature.
You could develop a niche in one of these areas, and in this course, you will learn how to narrow the trip to suit those interests.
4 Self-Study Tips for Travel Agent Online Students
The greatest advantage is also the greatest disadvantage when it comes to online study.
There is no one telling you to study, or when to go to class.
Organize your studies and stay organized so you can focus on learning instead of getting ready to learn.
Have a desk, or an area, set up in a way that is comfortable for you, and where you can focus on the class, without distractions.
Set your boundaries
Set a specific time to study if at all possible.
This will help you stay organized and focused, and make it less easy not to study on a particular day.
Tell people in your house when you will be studying so they will know you should not be interrupted during that time.
As you study, see what areas of travel interest you most.
Travel agents do better when they specialize in one area instead of trying to be all things to all people.
Pay close attention to the areas that are described in the lectures and in the written material you have for the class.
Take notes as you listen.
Go over your notes later, and maybe even type them up.
This is a way to reinforce what you have learned, and it will cause you to think about it more.
Talk to yourself about what you have learned without looking at your notes.
Give yourself short exams to see where you need to study more.
Involve yourself as much as you can, and as many areas of your senses as possible.
Schools Offering Online Travel Agent Training
|Penn Foster||14300 N Northsight Blvd., Suite 125 Scottsdale, AZ 85260|
|Ashworth College||5051 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200 Norcross, Georgia 30092|
|Community College of Baltimore County||800 South Rolling Road Baltimore, MD 21228-5317|
|Travel Agent University||No physical address|
|TRAVEL AGENT ACADEMY||100 Lighting Way Secaucus, NJ 07094-3626|
|Mississippi State University Extension||190 Bost Drive Suite 330 Mississippi State, MS 39762|
|Travel Agent Academy||100 Lighting Way Secaucus, NJ|
|Orange Coast College||2701 Fairview Road Costa Mesa, California 92626|
|University of Central Florida||4000 CENTRAL FLORIDA BLVD ORLANDO, FLORIDA, 32816|
|Indiana University||107 S. Indiana Avenue Bloomington, IN 47405-7000|
|FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY||11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33199, USA|
|Westmoreland County Community College||140 North Beeson Boulevard, 3rd Floor Uniontown, PA 15401|
Anyone can make their own travel arrangements now, but travel agents are still valuable for many reasons.
Someone who is an expert on a certain area, for instance, would do better at planning a trip to that area than someone who is casually looking at a computer.
The value of travel agents was once in making arrangements.
Today their value lies in their knowledge of travel itself.
This puts more pressure on travel agents, but it is also more rewarding when they make the dreams of travelers come true.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any legal requirements for becoming a travel agent?
Anyone can make travel arrangements for anyone, and that is essentially what a travel agent does.
While there are no legal requirements, most employers expect some training and a certificate of some kind.
The value of a travel agent is in their knowledge of destinations and the ins and outs of travel itself.
Can you be a travel agent from home?
Yes, all you need is a computer and some connections.
Some people are freelance travel agents and work for agencies from home.
You could even be your own agency from your own home.
You do not need a brick-and-mortar building.
Since there are no legal requirements, what is the point of getting an education?
You could indeed declare yourself a travel agent and start making arrangements for people.
The problem is, not many people would take you seriously, and you would not have access to computer programs that allow you to officially book flights, rooms, car rentals, and so forth.
The value of education is the expertise you are equipped with to make arrangements for people.
You have to pass the exam at the end of the course to get a certificate that will make travel agencies willing to hire you.
You could combine your travel agent certification program with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in something like tourism or hospitality.
Having these degrees is not required but it would give you additional depth and expertise when it comes to actually being a travel agent.
Business, communication, and marketing are also good classes to take to make you a more effective travel agent.