How to Become a Travel Agent in Iowa

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How to Become a Travel Agent in Iowa

Want to know all the deals, places to stay, and things to do about a plethora of vacation destinations?

If so, being a travel agent might be right up your alley.

In this position, you must be the guide for someone going to a far-off destination and do what you can to ensure a successful trip.

Your knowledge and ability to search around are what will ensure a great time for those needing your services.

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Interested in learning more?

Here, we will take you through what is needed to become a travel agent here in Iowa.

Travel Agent Duties

First, what does a travel agent actually do?

By definition, a travel agent is responsible for assisting both individuals and businesses to create travel around personal and professional interests.

Duties consist of being the ultimate advisor on destinations, building a list of itineraries, booking transportation tickets and hotel rooms.

There is also a lot of research involved.

Another aspect of the job is accessible around the clock.

You never know when last-minute changes out of your control will result in needing to make new arrangements or when there is an issue at check-in.

It is best to have a flexible schedule and be responsive to clients.

Licensing Requirements

The first thing you will need is a license for the state of Iowa.

To get that, you will turn in the Registration of Travel Agency application, which can be done online.

You can download the application from the Secretary of State website here.

Once approved, you will need a surety bond.

The Secretary of State for Iowa requires a $10k bond for agents.

This is a one-time thing, they stay active unless canceled.

You can read more about the type of bond needed here.

If you have any questions or concerns about the license and bond process, you can get in touch with the Secretary of State’s office here.

Travel Agent Programs

There are programs available for those who want more industry knowledge before jumping in.

Here are a couple of options that you can use in the state of Iowa.

Eastern Iowa Community College offers Travel Agent Training for $1,995.

This is a 100-hour course over the span of six months.

The objective of the program is to get you familiar with tourism and working with a variety of clients, from luxury to corporate, group travel, and individual.

The Travel Institute is offering a course as a Certified Travel Associate and has been around since 1964.

This course is $360 and can be done completely remotely.

Taking this course will enable you to receive all future updates for free.

The course is self-paced with twelve months to complete.

Following the end of materials, you will be required to take and pass a test in order to qualify for the certificate.

Salary Range

Now, the fun part!

How much is a typical range for a travel agent in Iowa?

Pay starts typically between $33k and $43k with an average of about $37k.

What city you live closest to can have an impact on that number, as well as things like certifications or any relatable experience or skills you have built up over the years that can boost your sales.

If you join an agency, it is not uncommon to have a base salary with commissions.

If you build up enough clientele on your own, all the commissions will belong to you but there will be no salary.

Having options means you can choose the route that is best for your situation.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $37,357
Cedar Rapids $36,702
Davenport $36,815
Sioux City $32,923
Waterloo $35,097
Iowa City $36,401
Council Bluffs $36,572
Dubuque $36,410
Ames $37,009
West Des Moines $37,357

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cedar Rapids, IA50$40,460$19.45$54,980$30,170
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA80$42,070$20.23$52,120$30,310
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Travel Agents, OCC Code 41-3041, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.


Some may say that with the increase in travel sites, it might be harder to find business as a travel agent.

The reality is, for so many families, honeymooners, and companies, it is infinitely easier to leave the planning to someone else.

As tourism is ramping back up again, so are the excursions.

Destinations across the world are investing locally and are looking forward to getting people back to them.

Hiring an agent enables travelers to have peace of mind and more of a stress-free time.

Being able to create a memorable experience is what it is all about.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the fees in Iowa to maintain my travel agent license?

Iowa is conveniently inexpensive to register as a travel agent.

The fee is $15, as is the annual renewal fee.

Do I need to have a certificate or degree to be an agent in Iowa?

No, it is not mandatory to have any type of formal education that is specific to becoming a travel agent.

Any courses offered on the subject can help you prepare for a career but are optional.

Will I need to be an expert in all types of travel?

While having a solid foundation for all areas of tourism is necessary, it can also help you stand out to cultivate a niche.

The more honed in you are on one part of the travel market, the more of an expert you will become, then word of mouth will follow.

USA Travel Agent License by State

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