Although it seems like everyone uses the internet to book their next travel destination, there are still people who enjoy the personal element travel agents offer.
Fortunately, travel agents in Michigan are not as antiquated as some people think.
Booking a vacation still requires some legwork if you do it alone, and many people would rather have an agent do all the work.
With minimal education and licensing requirements, a career as a travel agent is still a viable career option.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Travel Agent Duties In Michigan
- 2 Travel Agent Licensing Requirements in Michigan
- 3 Travel Agent Programs
- 4 Average Travel Agent Salaries
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Travel Agent Duties In Michigan
The primary responsibility of a travel agent is to simplify the process of planning a trip or booking a vacation.
Agents book flights, rent cars, reserve hotel rooms, plan business trips/corporate events, and sometimes put together entire vacation packages.
Some agents in Michigan specialize in certain travel segments and demographics.
For example, an agent might concentrate their efforts on international travel or location-specific trips.
Agents also make suggestions to help provide their clients with the best accommodations or modes of transportation.
However, what all agents have in common is working directly with people.
Travel agents research and relay important information about a client’s destination, including weather reports, the latest news, or any specific international travel information that may be needed.
Travel Agent Licensing Requirements in Michigan
The state of Michigan does not require a license or permit for you to work as a travel agent.
However, you will need to define your business structure – sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation – and pay all the required taxes if you want to work as a self-employed travel agent.
You might need a seller’s permit in Michigan if part of your business is to sell vacation packages or other travel-related packages.
You will also need an employer identification number identifying your company as a tax-paying business.
Keep in mind these rules only apply if you are operating your own travel agency.
Travel Agent Programs
Although there is no single program that trains you for a career as a travel agent, there are several related four-year degrees and individual classes you can take to pursue a career in tourism and travel.
Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo offers a traditional four-year tourism and travel degree, and many graduates now work as travel agents or have started their own travel agencies.
Additionally, Western Michigan offers an online travel agent training class that helps participants gain a deep understanding of what a travel agent does and how to help clients plan their travels.
According to the school’s website, the class costs $1,995 (USD), and it is in a learn at your own pace open enrollment format.
The class prepares you to take the Travel Agent Proficiency test (TAP).
The cost of the test is included in the cost of the class.
After completion of the class, participants are awarded a certificate of completion.
According to the school, the class fully prepares you for an entry-level position in the travel industry.
Although four-year degree programs can get expensive, many community colleges throughout Michigan offer affordable classes on travel, tourism, travel planning, event planning, and hospitality management.
Average Travel Agent Salaries
According to Salary.com, the average salary for most travel agents in Michigan is $38,714 as of Nov. 2021.
In most cases, salaries fall between $35,000 and $45,000.
Salary.com states wages vary widely based on your education, skills, how long you have worked in the travel industry, as well as any additional certifications you have earned.
Also, salaries depend on what city you work in and how much demand there is for travel agents in that city.
For example, the average salary for a travel agent in Taylor, MI is nearly $40,000 annually.
Conversely, in Alba, MI, the average salary for a travel agent is almost $5,000 less at $35,944.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to get additional certifications or get continuing education?
As with any industry, continuing education and certification are necessary to stay on top of emerging information and new technologies.
Although certification as a travel agent is not a requirement, it is still important to pursue if you want to stay competitive in the industry.
Should I start my own travel agency?
Many people with business degrees in Michigan start their own travel agencies.
Keep in mind a degree is not a requirement to work as a travel agent or to start your own agency, but it is not a bad idea to work as a travel agent to strengthen your skills and build your support system before you start an agency.
Do I need to take the Travel Agent Proficiency test to work as a travel agent?
You do not need to take and pass the TAP test offered by The Travel Institute to work as a travel agent.
However, taking and passing the test shows potential agencies you have the basic knowledge to work as a travel agent.
The test costs $95 to register, and some classes in Michigan include the registration cost in the cost of the class.