Getting to see the world is one of the core enrichment goals for many people throughout the country, especially in central, landlocked states such as Missouri.
By helping potential travelers set up their vacation from start to finish, travel agents provide a vital organizational service that earns them a substantial salary for the educational requirements of the position.
Below you will find a breakdown of the duties, licensing requirements, educational options, salary, and frequently asked questions related to working as a travel agent in Missouri.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Travel Agent Duties in Missouri
- 2 Licensing Requirements to Become a Travel Agent in Missouri
- 3 Travel Agent Programs
- 4 Salary
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Travel Agent Duties in Missouri
Travel agents have a mix of duties that revolve around sales and assistance with legal issues related directly to travel.
They are expected to assist a traveler with information on their intended destination, provide legal support for documentation needed to get through customs, help plan the trip itinerary, and generally make sure that the traveler has a good vacation.
The agent also needs to work with vacation providers and build relationships to garner discounts for customers, improving both customer satisfaction and the agent’s profit margin for the commission.
If there are issues with providers while clients are on vacation, the travel agent may be expected to help find a solution.
Licensing Requirements to Become a Travel Agent in Missouri
There are no state or federal licensure requirements for travel agents who live and work in Missouri.
If your work expands to a national level through online services or your travels, then there are other states to keep in mind that have a license requirement, like California and Washington.
Some other states do not have licensing requirements, but they have other necessary steps and firm regulations that you should keep in mind, like New York’s seller of travel laws like the ones in the Truth in Travel Act.
Completing the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test, while not a requirement, is a good way to push your application in front of others seeking a position at a travel agency.
Travel Agent Programs
While there are no licensure requirements for travel agents and many start with just a GED or high school diploma, many agents have supplementary education that helps them perform their job duties and have a more attractive profile for landing new jobs and business relationships.
You can study for the TAP on your own, but schools like Northwest Missouri State University offer training programs that cover topics related to domestic and international travel.
For a more robust education that takes a bit longer, you can finish a course in tourism from a major school like the University of Missouri.
A full degree will greatly enhance your credentials, and it is possible to begin working as a travel agent while you enroll in the course.
Travel agents can also benefit from taking language courses.
These are not required, but being able to speak the local language of a travel destination can help an agent find better deals and handle problems that arise.
According to the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Missouri travel agents earned an average of $45,380 for the whole year of 2020 with a median hourly wage of $19.67.
For a comparison to other careers in Missouri, the median wage for emergency medical technicians and paramedics was $17.00 with $38,170 as the mean annual salary, and the median wage for retail salespeople was just over $12.
Both of those positions have similar education requirements and far more job stress, so travel agent salaries are more than competitive with similar careers.
Travel agents earn much of their income through commissions, so the actual amount can vary based on the performance of the travel industry.
Recent events have caused some slowdown in tourism, but the expected job growth for travel agents over the next decade is still only slightly lower than average at 5%.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Missouri
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||220||$52,090||$25.05||$74,010||$28,520|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||280||$56,730||$27.27||$120,930||$30,880|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do travel agents get discounts on trips?
By booking your own trips as a travel agent, you can pay yourself to take a vacation.
You will still have to pay some out-of-pocket expenses, but a trip through a company that has a working relationship with you can cut the cost to a small fraction of the original price.
Do travel agents earn money based on commissions?
Whether your pay will be primarily commission-based or covered by an hourly wage will depend on the agency and your exact job position.
The highest-earning travel agents receive most of their funds through their commissions instead of their hourly wages.
Do travel agents need to speak multiple languages?
Like many careers, being able to speak additional languages can provide opportunities that would not otherwise exist, but it is not an official requirement even when working with travel destinations that speak a certain language.