How to Become a Travel Agent in Virginia

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How to Become a Travel Agent in Virginia

Travel agents are logistical and planning experts.

There are many things to consider for those thinking about a career as a travel agent in Virginia.

  • Will you need a license?
  • Should you specialize in a travel niche?
  • Are there regulations/laws that apply to travel agents in Virginia?

Even with online booking sites, many still use professional travel agents, especially when planning a trip complicated by many moving parts, a particular theme, or multiple locations.

Virginia Travel Agent Duties

The primary responsibilities of a travel agent include travel suggestions, planning, and recommendations to various destinations about accommodations, transportation, local sites, and entertainment.

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A travel agent’s various duties may consist of, in part, the following:

  • Reviewing travel necessities like visas or vaccinations.
  • Booking, confirming, and following up on reservations.
  • Managing deposits and payments expeditiously.
  • Solving unexpected issues or emergencies.
  • Maintaining meticulous and accurate records.
  • Negotiating price and services with resorts, attractions, tours, exhibitions, cruise lines, and hotels, to name a few.

Virginia Travel Agent Licensing/Training/Certification Programs

Virginia has no requirements for travel agent licensing.

Note, though, travel agents in Virginia (like a dozen other states) must comply with the Virginia registration requirements.

Even though there are no training or licensing requirements at the state level, it is still wise to pursue certification as you plan your travel agent career.

To ensure credits earned can be applied to future academic degrees, select a formal travel agent program that has been accredited if you wish to become more competitive in the job market.

Within the Commonwealth of Virginia (and the Internet), travel agent training programs are provided in various delivery options.

Many of these campus-based and online professional schools and colleges offer accredited training programs, flexible training schedules, as well as the opportunity to earn the TAP Travel Agency Proficiency Certificate administered by The Travel Institute.

The TAP Certificate is your first step as you head towards professional recognition as a travel agent in Virginia.

It allows those new to the industry the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to potential employers and clients.

Other credentials offered by The Travel Institute for professional travel and tourism agents in Virginia include the following, each with its requirements for eligibility:

  • The CTA – Certified Travel Associate
  • The CTC – Certified Travel Counselor
  • The CTIE – Certified Travel Industry Executive
  • The CDS – Certified Destination Specialist
  • The Niche/Lifestyle Specialist offers luxury travel programs, golf excursions, wellness retreats, or honeymoons/destination weddings.

In addition, for those interested in the business sector of travel, Global Business Travel Association offers these potential travel-services related certificate programs:

Virginia Travel Agent Programs

Virginia offers a variety of online or on-campus travel agent training programs, many of which offer specialty tracks in luxury, cruising, or business, among others.

Most travel agencies in Virginia tend to hire job candidates who have completed relevant training.

Pied Virginia Community College (PVCC) – Certificate/Diploma

Located in Charlottesville, PVCC offers a six-month Travel Agent Training certificate program, entirely online and accessible 24 hours each day.

The program requires students to complete 100 clock hours of training to earn the certificate.

Northern Virginia Community college (NOVA) – Associate of Applied Science

NOVA’s AAS degree in Hospitality Management offers students a two-year track to a finished degree.

The total credits required to complete NOVA’s degree are 62.

Featured classes include hospitality law, food/beverage cost control, and hotel-restaurant management.

Old Dominion University (ODU) – Bachelor of Science

ODU is a public institution of higher learning that was founded in the 1930s.

Old Dominion’s BS degree in Park, Recreation, and Tourism with a track in tourism management prepares students for rewarding careers across many travel and tourism sectors.

Virginia Travel Agent Salary

The average salary for a travel agent during November 2021 was $38,683.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that 1,100 travel agents were working in Virginia, with a median salary in 2020 of $49,170 per year.

The following offers statistical data regarding salaries in a few of Virginia’s metropolitan areas:

Annual Salary Range:
$35K
$38K
$44K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Virginia Beach $36,981
Norfolk $36,424
Chesapeake $36,377
Richmond $38,598
Newport News $36,238
Hampton $36,238
Alexandria $43,062
Portsmouth $36,424
Roanoke $35,763
Lynchburg $35,630

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Virginia one of the states that require a travel agent to be licensed?

No, only Florida, California, Hawaii, and Washington require travel agents to be licensed.

Virginia does have some of the nation’s oldest travel laws that speak to guidance about memberships, refunds, disclosures, and the contents of presentations.

What are examples of niche sectors that a professional travel agent may pursue?

Standard specialties include weddings or honeymoons, with the market shifting towards more specialized services like pet-friendly travel, adventure travel, and bucket-list travel, to name a few.

Does Virginia require travel agents to complete a travel and tourism program to work in the state?

No, although preferred by most potential employers, the Commonwealth of Virginia has no education or training requirements for travel agents.

USA Travel Agent License by State


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