What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?

Written by regina hamilton
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What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
The travel industry can be fun and exciting. (aeroplane image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com)

There is still a need for good travel agents, despite the fact that most individuals can book their holidays themselves, online. A good travel agent knows the industry well and is able to search out the best deals possible for their clients. Travel agents also need to speak to other agents and wholesalers, some of whom may not be based in their home country. There are no specific, education requirements to become a travel agent but the industry does make some strong recommendations.

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Travel and tourism course

The Bureau of Labor Statistic states that there are no set educational requirements to become a travel agent. However, the industry does prefer to hire people that have some formal training in the field. Several community and vocational colleges offer a six to eight week course in travel and tourism. Students learn geography, basic sales and marketing, travel industry forms and ticketing procedures. Anyone lacking a degree that wants to work in travel is advised to search out a course.

What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
Education is not a requirement but is advantageous (Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images)

Good organization and communcation skills

Travel agents need to be well organised and have excellent communication skills. Part of their duties include creating travel itineraries and sorting out the details of a customers trip. Travel agents must deal with clients but also with other firms and travel representatives. A high degree of professionalism and courtesy is essential at all times for travel agents.

What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
Organisation and communication skills are essential (Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Computer literacy

Being computer literate is essential for a travel agent. Travel agents do the majority of their work via the computer. Basic key and search skills are a minimum requirement. Knowledge of computer software related to the travel such as Sabre and CruisePak, are particularly desirable. As is International Air Transportation Association certification.

What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
They must be computer literate and knowledgeable about software (K-King Photography Media Co. Ltd/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Personal travel experience

Personal travel experience is not a requirement but it is a definite advantage. Personal knowledge of a city or country is invaluable. Knowledge of an area will help win the confidence of clients and help shape their travel itineraries.

What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
Personal experience in travel can help alleviate fears of clients (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Second language ability

A second language is not required but will be an asset for those desiring a career in international tourism. Often travel agents have to deal with agents and brokers in other countries so a proficiency in an additional language will brak down several barriers.

What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
A second language helps when dealing with international agents and brokers (John Rowley/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Advancement

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that several universities offer degrees in travel and tourism. Earning one of these degrees, or a degree in a business related field will help advance a travel agent's career. Possibilities include managing several travel agents or starting their own business.

What qualifications are required to become a travel agent?
A qualification will certainly advance a travel agents career (Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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