What Jobs Does an Associate's Degree in Tourism Prepare Students For?

Students who earn an associate's degree in tourism are prepared for jobs in hotels, theme parks and travel agencies, among other places of business. Continue reading for more information about career paths you can follow after completing an associate's program. Schools offering Travel & Tourism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Entry-Level Job Options

An associate's degree in tourism typically prepares you for entry-level positions in meeting and event planning, recreation services, and travel accommodation planning. Such educational programs could also provide students with the knowledge required to work in transportation and cultural tourism. Potential job titles could include:

  • Travel agent
  • Tour guide
  • Hotel front-desk clerk

Important Facts about this Occupation

Front Desk ClerksTravel Agents
Key SkillsCustomer service, ability to handle money, organized, discretion with confidential informationAdventurous, attention to detail, customer service, adept at sales
TrainingBrief on-the-job trainingOn-the-job training, mostly computer systems
Work EnvironmentOffice or front desk; full time; stress from dealing with customer complaintsOffice setting; full time; hours may be longer during times when travel is more common; stress during busy times and in case of travel emergencies
Similar OccupationsBookkeeping Clerks, General Office Clerks, Lodging Managers, ReceptionistsSales Representatives, Event Planners, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Travel Agents

These professionals typically help customers choose destinations, plan itineraries and book accommodations. While only a high school diploma is required in order to work as a travel agent, many employers look for job applicants who hold a postsecondary award, like an associate's degree.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed travel agents was projected to decline 12% between 2012 and 2022. More people rely on Web-based research to plan trips, which is one of the main reasons for declining job opportunities. The median salary for travel agents as of 2014 was $34,800.

Tour Guides

Tour guides direct visitors through historic venues or places of interest, including museums, ancient ruins or art galleries. The BLS notes that employment options in this field are expected to grow 8% from 2012-2022, which is about average. The median salary for tour guides was $23,930 as of May 2014.

Hotel Front-Desk Clerk

These professionals speak with hotel guests on the phone and in-person, helping them book rooms, pay for services or resolve complaints. Faster-than-average employment growth of 14% was projected for hotel, motel and resort front-desk clerks between 2012 and 2022, per the BLS, with growth likely resulting from increased overall travel. Clerks in this field earned a median salary of $20,610 as of 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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