College Majors for Aspiring Travel Agents
Find out which college majors are most helpful for aspiring travel agents. Learn about enrollment requirements, course topics and online learning options.
What Kinds of Travel Agent Programs Are Available?
You'll find a wide variety of options available, from certificate programs to bachelor's degree programs. Some schools offer a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism, while others offer an Associate in Arts in Travel and Resort Marketing. Depending on the program you choose, it will take anywhere from six months to four years to complete your studies.
|Degree Levels||Certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's|
|Prerequisites||High school diploma or GED for associate's and bachelor's programs; none for certificate programs|
|Common Courses||Air travel, resort management, tourism law, reservation systems, map reading|
|Online Availability||Fully online options available|
|Median Salary (2018)||$38,700 (for travel agents)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||12% decline (for all travel agents)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What's Required for Enrollment?
The bachelor's and associate's degree programs will require you to have a high school diploma or GED, while the certificate programs often don't have any prerequisites at all. However, most programs will expect you to have at least basic computer skills and good interpersonal skills. If you're already working in the field, you may be asked to provide a copy of your resume so your advisor can assess whether or not your experience qualifies you to skip certain course requirements.
What Kinds of Classes Will I Take?
Specific coursework will vary by program, but you will be given a solid background in all facets of the tourist industry. You'll learn marketing skills, local history and management skills. Topics of study may include geography, air travel, reservation systems, map reading and tourism law. Courses in resort, convention and group management are also part of the curriculum.
Most degree programs will also expect you to complete a capstone project and an internship requirement. Some schools offer 'live' practice through an on-campus travel agency.
Are There Distance-Learning Options?
Many schools offer this degree online. You'll need a computer with Internet access and speakers. Once you've registered, you'll attend classes through a course management system on the school's website, which will have features that allow you to communicate with your instructor, retrieve course materials and submit assignments. These online classes are generally the same as those your on-campus counterparts take.