How Can I Earn a Travel Planner Diploma?

Travel planners must have good organizational skills, an interest in the travel industry and a good sense of geography. Read on to learn about education options available to aspiring travel planners. Schools offering Travel & Tourism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Travel Planner Defined

As a travel planner, also known as a travel agent, you'll create itineraries for travelers and vacationers. You'll arrange details such as airline flights, car rentals, hotels and sightseeing. You'll attempt to find the best travel deals for your clients and ensure they have the materials and information needed for their trips. This may include preparing passports and visas, confirming travel times and educating clients on a destination's local customs, practices and culture. You'll also work to negotiate prices with various travel companies, tourist destinations, hotels and airlines to create attractive travel packages intended to bring in business to your company.

As a travel planner, you'll work for a travel agency or independently, mostly in an office. You'll need strong computer research skills to search for and book flights, reserve accommodations, arrange tours and look up general information about popular and unique destinations. You'll learn how to promote package tours through the Internet, mail, publications and other means.

Important Facts About Travel Planner Programs

Degree Prerequisites Official transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and current resume for all programs
Specializations Leisure or corporate travel agent
Key skills Communication, detail-oriented, sales, organization and adventurous spirit
Continuing Education Opportunities to study abroad and attend industry conferences/events
Median Salary (2018) $38,700 (for all travel agents)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 12% decline (for all travel agents)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Options for Prospective Travel Planners

Although diploma programs are not an option for aspiring travel planners, there are certificate, degree and professional credential programs you could pursue to enter this career field.

Certificate Programs

You can earn a certificate in travel planning at community colleges and at vocational schools. Travel agencies and other tourism-related businesses prefer applicants who have completed a travel planning program. These programs are available online or on campus and may take two years to complete. Course topics include transportation, online ticketing and reservation systems, as well as accommodations. You may also have to complete an internship.

Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programs

To pursue a more formal education, you may want to consider a degree program in tourism, travel or tourism management. These programs teach you the business and management skills needed for career advancement in the travel industry. Program courses range from marketing and quantitative research to business administration and management. Knowing a foreign language may be beneficial. History and geography courses will help broaden your travel and cultural background. Some graduate degree programs are also available in tourism and may be completed online, in-person, or both.

Travel Agent Proficiency Credential

Travel planners interested in obtaining professional credentials may want to consider the Travel Agent Proficiency Credential. This is an exam-based test for aspiring travel agents who want to demonstrate their knowledge of the travel industry. Once you receive this credential, you'll be issued an International Airlines Travel Agent Network card as proof of this knowledge.

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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