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Travel and Tourism Degree Programs

Earning an associate's degree in hospitality and tourism can prepare you for a career in travel and tourism. Keep reading to learn more about programs that lead to this degree, including typical coursework, and see employment outlook information.

What Types of Travel and Tourism Programs Are Available?

A travel and tourism specialization is commonly offered through certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Certificate and associate's programs are typically centered on travel and tourism, whereas some colleges offer a bachelor's degree in geography with a focus in travel and tourism or a program in hospitality management. Most companies only require travel and tourism training, but a bachelor's degree could provide you with a more detailed view of world culture and career advancement potential.

Program Levels Certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree
Certificate/Associate's Degree Courses Business management, tourism marketing, world culture, airline travel protocol, regional travel destinations
Bachelor's Degree Courses Economics, global politics, data management, population
Potential Careers Flight attendant, ticket agent, travel agent, tour guide, concierge
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 

What Can I Expect in a Certificate or Associate's Program?

Your education typically focuses on developing an understanding of the travel industry, industry lingo, business practices, travel options and global destinations. You'll also learn how to use industry computer programs, calculate travel rates, research travel plans and initiate trips. You can expect courses in airline travel protocol, business management, world culture, and tourism marketing. Additional courses regarding regional vacation destinations may also be needed. Also, some schools offer a fully online associate's degree program in travel and tourism.

What Can I Expect in a Bachelor's Degree Program?

In addition to what you would learn during a shorter program, you'll learn about the constantly changing social geographic landscape in a bachelor's degree program. Education may cover population, global politics, economics and data management. Some courses offer field training for hands-on experience before graduating. If you're interested in taking your career in a different direction, some schools offer online courses in tourism marketing and casino operations.

What Positions Are Available?

Travel and tourism careers are found in various business sectors, including airlines, casinos, travel agencies, hotels and tourist offices. Upon completion of a certificate or degree program, you'll be able to pursue a career as a ticket agent, flight attendant, concierge, tour guide, travel agent or transportation agent. If the economy declines, there may be a decrease in positions due to less money being spent towards leisure. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some professionals, such as travel agents, could also see a decline due to consumers planning trips online (www.bls.gov).