How To Earn a Travel Agent Certification

Learn about travel agent certification, which can demonstrate a travel agent's skills, experience, credibility, and commitment.

portrait of Lauren Mack
by Lauren Mack

Published on April 14, 2022 · Updated on May 5, 2022

Edited by Giselle M. Cancio
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How To Earn a Travel Agent Certification
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Travel agents sell travel products from a variety of vendors, including airlines, hotels and resorts, and cruise lines.

They assist travelers with their travel arrangements and vacation planning. This assistance may include booking transportation on airplanes, trains, cruise ships, and/or rental cars and making hotel and lodging reservations. They also arrange ground transportation, tours, meal reservations, and activities.

For travel agents, perks of the job can include learning about destinations, working from home, and travel. As of May 2021, there are around 37,190 travel agents in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Obtaining one or more travel agent certifications is how some people grow in their careers.

Travel agent certification is a document presented to travel agents after they complete a training program that includes courses and, oftentimes, at least one exam.

Travel agents — from beginners to seasoned travel executives — can be certified in a variety of travel sectors, including airlines, business travel, cruise lines, and more. A travel agent certification is separate from destination- or vendor-specific training certification.

Getting travel agent certification can help you network, achieve career advancement, and gain valuable, highly transferable skills in sales, customer service, marketing, problem-solving, negotiating, and communication.

Travel agents with one or more certifications may be more competitive when job hunting, attract more clients, make more money, advance in their careers, and own their own travel agencies.

Travel agent certification is not the same as a travel agent certificate or license. While a license is not required to be a travel agent, some U.S. states require travel agencies or home-based travel agents to be licensed. Some U.S. states require travel agents to get a registration number.

What Are the Requirements for a Travel Agent Certification?

What Skills Will I Learn With a Travel Agent Certification?

The skills travel agents learn are transferable to many careers, including hospitality and marketing. The skills travel agents learn as they pursue travel agent certification include:

Is a Travel Agent Certification Worth It?

Some travel agents choose to receive on-the-job training instead of a certification. However, many decide to get one or more certifications offered by schools, industry associations, destinations, and vendors.

Getting your travel agent certification can be a great way to learn about destinations, gain highly transferable skills, network, and build a client base. Many clients prefer to work with a certified travel agent. Travel agent certification may be helpful for travel agents who wish to start their own companies.

While most consumers can easily book their own travel, employment for travel agents is projected to grow 5% from 2020-2030, according to the BLS. About 7,500 openings for travel agents are projected annually, on average, over the decade, according to the BLS.

Examples of certification programs include:

What Jobs Can I Get With a Travel Agent Certification?

After completing their certification, travel agents pursue many jobs, including

How Much Money Can I Make With a Travel Agent Certification?

Travel agents make a median annual salary of $42,350, as of May 2020, according to the BLS. This wage data includes money earned from commissions. Some travel agents who work at larger travel agencies may earn commissions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Agent Certification

How do you become a certified travel agent? true

Travel agents can become certified by taking one or more certification programs offered at universities, colleges, technical schools, vocational schools, and travel associations, institutes, and organizations.

For travel agent certification programs, you will typically be required to complete coursework. And, for most certification programs, you will be required to pass one or more exams. Some travel agent certification programs require that you present documented professional experience.

How much does a travel agent certification cost? true

The cost of a travel agent certification program varies.

For example, it costs $399-$729 to enroll in the American Society of Travel Advisors' VTA program. ARC specialist training and certification and The Travel Institute's CTA programs each cost $550.

Travel agent certification programs require recertification through continuing education. The price varies from free for ARC's continuing education course to $179 for ASTA's VTA recertification continuing education program.

Travel agents may also register for The Travel Institute's Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test, a two-hour, proctored exam offered at the conclusion of many certification programs. The TAP test contains 100 multiple-choice questions on geography, selling skills, and travel products. The TAP exam is $95.

Can I be a travel agent with no experience? true

Yes, you can be a travel agent with no experience. In general, there are no educational requirements to become a travel agent.

Having prior experience in customer service and/or sales may make aspiring travel agents more competitive in the job market even without certification. Whether travel agents work for an established travel agency, are a franchisee, or work independently under a host agency, most travel agents are offered on-the-job training and support at the start of their careers.

Travel agent certification may help boost your knowledge, skill set, connections, and client base. Mastering the skills to provide quality travel products, outstanding travel expertise, and exemplary travel planning may help travel agents increase their salaries and have a sustainable career.

Schools, organizations, and state governments all issue education credentials, but there are big differences between certificates, licenses, and certifications. Earn an online associate in hospitality management through a top program. Learn about the benefits and career options this field has to offer. Are you interested in learning more about careers in international? Click for information about opportunities at all levels of education. Start planning today.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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