In the era of globalisation, traveling to far off and exotic locations has become commonplace. That fact means that there are more opportunities than ever for travel agents and industry professionals. However, how do you become a travel agent? What qualifications do you need to land your dream job?
Skills and qualifications
Below is a short overview of everything you need to know and a few suggestions on how to break into the industry.
High school diploma This is a must. It might occasionally be possible to get a job with a GED, but odds are, even if you find one, it will be the long hours and low pay kind of job that no one else wants. Degree It isn't necessary to have a degree to work as a travel agent, but certain companies within the industry will require it. Do a little research to find out what the standards for employment are in your area. Travel experience Again, this isn't absolutely necessary. but agencies obviously prefer to hire someone with travel experience because it makes the agent more knowledgeable and better able to communicate with customers. Computer skills Most of the work an agent does involves computers. A demonstrated ability to quickly navigate a high tech environment is not only a plus in the hiring process, but a must in the job. Second language Most travel destinations are in places with a different language than that of the traveler's country of origin. Having a multilingual travel agent not only instills confidence in the traveler, but also makes it much easier to deal with any problems that arise during the traveler's stay in a foreign land. License and certification Some states require travel agents to be licensed. Check with your state's Department of Commerce for the requirements in your area.
Taking a travel agent course at a local community college or through the American Society of Travel Agents can also be a great way to set your resume apart from the competition.
Getting into the business
For an agency This can be as simple as submitting resumes and going to interviews, but if you have no previous work experience in the travel or sales industries, it may make finding work easier to broaden your search at first to build up your resume. Another option is to take a trip to a foreign country and look for work there. There are many opportunities available for bilingual English speakers all over the world. For yourself Starting a home based travel business, either as a local agent or online, is also an option. Without previous experience in the industry though, it may not be the best route to start your career.