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Education requirements for travel agents include a high school diploma, but many travel agencies prefer their travel agents to have bachelor's degrees or specialized training in the travel field from vocational schools, online programs, adult education programs, or community colleges. Several colleges in the United States offer degree programs in travel and tourism. In addition, travel agents who are experienced travelers are highly sought after.
Travel agents spend a large portion of their time in offices behind desks, using the computer, talking with clients on the telephone, arranging reservations and itineraries, and filling out paperwork. They may also spend some portion of their time traveling to resorts, hotels, motels, restaurants, and attractions to assess cleanliness and convenience, and to better make recommendations.
In addition to being travel savvy, travel agents must have excellent listening and communication skills, must work well with people, must have excellent research skills, and must be well organized. Good sales ability is also a plus.
The job outlook for travel agents increases as people travel. During a slow economy, people tend to travel less, while during a robust economy, travel picks up. Travel agents who specialize in particular destinations, as well as those who handle certain special interest groups, tend to have the best job prospects.
For additional information about travel agent educational opportunities, visit the American Society of Travel Agents website. For information about business travel management training and certification, visit the National Business Travel Association website.
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About Travel Agents