Even experienced travel agents can find something that will reflect their needs. Something like advanced self-study or group-study courses from the Travel Institute, which lead to the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) designation.
Becoming a travel agent many skills gained from preceding travel experience will be useful. The reason is that knowledge about a city or foreign country often helps to influence a client's travel plans. Travel agents, generally, must be well-organized, accurate, and meticulous to compile information from various sources and plan and organize their clients' travel itineraries. Nowadays with the Internet becoming an important tool for making travel arrangements, more travel agencies are using Web sites to provide their services to clients.
Officially, there are no federal licensing requirements for travel agents, but it is better to have travel agent certification. The first way to gat travel agent certification is to find a good travel agent school.
Travel agent schools are not as numerous as they once were, but there are still many of them. Travel agent certification of those schools is a major draw for students and many sign up without thinking too much about it. Before you start looking into, it is a good idea to determine what, exactly, you hope to gain from enrolling.
Probably, you are looking for employment. In his case you should be aware that travel agent schools can seldom guarantee that you will immediately find a job waiting for you once you complete their training.
Travel agent schools, of course, teach people who finally will get travel agent certification. But it is important to realize that travel agent schools are designed, primarily, to train low-paying, entry-level employees for travel agencies. Consequently, travel agent schools pay much attention for comparatively dull, rote tasks like using the GDS (Global Distribution System, sometimes called a computerized reservation system or CRS). Travel agent schools are very good at this and if you want to learn how to use a specific GDS, then turning to one of the travel agent schools might be a good choice.
Be aware that none of travel agent schools will teach you how to think like an agency owner or how to get out in the community and sell travel. These institutions are created mostly to serve the needs of storefront travel agencies, providing them a steady stream of entry-level employees who will sit at a computer screen all day and enter orders.
Travel agent schools due to their popularity are rather expensive. It is possible to save thousands of dollars and prepare for the travel agent career you really want by skipping travel agent schools altogether and taking some home study course.
To be a travel agent it is not absolutely necessary to have travel agent certification, but it is desirable. One can get travel agent certification from online-education internet courses, as an alternative to traditional way.
The majority of the courses introduced in the Internet are certified by partner institutions of higher continuing education. These accredited institutions include such prestigious schools as Ohio University, Coastal Carolina State University and Trident Technical College.
The travel agent certification program is designed to ensure that students receive the most intensive, up-to-date and practical preparation for careers in today's travel industry. Students who successfully complete the five core courses gain the travel agent certification. There are different courses: travel agent certification program, tour operator certificate, airline certification program, cruise line certification program and even hotel certification program. Successful completion of each course must be verified by the instructor, as well as the internship supervisor, before getting a certificate.
The travel agent certification provides comprehensive training necessary to become an effective travel professional. The course will include instruction in travel reservations, fares and tickets, leisure travel products, destination geography and travel sales and customer service.
It is now rather easy to become a travel agent. But people should first decide what exactly they want to get from working as an agent. And after that it will be simplier to find the most suitable tuition program and gain the travel agent certification.