The role of travel agents is vastly different today than it was in the years before the Internet. Becoming a travel agent is something that you can do in your spare time; you can even be complete the process online. You may be surprised to learn that there is no universal "travel agent license" required to become a travel agent. However, some states such as California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Nevada, Washington and Oregon do require that you obtain a seller of travel registration or an occupational license.
Complete a travel agent training school and obtain a certificate of completion. Certificates can be obtained from a traditional classroom in your local area or online, which may be more convenient if you have a busy schedule. If you choose to go online, visit the International Airline Transport Association (iata.org), the American Society of Travel Agents (asta.org) or the Travel Institute (thetravelinstitute.com) to obtain a certificate.
Research your state licensing requirements. Certain states require that travel agents complete a seller of travel registration or obtain other professional credentials prior to operating as a travel agent. For example, if you live in California, you can go the California attorney general website (oag.ca.gov/travel) to obtain the seller of travel registration form. The form itself asks for general information about you and the business that you will be working for and requires a fee for the registration. Pay close attention when completing the form, as it lists specific state requirements needed to complete the registration.
Secure a surety bond, trust account or consumer protection deposit plan. This is again dependent on the state in which you reside. For example, California requires that you obtain one of the three in order to issue your travel seller's registration card. Do this prior to submitting your seller of travel registration application, as the registration forms require that you list this information.
Check your city and state business license requirements. This necessary if you will be operating independently, as having a business license will be a requirement of most if not all city and state governments. Visiting your state and local government websites will again provide an overview of the process of obtaining a business license.
2016 Salary Information for Travel Agents
Travel agents earned a median annual salary of $36,460 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, travel agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $27,030, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,600, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 81,700 people were employed in the U.S. as travel agents.
Items you will need
- Business license
- Travel agent certification
- Seller of travel registration
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