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What Subjects Do You Need to Know to Be a Travel Agent?
If you love to travel and enjoy working with people, a career in the travel industry might suit you. While the industry requires no special certification, having experience in the right subjects will help you stand out from the competition when applying for jobs. Most of the training needed to become a travel agent can be learned on the job. Some agencies prefer their agents to have college degrees, but others require no more than a high school diploma.
College training with a specialization in travel and tourism, business, geography, communication, foreign language or English will help when you apply for a travel agent job. Community colleges and vocational schools teach specific courses pertinent to the travel industry. Adult education programs also offer travel agent courses.
Experience and education in communication will help a travel agent talk to clients by phone and in person. Some travel agents travel with groups of clients, and the ability to speak clearly and succinctly to different types of people can increase an agent's value.
Geography and history
An understanding of geography and history helps in the travel industry. You can speak to clients in a knowledgeable way and help them choose travel routes and itineraries. Knowing the history of an area---and being able to convey aspects of it to clients---will make a trip more meaningful for them and make them appreciate your professionalism.
Computer and office skills
Computer and office skills are critical for travel agents. Reservations are searched for and reserved by computer. Clients call on the phone to ask questions and discuss their travel needs, and the agent needs to have professional phone skills. Other assets include experience in filing, organization and running office machinery.
Foreign language and travel experience
Fluency in a foreign language will help when dealing with people in different countries and will increase your value as an agent. Spanish and French are good languages to know, but so are German, Italian and Chinese. Having travel experience will also increase your credibility with clients.
Renee Winship is a published author and has worked in the family restaurant and catering business and has also worked in a medical lab facility. She's an adoptive parent and has worked in daycare. Winship has written more than 200 articles for Suite 101 and other online publications. She attended Southwest Missouri State University in Missouri with a nursing major.