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For individuals who have a passion for customer service and a knack for planning, becoming a travel agent seems like the perfect mixture of organizational planning and people-oriented communication. Every state has different criteria for becoming a registered travel agent. Becoming a travel agent in New Jersey means being aware of the educational requirements and skills required to becoming a reputable agent. New Jersey does not have specific licensing requirements as some states require but this does not mean that pursuing a career as a travel agent should be done without certification from a reputable licensing body.
Most travel agents in New Jersey (or any state for that matter) hold a high school diploma or equivalent. There are not post-secondary educational requirements for travel agents but many travel agents receive travel agent specific training at community colleges or through online educational programs. Consider taking courses in tourism or hospitality; a bachelor's degree in tourism will aide you in securing a well-paid travel agent position.
Seek employment at at travel agency in a support position. This is particularly helpful if you have no former training as a travel agent. This will allow you to work in an apprenticeship role while you finish any necessary educational requirements you may need to complete before you are totally qualified to work as a travel agent. This will also provide you with experience in working in a travel office which will greatly benefit you as you branch into your own career.
Familiarize yourself with the New Jersey tourism department. This agency will be your best friend when it comes to handling accommodations for clients and building contacts as you secure your own clientele. The New Jersey tourism department works closely with travel agents around the state to increase state revenue and improve the enjoyment of tourists visiting New Jersey. Familiarize yourself with all things New Jersey as well as local hot spots that other agents may not be aware of; this will help you to individualize your services and make you an attractive agent comparatively.
Unlike some states that require specific licensing of travel agents there is no seller-of-travel registration in New Jersey. Organizations like the "Travel Institute" offer certification of travel agents that can provide reputability to your work as a New Jersey travel agent. Certification helps clients to feel at ease and increases your chances of employment. Many education programs offer certification so inquire with the program that suits your particular needs.
Network in order to gain a client base. Acquiring clients can be done through the agency with whom you are employed or through your own personal contacts. Whatever method feels most natural to you should be your method of networking. Travel agents must allow their good work to speak for itself so make sure that you keep any clients you acquire happy and more business will likely come to you.
Spend at least 2-3 months in an apprenticeship with an agent you respect.