Whether for business pleasure, travelers rely on workers in the travel and tourism industry to ensure that a trip goes according to plan. Entry-level opportunities in places like travel agencies, cruise lines or hotels may require no more than a high school diploma or the equivalent, but obtaining a certificate sets you apart from other applicants. In New York State, this usually involves several hours of coursework and an internship or similar experience.
Eligibility requirements for certificate programs vary, but most involve some sort of placement exam. Monroe Community College’s Travel & Tourism Certificate Program requires all candidates to take a basic English course. Those who have not completed at least one year of high school math must enroll in a pre-algebra class. Institutes that offer a certificate through a degree program have a stricter enrollment process that may include applicant essays, minimum academic records, and teacher or employer recommendations.
Learn the Core
The basis of general travel and tourism programs are the same. Lesson plans identify the reasons people travel, where they travel and what their expectations are. You learn how to compare opposing airlines, cruise lines or hotel chains, and how to work with suppliers that service each operation. Figure out which field you’re most interested in and apply for a related internship or co-op experience. If your focus is on catering, for example, you may intern with a chef in a hotel.
Students in certificate programs may complete elective courses geared toward specific employers or occupations. For example, the Borough of Manhattan Community College offers travel operations classes designed for account representatives, reservation agents and travel consultants. Others have courses that focus on hospitality marketing or airline reservation systems. Although students may be tested upon the completion of each class, there are usually no exam requirements to obtain a certificate.
Go the Distance
New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management offers a graduate certificate in tourism management and does not require prerequisites. The curriculum covers the development of various attractions, destination marketing and financial strategies in tourism. Students practice identifying obstacles that hinder tourism in certain locations and planning actions to correct the problems. Graduate-level courses detail crucial clerical duties, such as developing reports and forecasting expenses, revenues or profits.