How to Become a Travel Agent in California

The travel industry is booming. If have exceptional customer service skills, and enjoy planning vacations and events, then this career path may be perfect for you.

Education and Training

Begin the journey to becoming a California travel agent by exploring the training programs below.

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Get information on Travel Agent Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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How Will You Benefit?

Upon successful completion of our course, you will be able to sit for the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test, offered by the Travel Institute (formerly ICTA).

The Travel Institute since 1964

What Do You Study?

Courses will cover topics such as:

  • How to market yourself as a travel professional
  • Customer service skills needed as a travel professional
  • Key fundamentals of the travel industry
  • Airline and ground transportation, hotels and resorts, cruises, tours, specialty travel, etc
  • All about the international and domestic travel destinations that you are most likely to recommend and sell to your clients

How Long is the Travel Agent Program?

It will take about 6 months.

Other programs might take eighteen weeks or even a full year to complete.

Those who are pursuing hospitality and tourism degrees complete their courses in two, four, or six years, depending on the program they choose.

How Much Does It Cost?

$2,300 (about $110 per month if you finance).

Additional Classes

If you’re planning to start your own travel agency, you can also take business classes to learn the accounting, human resources, and advertising skills you need.

Other hospitality and tourism courses might be a good idea if you hope to form business connections with luxury resorts, hotels, and airlines.

California Travel Agent Requirements

Those wondering how to become travel agents in California need a diploma or GED to meet the minimum educational requirements for workers in the tourism industry.

From there, you must complete on-the-job training or enroll in a certificate, diploma, or degree program at a California trade school or college.

Certifications

Although unlicensed individuals can qualify for travel agent jobs in California, having an official certification can make it easier to find well-paying positions in the industry.

Below are some certifying institutions.

The Travel Institute

Founded in 1964, The Travel Institute has become the leading certification authority for travel professionals. It provides a range of educational programs, learning solutions, and certification paths. For those considering a credential in the travel industry, starting with a course certified by The Travel Institute offers a solid foundation.

Others include:

Seller of Travel Registration

All travel agencies and travel agents in CA must register with the California Attorney General to become authorized Sellers of Travel. To complete your registration, you must take the following steps:

  1. Complete a California Seller of Travel Registration Application
  2. Pay a $100 registration fee.
  3. Submit your registration fee and application to the Seller of Travel Program at the Attorney General’s office.
  4. Wait one to three weeks to receive your California Seller of Travel Certificate by mail.

Who Needs to Register?

Those hoping to start their own travel agencies or work as freelancers will need to complete this registration process before they can legally operate in the state of California. If you plan on applying for entry-level travel agent jobs in California, use the Seller Search feature on the Department of Justice website to determine whether each potential employer has the proper registration.

On-the-Job Travel Agent Training

Some travel agencies are willing to hire and train inexperienced employees.

Many of these companies have their own learning modules that entry-level workers must complete before they can work with clients independently.

New hires typically learn the following after obtaining travel agent jobs in California:

  • Company-specific scripts to use when talking to clients on the phone and via email
  • How to fill in travel itinerary templates
  • Sales techniques for offering travel insurance and up-selling travel packages

Aspiring travel agents in CA might prefer to enroll in an accredited training program to gain a more in-depth understanding of the travel and tourism industry.

Salaries in CA

How Much Can You Make?

While the average travel agent salary in California is about $56,720, wages vary across different agencies and travel companies.

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

Area Hourly Annual
Fresno $23.38 $48,630.00
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim $27.79 $57,790.00
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura $25.50 $53,040.00
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade $24.88 $51,750.00
San Diego-Carlsbad $25.43 $52,880.00
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $29.92 $62,230.00
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $28.15 $58,540.00
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara $26.11 $54,320.00
Santa Rosa $26.04 $54,150.00

Occupation: Travel Agents (SOC code 413041)
source: data.bls.gov

A California travel agent with a hospitality or tourism degree may be able to negotiate a higher wage than a candidate with a certificate or diploma. High-end resorts and travel agencies typically pay these professionals more than the average salary since they work with exclusive clientele, booking luxury vacations and business trips.

Job Description

What Do They Do?

Whether they work at an agency or offer freelance services from their own homes, travel agents in CA must perform the following tasks to ensure client satisfaction:

  • Gather information about the client’s travel plans, including whether their trip is for business or pleasure
  • Research destinations, transportation, and lodgings that fit within the traveler’s budget
  • Create an itinerary or activities to suit the client’s needs
  • Offer travel packages from a particular network of hotel, resort, airline, and cruise line partners
  • Collect the client’s passport and other travel document information for international trips
  • Recommend travel insurance options
  • Book flights and accommodations for the traveler
  • Purchase event tickets, plan activities, and make restaurant reservations depending on the traveler’s needs
  • Arrange tour guide and interpreter services as needed
  • Maintain contact with the traveler throughout their trip

Career Outlook

Job opportunities for travel agents in the U.S. are likely to increase by about 20 percent over the next ten years. As a result, qualified travel agents in CA may have an easier time finding well-paying jobs with local and national travel agencies.

Search Travel Agent Training Programs

Get information on Travel Agent Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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how to become a travel agent in CA infographic