How to Become a Travel Agent in Florida
Aspiring travel agents in FL need a thorough understanding of domestic and international travel protocols, attention to detail, and exceptional customer service skills.
With the necessary training and credentials, you can qualify for travel agent jobs in Florida and begin a fun and rewarding career in the travel and tourism industry.
Education and Training
Wondering how to become a travel agent in Florida? Generally speaking, you have two options to choose from if you want to qualify for a job in this field:
- Get a job at a travel agency and complete on-the-job training during a probationary period.
- Enroll in a travel agent program at a Florida trade school or community college to earn a certificate, diploma, or degree
On-the-Job Travel Agent Training
Some Florida travel agents learn the tools of the trade from a manager or senior coworker at a local travel agency. Those who choose to go this route typically receive specific training that applies to that particular company and its clientele. As a result, you usually learn how to:
- Conduct phone calls using a pre-written script
- Up-sell travel packages and insurance
- Create a travel itinerary using various templates and software
- Book flights and accommodations based on the traveler’s budget and preferences
- Process payments
What Do You Study?
If you enroll in a travel agent program in FL, you’ll likely take classes that sharpen your customer service skills and teach you about the ins and outs of the travel and tourism industry.
Travel agent courses usually educate students about the following:
- Geography, cultures, and traditions of various travel destinations
- Communication and customer service
- Domestic and international travel regulations
- Planning methods for government, corporate, and leisure trips
- Airline, cruise line, and hotel pricing
- Industry-specific computer software
- Recordkeeping and organization
- Sales and marketing techniques
- Networking with hospitality and tourism professionals
- Managing solo and group vacations
Students hoping to one day open their own travel agencies might consider taking business classes to develop their advertising, accounting, and international business skills.
How Long are Travel Agent Training Programs?
Most students complete their training in about one month, though the exact time frame differs across employers and schools. A diploma or certificate program for travel agents in FL might take anywhere from six to 12 weeks to complete. Meanwhile, those pursuing a hospitality or tourism degree typically finish school in two, four, or six years.
How Much Does it Cost?
Program costs for travel agent schools in FL vary by institution. Some trade school courses cost as little as $400, while others may require students to spend closer to $800. An associate’s degree program might cost as much as $1,900. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality and tourism typically range between $25,000 and $35,000.
Florida Travel Agent Requirements
High school graduates and GED recipients can qualify for travel agent jobs in Florida, even if they lack an official credential or license. However, in order to comply with the state’s Seller of Travel law, they must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
To complete your registration, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Fill out a registration form
- Obtain a surety bond of up to $25,000 for proof of assurance
- Pay a nonrefundable $300 fee and submit your registration form
Some travel agents offer vacation certificates to travelers looking for additional perks, such as discounted transportation services or complimentary meals. If you’re planning to provide these benefits for your clients, you’ll need to pay a $100 document submission fee and increase the value of your surety bond to $50,000.
Freelance Agents and Travel Company Owners
New hires fall under their employer’s registration, so you can avoid this step if you plan on working for an established travel agency. However, freelance agents and travel company owners will need to register with the FDACS before they can legally conduct business in Florida.
Travel Agent Salaries in FL
How Much Can You Make?
A typical travel agent salary in Florida is about $40,890 per year. Depending on which part of the state you live in, your earnings may be slightly higher or lower than the average. Check out this list of regional travel agent salary information for Florida to determine how much you might make based on where you live:
- Jacksonville $41,153
- Fort Myers $39,442
- Tampa $37,957
- Daytona Beach $40,683
- Naples $47,019
- Tallahassee $37,769
- Miami $44,274
Agents who work with high-profile clientele might earn salaries closer to $60,000 or more. Freelancers might be able to make $50,000 or so per year, depending on their rates and how many clients they can get. Meanwhile, those who open their own travel agencies may make as much as $70,000 annually or more.
Travel Agent Certification
Although obtaining an official travel agent credential is option in Florida, those who become certified travel agents or associates (CTA) might have an easier time finding travel agent jobs in Florida than uncertified applicants. Consider obtaining a travel agent license through one of the following agencies:
- The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- The Travel Institute
- The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
- The Travel Agent Campus
What Do They Do?
Travel agents plan and book business and leisure trips for groups and individuals. Depending on whether their client is traveling in the U.S. or internationally, a travel agent may be responsible for:
- Planning an itinerary of travel destinations and activities
- Offering travel insurance, travel packages, and all-inclusive resort stays to increase commission payments
- Booking flights and accommodations based on the traveler’s standards and budget
- Making restaurant reservations
- Purchasing tickets for travelers who want to attend concerts, plays, and other events during their trips
- Arranging car rentals, ferry rides, and other transportation options for travelers to use during their vacations
- Answering emails and phone calls from clients during their trips
- Making adjustments to the itinerary as needed
- Handling issues like lost passports, missed flights, and booking errors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for travel agent jobs is likely to increase by about 20 percent over the next decade. Because of this projected growth rate, those with the proper travel agent training and credentials may have an easy time finding work between 2021 and 2031.