How to Become a Travel Agent in Louisiana
For those seeking an outstanding career option for outgoing individuals, becoming a travel agent offers the chance to turn social charisma into unforgettable journeys.
Travel agents, armed with thorough knowledge of destinations and valuable global connections, work to curate seamless adventures all around the world.
Becoming a travel agent means transforming a passion for exploration into a career, crafting dream vacations while making clients’ globe-trotting dreams come true.
Education & Training
How Long Does It Take?
Fully online courses, such as the ones above, take about 6 months. Other courses in travel agent training can take approximately 12 to 15 months, though this depends largely on specific education pathways and individual needs.
For those looking to earn an associate’s degree in the travel agent field, for example, education time can be as long as 2 years. However, many schools also offer expedited programs, which would take as little as 6 to 9 months.
How Much Does It Cost?
Cost again largely depends on individual needs and specific pathways, however the average training program for travel agents ranges from around $1000 – $3000. This price is much higher, however, for those who choose to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field at most Louisiana colleges would likely pay $10,000 – $15,000 or more.
What Do You Study?
Training programs for travel agents will typically cover the following topics:
- Calculating costs: learning to apply knowledge of travel costs, fees, taxes, and discounts, and how to accurately calculate total costs of accommodations for clients.
- Booking travel and accommodations: understanding how to prepare and request transportation carrier tickets, hotel reservations, and book experiences for clients.
- Geographical expertise: utilizing physical and cultural geography knowledge in travel and tourism and enhancing clients’ experiences by offering insights into unique features of destinations.
- Comparing options: analyzing and comparing accommodations, tickets, itineraries, and travel packages, and determining the best-suited options for clients based on their personal preferences and needs.
Benefits of Taking the Course
To become a travel agent in Louisiana, it is highly recommended that you earn at least one of many possible certifications in the travel agent field. These include the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) certification, the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) exam, and the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification, among many more. While not legally required, earning these certifications provides a competitive edge for any prospective travel agent.
While not obligatory, enrolling in a travel agent course significantly elevates your expertise and readiness, particularly for those seeking to earn certifications. Furthermore, it can provide priceless connections and insider knowledge, both of which are particularly important as a result of how connection-based the field is.
Employers in travel agencies also seek thoroughly educated applicants, so for those looking to get a head start in the field, taking a course is strongly recommended.
How Much Can You Make?
In Louisiana, average salaries for travel agents range from around $35,000 to $60,000 yearly, with a national average hourly wage of $22.31, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Self-employed travel agents can also earn up to approximately $70,000.
Below are the average salaries for travel agents in major Louisiana cities:
- New Orleans: $39,740 or $13.05/hour
- Baton Rouge: $45,800 or $15.06/hour
- Lafayette: $61,000 or $20.20/hour
- Shreveport: $61,200 or $20.13/hour
- Lake Charles: $61,700 or $20.28/hour
Louisiana travel agent salaries are significantly higher than most other states across the US, making the career highly attractive for those interested.
Though there are no state-required licenses or certifications for prospective travel agents in Louisiana, obtaining one or more relevant certifications is highly encouraged, both for the purposes of developing essential skills in the field and gaining employment. Becoming licensed also offers opportunities for specialization, for example to focus on specific travel types like cruises or particular destinations.
State License or Certification
All prospective travel agents must have obtained a high school degree or GED equivalent, in addition to receiving any on-the-job training for specific agencies. The state of Louisiana offers a total of four main certifications for travel agents: the Certified Travel Agent (CTA) certification, Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification, Certified Travel Industry Expert (CTIE) certification, and the Certified Travel Specialist (CTS) certification.
Many of these certification and training programs work with the state’s tourism and travel associations to further aid applicants seeking employment.
For those looking to specialize in particular fields of travel, certifications like the Cruise Line Industry Association certifications offer even more in terms of credentials and potential employment.
Entry Level Job Description
As an entry-level travel agent, your responsibilities will largely include assisting clients in selecting travel destinations, booking flights, accommodations, and transportation, while considering their preferences and budgets. You will learn to navigate booking systems, likely through employer-specific training, research travel options, and provide valuable insights on local attractions and cultural nuances.
This can also include working with industry connections to arrange experiences like guided tours and activities for clients.
Skillsets or Requirements
Details of what specific employers require may vary, but essential skills and requirements for travel agents will always include the following:
- Communication skills: effectively conveying travel options, itineraries, and essential details.
- Adaptability: flexibility in catering to client preferences and changing travel dynamics.
- Customer focus: understanding and meeting client needs while continuing to deliver outstanding service.
- Destination knowledge: thorough understanding of diverse locations and cultural insights.
- Booking proficiency: being able to navigate potentially complicated booking systems for accommodations, transportation, and activities.
Pros & Cons of the Travel Agent Field
Overall, the travel agent field offers an exciting avenue for individuals with a passion for exploration and customer service. Benefits of the career include the opportunity to turn knowledge of the world and popular destinations into a rewarding career, crafting unforgettable journeys for clients. The job involves continuous learning about global locations, fostering cultural awareness, and building a network within the travel industry.
However, challenges can arise from the continuous evolution of online booking systems and self-service options, requiring agents to continually prove their value. The workload can be demanding, especially during peak travel seasons, and staying updated with ever-changing travel regulations is essential. Success in the field requires a balance of creativity, organization, and adaptability.
Is it a good career?
Becoming a travel agent can be an incredibly fulfilling career choice.
The career offers a wide range of job specialization opportunities for those looking to advance from entry-level positions, from crafting unique itineraries for niche markets like adventure travel or luxury vacations to focusing on corporate travel management.
Moreover, self-employment as an independent travel consultant is highly viable, allowing for highly flexible work arrangements. With dedication and ongoing learning, as well as building a loyal clientele, travel agents can easily achieve success in the field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth for travel agents is significantly above the national average – estimated at 20% for 2021-31. Around 7,500 position openings are expected yearly over the next decade.Furthermore, with technology and online booking systems continuing to advance, the need for personalized expertise and curated experiences beyond what self-service options can offer ensures a place for skilled travel agents in the workforce.