How to Become a Travel Agent in Pennsylvania

independent travel agent working from home

The travel industry is undergoing a robust recovery and a significant increase in jobs and international visitor spending.

Learn what it takes to get started in the industry.

Education and Training

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Completing a travel agent certification course from one of the schools below will get you up and running.

Why Should You Take This Course?

Graduates of the program will be ready to take TAP certification exam (Travel Agent Proficiency) from the Travel Institute (formerly ICTA).

The Travel Institute since 1964

Here are some more reasons that make it a good investment:

  • Adds credibility
  • Provide schedule flexibility with a study as you go format
  • Delivers a comprehensive explanation of industry
  • Provides a curriculum that covers all essential topics for the travel industry
  • Provides a launching pad for new opportunities, including starting as independent agency

How Long Is It?

It shouldn’t take longer than 6 months.

How Much Is It?

Total for all of the classes is $2,300, which can be paid on a monthly basis.

What’s more, acquiring added certifications may involve extra costs, but they’re vital investments that will pay off significantly in your career.

What Will You Study ?

Topics include the following:

  • Getting to Know the Travel Industry
  • Building Up Your Professional Skills
  • Learning the Basics of Local and World Geography
  • Understanding Different Travel Destinations
  • Learning About Traveling Internationally
  • Understanding Air Travel
  • Learning About Different Ways to Travel
  • Improving Your Career Opportunities
  • Making Travel Sales and Marketing Work for You

Certified Travel Agent Credentials

The following organizations provide respected certifications.

Certification Guidelines

Each organization has its own guidelines that candidates must meet before they can apply for travel agent certification.

Most companies expect you to have completed a two-year education program in tourism and hospitality. Others accept applicants with at least one year of experience working at a travel agency.

State Requirements

Currently, there is no legal requirement to have a travel agent license in Pennsylvania. Even so, having an official certification can improve your chances of getting a travel agent job in PA, especially if you want to work for a well-known company.

Salaries in PA

According to Indeed.com, the average salary in PA is $65,440.

Below are  travel agent salaries for areas of the state from Indeed:

  • Harrisburg      $69,296
  • Allentown         $43,082
  • Pittsburgh         $51,392
  • Lancaster          $80,000 (this seems high)
  • Scranton           $45,679
  • Philadelphia      $60,360

It might be worth comparing these numbers to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a more rounded view point on entry level salaries.

According to the BLS travel agent profile, the average salary in PA is about $40,000, and average salaries and wages throughout the state are as follows:

Area Hourly Annual
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton $16.45 $34,210.00
Harrisburg-Carlisle $17.72 $36,860.00
Lancaster $17.78 $36,980.00
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $22.22 $46,220.00
Pittsburgh $17.66 $36,740.00
Reading $21.41 $44,530.00
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton $18.81 $39,130.00

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

After years of working in tourism and building their reputations, entrepreneurs who start their own travel agent businesses can earn higher wages than those who work for other companies.

Job Description

What Do They Do?

Travel agents make various arrangements for those traveling for business and for pleasure.

Depending on the client’s needs, these professionals might offer advice on vacation destinations, recommend hotels based on their convenient locations and amenities, and suggest restaurants and fun things to do during a trip.

Planning Trips

Step one in helping clients plan trips involves checking travel restrictions and requirements for whichever destination the traveler chooses. Depending on where the client wants to go, the travel agent may need to help them obtain passports, visas, vaccination cards, and any other travel documents they need.

Job Duties

A travel agent’s duties at this stage typically include:

  • Booking stays at hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, retreats, and other lodgings
  • Making restaurant reservations
  • Purchasing concert, theater, museum, or amusement park tickets for travelers
  • Arranging transportation like flights, cruises, ferries, drivers, rental cars, and shuttle services

Where Do Pennsylvania Travel Agents Work?

Many travel agents find jobs with local travel agencies or with large corporations like Expedia, Trip Advisor, and Travelocity. You could also work as a concierge with an airline, cruise line, or luxury hotel chain. After several years of networking and experience in the industry, you might consider opening your own travel agency.

Applying for a Job

Those who meet their chosen organization’s requirements usually have to fill out an application form, pay a fee, and submit school transcripts or letters of recommendation to show they have the necessary education and experience.

From there, aspiring CTAs must pass a certification exam to earn their official credentials.

Career Outlook

Over the next decade, experts at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predict the demand for travel agent jobs in the United States to increase by 20 percent. This translates to roughly 7,500 job openings per year between 2021 and 2031.

Travel agents in Pennsylvania can take advantage of these available employment opportunities or open their own travel agencies and tourism companies.

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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