How to Become a Travel Agent in Pennsylvania
Education and Training
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.
In most cases, completing a travel agent course at a trade school or community college is enough to start working in the tourism industry.
Certified Travel Agent Credentials
Looking to obtain an official Certified Travel Agent (CTA) credential to start your own business or qualify for a travel agent job in Pennsylvania? You might consider going through one of the following organizations:
- The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- The Travel Institute
- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
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.
Applying for the 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.
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.
Travel Agent Salaries in PA
Travel agent salaries in PA vary depending on which organization you work for. Some companies may pay certified travel agents more than those who lack experience or an official credential.
Your location might also affect what type of wages you earn as a travel agent in Pennsylvania. For example, the average travel agent salaries in PA are as follows:
- Harrisburgh $40,550
- Allentown $42,750
- Pittsburgh $43,380
- Lancaster $43,470
- Scranton $45,510
- Philadelphia $49,300
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.
Some may make closer to $50,000 per hour or more, depending on how many clients they can find and what services they provide.
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.
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.
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
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.