How to Become a Travel Agent in Texas
Travel agent jobs in Texas are an excellent career option for well-traveled people with exceptional customer service, networking, and organizational skills.
If you’re wondering how to become a travel agent in Texas, there are several schools and agencies to choose from when selecting training and certification options.
Education and Training
A high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement for travel agents in TX. However, most employers prefer candidates with some level of higher education. Travel agents in Texas need the proper training to perform their duties and provide the best possible customer service.
During a travel agent certificate or diploma program at a Texas trade school, you’ll take classes on:
- Domestic and International Travel Regulations
- Communication and Customer Service
- Sales and Marketing
- Organization and Bookkeeping Skills
- Airline and Hotel Pricing
- Managing Solo and Group Trips
- Computer systems and Software for Travel Agents
- Planning Government, Corporate, and Leisure Travel Itineraries
- Travel Insurance
A lengthier, more in-depth hospitality and tourism degree might be a better fit for those hoping to work with high-end companies, or start their own travel agencies and plan luxury vacations and business trips for high-end clients.
Programs like these tend to be more business-focused than a typical travel agent course, and can potentially allow you to network with:
- Country club and resort owners
- Hotel and restaurant managers
- Event planners
Texas travel agents with hospitality and tourism degrees can form connections with these professionals to expand their selection of exclusive lodgings, venues, events, and activities to choose from when planning trips for high-profile travelers.
Travel Agency Training
Some aspiring travel agents in TX might prefer to complete a specific training course that prepares students to work for a particular agency. If you choose to go this route, you’ll take classes on how to use that company’s resources and standard operating procedures to cater to that agency’s specific clientele.
How Long is Travel Agent School?
Most students complete their travel agent certificate program in about six months, depending on where they enroll. However, many schools offer four to 12-week courses that let you graduate faster. Completing classes through a specific travel agency might take roughly two weeks.
Those who choose to complete a hospitality and tourism degree might take two to four years to obtain their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. If you’re going for a graduate-level degree, your program could take five to six years.
Costs for travel agent programs in Texas typically range from $100 to $900. More in-depth courses might cost upwards of $2,000 to $5,000, while students in degree programs at a Texas college or university could pay $15,000 or more.
Texas Travel Agent Requirements
As long as they are at least 18 years of age and have the training and tech necessary for the job, unlicensed travel agents in TX can legally work at local travel agencies or start their own small trip planning and booking businesses.
However, they’ll need to obtain the following:
- A specialty Insurance License from the Texas Department of Insurance to protect themselves if a client attempts to sue them
- A taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), which allows the IRS to track their income so they can avoid tax audits
Certified Travel Agents
While you can become a travel agent if you are unlicensed, employers prefer to hire candidates who have an official certification. Because of this, certified travel associates (CTA) often have an easier time finding work than non-certified applicants.
Licensed travel agents in TX might even qualify for jobs at well-known companies like:
- Trip Advisor
Travel Agent Certification
Your educational program might include a certification exam in the course curriculum, allowing you to qualify for travel agent jobs in Texas as soon as you graduate. However, you can also find certification agencies and apply for licensure on your own.
Some of the most popular companies that certify travel agents are:
- The American Society of Travel Advisors
- Cruise Lines International Association
- The Travel Institute
- The International Air Transport Association
- Travel Agent Campus
- National Travel
Applicants can enroll in courses that teach them about their chosen agency’s standard practices and guidelines, then pass the company’s certification exam to become a licensed travel agent and qualify for travel agent jobs in Texas.
Travel Agent Salaries in TX
The average travel agent salary in Texas varies depending on which part of the state you live in. Agents from densely-populated areas with booming hospitality and tourism industries might earn more than those in other regions. Take a look at the following list to learn about the average annual earnings for travel agents in TX.
- Dallas-Ft. Worth $51,541
- Austin $46,286
- El Paso $36,730
- Houston $47,045
- San Antonio $41,644
Some travel agents in TX can make over $60,000 or $70,000 per year if they have enough experience. Having an official travel agent license might also allow hopefuls to negotiate higher salaries when applying for travel agent jobs in Texas. If you open your own travel agency, you can usually set your own prices and possibly make more than other agents in the state.
Travel agents in TX help develop, book, and manage their clients’ travel plans. Depending on the travelers’ unique needs, budget, and preferences, an agent may perform the following tasks for their clients:
- Choosing travel destinations
- Booking domestic and overseas flights and lodgings
- Purchase travel insurance
- Renting vehicles
- Making restaurant reservations
- Buying tickets for local events and activities
- Hiring language interpreters
- Handling currency exchanges
Experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics expect the demand for travel agents in the United States to increase by about 20 percent between 2021 and 2031. Because of this projected growth rate, skilled travel agents in TX may be able to obtain well-paying jobs at some of the nation’s top travel agencies.
Those who struggle to find travel agent jobs in Texas may be able to work as hotel concierges, event planners and tour guides. If you have the proper credentials and education, you might consider opening your own travel agency.