How to Become a Travel Agent in the United States


Do you offer travel-related services and advice? Are you looking for information on how to become a travel agent in the United States? If yes, then you’re at the right place, as this article by Daily Migrant has all your informational needs and will help you attain your career goal.

Travel agents are in demand in the USA. That means you have good career prospects in most states in the US if not all. According to Statista, the revenue earned by the travel agencies industry in the United States is forecast to amount to about $22,9 billion by 2024. So, there are endless reasons to work as a travel agent in the US, and here is the guide to get started.

Let’s get rolling!

What Do Travel Agents Do?

Travel agents are professionals who offer a wide range of services relating to travel and immigration.

The major services rendered by travel agents are as follows:

  • Providing advice and consultation services on where to visit, study, work, go for vacations, or immigrate
  • Helping with travel itineraries
  • Assisting with flight, cruises, train, car, and hotel bookings
  • Recommending tourist destinations and attractions
  • Helping to choose from various travel packages
  • Determining travel costs and helping clients with travel budgeting
  • Making clients understand health and safety protocols relating to airlines and their destination
  • Negotiating hotel accommodation costs on behalf of clients
  • Developing alternate travel plans just in case of an unforeseen circumstance
  • Informing clients of the requirements to cross at the port of entry
  • Advising clients on fun activities in the place they intend to visit
  • Enlightening clients on the required travel documents, such as a valid passport, travel insurance, round-trip flight ticket, etc.

Related Post: 10 Steps on How to Become a Travel Nurse.

Requirements to Become a Travel Agent in the United States

As you are wondering how to become a travel agent in the United States, have you considered what you need to start your career in this field? If not, check out all you need to run a travel agency establishment in the US below.

Get formal training

You must hold an academic certificate from an accredited institution to become a travel agent in the US. Even though you can start with a high school diploma, possessing a college or university credential is a better option.

You can get your formal training anywhere within or outside the States.

Obtain relevant certifications

We also advise you to get certifications relevant to the travel agencies industry. You will often need to take some exams with the institute or body to earn additional certifications.

Here’s a list of popular certifications for travel agents in the US:

  • American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)

ASTA is a renowned association of travel professionals in the United States. Its members enjoy familiarisation trips, as well as training, educational, and certification programs. You will also benefit from the Member Advantage program and health insurance.

  • International Air Transport Association (IATA)

You can grow your travel agency business by participating in the IATA Travel Agency Program. The association plays a significant role in the aviation industry. It has been the trusted trade association for the world’s airlines for nearly eight decades.

  • Travel Industry Designator Service (TIDS)

Our team at Daily Migrant also recommends the TIDS certification to travel agents in the United States. You will receive commissions when you book travel for your clients with the Travel Industry Designator Service (TIDS).

  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

CLIA is the world’s largest trade association for the cruise industry. Being part of CLIA’s Travel Agency Membership (TAM) is an investment in your agency’s growth. You will also receive commissions for using this platform to book cruise ships for clients.

  • Certified Travel Associate (CTA)

As you’re looking for how to become a travel agent in the United States, consider obtaining a CTA certification to advance your career. To enroll for the exam, you must have at least one year of travel agency-related experience or pass the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP®) exam with a minimum score of 80%.

How to become a travel agent in the United States
How to become a travel agent in the United States.

But to earn the certification, you must score at least 70% in the proctored CTA® exam or have a minimum of ten CEUs yearly to retain the certification.

  • Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)

This certification is quite demanding, as it requires you to possess at least five years of industry-related experience and complete the CTA® course. You must also pass the CTA® Exam to enroll in Certified Travel Counselor.

  • Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE)

The CTIE certifications require interested travel agents to possess at least five years of relevant experience. To become a CTIE-certified travel agent, you must score at least 70% in the proctored CTIE® exam and attain ten or more CEUs annually to retain your certification.

Besides, you must submit a qualifying project or complete a white paper.

  • ASTA Verified Travel Adviser (VTA)

To obtain a VTA certification, you will have to pass nine courses in 12 months. These courses are as follows.

  • Agency Relationships and the Law
  • Ethics for Travel Advisors
  • Legal Overview for the Travel Agency Industry
  • Marketing YOU! Promoting Your Value
  • Advanced Public Speaking
  • The Art and Science of Negotiation
  • Real World Sales Tactics
  • US Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance 3rd Edition
  • Project Management and Planning for the Travel Advisor

Don’t miss earning ASTA’s Verified Travel Adviser (VTA) certification to gain vast opportunities.

  • Certified Cruise Counselor (CCC)

CCC certification requirements vary from year to year. However, you must meet the pre- and post-requisites, complete mandatory training, and satisfy other criteria.

  • Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC)

An ACC certification requires 40 credits in CLIA online courses and live seminars.

  • Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)

This certification is a product of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), requiring you to complete mandatory training (90 credits), elective training (40 credits), etc.

Be aware that you must meet specific requirements to hold the certification for subsequent years. These include an active CLIA IAM status or paying a reinstatement fee.

  • Elite Cruise Counselor (ECC)

The ECC certification is another way for travel agents to boost their careers in the US. It requires having at least two years of post-secondary education or training and more than two years of relevant work experience.

You will also have to pass a written or oral examination. In addition, ECC-certified travel agents must renew their certification annually through Continuing Educational Units (CEUs).

Note that holding a certification to start work as a travel agent in the US is not mandatory.

Skills required

You must have a complete skillset to work as a travel agent in the US. These include possessing the following skills.

Excellent communication skills

US-based travel agents need to communicate verbally in English with most of their clients. In fact, your clients will want you to speak perfect English so they can understand you better.

So if your English skills are terrible, you must develop them before anything else.

Attention to detail

You also need to pay attention to detail to your clients during consultations. This skill lets you monitor multiple travel websites for the best flight, car, and hotel deals.

Attention to detail also helps you to avoid errors while inputting your client’s information and submitting applications on their behalf.

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Administration skills

You must possess good administrative skills to become a travel agent in the United States. Such skills include customer service, teamwork, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.

Active listening skills

Travel agents must also have excellent active listening skills to serve their clients well. These include paying attention to their needs, requests, and inquiries.

You must show that you are listening, give feedback, and respond appropriately.

Persuasion skills

You should be able to convince your clients if you want to work as a travel agent anywhere, including the US. These include persuading them to agree with your idea as regards their travel plans.

Above all, you must be willing to help people, i.e., your clients, move, study, or visit any country.

Finance and budgeting skills

Your clients are undoubtedly looking for ways to spend less on their trips, vacations, and study abroad experiences. So, as they depend on you to save costs, you should always get them the best deals by building your finance and budgeting skills.

How to Become a Travel Agent in the United States in 5 Steps

Take the following steps to run a travel agency business or work as a travel agent anywhere in the US.

Understand the travel agency business and industry

You will have to research the travel agency industry and learn more about doing your business in the USA. We advise you to revert to this article as your guide in knowing the skills required and the industry certifications.

Decide on which type of travel agent you want to become

There are three types of travel agencies, namely specialty travel agencies, corporate travel agencies, and leisure travel agencies. So you will have to choose from these options.

Obtain relevant academic qualifications and certifications

It is in your best interest to study in a college or university so you can be qualified to become a travel agent in the United States. Endeavour to enroll in a program or course with tourism or travel as your field of study.

Gain hands-on experience

The easiest way to gain practical experience is to work entry-level jobs or intern with a travel agency or company.

Grow your network

At this time, you will have to develop a professional network to jumpstart your career in the travel agency industry.

Watch a Video on YouTube about How to Become a Travel Agent in the United States.


Tips on How to Become a Travel Agent in the United States

Here are some helpful tips for becoming a travel agent in the US.

  • Collaborate with a reputable travel insurance provider or company to offer your clients comprehensive coverage.
  • Research about pricing so your charges won’t be too costly compared to other travel agents.
  • Get a Travel Agency Management Software, such as Lemax, TravelPerk, Avochato, TravelWorks, Rezdy, Sabre, Ezus, or Zaui. This software can help you create travel itineraries, make client reservations, and more.
  • Join a travel agency association like the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). By so doing, you will be able to access training programs and grow your network.
  • Obtain a travel certification like ASTA, CLIA, ECC, CCC, TDIS, CTC, and ASTA VTA.
  • Download a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software on your computer. Examples include Insightly, Capsule, Pipedrive, Zoho Corporation, and Travefy. A CRM software can help you manage client information, automate communication, and track interactions.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To Become A Travel Agent?

Do Travel Agents Get a Lot of Money?

Yes, travel agents make a lot of money in the US. According to, the average salary of travel agents in the United States is $17.58 per hour, $3,789 monthly, and $53,513 yearly.

Their earning, however, varies depending on several factors, including their level of expertise and the specialized services offered.

How Can I Become a Travel Agent without Experience in the USA?

There are several ways to become a travel agent in the United States without relevant work experience. Possible options are as follows:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s degree in travel or tourism
  • Develop core skills
  • Participate in an internship program
  • Complete an apprenticeship

Travel Agency Interview Questions

If you wish to start your career by working for a travel agency company, expect the HR manager or interviewer to ask the following questions.

  • Why do you want to become a travel agent?
  • What is essential in a travel business? Is it product, price, or communication?
  • How would you calm an angry customer down on the phone?
  • Describe a time you impressed a client and how.
  • What is your greatest motivation for success as a travel agent?
  • Have you ever had to work under pressure? Tell me about it.
  • Do you have expertise in any field of travel?
  • How flexible is your schedule?
  • What do you understand by outstanding customer service?
  • Describe a time you assumed extra responsibilities at your own free will.
  • What do you seek in a vacation package for your/ clients?
  • Do you have any certifications?
  • Describe how you would create tour packages for a company.
  • Let me know what you would do if you didn’t meet your sales goals.
  • Talk about your experience when cold calling prospective clients regarding travel booking.
  • What is the biggest challenge of working in the travel industry?
  • Describe your organizational skills.

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FAQs about How to Become a Travel Agent in the United States

How Do Travel Agents Get Paid?

Travel agents make money in various ways in the United States. Their main revenue is from commissions on vacation packages and flight/hotel bookings. Besides, they charge consultation and service fees, which can be fixed or based on a percentage of the service rendered.

Some travel agents collect hourly fees to help advise clients, as well as help them research, plan, and organize their trips. Overall, they make an average of $100 to $500 from each client.

What Course Do I Need to Study to Become a Travel Agent?

To work as a travel agent in the United States, you must hold a college diploma or university degree certificate in travel or tourism. You can study for either of these within the US or beyond.

What License or Certification is Required to Become a Travel Agent in the United States?

You do not need a license or professional certification to work as a travel agent in the United States. However, possessing one may make you more marketable and unlock more opportunities.

The following are some travel agent certifications to consider getting.

  • American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
  • Certified Cruise Counselor (CCC)
  • Certified Travel Counselor (CTC)
  • ASTA Verified Travel Adviser (VTA)
  • Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC)
  • Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE)

How Many Travel Agents Work in the US?

The United States of America currently has more than 53,000 travel agents and businesses serving the industry.

Which States Employ the Most Travel Agents?

California, followed by New York and Florida, are the US states with the highest number of travel agents or establishments that serve the travel agencies industry. It has over 13,000 travel agents, while NY and FL have more than 10,700 and 9,500 travel agents, respectively.


Working in the travel agency industry is profitable and recommended for anyone looking for a career with high growth potential. With this article curated and well-researched by Daily Migrant, you will be able to kick-start your career as a travel agent in the United States.

Whether you have relevant work experience, following the instructions in this post will let you grow your travel agency career in the US. So, you have fewer things to worry about regarding how to become a travel agent in the United States.

Feel free to share this post with other aspiring and current travel agents who would love to work in America.

Read Next: How to Become a Travel Influencer and Earn Money.

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