Top Online Travel and Tourism Schools
With the rise of websites such as Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline, Internet travel sites now allow travelers to book their own flights, hotel rooms and determine both the length and cost of their vacations. However, what do you do once you arrive? What are the places you should go if you enjoy the local highlights and dislike crowds? What are the things to remember when making an international voyage? Is it the same as making an international flight? For these questions, and others that might occur, tour guides and agents are needed.
As part of the hospitality field, travel and tour agents offer advice on destinations and plan trip itineraries for travelers, both nationally and internationally, and some even make travel arrangements. Some agents also sell transportation services and make lodging arrangements at the destination. Other agents may simply help travelers by sorting through the vast quantities of information available for a trip, especially international ones, and locate travel packages their clients may be interested in.
Degrees and certifications in travel and tourism are offered from a variety of sources including vocational schools, community colleges and industry associations. Colleges can provide certificates or even an associate in science degree specializing in travel and tourism. Classes in the industry’s vocabulary, cruise and tour brochure design, and industry best practices may be required by some colleges, such as the City College of San Francisco, in addition to classes in communications, marketing and anthropology.
As with all associate degree programs, an associate of science in travel and tourism degree program can typically be completed in two years and certificate programs can potentially be completed in one year, based on class scheduling and other factors. There are also certifications in green and sustainable travel which can be completed in one semester, depending on the student.
The International Airline Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute offers both professional certification and post-secondary diplomas. In addition, earning a diploma from the IATA automatically qualifies students for certification as a Travel and Tourism Professional (TTP). For students without an IATA diploma, the requirements for certification include two-to-three years of work experience in addition to completing a travel and tourism program. In addition, the programs offered by IATA are available entirely online or through distance learning.
In light of this, diploma programs offered by industry certifiers such as IATA or the Travel Institute deserve consideration when looking for programs to enroll in for earning a diploma in travel and tourism online.
Below is more about the travel and tourism focus available from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that, nationally, 14 percent of travel agents were self-employed during 2010; 79 percent were employed in the travel arrangement and reservation services industry during the same period. Licensure is only required in some states and only if the agent will be selling travel services.
The Travel Institute offers certification as a Certified Travel Associate (CTA), Travel Counselor (CTC) and Travel Industry Executive (CTIE). The International Airline Transport Association’s Training and Development Institute offers both voluntary certification as a Travel and Tourism Professional (TTP) but also diplomas for both travel and tourism consulting and hospitality management. All IATA program graduates automatically meet the requirements for TTP certification. Both institutes also provide continuing education materials such as podcasts and white papers.
According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), in May 2011 the national median salary for a travel agent was $33,930. The employment for travel agents was also projected by the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) to expand by up to 10 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the national rate for all other occupations. Despite the projected outlook, the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) does note that Internet travel sites, which allow travelers to book their own trips, could continue to suppress the demand for agents.
Learn more about accredited travel and tourism programs from online schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com
When researching online colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that approved by The U.S. Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.
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