How to Obtain Travel Agent Certification: Options & FAQs

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Fora Author Fora Travel

The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

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    Fora Advisor Tori Petry

    If you have a passion for travel and a knack for planning, becoming a travel advisor could be a great career option for you. As with any business endeavor, you’ll want to find a training program that sets you up with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. As a travel advisor, a training program can dovetail with a travel agent certification program. 

    Becoming a certified travel agent offers numerous benefits, both professionally and personally. Certification provides a strong foundation of industry knowledge and skills, enabling agents to offer expert advice and tailored recommendations to clients. It enhances credibility, making clients more likely to trust and seek out your services. Ultimately, the certification process fosters confidence, expertise, and a competitive edge in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of travel.

    We’re Fora, the modern travel agency. Below, we explain the basics of travel agent certification, like what it entails, as well as some nitty gritty details like how certifications differ from IATA accreditation. We’ve also outlined a few competitive advantages that sets Fora’s certification program apart.

    When you’re ready to become a travel advisor (and get certified), apply to become a Fora Advisor.

    First, should I become a travel agent?

    If you love travel and want to share that passion, then absolutely. It’s a fun role that blends together travel, entrepreneurship and human connection.

    “I love being a travel advisor because it truly doesn't feel like ‘work,’” Fora Advisor Danielle Fisher said. “I get to help others while doing something I'm passionate about and enjoy. I also love the flexibility so I can be a travel advisor, but also a stay at home mom with my two toddlers.”

    Related Article: How to Become an Independent Travel Agent

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    Advisor - Danielle Fisher
    Danielle Fisher
    • Luxury,
    • Family Travel,
    • Caribbean,
    • Las Vegas
    • , +3 more

    Is travel agent certification necessary?

    Technically, no, travel agent certification is not mandatory – however, we strongly encourage it. Travel agent certification underscores that you have a strong understanding of the industry, as well as the professional skills needed to successfully plan and book trips for clients. 

    At Fora, we offer a comprehensive travel agent training program that awards  travel agent certification upon completion. The program is offered online and can be taken at your own pace; Fora Advisors have access to both live and recorded training sessions. 

    "If I had to describe Fora's training program in one word, it would be robust," Fora Advisor Caroline Weilert said. "I love that Fora considers all angles related to training – business planning, destination overviews, hotel spotlights, mentorship programs, supplier overviews – and that it provides webinars, live trainings, recordings and best of all, access to the entire supplier community. Everyone at Fora is a learner and a trainer because we all have different types of knowledge to share with each other."

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    Advisor - Caroline Weilert
    Caroline Weilert
    • Family Travel,
    • Group / Corporate Travel,
    • Destination Events,
    • Incentive Trips
    • , +3 more

    What do you learn about in a travel agent certification program?

    When you take a travel agent certification course, you’ll learn all of the fundamentals of what you need to know to run a successful travel advisor business. This can include, but is not limited to understanding the basics of how to make a booking, background information on the industry as a whole, how to find your first clients and more. A solid certification program should give you the skills – and confidence – you need to successfully start your travel advisor business.  

    What does Fora’s training look like?

    Our certification program covers four core pillars: industry knowledge, establishing client relationships, commission and planning fees and an introduction to booking. 

    All training is conducted online, an ideal set-up if you’re curious about how to become a travel agent from home. Plus, our friendly advisor community is always sharing insider tips for how to be a successful travel advisor.

    Our training program doesn’t stop at our certification program. You’ll also get access to destination debriefs to give you up-to-date information on the latest travel trends around the world, our Cruise Badge curriculum (learn more about how to become a cruise travel agent), partner trainings with top travel brands around the world and more. You’ll also get access to Office Hours to ask experts questions as they arise. We run 80+ live sessions over the course of any month, plus all sessions are edited and stored in a searchable training portal.

    How do you get certified as a travel agent?

    To become a certified travel agent with Fora, you will participate in a comprehensive certification training program and take a certification test. Once you pass, you will become certified! To get started, apply to become a Fora Advisor. Once accepted, you will immediately gain access to our advisor portal where you can start training. 

    Are there other requirements for travel agents to run a business?

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    Fora Advisor Fallon Alexandria

    You need an IATA number to sell travel

    In order to sell and book travel (and earn commission from it), travel agencies, hotels and other institutions all over the world use an IATA number for travel bookings. (An IATA proves legitimacy and is the primary system designed to make it possible to earn money by booking travel)) This ID is issued by the International Air Transport Association

    Related Article: What is an IATA number?

    How do you get an IATA number?

    In most cases, independent travel advisors opt to partner with a travel agent host agency like Fora to obtain an IATA number. When you become an advisor with Fora, you’ll gain access to our IATA number so that you can make bookings and earn. By the way, we also handle all commission tracking and payments, so that you can focus more on the fun stuff (travel planning, that is). 

    How is IATA accreditation different from travel agent certification?

    Our guide to IATA numbers explains their purpose in greater detail, but they shouldn’t be confused with travel agent certifications. An IATA essentially signifies that your business is recognized as a seller of travel, authorized to access secure financial systems (to process commissions) and stable. Travel agent certification programs are for individual travel agents, and certifies that you are a legitimate and professional travel agent.

    Do you need a degree or prior experience to become a travel agent?

    No. To work as a travel advisor, you do not need a degree or prior experience — although it doesn’t hurt to have either! It’s a job that you can learn as you go, and as you get started, you’ll participate in online travel agent classes that cover everything you need to be successful in this industry. 

    “I feel like I was really lost before I joined Fora,” Fora Advisor Diana Morales said when asked how our travel agent certifications helped her. “The Fora trainings and having a goal to reach toward and helped to get my business off the ground. Those things gave me both the training and the motivation that I needed in order to go out and look for clients.”

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    Advisor - Diana Morales
    Diana Morales
    • South America,
    • Africa,
    • Europe,
    • Luxury Travel
    • , +1 more

    Are there any skills I should hone before seeking certification with Fora?

    Fora Advisors love travel, love learning and have an eagerness to help their clients live out their vacation dreams. Travel experience is always a plus — but you don’t need to be a globetrotter to become a great travel advisor.

    Is there more to learn that goes beyond a travel agent certification program?

    Yes, absolutely. Lifelong learning is one of our favorite parts about being a travel advisor. At Fora, we offer three levels of certification through a curriculum- and milestone-based program (Certified, Advanced and Pro). We also have additional training programs, ranging from deep dives on destinations to spotlights on travel industry partners. 

    Apply to become a certified travel agent through Fora

    Fora streamlines the entire travel agent certification process. Our industry-leading travel agent training program is taught by experts, sets you up for success and can be completed at your own pace. It’s entirely online. In addition, we’re big believers in learning by doing, and you’ll have opportunities to sell travel while you work on your certification.

    Simply apply to become a Fora Advisor to get started.

    Travel agent certification FAQs

    We’ve gathered a few more answers to common questions we receive about travel agent certification.

    Are there instances where you need a degree to become a travel agent? Do you need a degree to obtain travel agent certification?

    It’s not common, but some agencies may require a degree. (Fora does not.) You do not need a degree to become a certified travel agent.

    Do you need a different certification to offer specific types of travel, like cruises or specific brands?

    Nope. But there are scenarios where additional training is helpful. For example, you might opt for Disney travel agent training to make yourself more appealing to clients (learn more about how to become a Disney travel agent). If you’re wondering how to become a luxury travel agent, for instance, there aren’t special certifications you must acquire first. 

    Are there state-specific requirements for a travel agent certification?

    Some states and countries have special requirements for conducting travel bookings, usually at the agency level. However, these typically have nothing to do with the certifications themselves. We do have state-by-state guides to becoming a travel agent if you want to check the qualifications for where you live in the United States. In addition, if you become a Fora Advisor, we’ll help you navigate any relevant state requirements.

    More travel agent resources

    For more travel advisor resources, check out these guides, too:

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