Travel agent education: do you need it before becoming a travel agent? Does a modern host agency such as Fora require prior education? We have answers — and you might be surprised to learn that travel agent careers today look a lot different than they did at the turn of the century.
Want to share your passion for travel and earn money while doing it? Apply to become a Fora Advisor today.
What does travel agent education look like?
There’s more than one answer to this question. Traditionally, dedicated travel agent schools provided the necessary education to begin selling trips. However, online travel agencies like Priceline.com dramatically disrupted the industry with the advent of the internet, forcing a divide among people-led travel agencies. Traditional travel agent schools still exist, but smart alternatives now exist as well.
Case in point, Fora offers online travel agent training in lieu of “formal” travel agent education (learn how to become a travel agent online). Our curriculum is taught by expert travel professionals with considerable experience, and it’s constantly evolving with the industry, which can’t be said about traditional education choices that often teach from textbooks from the 20th century.
(If you don’t need to attend a travel agent school, how do you become a travel agent? Our guide breaks it down in detail.)
What’s the highest level of education available for a travel agent?
Technically speaking, there are universities that offer degrees in related fields, plus tons of travel agent certification programs offered by vocational schools. But there’s also no universal travel agent education system — it’s not like law or medicine, where a governing body has set regulations. Instead, every agency has its own set of requirements.
At Fora, our courses are split between basic and advanced tiers. Unlike most schools and agencies, though, there’s no additional charge for higher tiers of education — nor is it required that you pursue anything beyond the basic training. Although, it can be a great way to distinguish your business.
So you don’t need to attend a school for travel agent education to start your career?
Some travel agencies do require prior education. But to become a Fora Advisor, it’s completely unnecessary. This means you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in tuition fees
Speaking of, how much does it cost to become a travel agent, anyway? We can’t speak for every agency out there, but our membership only costs $299 annually or $49 monthly, which doesn’t even approach the cost of tuition at antiquated travel agent schools. Moreover, our membership comes with a lot more (comprehensive training, an in-house integrated booking platform, 1:1 support, community, mentorship...).
Historically, how long did it take to complete travel agent school?
The average travel agent school takes around six weeks to complete. In comparison, the recommended courses to start selling travel as a Fora Advisor only take a couple days tops to complete. (We’re not big on fluff.) And most advisors finish their basic training within a couple weeks — all the while, they’re able to sell trips from day one.
Advanced Fora courses take longer, but they’re also completely optional. Even better, all courses can be taken at your leisure. Compared to how long it takes to become a travel agent at other agencies — and the fact that you can start earning money right away — makes this a much better deal.
Do you ‘need’ any degree to become a travel agent?
The need for prior travel agent education, degrees in X, Y or Z and extensive travel experience is among the most common myths about becoming a travel advisor. In reality, you need none of it — at least to become a Fora Advisor.
So what does it take to become a travel agent? A passion for travel puts you 90 percent of the way there (but our guide has more intel — or keep reading for the highlights).
Nowadays, travel agent training (like ours) is a superior alternative to traditional schooling
Our travel agent training keeps up with the times. How? Courses are taught by actual travel advisors and experts, and any time the industry experiences something new, they’re among the first to know.
Traditional travel agent education is slow to adapt, with stagnate curriculums. We also offer marketing courses taught by our in-house marketing professionals — in case you want to learn how to market your travel business like a pro.
Can’t wait to start your contemporary travel agent education? Sign up to become a Fora Advisor.
If not prior education, what do you need to become a travel agent?
You don’t need prior travel agent education to join Fora. Is there anything you do need?
Great communication & interpersonal skills help
While it’s not exactly mandatory, great interpersonal skills can really make the difference between becoming a successful travel agent and failing to win clients.
It’s not just about putting on a friendly face. You need to be able to decipher what a client actually wants out of their vacation, a skill that often takes practice to develop.
Some agencies still require prior travel agent certification — we do not
We’re touching on this again because we think it’s kind of crazy that so many other travel agencies require formal travel agent education and / or certifications to sign up.
We don’t. We prefer our Fora Advisors learn and advance their careers with us from the beginning — and we hope that most continue to learn as the industry evolves. Add it to the list of reasons to become a Fora Advisor.
Some places have additional requirements to become a travel agent
One point that’s worth mentioning: some states and countries do have extra requirements before you can legally sell travel within their borders.
A common example in the United States is a California seller of travel registration (and Fora has such registration). If you become a Fora Advisor, you can operate under our registration, which is as simple as filling out a quick form.
Travel agent education FAQs
Have more questions about travel agent education? Here are a few answers to FAQs.
If you enroll in travel agent education through a school anyway, will it boost your career?
It would be arrogant to assume that traditional travel education doesn’t offer anything worthwhile. But we are confident that your money and time would be better spent elsewhere.
It’s possible that this education could benefit you at other agencies. However, it’s anyone’s guess if it will actually boost your career and / or how much you can make as a travel agent.
(BTW: check out our article on Fora travel advisor salaries if you’re curious to know how much you can earn with us.)
Do specific travel agent niches require additional travel agent education, informal or otherwise?
Once again, you don’t need formal travel agent education prior to selling trips. But you can make the argument that some travel agent jobs and niches do require additional training, at least. For example, Fora offers training courses for some niches (like cruises or group bookings, for instance) that require more nuanced booking protocols.
Is there a way to get hands-on or on-the-job travel agent training?
At Fora, you can start booking travel right away while taking basic and advanced classes. If you encounter an issue you’re not ready to solve on your own, our support team and community of travel advisors can help you.
Skip the formal travel agent education — become a Fora Advisor instead
To sum things up: you don’t need formal travel agent education to become a Fora Advisor. Our in-house programs will teach you all you need to know to become a successful travel advisor.
Want to do more research before you commit? We get it. Check out these travel advisor resources, too: