Travel Agent Certification: What You Need to Know

Travel agent certification and whether or not a travel salesman needs a travel sales certification are some of the most confusing parts of the profession.

In simpler terms, agents do not need a certificate to sell travel in the United States or most of Canada. However, travel agents who get certified and take more educational classes earn more as professional consultants. In fact, the Travel Institute found a direct relationship between earnings and an agent’s education. Agents with Travel Industry Certifications from the Travel Institute were making about $60,000 more in sales than their non-certified counterparts. Gross profits are also up by about $20,000 annually.


explained Guida Botelho, CTIE, director of a training company for the Travel Institute.

There are many different certificate programs in the travel industry that offer different educational opportunities, but the actual travel agent certification is offered by organizations and associations not affiliated with destinations, travel agencies or travel companies.

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Travel agent testimonials from the Travel Institute

The Travel Institute offers several different levels of certification for travel agents, including the Accredited Travel Association, Certified Travel Consultant, and Certified Executive of the Travel Industry.

Those looking to start their career can use the Travel Institute’s introductory TRIPKIT course, which offers in-depth self-learning in both textbooks and online formats accessible at any time.

TRIPKIT includes a timetable of 19 self-paced lessons that guides students through a comprehensive overview of air and ground reservations, accommodations, cruises, tours, and packages. It also exposes students to the nuances of booking travel today including industry technology, marketing, economics, geography, weather, cultural events, and more.

The course concludes with the Travel Agent Aptitude Test (TAP), which, if passed, demonstrates knowledge of the fundamentals of the travel industry. Once the exam is passed, travel agents can move on to take courses to complete higher-level certifications or enhance their knowledge of destinations, niche markets, and more through the Travel Institute.

ASTA Certified Travel Agent Certification Program

The American Association of Travel Consultants (ASTA) offers the Certified Travel Agent Certification Program. The program ensures that graduates have a high level of verifiable professional knowledge and demonstrate their competence, professionalism and dedication to the industry.

Students deal with ethics, law, and regulatory compliance in the travel industry paired with a strong and timely subject matter from leading educators.

Any travel agent (advisor) who meets the membership criteria to join ASTA, anywhere in the world, can enroll in the Verified Travel Advisor Program.

Travel Agent Certifications from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

Like ASTA, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) offers different types of travel agent certification. New travel agents start with Certified Cruise Advisor certification and can then apply to Certified Cruise Advisor, Principal Cruise Advisor, Elite Cruise Advisor or Executive Travel Agent.

Students must join CLIA before enrolling in classes, and CLIA offers career counseling for those who have questions about each level of certification or about the courses themselves.

Other travel agent testimonials

Travel agents also have plenty of options for specific certifications related to niche designations such as weddings, honeymoons, cruises, family travel, and more.

Travel consultants can search for host agencies, travel agent academy, associations, tourism boards, and more for special certifications that identify them as experts in specific fields.

Some institutions, such as the Travel Agents Academy, provide credit units for other certifications. Travel advisors can obtain CEU credits for some courses while others offer ACTA credits.

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