Travel Agents
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Plan and sell transportation and accommodations for customers. Determine destination, modes of transportation, travel dates, costs, and accommodations required. May also describe, plan, and arrange itineraries and sell tour packages. May assist in resolving clients' travel problems.
Titles for this career often contain these words
Only 36% of travel agents have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by travel agents
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Workforce size
Travel agents, with 78,800 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for travel agents are expected to shrink by 6%, and should have about 9,700 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Travel agents are less likely to be automated than 75% of other careers.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for travel agents compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most travel agents earn.
Women account for 79% of travel agents -- that's a larger percentage than 89% of other jobs.
Gender of travel agents
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For travel agents, the median men's salary was 7% more the median woman's salary.
About 21% of travel agents are minority, and 20% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of travel agents
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Context: Foreign-born workers (20%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Travel Agents per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of travel agents who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Degree of Automation (66%)
  • Time Pressure (62%)
  • Consequence of Error (51%)
Salary and diversity
What do travel agents earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for travel agents (BLS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for travel agents (ACS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
Travel Agents: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $41KAll jobs' median $45K$40K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire travel agents.
Employers of Travel Agents (ACS)
Private for-profit (79.2%)
Private not-for-profit (3.2%)
Local government (0.2%)
State government (0.7%)
Federal government (0.8%)
Self-employed incorporated (7.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (8.6%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of travel agents by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$41K$41K$40K$42K$31K$41K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedState governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of travel agents by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for travel agents

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
Number employed

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Travel agents and gender

With 79% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 89% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
Gender of Travel agents
Men (21%)
Women (79%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for travel agents, with the median salary for men 7% higher than the median salary for women.

Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Travel agents have one of the smaller inequity calculations, with the increase for men's median salary over women's median salary in this job lower than that for 79% of other jobs.


We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of travel agents

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. The percentage of minority travel agents falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of travel agents
White (76% )
Black (9% )
Asian (9% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
Distribution: Salaries for travel agents by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

Distribution: Salaries for travel agents by nativity
$41K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Travel agents and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 19% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 65% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time travel agents is shown following.

$13K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by travel agents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), travel agents typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as travel agents as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for travel agents

Employers generally require candidates to have at least a high school diploma, but may prefer those who have a college degree or who have taken classes related to the travel industry. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and industry associations offer technical training or continuing education classes in professional travel planning. Classes usually focus on reservations systems, marketing, and regulations regarding international travel. In addition, some colleges offer degrees in travel and tourism.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for travel agents

A good way to demonstrate competence for high school graduates with limited experience is to take the Travel Agent Proficiency (TAP) test. The test has no eligibility requirements and is administered by The Travel Institute.

The Travel Institute also provides training and professional certification opportunities for experienced travel agents. Different levels of certification are offered, depending on a travel agent’s experience. Travel agents with limited experience can become a Certified Travel Associate (CTA) after completing a series of classes and exams. For those with at least 5 years of experience, the more highly advanced Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification can be achieved. Both the CTA and CTC require continuing education each year to maintain certification.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) offers four levels of certification: Certified (CCC), Accredited (ACC), Master (MCC), and Elite Cruise Counselor (ECC). Each level requires a certain amount of training and product knowledge.

Some states require agents to have a business license to sell travel services. Requirements among states vary greatly. Contact individual state licensing agencies for more information.

Education attained by travel agents
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for travel agents? Below we see the distribution of travel agents salaries based on the education attained.

$41K$40K$39K$42K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KHigh School (18%)Some College (31%)Associate's/Cert. (14%)Bachelor's Degree (30%)Master's Degree (5%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for travel agents

What jobs will most travel agents hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of travel agents reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Travel AgentsCustomer Service RepresentativesReservation/Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel ClerksGeneral Office ClerksReal estate brokers and sales agentsTour and travel guidesComputer ProgrammersSecretaries and administrative assistantsFirst-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers
Lateral job transitions for travel agents

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as travel agents as well as 1% of respondents after working as travel agents. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

How many people have this job?
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
No degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Prior and next careers for travel agents: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as travel agents? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of travel agents surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most travel agents? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as travel agents. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
Number of Travel Agents per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where travel agents earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for travel agents compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for travel agents.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
Location-adjusted median salary for Travel Agents (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which travel agents earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?