Travel Agent Certification: What You Need to Know


Travel agent certification and whether or not a travel seller needs certification to sell travel are some of the most confusing parts of the profession.

Simply put, agents do not need certification to sell travel in the United States or most of Canada. However, travel agents who get certified and take more educational courses earn more as professional advisors. In fact, the Travel Institute found a direct correlation between earnings and agent education. Agents who had obtained travel industry certifications from the Travel Institute had sales approximately $60,000 more than their non-certified counterparts. Overall earnings were also higher by about $20,000 per year.


“Whether you’re new to the industry, a manager looking for new agent training, or a vendor looking to train call center staff, the first step should always be general, foundational training. of the industry,” explained Guida Botelho, CTIE, training director for The Travel Institute.

There are many different certification programs within the travel industry that provide various training opportunities, but the actual travel agent certification is provided by institutions and associations not affiliated with destinations, travel agencies or travel agencies.

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Travel Institute Travel Agent Certifications

The Travel Institute offers several levels of certification for travel agents, including Certified Travel Association, Certified Travel Counselor, and Certified Travel Industry Executive.

Those looking to kick-start their careers can use the Travel Institute’s TRIPKIT introductory course, which offers in-depth, self-paced learning in textbook and online formats that are accessible anytime.

TRIPKIT includes a 19-lesson self-paced lesson timeline that guides students through a comprehensive overview of booking flights, flights, accommodation, cruises, tours and packages. It also exposes students to the nuances of travel booking today, including industry technology, marketing, economics, geography, weather, cultural events and more.

The course concludes with the Travel Agent Proficiency Test (TAP), which if passed demonstrates knowledge of the basics of the travel industry. Once successful, travel agents can take courses to earn higher-level certifications or deepen their knowledge of destinations, niche markets and more through the Travel Institute.

ASTA Verified Travel Agent Certification Program

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) offers the Verified Travel Agent Certification Program. The program ensures that graduates possess a high level of verifiable professional knowledge and demonstrate competence, professionalism and dedication to the industry.

Students learn about ethics, law, and regulatory compliance within the travel industry, coupled with solid and timely topics 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.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Travel Agent Certifications

Like ASTA, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) offers different types of travel agent certifications. New travel agents begin by earning Certified Cruise Counselor certification and can then progress to Accredited Cruise Counselor, Master Cruise Counselor, Elite Cruise Counselor, or Travel Agent Executive.

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

Other Travel Agent Certifications

Travel agents also have many options for specific certifications that relate to niche designations such as weddings and honeymoons, cruises, family travel and more.

Travel counselors can turn to hospitality agencies, Travel Agent Academyassociations, tourist boards and others for special certifications that designate them as experts in particular fields.

Some institutions, such as Travel Agent Academy, provide credit units for other certifications. Travel counselors can earn CEU credits from the Travel Institute for some courses and others offer credits from the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).


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