Travel agents plan trips for their customers by coordinating tours, accommodations, meals, and transportation, finding only the best value for money. Most employers prefer agents with formal training that can be obtained from community colleges and vocational colleges. Today, there are travel agents who specialize in air, rail and sea travel.
A travel agent’s salary consists of a base rate plus commissions sales.
Entry Level Travel Agents
According to the recent reports from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, the average annual wage for travel agents as of May 2010 was $33,950. Salary for entry level travel agents can be more or less depending on factors such as job demand and location.
Travel agents work on a forty hour week in nice offices where they meet clients, make travel reservations online or over the phone and research travel information through the Internet.
Self employed travel agents work longer hours during peak seasons like Christmas and summer, part time on weekends for client convenience. As of this year, travel agents with less than a year work experience can earn around $19,000 to $41,000 annually.
In the year 2010, the BLS reported that the majority of travel agents were employed by tour operators and travel agencies.
Salaries in the industry reached the average wage of $33, 700 every year. As of May 2010, the non-scheduled air transportation industry was the top industry in the field with a median annual salary of $49,000.
This industry includes chartered air transport companies and air sightseeing. Sightseeing firms were the top paying employers and the median salary for land based travel agent jobs was around $47, 000 and $40,000 for those offering travel packages on water.
Regional Travel Agent Salaries
Compensation for travel agents working in huge metropolitan areas tends to be higher as these areas are the centers of business and tourism. Professional travel agents working in Ocean City, New Jersey earned an average yearly salary of $45,000 as of May 2010.
Among the top paying states include Washington and Alabama, with annual median salaries of $39,000 and $40,000 respectively, as reported by the BLS.
Professional travel agents with more work experience can earn better monetary compensation because of their large network of suppliers and client database. Their experience gives them a deep and valuable understanding of the travel industry. Travel agents with more than ten years of experience in the market can earn up to $50,000 annually.
Better job opportunities are in store for candidates who accomplished a formal education in hospitality, travel and other related studies. A special training program or certification from accredited organizations and learning institutions are also helpful tools in enhancing your credibility and earning power.