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Travel agents perform a variety of services for people planning to travel for leisure or for professional reasons. They assist travelers by researching and arranging travel packages, such as hotel and airfare reservations, rental cars, and planning activities such as sightseeing tours.

California Travel Agent Schools

There are a number of different routes to becoming a travel agent, but typically you must have a high school diploma or GED to enter either a certification program or a degree program in travel and tourism. Here are a few examples of schools in California that offer travel agent and tourism programs:

  • Empire College School of Business: This school offers certification as well as an associate degree in tourism and hospitality, with a focus on wine country.

  • Foothill College: This school offers both certificate and degree programs and accepts dual credit and offers distance learning.

  • West Los Angeles College: This school offers an Associate of the Arts (AA) degree in travel. Graduates leave prepared for a career in the travel industry, including event planning, destination promotion, and travel agent.

  • Saddleback College: This college provides students both degree and certification programs in travel and tourism. Coursework prepare students for work as a travel consultant, event planner, or sales representative in the travel industry.

  • Columbia College: This school offers students the choice between an AA degree and certification in hospitality management.

What to Expect from California Travel Agent Programs

Tourism and hospitality students learn the basic skills necessary to build a career in the tourism and hospitality industry. Some programs focus on a particular type of travel, or possibly on a certain destination. For example, in Northern California, this may include training to work in the wine industry.

Depending on the program, students take a variety of courses. For example, a certificate in travel marketing may include the following:

  • Introductory Travel
  • Sales and Marketing for Travel
  • Travel Concepts - Advanced Level
  • Vacation Plan Customization
  • Destination Specialist

California Travel Agent License

The state of California requires anyone who "sells, provides, furnishes, contracts for, arranges, or advertises" him- or herself as someone able to provide arrangements for air or sea travel to register as a Seller of Travel (SOT).

Complete and submit your application as an SOT at least 10 days prior to doing business in California. In addition to the registration application, you must pay a yearly registration fee for each business office. If you do not pay your registration fee at the time of application submittal, it will be rejected.

You must also pay late fees, calculated daily. You will not receive a Seller of Travel number until all fees are paid.

In addition, you must comply with the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC), which is a nonprofit organization separate from the Attorney General. You must also participate in the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund (TCRF), designed to reimburse travelers who contracted travel services with a provider who then declared bankruptcy or ceased operations.

TCRC makes determinations on claims, and TCRF funds ensure claimants receive reimbursement.

Resources for Travel Agents in California

Potential travel agents have a wide variety of online sources available, including state agencies and industry-specific organizations.

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  • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management

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More California Travel Agent Schools

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

School Name
Campus
Highest Award
Enrolled
San Diego
Doctorate
3,704
Berkeley
Associate
5,287
Oroville
Associate
12,228
Hayward
Associate
13,229
San Francisco
Associate
46,411
Sonora
Associate
2,734
Cypress
Associate
13,592
Los Altos Hills
Associate
18,132
Long Beach
Associate
25,536
Sylmar
Associate
8,493
Pittsburg
Associate
8,360
Oceanside
Associate
10,682
Walnut
Associate
29,842
Costa Mesa
Associate
24,424
Mission Viejo
Associate
18,371
San Diego
Associate
21,437
Orange
Associate
14,085
Culver City
Associate
9,975

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Travel Agents

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for California. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Travel Agents

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Travel Agents relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Bakersfield 40 $23,920
Fresno 40 $28,030
Sacramento 180 $40,440
Roseville 180 $40,440
Arden 180 $40,440
Arcade 180 $40,440
Salinas 30 $32,200
Los Angeles 5160 $39,310
Long Beach 5160 $39,310
Anaheim 5160 $39,310
Oxnard 130 $38,760
Thousand Oaks 130 $38,760
Ventura 130 $38,760
Riverside 320 $31,290
San Bernardino 320 $31,290
Ontario 320 $31,290
San Diego 400 $39,550
Carlsbad 400 $39,550
San Francisco 1420 $36,080
Oakland 1420 $36,080
Hayward 1420 $36,080
San Jose 730 $38,380
Sunnyvale 730 $38,380
Santa Clara 730 $38,380
Visalia N/A $33,250
Porterville N/A $33,250
Santa Maria 90 $31,500
Santa Barbara 90 $31,500

Sources:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions - Registrants, Office of the Attorney General, State of California Department of Justice, https://oag.ca.gov/travel/reg-faqs, accessed September 17, 2016
  2. Seller of Travel, Office of the Attorney General, State of California Department of Justice, https://oag.ca.gov/travel, accessed September 17, 2016
  3. Forms, Seller of Travel, Office of the Attorney General, State of California Department of Justice, https://oag.ca.gov/travel/forms, accessed September 17, 2016
  4. Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation, www.tcrcinfo.org, accessed September 17, 2016

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