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Degree Overview: Associate of Travel and Tourism

Majors Overview June 16, 2013

Individuals who love to plan vacations, work with the public, and travel should consider pursuing an associate degree program in hospitality management or travel and tourism. A tourism and travel associate degree program will be the first step in obtaining a career in selling, planning, a marketing destination travel or tour packages.

Associate Degree Program in Tourism and Travel

After earning a general educational development or a high school diploma, students may enroll in an Associate of Applied Business (A.A.B.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), or other associate degree program in tourism, hospitality, or travel management. Students will be prepared for tourism industry careers by learning how to understand and interact with customers, market travel services using internet and computer technology, and offer appropriate services to meet client needs through these associate degree programs. Additionally, students will learn marketing, management, and business concepts specifically related to the hospitality and tourism industries. The majority of associate degree programs culminate with hospitality or tourism internships and field experience. Some degree programs offer articulation agreements or online courses with four-year universities.

Program Coursework

Tourism and travel associate degree programs introduce students to the kinds of products and services available to tourists and vacationers, and teach students the business knowledge to effectively sell and market tour packages, lodging, travel, transportation, and other services. Tourism and travel degree program coursework could include the following classes:

•Meeting, convention, and event management
•Office and computer technology, reservations, and airline ticketing
•Destination marketing
•Services marketing
•Business law and tourism
•Consumer behavior
•Geography

Career Options

The hospitality, tourism, and travel industries offer careers to people who are interested in selling destination travel, operating travel agencies, marketing tour packages, and planning travel itineraries for customers. Other options include managing hotels and other accommodations. Although training and education requirements vary, individuals with an associate degree in tourism and travel management might be qualified for careers as:

•Visitor information specialists
•Convention center managers
•Resort or hotel managers
•Flight attendants
•Tour marketers
•Travel agents

Information on Continuing Education

Prospective hospitality and tourism industry employees could be required to further their education beyond the associate degree level and complete job training, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). Along with the business skills needed to operate a tour company or a travel agency, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned the ability to speak at least one foreign language, knowledge of geography, and firsthand travel experience will be helpful for various travel industry careers.

According to the BLS, convention center, resort, and hotel managers might be required to hold a bachelor or master degree, depending on the size of the establishment. The U.S. Labor of Statistics also commented that flight attendants are required to complete training in order for them to obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification, and that airlines might have other hiring and training requirements. Since tourists and travelers may plan their own vacations, reserve accommodations, and book transportation using internet services, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said travel agents will usually benefit from continuing education with an emphasis on destination travel and industry technology to best serve clients needs.

Students could choose to pursue a bachelor or master degree in hospitality or travel management that can provide additional internship opportunities, business training and the ability to choose a specialty in food service, travel, or hotel management, among others. Some Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs offer concentrations in hospitality or tourism. Additional education options include bachelor or master degrees in a management, marketing, or general business field.

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