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Career and Education Opportunities for Travel Agents in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for travel agents. There are currently 6,720 working travel agents in Illinois; this should shrink by 7% to 6,220 working travel agents in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for travel agents, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 1.1% over the next eight years. Travel agents generally plan and sell transportation and accommodations for travel agency customers.

Travel agents earn about $15 hourly or $32,320 per year on average in Illinois and about $14 per hour or $30,570 per year on average nationally. Incomes for travel agents are better than in the overall category of Travel in Illinois, and better than the overall Travel category nationally.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including nine within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a travel agent. The most common level of education for travel agents is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a travel agent if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Travel Agent

Travel Agent video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, travel agents plan and sell transportation and accommodations for travel agency customers. They also determine destination, modes of transportation, travel dates, and accommodations required.

Travel agents compute costs of travel and accommodations, using calculators, computers, carrier tariff books, and hotel rate books. They also furnish customers with brochures and publications containing travel data, such as local customs, points of interest, or foreign country regulations. Equally important, travel agents have to collect payments for transportation and accommodations from customers. They are often called upon to book transportation and hotel reservations, using computer terminals or telephones. They are expected to print or request transportation carrier tickets, using computer printer systems or system links to travel carrier. Finally, travel agents talk with customers to establish destination, mode of transportation and accommodations required.

Every day, travel agents are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.

They also have to be able to talk with customers to establish destination, mode of transportation and accommodations required And finally, they sometimes have to compute costs of travel and accommodations, using calculators, computers, carrier tariff books, and hotel rate books.

Like many other jobs, travel agents must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Rental Counter Clerk. Receive orders for repairs, rentals, and services. May describe available options, compute cost, and accept payment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Travel Agent Training

MacCormac College - Chicago, IL

MacCormac College, 29 E. Madison, Chicago, IL 60602-4405. MacCormac College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 163 students. MacCormac College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Tourism and Travel Services Marketing Operations.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has 2 areas of study related to Travel Agent. They are:

  • Selling Skills and Sales Operations, less than one year which graduated 14 students in 2008.
  • Tourism and Travel Services Marketing Operations, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated thirty-two and one students respectively in 2008.

Nothwestern College - Chicago, IL

Nothwestern College, 4829 North Lipps Avenue, Chicago, IL 60630. Nothwestern College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 847 students and an admission rate of 83%. Nothwestern College has an associate's degree program in Tourism and Travel Services Marketing Operations.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Selling Skills and Sales Operations which graduated five and five students respectively in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has an associate's degree program in Selling Skills and Sales Operations which graduated three students in 2008.

Pyramid Career Institute - Chicago, IL

Pyramid Career Institute, 3057 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657-4207. Pyramid Career Institute is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 9 students. Pyramid Career Institute has a less than one year program in Tourism and Travel Services Marketing Operations.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Selling Skills and Sales Operations which graduated twenty-three and twelve students respectively in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Selling Skills and Sales Operations which graduated four students in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Selling Skills and Sales Operations which graduated seven, three, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Sales Professional: The Certified Sales Professional (CSP) program gives a thorough understanding of consultative selling.

For more information, see the Manufacturers Representatives Educational Research Foundation website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.