How to Become a Travel Agent in Iowa

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Iowa may not be the first place you think of when planning a vacation.

But there are a lot of people in Iowa who like to travel, and they will need travel agents to assist them.

Anyone can do their travel arrangements, but travel agents have the expertise to do this more effectively than most people.

Becoming a travel agent in Iowa is not hard, but you need to be an expert to keep clients.

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Travel Agent Duties in Iowa

The first thing you need is expertise on various locations and about traveling itself. 

You need to be able to give people something they cannot do for themselves, which is to give solid advice and take care of all the details for them.

With computers, anyone can arrange their own travel.

A travel agent’s value is giving knowledgeable advice and help with travel planning.

The travel agent’s role is to plan and arrange travel for people, whether that be business or vacations.

You should have the expertise to help them make good choices as well. 

This could include individuals, groups, or businesses.

You may also need to help people with special needs, or with specialized interests as it relates to travel. 

Duties may include budgeting, planning, and promotion of the business itself.

You need a little bit of sales ability to encourage people to buy travel packages and insurance.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Travel Agent in Iowa.

You do not have to be licensed in Iowa or demonstrate any particular abilities.

Travel agencies, however, must be registered with the state.

Individual agents are registered along with the agency they work for.

If you are independent, working for yourself, you would simply register with the state as a travel agency. 

A big part of the registration is having the ability to cover damages should you do something that causes people to lose money, or harm them in any material way, You have to either have a letter of credit, a bond, or securities on file with the state in the amount of $10,000.

Most people do the bond because it does not have to be renewed.

The cost of registration is $15 and must be renewed each year.

Travel Agent Programs

There are no actual requirements to be a travel agent.

Many large travel agencies have training programs to help you get started. 

An undergraduate degree in tourism, hospitality, marketing, or public relations, would be a good degree for anyone considering becoming a travel agent.

The Travel Institute offers training and has a “TAP” test which certifies you have the basic skills to be a travel agent.

This is not required by the state to work.

Eastern Iowa Community College, and Iowa Valley Community College both offer an online program you can do at your own pace, The classes from the two schools are identical.

Both include taking the TAP test.

The course costs $2,245 and is a 100-hour course.

It is self-directed, but it takes most people about six months to complete.

This course will teach you about all aspects of the travel industry. 

Several private companies offer training programs as well.

One of these is IAP Career College.

They have a part-time class that teaches practical information about how to be a travel agent. 

The course costs $149.

It is set up as a six-week course, but you may complete it in four to 12 weeks.

Salaries for Travel Agents

Travel agents average $38,554 in Iowa, and that ranges from $35,132 to $44,906.

That is slightly below the national average of $40,000, ranging from $36,000 to $46,000. 

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $35,452
Cedar Rapids $35,124
Davenport $34,840
Sioux City $31,868
Waterloo $33,381
Iowa City $34,838
Council Bluffs $34,707
Dubuque $34,652
Ames $35,121
West Des Moines $35,452

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cedar Rapids, IA50$40,460$19.45$54,980$30,170
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA80$42,070$20.23$52,120$30,310
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Travel Agents, OCC Code 41-3041, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements to be a travel agent?

A person needs to have good people skills, and a solid knowledge of the travel industry, Knowing about a lot of destinations is also important.

There are no legal requirements in Iowa, but you must be registered with the state.

Since there is no licensing, why should I take a course at a school?

If you have the expertise, you do not need to take a class.

While it is not required you could benefit from a class if you have no training.

It would give you the information and skills you need to get a job with an agency.

You could take the TAP test, which is not required, but it does give you a certification that you have demonstrated the skills needed to do the job.

It could help you get a job at a travel agency, but some larger agencies have their own training program.

How much does it cost to become a travel agent?

The good news is, you don’t have to have a license.

There is an annual $15 registration fee for travel agencies, and that covers any travel agency working there.

What is the job outlook for this type of career?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be a 20 percent increase in the number of travel agents needed nationwide by 2031, In Iowa the growth is not expected to be as robust.

There were 400 travel agents in 2017, and there are expected to be 510 by 2026.

Travel Agent Info by State

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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