How to Become a Travel Agent in Virginia

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Travel agents are the professionals that travelers rely on to help them plan leisure travel, business trips, adventure travel, and special occasions like destination weddings.

If you’re considering becoming a travel agent in Virginia, there are a few steps to ensure success. 

Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become a travel agent in Virginia!

We’ll discuss travel agent duties, the best online programs for certification or accreditation, share salaries, and answer frequently asked questions. 

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How to Become a Travel Agent in Virginia 

Virginia has stricter parameters for becoming a travel agent than most US states.

Along with meeting the minimum requirements of reaching 18 years of age and maintaining a clear background, Virginia also requires travel agents to complete a certification program and register with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. 

New travel agents must complete the DPOR registration paperwork, agree to a background check, and pay the annual registration fee. 

Independent Travel Agent vs. Host Agency 

You can work as an independent agent or join a host agency.

Joining a host agency may require travel agents to share a percentage of their booking commissions.

However, the benefits of joining an agency can outweigh the fee when your agency provides you with travel agent education, training, advocacy, and support. 

Virginia Travel Agent Duties 

Trip Counseling 

One of the most essential roles of a travel agent is to act as a trip counselor for people who don’t know how to plan travel.

They offer suggestions and advice based on the input of travel clients who tell them about important preferences and their budgets.

Bookings for Accommodations, Hotels, Cruises and Destination Weddings

Once travel planners and their clients have agreed on a destination and budget, travel agents move on to the critical steps of securing the best accommodations for their clients at their price points.

Bookings can include reservations for car rentals, airline tickets, hotels, amusement parks, art galleries, museums, and other local points of interest.

Itinerary Planning

When all the travel planning is done, a travel agent presents their client with an itinerary containing step-by-step and up-to-the-minute details on what they can expect to do on their trip.

Itineraries generally include stops to pertinent locations, popular attractions, and must-visit locations on the client’s destination list, along with novel adventures, restaurants, and other exciting locales. 

Virginia Travel Agent Programs

Prospective travel agents seeking a professional certification or accreditation can take online coursework and earn certification through programs offered by their employers, colleges, universities, and vocational schools. 

Many new travel agents are finding it easier to gain certification using online travel agent certification services like those offered by the American Society of Travel Advisors and The Travel Institute. 

These highly recommended travel agent schools teach the foundations of working as an agent, foundational travel agent skills, customer service skills, and other vital skills that put prospective agents one step closer to earning a distinct travel agent certification. 

Learn more about online travel agent school options with the ASTA and the Travel Institute by visiting their websites. 

Virginia Travel Agent – Salary

Travel agents in Virginia make close to the national average, which is currently around $40,000 per year.

Agents who want to make more money can increase their earnings by adding industry certifications and endorsements that open the door to higher-paying opportunities. 

Agents with more years of experience in the field and those with certification or accreditation usually make more than agents who bypass getting highly recommended industry-related credentials. 

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Virginia Beach $35,095
Norfolk $34,566
Chesapeake $34,522
Richmond $36,262
Newport News $34,757
Hampton $34,757
Alexandria $40,866
Portsmouth $34,566
Roanoke $33,939
Lynchburg $33,671

Regional Salary in Virginia

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Charlottesville, VA40$50,720$24.39$79,940$33,730
Richmond, VA80$49,440$23.77$78,280$27,780
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC150$46,690$22.45$72,530$30,450
* 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 do I need to become a travel agent in Virginia?

You need to complete a few key steps before you can become a travel agent in Virginia.

You must meet the minimum age requirement and be at least 18 with a clean background.

Upon meeting the initial standards, you’ll need to research and find the best travel agent certification program that meets your needs, ongoing career interests, and budget.

After completing your certification requirement, you’ll need to register your travel services with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which requires a registration fee and background check.

Once all the requirements for becoming a travel agent in Virginia are met, you can start working as an independent travel agent or accept an invitation from a host agency to begin work.

How much do travel agents make in Virginia?

According to the latest financial data provided by, travel agents in Virginia make an average of around $40,000 per year.

Virginia travel agents with more years of experience and industry-related certifications can make substantially higher salaries.

How much does it cost to register as a travel agent with the state of Virginia?

Virginia’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation handles new business registrations for travel agents and travel agencies in the state.

They charge $225 to register a travel agent business, with an additional $25.00 for each location.

Occupational and business licenses require annual renewal fees.

Visit the DPOR to learn more.

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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