While looking for a career in a growing field, you probably haven't considered travel. However, it is a rapidly expanding industry that is expected to continue to soar. David Huether, senior VP of Research and Economics at the U.S. Travel Association, commented, "The travel industry has, on average, created more than 12,000 jobs a month thus far in 2013 which is 50 percent more than the average gain of 8,000 travel jobs per month in 2012. Travel jobs have made up more than six percent of total jobs added in 2013."
Driving the Growth
With technology advancing the world of travel, processes for booking flights, checking in, and security screening are becoming quicker and more proficient. This is making it easier for the U.S. to welcome international visitors. Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, quotes, "By welcoming more international travelers, (the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's) expansion of the Global Entry program will help provide more jobs, more economic opportunity and more revenue to communities all across the U.S." According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international tourism added $90 billion to the U.S. economy in the first half of 2013. Therefore we can expect an increasing demand for travel workers. Many of these jobs are entry-level, requiring minimal education and experience.
Travel Agents: Per The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)," employment of travel agents is projected to increase by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020." What exactly is a travel agent?
According to the BLS, "Travel agents sell transportation, lodging, and admission to entertainment activities to individuals and groups who are planning trips. They offer advice on destinations, plan trip itineraries, and make travel arrangements for clients." Many work for agencies, and some are self-employed. This is a great entry-level job for individuals with just a high school diploma, but excellent computer and communication skills. Experienced agents with a specialized background in specific destinations or groups of travelers can market themselves better in this field, which reported a median annual salary of $31,870 in May 2010. Get ahead in this field by taking study abroad opportunities, majoring in business or hospitality, or studying a foreign language.
Front Desk Clerks: The BLS predicts the highest travel career growth potential for hotel, motel, and resort desk clerks. These workers are responsible for registering guests and assigning them to rooms, issuing keys or cards, making and confirming reservations, and collecting payments. Based on these duties, it's clear that strong client service skills are required along with some computer skills. However, this is an entry-level profession that usually only requires a high school diploma. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for this field is $21,960. This HCareers article outlines the job in detail, mentioning that it usually comes with on-the-job training requiring a minimal learning curve. This is an excellent way to get your foot in the door to other managerial level hotel careers.
Flight Attendants: According to ONet, flight attendants "Provide personal services to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of airline passengers during flight. Greet passengers, verify tickets, explain use of safety equipment, and serve food or beverages." This career requires a high deal of customer care and attention to details in order to ensure a safe and quality flight experience for passengers. ONet lists other skills preferred, and also notes that advanced degrees aren't required, making this an entry level field. Furthermore, the BLS reports that the annual median salary for flight attendants in 2010 was $37,740. If you're looking for a great entry-level job that allows you to travel, this might be it.
Tour Guides :Wikipedia describes a tour guide as someone who "provides assistance, information and cultural, historical and contemporary heritage interpretation to people on organized tours and individual clients at educational establishments, religious and historical sites, museums, and at venues of other significant interest." ONet lists that most jobs in this sector require only an associate's degree or vocational training, along with excellent communication and organizational skills. Approximately 19,600 jobs are expected to be added in this category, making it a growing field. Although the recorded median annual salary is relatively lower at $11.51 an hour, the perks to these jobs include working with others in a satisfying and non-competitive environment.
Transportation Security Screeners: According to the BLS, security screeners "conduct screening of passengers, baggage, or cargo to ensure compliance with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations. May operate basic security equipment such as x-ray machines and hand wands at screening checkpoints." ONet reports that these jobs usually only require a high school diploma, but an extremely level of protocol compliance and attention to detail is required. The hiring process usually comes with a rigorous background check and ability to pass an aptitude test and medical examination. The median annual salary for this profession is $36,850, and other information regarding benefits, requirements, and training can be found at the TSA website.
As technologies continue to advance the world of travel, more entry-level positions in travel will become available. If you're looking for an exciting place to start your career, consider this as a promising area.