Think about how great it would be to work at a posh beach resort, getting to live and work in a place where most people can only come to visit. Or how about a cruise ship, sailing around the world?

If you love the idea of getting to work in the travel and tourism industry, and possibly getting to travel around the world for your job, then getting a tourism associate degree might be for you.

There is a lot you can do with a tourism associate degree. Some students go on to become travel agents. Others work on resorts or cruise ships, promoting the company, and still others go into business for themselves to specialize in niche industries like adventure travel or eco trips.

Going to school for a tourism associate degree will probably a really fun ride on its own. You’ll get to learn things like:

  • Geography
  • Computer reservation systems
  • Leisure travel management
  • International travel
  • Travel marketing
  • Fares and ticketing
  • Event planning
  • Conflict resolution
  • And much more!

So, we’ll hit you with the bad news first: because of the new wave of travel-savvy customers out there, becoming a standard travel agent might not be the best idea anymore. Why? Well, this is one of the few fields that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is estimating that is actually going to decline in the next few years, mostly thanks to travel sites like Expedia and Hotwire.

The good news is that with a travel associate degree you’ll be able to offer your customers valuable advice and personal service, which is something those websites don’t have. But, take that with a grain of salt. As of right now, it’s much harder to make a living as a travel agent than it used to be.

Which is why many students who get their tourism associate degree either go in business for themselves, specializing in adventure travel or eco-friendly trips, or they work for other companies booking business travel trips or offering advice to customers at the resorts. You need to know all the local things to do, the best places to eat, and where to go for the finest shopping. For many people, this is a dream-job come true.

You can also work in resort management with a tourism associate degree. If you decide to go this route you should know that you’ll need to be able to work with a wide variety of people, and know how to effectively manage conflicts.  You’ll probably be working nights, weekends, and holidays, but you’ll also make better money doing this than working as a travel agent.

It’s hard to say just how much you can make with a tourism associate degree. Most travel agents make around $30,000 per year, but like we said, this is expected to go down. Your income is going to vary greatly depending on what you’re doing, and where you’re located.

There are a lot of places you can go with this degree (no pun intended). Having a tourism associate degree can allow you to travel the world reviewing resorts, offering vacationers advice, or booking trips for business travelers. It all depends on where you’d like to take your career!