Not everyone can be an Instagram influencer, traveling the globe and sharing photos from a different country every week. However, there is a more practical career choice that will let you discover hidden gems and plan for vast adventures, all without the jet lag and expensive plane tickets.
The tourism industry may be the perfect field in which to craft a career that lets you spend all day focused on your love of travel. Professionals working as travel agents, tourism managers or tour guides get learn about the latest hot spots and uncover all they have to offer.
Before you can land one of these jobs though, you need to have the right education and training. Fortunately, it only takes two years to complete many travel and tourism degree programs. Plus, online travel and tourism degrees can make learning convenient. We've got the top colleges in the field listed below as well as all the other information you may need to know.
Best Colleges for Travel and Tourism Degree Programs 2018-19
If you're looking for a great travel and tourism degree program, it could be as close as your local community college. Two-year schools dominate the list of best colleges for travel and tourism programs. Using a methodology that considered student success measures and program prominence, here are ten top schools to consider.
Located in a city of the same name, Schenectady County Community College is part of the State University of New York - or SUNY - system. The school was founded in 1967 and has a mission of providing high-quality programs that meet the needs of the local community.
The college offers a certificate in hospitality and tourism management that can be earned in nine months. There is also a two-year Associate of Applied Science in hospitality and tourism management. Plus, students can go on to earn a bachelor's degree through a partnership between the community college and the State University of New York at Delhi.
Schenectady County Community College ranks first among the best colleges for travel and tourism programs thanks to its strong showing in a number of metrics, including affordable tuition and program prominence.
Known simply as Herkimer College to many, this school is another SUNY institution with a reputation for excellent academic programs. It attracts students from across New York as well as from 30 states and 20 countries.
Students looking for online degrees for travel and tourism may find the Herkimer College associate degree in travel and events management meets their needs. Offered on-campus and online, the program prepares students to not only perform front-office functions within the travel and tourism industry but also plan and execute complex events such as conferences and conventions. An internship built into the program ensures hands-on experience prior to graduation.
Herkimer College earned all-around solid rankings for its travel and tourism degree programs. In particular, it scored well for program prominence and its graduation rate.
Unilatina International College is a private institution with a focus on holistic education. In addition to providing academic knowledge, it strives to promote entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence and global competencies. Founded in 2001, the college has incubated hundreds of businesses through the programs offered on its Miramar, Florida campus.
Travel and tourism degree programs figure prominently into the UIC catalog. Students can earn either an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in travel and tourism management from the school. While the associate degree is intended to prepare students for entry-level positions, the bachelor's degree may help graduates start their own business.
UIC has the most prominent travel and tourism program among all the schools surveyed. It also ranks first for its graduation rate.
As a premier California community college, Cypress College is located in a city of the same name. It opened its doors in 1966 and strives to provide an accessible education to students in the North Orange County area.
The Aviation & Travel Careers Department has been preparing students for jobs in the field since 1967. Both certificates and degrees are available for those pursuing careers as flight attendants, airline agents and other occupations within the travel and cruise industries. Each program is intended to provide the knowledge and skills needed for graduates to successfully land a job and pass a position's training requirements.
Cypress College landed its spot among the best colleges for travel and tourism programs thanks, in part, to its number one ranking for affordable tuition. It's also notable for its flexible scheduling options.
As a growing school in Pittsburg, California, Los Medanos College has increased its classroom size by 50 percent since 2006. Approximately 9,000 students study on-campus each year in the new and renovated facilities.
However, you don't have to live near campus to earn the school's online travel and tourism degree. The travel marketing program at LMC is entirely online so you can study at your convenience from wherever you have an internet connection. Students can select from a basic certificate, advanced certificate or associate degree in travel marketing. There are also certificates designed for those wanting to be a home-based travel specialist or a cruise specialist.
Los Medanos College provides a number of student support services. It also ranks fifth out of all surveyed schools for its affordable tuition rate.
In Lynnwood, Washington, Edmonds Community College has been educating students since 1967. With 25 areas of study, the school is focused on creating an environment in which people teach and learn as a community.
The hospitality and tourism programs at EDCC include one certificate and five associate degrees. While most of the associate degrees are intended to take graduates directly into the workforce, a transfer degree is also available. Suitable for those planning a career on the management side of the industry, the transfer degree makes use of Edmonds Community College's partnerships with institutions such as Washington State University.
Edmonds Community College is notable for its commitment to student support services. At 14-1, it also has the lowest student-faculty ratio of the schools on this list.
Jefferson Community College is another New York institution worth considering. The two-year school is part of the SUNY system and has its campus in Watertown.
The associate degree in hospitality and tourism at JCC offers three concentrations: culinary arts, hotel/restaurant management and winery management and marketing. Those looking for a more general program or an online travel and tourism degree may be interested in the school's online hospitality and tourism certificate. The certificate is intended to help students enter the field quickly and then serve as a foundation for additional, future training as needed.
Overall, Jefferson Community College ranks 10th for program prominence. It also ranks high for student support services which include academic counseling and career placement assistance.
Featuring a diverse student body in California, City College of San Francisco is one of the largest public colleges in the nation. The school was founded in 1935 and is typically called City College by those studying in its 50 academic programs.
The travel program at CCSF is designed to provide students with practical knowledge they can use in the workplace. There are four different certificates available, including one dedicated to the growing field of green and sustainable travel. Students can also earn an associate degree in travel and tourism from City College. This two year program can be customized to emphasize studies in marketing, management or destination development.
In addition to being one of the all-around best colleges for travel and tourism programs, City College of San Francisco ranks eighth for affordable tuition.
With a campus in Athens, West Virginia, Concord University is the most selective of the top schools for travel and tourism degree programs. It is also the only four-year school on the list.
The university's recreation and tourism management program offers both degree and certificate options. For those who want to enter the workforce quickly, a tourism management certificate is available. Meanwhile, those looking for more in-depth knowledge of the field can earn a bachelor's degree in recreation and tourism management. Within this program, majors can select from one of four emphases: hospitality management, park and recreation management, sports management and tourism planning and promotion.
Concord University has the sixth most prominent program overall and is also notable for its commitment to helping students succeed.
Minneapolis Business College can trace its roots to 1874. That makes it the oldest and smallest accredited business school in the state of Minnesota. With a campus in Roseville, the college focuses on accelerated programs that quickly prepare students for a career.
At Minneapolis Business College, students can earn a travel, hospitality and event planning diploma in ten months. Or, if they want to study for 16 months, they can earn an associate degree in travel, hospitality and event planning. Both programs feature small class sizes and personalized instruction. An externship opportunity is offered to provide real-world experience prior to graduation.
The school earns its spot among the best colleges for travel and tourism programs by ranking second for program prominence and second for its graduation rate.
Travel and Tourism Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
With certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs available, you may be wondering which option is right for you. While certificates can be sufficient for some entry level positions, an associate degree seems to be the standard for education in the industry.
Career Outlook for Travel and Tourism Majors
With the advent of online travel booking, demand for travel and tourism professionals has shifted in recent years. Not every profession in the field will see significant growth, but workers will always be needed in certain occupations. Here's a closer look at the career outlook for travel and tourism jobs.
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Travel and Tourism
Financial aid for travel and tourism degree programs is available from several sources. The most prominent dedicated source of travel scholarships may be Tourism Cares. This group, supported by industry associations, awards up to 29 merit-based scholarships each year, totaling up to $62,000. Other assistance may be available directly from schools offering on-campus and online degrees for travel and tourism.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- 10 Reasons Why You Should Study Tourism, Ayrshire College, July 18, 2016, https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/10-reasons-why-you-should-study-tourism/
- Hospitality and Tourism Management (A.A.S.), Schenectady County Community College, Accessed March 2018, http://sunysccc.edu/Academics/School-of-Hotel-Culinary-Arts-and-Tourism/-Academic-Programs/Hospitality-and-Tourism-Management-AAS
- Travel and Events Management AAS, Herkimer College, Accessed March 2018, https://www.herkimer.edu/learn/programs-and-majors/program/47/travel-and-events-management-a-a-s
- Travel and Tourism Programs, Unilatina International College, Accessed March 2018, http://www.unilatina.edu/travel-and-tourism-programs/
- Travel & Cruise, Cypress College, Accessed March 2018, http://cte.cypresscollege.edu/atc/travel/
- Travel Marketing Program, Los Medanos College, Accessed March 2018, http://www.losmedanos.edu/travel/
- Hospitality and Tourism, Edmonds Community College, Accessed March 2018, http://www.edcc.edu/programs/hosp/default.html
- Hospitality and Tourism Certificate, Jefferson Community College, Accessed March 2018, http://www.sunyjefferson.edu/academics/programs-study/hospitality-and-tourism-certificate
- Travel and Tourism Program, City College of San Francisco, Accessed March 2018, http://www.ccsf.edu/en/educational-programs/school-and-departments/school-of-business/business-department/travel-and-tourism.html
- Recreation and Tourism Management Program, Concord University, Accessed March 2018, https://www.concord.edu/rtm/node/1
- Travel and Hospitality, Minneapolis Business School, Accessed March 2018, https://www.minneapolisbusinesscollege.edu/our-programs/travel-and-hospitality
- Academic Scholarships, Tourism Cares, Accessed March 2018, http://www.tourismcares.org/academic-scholarships/
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed March 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.