Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Travel and Tourism Degree Overview

Research Associate of Applied Science in Travel and Tourism degree programs. Learn about program details, courses, career options and continuing education possibilities to make an informed decision about your education.

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Associate of Applied Science in Travel and Tourism

Associate of Applied Science degree programs in travel and tourism can prepare students for careers with travel agencies, hotels and airlines. Students can learn about business fundamentals while also gaining practical training in vacation marketing, airline ticket sales and hospitality management. They can often pick up specific skill sets in customer service, tour planning and reservation system management.

These associate's degree programs also often incorporate cultural education through courses in geography, landmarks and tourist attractions worldwide, giving students the ability to communicate knowledgably with clients about their travel destinations. Students can also learn effective methods of organizing individual, group and corporate travel itineraries, allowing them to meet a variety of industry needs. A high school diploma or the equivalent is typically required for admission.

Course Topics

Degree programs in this field can be completed in two years, generally requiring 64-66 semester hours of coursework. Some programs offer internship or directed participation opportunities, giving students real-world experience in sales, planning and customer relations in the industry. Along with general education requirements, course topics could include:

  • Transportation
  • Casino operations
  • Hospitality management
  • Cruise travel
  • Tours
  • International travel
  • Convention planning
  • International landmarks
  • Travel marketing

Popular Career Options

The skills attained from a travel and tourism degree program can qualify graduates for entry-level or management training positions with hotels, travel agencies, airlines and recreation facilities. Job titles could include:

  • Travel agency assistant
  • Tour operator
  • Airline ticket sales associate
  • Conference planner

For its 2012-2022 reporting period, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that travel agents were expected to have a 12% decline in jobs, while meeting, convention and event planners were to see a 33% rise in work opportunities. The bureau noted that as of 2012, the average salary for travel agents was $36,970, travel guides made an average annual wage of $36,060 and planners earned $49,830, on average per year.

Continuing Education

Certificate programs are available for graduates interested in expanding their knowledge base in a specific area, such as hospitality management, casino operations and destination tourism. Those seeking advanced career opportunities can apply to bachelor's degree programs in tourism, recreation or hospitality management.

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