Frequently Asked Questions
What do you recommend if I am not sure I want a career in travel and tourism or if I want to get started in the travel business?
You should register for our TRV 100 course, Introduction to the Travel Industry, which explores the different career opportunities in the travel and hospitality industries. This course provides an overview of the industry and is a prerequisite for most of the other travel courses.
Will there be jobs when I graduate?
Remember that the tourist businesses collectively are the largest employer in the world. Job opportunities abound in this industry. Furthermore, there will be many opportunities once you are in the industry to move to different jobs in the field to enhance your career and best utilize your strengths. Students who complete the NOVA program find positions with airlines, retail travel agencies, tour operators, air consolidators, convention/visitors bureaus, car rental companies, motor coach companies, cruise lines, hotels, associations and parks/recreation departments. Many other positions are also available other than those just listed.
What Travel/Tourism programs are offered at Northern Virginia Community College?
There are certificate programs in travel and tourism and in convention and exposition management. You can also obtain an associate degree in travel and tourism.
How long will it take me to complete the Certificate or Associate Degree?
Typically full-time students can complete a certificate in a year and an associate degree in two years. Many students who have work commitments may not be able to attend classes full-time. These students also have the opportunity to complete the program in a longer time frame to best meet their needs.
When are travel and tourism classes offered?
All travel/tourism classes are offered both in day and night sessions. Some specialty and/or elective courses may be offered on weekends from time to time. The Convention/Exposition management courses are offered only at night.
Are all classes offered every semester?
No. The Certificate/Degree information on the Web and in the NOVA catalog (available in the campus bookstore) shows which courses are required or elective, the recommended sequence for taking classes and during what semester classes are offered. Students should consult a faculty advisor if there are any questions concerning their class schedule.
Who are the travel and tourism faculty advisors?
All Travel and Tourism Students - Professor Talula Guntner, 703.323.3175
Are the travel and tourism courses at NOVA transferable to other institutions?
Yes, but this depends strictly on the course and the other institution. Check with an advisor on agreements between institutions. You may also be able to apply travel courses taken at NOVA toward a Bachelor of Individualized Studies (BIS) at George Mason University. Since GMU does not offer a travel and tourism undergraduate degree, this option offers some flexibility for use with our travel and tourism program.
Are there any financial aid programs or scholarships available?
Check the financial aid/scholarships information on the NOVA website or in the catalog for a listing of the many types of aid available to all students. In addition, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and International Airline Travel Agent Network (IATAN) offers scholarships specifically for travel/tourism students. Applications are usually available for distribution in the spring and may be obtained from a faculty advisor.
Are there any student travel organizations at NOVA?
Travel/tourism students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs and organizations. The travel student organization on campus open to all those interested in this industry is called the American Society of Travel Agents Future Travel Professionals (ASTA FTP). This club sponsors many interesting and informative events throughout the school year. There is also an honorary society of hospitality and travel/tourism students called Eta Sigma Delta. In addition, NOVA travel/tourism students are offered student memberships in local area travel organizations such as Pacific Asia Travel Organization (PATA) and Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
If I have work experience in the travel industry, can I waive some courses?
Yes. Substitute courses may be used for some classes. There is also a program option that allows students to earn college credit for industry training and work experience. Consult with a faculty advisor for more detailed information.
Am I too old to begin a career in travel and tourism?
Students coming to NOVA for travel classes represent a diversity of ages and backgrounds. The travel industry is always looking for mature people who bring diverse work and/or life experiences to the job.
What if I already have a degree(s) from another school?
If you have a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, you will be exempt from any general education course requirements. An official transcript should be sent to NOVA for substantiation. If you attended and received a degree from a college or university outside the U.S. you should contact a NOVA college counselor for information on procedures for evaluations of such programs.
What is the reputation of NOVA's Travel and Tourism Program?
We have an outstanding program with an excellent reputation within the travel industry community. We work closely with a travel industry advisory board to make sure our curriculum meets the needs and standards of the industry. We encourage prospective students to ask people in the travel industry about our program.
Will I become a certified travel agent after completion of your program?
There are no Virginia certification requirements. Although certification is not required, some travel counselors earn a CTC. To become a Certified Travel Counselor you must be in the travel and tourism business for at least five years and complete course work through Institute of Certified Travel Agents (ICTA).
Can I start my own travel agency after completing the course requirements for a certificate or a degree?
If you do not have any previous experience in the travel business, you must hire a manager with at least two years experience to receive airline commissions. Also, of course, there would be the usual city, county or state regulations, such as a business license, etc.