See the world with a degree or certification from Moraine Valley.

See the world with a degree or certificate from Moraine Valley.

From interning at a hotel in Sicily, Italy, to working at a conference in Washington, D.C., Moraine Valley Community College students gain experience in the travel industry before earning a degree or certificate to pursue that career with Moraine Valley’s travel programs.

“When students graduate they have current knowledge of the industry. We take them to industry-related events like the Travel and Adventure Show in Rosemont or American Society of Travel Agents meeting. They can interact with business professionals and make contacts,” said Mary Beth Walsh, professor of travel business management and meeting and planning.

Moraine Valley offers an associate degree in travel business management and certificates in Travel-Tourism and Meeting Planner. Instead of just sitting in a classroom learning the material, students are interacting within the industry. Not only are the instructors working in the field, but they also belong to several related professional organizations and can connect students with internships or potential job opportunities.

“If a student is looking for an internship, I can make that connection. In a way I’m like a matchmaker helping students. People call me if they’re looking for an intern or worker, and I connect the two,” Walsh said.

Her students have gone on to work for United Airlines, Hilton Hotels and Resorts and local travel agencies, to name a few. The unique aspect of this industry is how people can work in any capacity—full-time, part-time, independent contractor, work summers only, be your own boss, or work in the corporate world.

Regardless of the number of degrees earned everyone starts at entry level, unless they have a unique skill, but can quickly move up the ladder while learning the industry, Walsh said. Plus, people can easily switch jobs within this field from an airline to a hotel or visitor’s bureau.

Although the airline industry has changed and merged, many jobs in travel-tourism have remained the same. “It’s still a people business. We’re handling leisure or business. If you don’t like people, this isn’t for you,” Walsh added.

One benefit for people studying this field is opportunities to travel. They can’t sell a trip to Machu Picchu if they haven’t been there so they have cheaper access to locations around the world. And this career path isn’t going anywhere. While technology has made certain in-person jobs obsolete, there are more travel agencies online. As the baby boomers retire and set off on vacations, there also will be more work available at home and abroad for anyone in this career, Walsh explained.

Moraine Valley offers a number of classes with no pre-requisites and a flexible schedule to earn a Travel-Tourism or Meeting Planning certificate within two semesters as well as an Associate in Applied Sciences degree in travel business management.

For information on the program contact Walsh at (708) 974-5569 or Information on all credit and non-credit classes is available in the fall 2015 class schedule or online. Registration is ongoing. Tuition is $116 per credit hour plus fees and books. Students who have applied to the college can register in the Registration Office, located on campus in the Student Services Center (Building S), 9000 W. College Pkwy. in Palos Hills; by phone at (708) 974-2110 (TTY 711); or online.