ICEF's new US Agent Training Course (USATC) is designed for educational agencies committed to:
- Operating according to the highest standards in providing guidance to international students planning to study in the US;
- Working effectively and ethically within the framework of the American education and immigration systems.
The course involved extensive consultation with institutions and stakeholders in the US. An international advisory board comprising American associations, organizations, and government entities as well as agents from all around the world reviewed and gave input to the final course material. We thank all who assisted us in the interests of ensuring that agents have access to the most accurate and current information possible when they are advising students about US schools, programs, visa requirements, work regulations, and culture.
Agents who study the USATC and pass its exam will be demonstrating their dedication to professional and ethical conduct, and they will be in a better position from which to help international students make wise choices about study in the US – choices that will lead to fulfilling and successful experiences in American schools.
All Course participants have the option to take the formal USATC test and earn a professional designation: USCG – US Course Graduate.
As further recognition of this professional standing, all agencies with USCG counsellors on staff will be listed on a special web locator map, the USCG Finder.
The formal test is online and comprises of 42 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 80 minutes. During the test, candidates will have access to online and offline resources. Candidates may use personal notes or information presented online from the course content during the test, but they will not be allowed to phone anyone or ask other people for assistance.
There are two ways to take the test:
- At an ICEF Workshop (see USATC Test Schedule on the left tab menu). If you are planning to attend a workshop, please send us an email to reserve your place as soon as possible. You do not necessarily need to be registered for an ICEF Workshop to take the test; you may come just for the test and all you need is photo identification (e.g., passport) and a wireless-enabled laptop.
- Online from the comfort of your home or office at a time convenient for you (all you need is an Internet-enabled computer with a webcam and an Adobe Flash player; please download here).For both options, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your testing slot.
In both cases, the charge for the test is US$350, which allows you to have 3 attempts. Meaning if you do not pass on your first attempt, you still have 2 more chances to become qualified.
In an effort to make the USATC more accessible to agencies, the following discounts are available:
The following pricing structure applies when multiple counsellors from the same agency take the USATC test:
2 counsellors tested - 10% discount
3 counsellors tested - 15% discount
4 counsellors tested - 20% discount
5 and subsequent counsellors tested - 25% discount
Over 10 counsellors - 50% discount
Please note that discounts will be made from the last payment(s) applicable. For example, the agency will pay full price for the first three. For the fourth agent undertaking the test, 15% from the full rate for the 4 agents will be deducted.
For approved educational agency associations:
In order to support an organized and responsible sector, a special discount will be made to members of educational agency associations that enter into an agreement with USATC.
To prepare for the formal test, you can take the USATC self-assessment test, which can be found on the right-hand side of the USATC homepage once you have logged in. This self-assessment test is identical in structure to the formal USATC test. Each question has only one correct answer, and all questions are based on the USATC content. At the end of the self-assessment, you will receive your result. We encourage only those who pass the self-assessment to attempt the formal test. The pass mark is 75%. Until you have reached a good result on the self-assessment, please keep practising.
If you are taking the test either online or at an ICEF Workshop, you will be automatically notified of your (pass/fail) result as soon as you have finished your test; if you have passed, your USCG Certificate and personal USCG Nr will be emailed to you instantly.
Testing is not mandatory. You can also study the course for your personal enrichment and professional knowledge. There is also no time frame in which you must take the test after completing the online material. If you wish to take the formal test and receive the USCG designation, please try (and pass) the self-assessment test first.