Education agents play a significant role in counselling and referring students to international education providers. The primary representatives in this role are student counsellors. ICEF has designed the IATC as a means of raising the standard of quality and the professionalism of student counsellors.
We developed the IATC based on the input of 769 education agents from 113 countries and 437 education institutions from 78 countries. We then analysed this input to identify the key features of the student counsellor’s role, irrespective of the destination country, and designed the IATC to train student counsellors in these features.
The IATC instructs the student counsellor in fundamental knowledge and functional skills. The student counsellor gains a “big picture” perspective of researching and marketing destination countries, and recruiting students for their education institutions and courses. This provides a conceptual framework with which to build detailed knowledge of a destination country, its education system and institutions, and its immigration processes.
The IATC is based on the following definition of the role of a student counsellor:
The student counsellor connects the people involved in international education, linking students, parents, education providers, and travel and accommodation providers to each other in order to facilitate study in another country.
Core services to students are:
- Provide information on destination countries, e.g., lifestyle, costs
- Provide information on education options, courses, and pathways
- Provide counselling to students to ensure the most appropriate course selection
- Process enrolment applications
- Process visa applications.
Core services to education providers are:
- Recruit suitable students
- Process student applications
- Provide market information
- Market and promote education providers.
In the IATC, key concepts are reinforced and expanded across lessons. In each lesson they are linked to related concepts, which both aids memory retention and promotes acquisition of wider cognitive connections. By the end of the course, the student counsellor should possess a broad conceptual framework within which to understand their role in international education.
The IATC has three Course Units (A). Each unit is divided into Lessons (A.1), each lesson is divided into Pages (A.1.1), and each page may have a number of segments. Information is cross-referenced with hyperlinks.
The course units contain three types of questions/exercises:
These are at the beginning of each lesson and prepare the student for the information contained in it.
These occur throughout the content and assist in applying the knowledge gained from the course. They are a practical checklist to ensure that student counsellors are always able to give accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date information to prospective students, especially with regard to specific destination countries.
These are learning tools at the end of each page, allowing student counsellors to test and reinforce essential information before continuing to the next one.
All IATC course participants have the option to take the formal IATC test and earn a professional designation: ICEF Trained Agent Counsellor (ITAC).
Course participants who pass this formal test will earn an ITAC Certificate to indicate their new designation. In a further recognition of this professional standing, all agencies with ITAC-certified counsellors on staff will be listed on a special web locator map, the ITAC Finder.
The formal test is online and comprises 50 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 80 minutes. During the test, candidates will have access to online and offline resources. They will not be tested on individual country information/regulations; only on all the other sections of the IATC course. 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 testing schedule here). 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 testing options, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your testing slot.
In both cases, the charge for the test is €250, 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.
The following pricing structure applies when multiple counsellors from the same agency sit the IATC test:
1st counsellor tested – regular fee
2nd counsellor tested – 10% discount
3rd counsellor tested – 15% discount
4th counsellor tested – 20% discount
5th and subsequent counsellors tested – 25% discount
To prepare for the formal test, you can take the IATC self-assessment test, which can be found on the right-hand side of the IATC homepage once you have logged in. This self-assessment test is identical in structure to the formal IATC test. Each question has only one correct answer, and all questions are based on the IATC course 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 80%. Until you have reached a good result on the self-assessment, please keep practising.
If you are doing 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 ITAC Certificate and personal ITAC 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 ITAC Designation, please try (and pass) the self-assessment test first.