About this Course

Welcome to the ICEF Agent Training Course (IATC) offered by ICEF in partnership with Pier Online. We have designed the IATC to support excellence and professional standards in international education.

The IATC is a practical, professional training course for agency-based student counsellors. It provides student counsellors with:

  • An understanding of the overall international education market and the main destination countries for international students
  • The skills and research parameters to analyse destination countries and their education products and processes
  • The functional dynamics of dealing with students, education institutions, and governments

NOTE: It is beyond the scope of the IATC to provide specific information about the institutions, regulations, documents or procedures unique to each destination country. This is a general course to provide a foundation for dealing with all destination countries. The IATC provides the student counsellor with practical training in the general principles and functions common to most destination countries, and provides links to each country for detailed follow-up research and practical application.


Heleen Pelle

Heleen Pelle Bureau Buitenland, Netherlands


Pavel Joukovski

Pavel Joukovski Delius-Terra ALC, Belarus


Soheyl Ahmadi

Soheyl Ahmadi TKDanesh, Iran


Oksana Almanova

Oksana Almanova Bell Group, Ukraine

The IATC covers three areas:

The Context of International Education
Destination countries, education systems, legal requirements, and visas
The People in International Education
Students, education institutions’ personnel, and immigration authorities
Promoting International Education
Working effectively, marketing, and ethics

Who can benefit from this Course?

  • New entrants:
    Individuals wishing to enter the international education industry as student counsellors (with or without previous experience)
  • New student counsellors:
    The IATC is an excellent training tool for new staff members at agencies
  • Practising student counsellors:
    The IATC provides up-to-date information about international education principles and processes.

Charges for this Course


The IATC is delivered online free of charge via this website, in a self-paced modular format. For access, please register for the IATC (registration is free of charge). Related testing and assessment sessions take place at ICEF events and in conjunction with selected industry events and locations around the world. Participants who complete the IATC assessment successfully will be issued with a certificate, certifying them as ICEF Trained Agent Counsellors (ITAC).

All courses have extensive study materials available. You can purchase the course eBook for €25 – which is a useful resource for counsellors.

Pre-requisites for this Course

There are no qualifications or specific language requirements to the IATC. However, English proficiency equivalent to an IELTS score of 5.0 (or TOEFL PBT 500/TOEFL iBT 61) is advisable for English as a Second Language readers.

Specific Information on this Course

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:

Focus Questions: These are at the beginning of each lesson and prepare the student for the information contained in it.

Extension Questions: 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.

Activities: 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.

Santiago Alias
Director of International Relations and Business Development
ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering

Antonio Anadon

Muhammad Anis Ur Rehman
Manager International Development
Asia Pacific University College of Technology and Innovation (UCTI)

Patrick Baker
General Manager
Institute of Applied Learning
New Zealand

Brunella Belluomini
Language Data Bank

José Carlos Hauer Santos
Student Travel Bureau

Mauro Bondi
Managing Director
Emerald Cultural Institute

Christopher Bunn
International Development Officer
Groupe Sup de Co La Rochelle

Antonello Cappitta
European Institute of Education

Ronald Cushing
Director – UC International Services
University of Cincinnati

John Deupree
Executive Director

Richard Ferrin
President & CEO
World Education Group

Jose Flores
Prime Education / King’s Group

Res Helfer
Brandon College

Andrew Hutchinson
Prime Education / King’s Group

Jonathan Kolber

Hilka Leicht
General Manager
IEC Online

Mark Lucas
Managing Director
iAE Global

Marilyn Martin
Associate Director of Admissions
Ridley College

Rob McKay
Managing Director
CCEL – Christchurch College of English
New Zealand

Marion Moore
Director Marketing and External Relations
The Centre for Macquarie English (CME)

Andy Nicol
Network Director

Victor Rao
General Manager
Global Reach

Andrea Romer
Director, Senior Manager of International Development
Swiss Education Group

Oleg Stepanenko
Students International

Charles Sun

William Trevillien
Beijing WZT Overseas Education & Consulting Service

Kasia Tyrybon
Coordinator European Affairs
Education Promotion Department
The Netherlands

Jonathan Weller
Director of International Admissions
University of Cincinnati

Course participants who pass this formal test will earn the designation of ICEF Trained Agent Counsellor (ITAC) and will have their name, photo and company details including website listed on icef.com.

In a further recognition of this professional standing, all graduates will also be included in the Qualified Education Agents App (QEA) for smartphones produced by ICEF and PIER containing the names of over 9 000 qualified agents worldwide – a valuable resource for educators looking for expert agencies!

The designation of ICEF Trained Agent Counsellor (ITAC) does not require participation at an ICEF Event, nor are the agents vetted or required to provide partner references to complete training and testing.

Information about our recognition programme and Agency screening for ICEF Events can be found here:



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 event. If you are planning to attend an event, please send us an email to reserve your place as soon as possible. You do not necessarily need to be registered for an ICEF event 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 training@icef.com 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 event, 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.

We consider agency training programmes an absolute must. Due to our company's policy, senior counsellors have to complete the ICEF Agent Training Course (IATC), as it provides not only understanding of the overall market, but teaches to research, analyse changing environments and adapt to them. We have found solutions in training, semi-/webinars and a range of discussions with our partners from overseas.
Anna Korobkova, TravelWorks, Russia

I am glad to have the opportunity to be a certified ITAC, as it gives me a better understanding about the international market and how to deal with students in a more effective way. I would recommend the test to all agents and their staff members.
Mayssa Khomsi, Worldwide Studies, Tunisia

I have been involved in international education industry for 6 years and have gained lots of experience and knowledge in this particular field. I found out ITAC test to be up to date with relevant information from which agents could greatly benefit in dealing with different kind of situations of significant importance. I am very pleased that I had opportunity to take on a test and to become an ICEF Trained Agent Counsellor.
Aleksandr Feldmanas, Kalba.lt, Lithuania

I think that the ICEF Agent Training Course is great! It has enabled me to provide the best possible counselling to my students, to deal with education institutions more effectively and to promote my agency.
Rajan Godar, Alight Group of Consultants, Nepal

The information in the IATC which I learned was very new and beneficial. I can now definitely say that I have a better understanding of educational counseling.
Mustafa Wshyar Abdullah, Rony Company, Iraq

I recommend the IATC, even for experienced counsellors. It is an excellent tool that helps to organize your knowledge properly and sometimes gives you fresh ideas on what else you can do to improve your service to the students. I also appreciate the training programme because of its strong emphasis on work ethics of educational counselling. This is a very important aspect of the cooperation between students and educational institutions.
Paulina Pietrzak, JPEdukacja - Jezyki Podroze Edukacja, Poland

We are trying to make our agency one of the most reputable worldwide. Hand by hand with ICEF, i am sure we will be top notch. My team is so excited about the fact that they became ITAC's. The IATC course was very useful for them to gain new skills, and to learn what being an academic student counselor is about. Hopefully by the end of 2013, we will have more than 10 student counselors accredited by ICEF.
George Michael Farha, iMaster, Lebanon

For those in the industry, the IATC Test is pretty self-explanatory as it reinforces the core values that we currently work under. The IATC Test has served as a tool to reassure institutions, seeking to be represented in Bolivia, that we are committed to our students and are above all ethical. We applaud the initiative and hope agents around the world will embrace not only the test itself, but also everything it represents.
Oscar Del Rio, Minerva Consultores Académicos, Bolivia

Before undertaking the ICEF Agent Training Course I had a very different outlook on how to be a successful agent. Studying the course immediately helped me to be more confident about what I was doing and what I should do next! ICEF has helped me to become a great agent, a better manager and additionally, a great motivation for our entire business. During the final IATC exam I went back through what I had learnt, and analyzed how I had used that in my work. I used those examples as my exam answers and successfully passed the test. It is now clear to me that thanks to the IATC I am on the right path for my clients.
Azimjon Khusanov, RIKS Education Centre, Uzbekistan

The ICEF Agents Training Course was an invaluable tool for me and our agency. The preparation for the test is an eye-opener for beginners and experienced agents alike. Personally, I was able to understand what international education is really about and the ITAC accreditation became a reference and an important marketing tool for our agency. Our aim at English Experience Intercâmbios is to encourage all our agents to become accredited ITACs , and consequently, better students counsellors.
Ivan Tagliaferro, English Experience, Brazil

I believe that it was comprehensive and detailed. I have received valuable knowledge from the course, and I am extremely pleased that I took the course. I feel that I am now better prepared and more knowledgeable in the areas that matter. Lastly, I am already seeing results. Within the first day of having my company’s profile on your website, I have already received several enquiries from different institutions.
Abbas Reda, iMaster, Lebanon

I think to say that ICEF Agent Training Course is very important for any student counsellor. It doesn't matter how experienced you are in this business, you are still learning new things in this comprehensive course. I already have certificates from UK Education and Australian Education. However, IATC is international course that works for any student counsellor sending students for any destination in the world! Thanks for ICEF!
Ayman Abdelhafez, Sindibad Education Consultancy, Saudi Arabia

The IATC exam helped me increase my knowledge about the field, improving my ability to counsel my students; the certification that I received confirms and promotes my expertise, experience, and authority – giving me greater confidence when dealing with students and schools.
Shadi Musallam, Bridge International for Academic Services, Jordan

After four years working as a study abroad co-ordinator, I feel quite experienced and confident promoting language courses abroad and working with our partner schools. When I got the opportunity to try the IATC course, I quickly realised it was really helpful and interesting, giving me new views. After I studied the whole course, I passed the test. Thank you!
Alena Aichlmanova, Channel Crossings s.r.o., Czech Republic

I really benefited from this course: I learned useful information about education systems in various countries; I also gained knowledge about the procedures and protocols followed by educational organisations around the world. This material will allow me to guide prospective students towards their goals successfully.
Tarek Moustafa Abdalla, EgyTEFL Organization, Egypt

The IATC Agent Training Course material was very thorough, covering so many important topics. The practice assessment tests were also very beneficial, as they give a good insight of the style of questions and structure of the formal exam.
Sara Abdulla, Al Mawred Education Services, Bahrain

I am very pleased to have studied for the exam. You get a very good overview of the business. And if in the future ICEF offered some more training courses, I would definitely consider them. Continuous training is important for competitiveness.
Pepa Ferrer Climent-Pallarés, Overseas Education Adviser, Spain

I am truly honoured that I could take the IATC test and become an ICEF trained agent. It means a lot to me personally, and also our company. Having this qualification will be extremely beneficial.
Yalda Ghobadi, Afkar Novin IRP, Iran

I am very pleased to have completed the IATC and with great results. I am sure that this success will reflect positively in my educational business.
Motaz Refaat, International Travel & Tourism, Qatar

The ICEF agent training program has introduced me to the heart of the field, broadened my perspective of international education and prepared me for better planning and better communication among agents and education providers.
Zohra Ghenname, Labib Tours, Algeria

It was a great experience to take the IATC test: this test covers almost every aspect of the educational agent profession; and the qualification it confers is recognised by most universities and colleges.
Mr Zahoor Elahi, Financial Training Institute (FTI), Pakistan

I found the materials of the training course extremely helpful as they gave me a different insight into other aspects of communication with partners and participants. Although we feel confident in the knowledge of the programs we promote, I am really happy I was able to pass the test successfully and it is a great asset to our company's quality. Thank you ICEF.
Daniela Medarska, Kontext Au Pair and Student Ltd, Macedonia

The IATC is an excellent tool that brings together our experience as agents and the theory associated with administration of studies abroad. The training has established a high standard work ethics for study counsellors. It explains and simplifies our duties and our rights regarding relationships with the educational institutions and legal factors around the world. I recommend this training to any agent – whether he/she is very experienced or not.
Shira Eisenberg, Campus Studies Ltd, Israel