1. What is PIER?
Professional International Education Services is an established brand and division of International Education Services ltd, a Brisbane based not-for profit education provider. PIER is committed to high standards in education and training for individuals working in international education, management of online resources and international education quality.
- The Diploma of International Education Services
- The Education Agent Training Course (EATC)
- PIER Media: videocasts and short courses
- Targeted workshops for networks and education providers
Products and services
- PIER Agency Finder
- Education Agent Forum
- PIER Blog
- PIER Virtual: innovative online learning
- PIER Resource Library
- Daily News service
- Subscription service
- PIER Update online
- Software services and support
2. Who is IES Limited?
International Education Services Ltd (IES) is a not-for-profit RTO, of which PIER is a division. IES is the registered provider of the PIER courses.
As the registered training organisation that provides The University of Queensland Foundation Year, IES has significant experience in the field of international education.
In the development of PIER, IES acknowledges support and advice from:
- The Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
- The Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
- ISANA: International Education Association
and representatives from all educational sectors who specialise in international education.
3. Who can study the EATC?
The EATC is specifically aimed at Education Agents who counsel and refer students to study in Australia. Whether you work for an education recruitment agency, have your own company, or would like to work as an Education Agent, the EATC will allow you to gain a nationally recognised qualification in International Education in Australia.
4. How do I become a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor?
To become a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor you will need to undertake the EATC Formal Assessment. The Certificate is awarded once an individual has completed the 80 minute test, comprising of 50 multiple choice questions. The Formal Assessment is an online test taken at various testing centres globally.
While registration and access to the online learning materials within the EATC are free, individuals pay an AUD$400 fee to take the formal assessment. This fee can be paid once a booking has been made for the formal assessment. Please be aware that cancellation fees will apply if you book a formal assessment test and do not attend, subject to the discretion of PIER/IES.
5. How do I register for the EATC?
Registration into the EATC is free; you simply need to fill in the online registration form by clicking on the "Sign into EATC" button on the Welcome page. You cannot access the EATC learning materials without completing this online form.
6. What is the cost of the PIER EATC course?
There is no cost to access the information and materials of the EATC; interested participants simply need to fill in an online registration form at the EATC website. The cost of the EATC formal assessment is AUD$400.
That is, participants pay not when registering for the EATC but at the time that they book the formal assessment; this may be 1 week, 5 months or one year after registering for the EATC (the course is self-paced).
7. How is the EATC being delivered?
The EATC is delivered online via this website containing readings, a web-portal with links to related resources, self-assessment tasks (often in the form of case studies), and self-paced tutorial exercises including self-monitoring multiple-choice questions.
8. How long will the EATC take to complete?
This will depend on the users’ experience. The nominal duration is around 50 hours of reading the study material for an individual with basic functional competency in the English language (approximately IELTS 5.5), who has no knowledge of the international education environment prior to commencing the course.
For individuals who have been working in the industry for some time, the time to digest the readings, website materials and tutorials may be much less.
9. How is the EATC being tested?
The Qualified Education Agent Counsellor Certificate can be gained if individuals undertake and pass the Formal Assessment, in the form of 50 multiple-choice questions. The test is open book, so participants are able to access any information they would like when taking the assessment; with the exception of communicating with another person. The passmark for the test is 80%.
The test is undertaken online at centres listed on the EATC website. The Certificate of Completion is awarded to the individual who undertakes the test, and not to a company or organisation.
The Formal Assessment of the EATC is offered at different places around the world. Check the EATC Formal Assessment site for further information.
10. What happens when I finish the Formal Assessment?
At the end of the formal assessment test, you will be given your result on the screen and an email will be sent to you to inform you whether you "pass" or "did not pass".
If you "pass", your Certificate of Completion will be attached to the email sent to you after the test. You will also be listed as a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor(QEAC) on the QEAC website. The QEAC database is used as a tool by students, parents, education providers and government staff to confirm if an agent has succesfully completed the EATC formal assessment test.
Those individuals who complete the formal assessment and "did not pass" will be able to take the test again; the exam fee is payable each time the individual is undertaking the formal assessment.
It is important to note that the person setting up the test for you - the invigilator - does not have any more information than the person sitting the test regarding the questions and answers of the test. If you have any questions, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. Do I have to do the EATC formal assessment again?
It is highly recommended for every participant to refresh their knowledge by reading through the online material and submit all self-assessments on an annual basis.
If you have specific questions about your QEAC status, please contact the EATC Team at email@example.com.
12. What benefit does gaining this qualification give me?
Aside from the skills learnt in undertaking the course, the Certificate of Completion is an evidence to your students that you are professional in your role. An agency that encourages staff to participate in the training will lift their overall skills-set and profile. This may provide a competitive advantage and could lead to increased demand for their expertise.
A list of qualified education agent counsellors and the agencies they work for is displayed on the Qualified Education Agent Counsellor site; this can be a very useful marketing tool in establishing your bone fides to both students and institutions.
13. What happens if I received a "Did not pass" message at the end of the test?
If at the end of the test you received a "Did not pass" message, you need to undertake the Formal Assessment again by booking another test session, and after confirmation by the invigilation centre, paying the AUD$400.00 test fee.
14. What is the background of the EATC?
In 2003 AEI commenced work to completely rebuild their previous training course called the ‘Aussie Education Specialist’ with the objective of updating and professionalising the training of their education agents. An Agents Training Steering Committee was set up with members from the Australian international education industry. Members were asked to assist AEI by providing directions in relation to content and development of the course.
15. What is the role of AEI, Austrade, DIAC and the Australian Government?
Supporting agents by providing training and professional development has been a high priority for AEI, as this is an important component of the quality assurance of Australia’s international education industry. AEI, part of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), has been working on this support for many years across many different avenues, and continues to provide expertise and support to develop the EATC with IES.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) also consults on this project with AEI, as representatives of the Australian Government.
As of 1 July 2010, Austrade took over several roles of AEI, including:
- Provide information and tailored research about Education Agents to Australian education providers.
- Advise education agents seeking to represent Australian education providers, including referral advice to education agent training programs.
16. Who has been consulted in the making of this course?
In 2003 AEI commenced work to totally rebuild the Australian specialist training course with the objective of updating and professionalising the training. An Agents Training Consultative Committee was formed with membership from Industry, including:
- English Australia
- TAFE Directors Australia
- Universities Australia (formerly known as AVCC)
- The Independent Schools Council.
Members were asked to assist AEI by providing directions in relation to content and development of the course.
IES conducted pilots in November 2005 in Sydney and Melbourne with a total of 43 participants, representing education agents and Industry peak bodies. The participants contributed to lively discussions about the nature of an agent’s work and provided a wealth of feedback to assist the curriculum developers in the fine-tuning of the course. Similar pilots have been held at offshore locations from March 2006, beginning in Beijing, China, and in New Delhi, India, in May 2006.
17. What further training can I undertake?
A suite of programs in International Education Services was formally accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework in early 2005. These qualifications provide for employees entering the industry in a range of work roles, and create learning and career pathways for individuals already working in the field.
From July 2006 onwards, the Diploma of International Education Services has been offered on-line including elective specialisations relevant to marketing, client service, transnational delivery and financial management in international education. This program is relevant to all individuals working within international education. Further information is available at www.pieronline.org.
18. What are the minimum system requirements for the PIER site?
An internet enabled and connected computer with an up-to-date web browser, Adobe Reader and a Flash Player program installed (PIER recommends using Adobe Flash Player).
Minimum system requirements:
|Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz or faster processor (or equivalent)||
PowerPC® G3 500MHz or faster processor
Intel Core™ Duo 1.33GHz or faster processor
|800MHz or faster processor|
|128MB of RAM||128MB of RAM||512MB of RAM, 128MB of graphics memory|
Click here for free Adobe Reader download.
Click here for free Adobe Flash Player download.
19. How do I change my details in my profile?
To change your work details or upload your photo/logo, you will need to sing into the Counsellor Dashboard at http://counsellordashboard.com/ with your PIER registered email address and password.
20. How do I set up an education agency (in or outside Australia)?
There are two fundamental documents everyone who works in international education must be aware of, and act according to. These are:
In addition to the above, migration and education agents are provided further information on
21. What is the PIER Agency Finder? How is it different from the Counsellor Dashboard?
PIER Agency Finder (pierapps.com) provides Education Providers with a set of tools to enable them to manage their recruiting agencies. These agencies can be presented in both an interactive map and detailed listing, which can be easily placed on the Institution's own website.
Why do we need it?
The ESOS Amendment Act (subsection 21A) which came into effect Thursday, 3 June 2010 requires all Australian education providers listed on CRICOS to provide a searchable list of their recruiting Agencies. The online location of this information must be readily accessible to students and regulators and must include the agency name, name of principal agent, legal entity and street address. PIER Agency Finder will help organisations easily meet this new requirement at no cost.
The Counsellor Dashboard
The Counsellor Dashboard (http://counsellordashboard.com) is an online tool designed specifically for Education Agents to manage their Branch Office profile that appears in the PIER Agency Finder.
22. What is an education agent? What’s the difference between an education agent and a migration agent?
Education agents require specific knowledge of the Australian education and training system (AQTF), programs offered by education institutions, the regulations and legislation governing the international student program (ESOS Act and the National Code), as well as skills in advising young people seeking to study - as distinct from migrating - on student visas. Education agents usually work under contract to education providers, who are responsible for their agent’s conduct and advice to students.
In Australia, education agents may not offer any migration advice by law, so business partnerships between migration and education agents are quite common.