Counselor Certification

ELS Counselor Certification

ELS Counselor Certification

The ELS Counselor Certification is a worldwide standard of measure that identifies counselors most able to research and recommend programs, destinations and study plans tailored to help students achieve their English and academic goals.


ELS provides counselors with a comprehensive online reference tool, ELS SuperServiceTM, that details ELS Language Centers programs, locations and services. For counselors who also advise students for university admissions, ELS has developed the site to research higher education in the extensive ELS University Conditional Admission Network (UCAN). This website presents information about the UCAN specific degree programs, locations and admission requirements. With these tools, ELS counselors can represent both ELS and our university network accurately and provide students with a full spectrum of possibilities to match the student’s needs.

Building on their years of experience training counselors around the world, our ELS Recruitment and Partner Support staff have created a standard training course for our network of counselors worldwide to build proficiency in using our online reference tools.

  • Level One: ELS Language Centers
  • Level Two: Undergraduate Pathways
  • Level Three: Graduate Pathways

The training modules for each level are online, available to currently employed counselors of ELS Authorized Agents, and offer comprehensive support for the counselor mastering the complex sets of information at each level.

Our goal is to ensure that counselors around the globe can access and utilize pertinent information about ELS’s broad and deep array of locations and UCAN institutions throughout the United States.

Importantly the training program contributes to the increasing professionalization of the counselor’s role in international education.


In order to confirm counselors’ mastery of the ELS information and research tools, ELS administers the ELS Counselor Certification Assessment upon completion of each level.

The Assessment is administered in person by an ELS staff person to ensure the integrity of the administration and the security of the test instrument.

The test development process was guided by third-party psychometricians who specialize in credentialing assessments. As part of this process all test items undergo formal statistical analysis and the administration of the Assessment is reviewed for statistical reliability. The certification Pass / No Pass score is determined by utilizing the Modified Angoff Process, an internationally recognized means of setting threshold scores for purposes of certification.

The ELS Counselor’s Role

From English language acquisition objectives to university admissions to career goals, ELS counselors have years of experience in helping students achieve success. ELS counselors will guide students through the Center-selection process, help identify a program that satisfies all goals, and work with students to complete their application and gather all immigration documents.

As of April 2014 all three levels of training modules have been live, online and available to ELS counselors worldwide.

As of December 2014, the Assessment for Level One: ELS Language Centers Certification has been launched in all key countries, with some 650 counselors assessed. The Assessment Level Two: Undergraduate Pathways has undergone a beta test pilot and subsequently launched in Korea.

As Certification for each level has a validity period of three years, the first counselors to be certified in our Level One launch period are now preparing for recertification beginning in January 2015.

To date the Pass rate of counselors on the Assessments is approximately 70 percent.

Certification records of the counselors reside in our corporate intranet. When a counselor leaves the employ of his or her agency, the counselor’s access to the tools is terminated and certification automatically terminates as well. Counselors who become employed by another agency must recertify after a 1-year period of ineligibility. The validity period of each level is 3 years, renewable upon passing a new Certification Assessment.