Certified Agency Membership

What are the Benefits of AIRC Certification?

  • By successfully completing the AIRC Certification process, agencies validate for US Institutions that AIRC Certified Agencies follow best practice.
  • Educational professionals around the world recognize AIRC Certification.
  • Agency members contribute to the AIRC learning community of recruiting professionals and are thought leaders.
  • AIRC creates opportunities to network with institutions in a professional environment.
  • The AIRC certification process is similar to leading management consulting exercises at a fraction of the cost.
  • AIRC Certified Agencies can promote to parents and students that the agency meets US standards.
  • AIRC Certified agencies follow continuous improvement methodologies.
  • AIRC Certified agency members are eligible to run for election to serve on the AIRC Board of Directors.
  • AIRC Certified agency members may serve on AIRC committees and help set AIRC policy and contribute to AIRC Standards.

When we decided to form Access American Education, LLC (AAE) in 2008, our overriding goal was to do well and do good at the same time. We quickly learned that AIRC had recently been formed to professionalize an industry which had little legitimacy in the United States. Upon reading the AIRC standards, and learning about the certification process, we decided to organize our company, from day one, to be AIRC compliant. All systems and operations put in place at AAE have taken AIRC standards into account. AIRC’s attention to ethics and transparent business practice has been a fantastic roadmap for us in our earliest days, and continue to be core to our business. Our AIRC certification has opened many doors for us, even at institutions that are not members and were hesitant to use our services. AIRC certification is an indication of significant commitment and quality. Our hope is that institutions will, in time, make AIRC certification a pre-requisite for business, since our certification protects their interests, as well as those of the students.

Brad Wertheimer
Managing Member
Access American Education, LLC 


More About AIRC Certification

AIRC™ Certification attests to the quality determined upon an external review of a recruiting agency which meets the AIRC™ Certification Standards for a designated period of time of no more than five years.  The AIRC™ Certification process follows global practice for quality assurance processes and consists of :
  •     A background check of the agency and its owners to determine
        any financial or ethical irregularities
  •     A vote by the AIRC Certification agency review committee
        to advance applicants to undergo certification
  •     A self study of agency operations based on the AIRC™ Certification Standards. (The Standards are also available in Chinese.)
  •     An external review of one or more offices as determined
        are appropriate and necessary
  •     A Call for Comments from the public on applicant agencies
  •     A review of all records and vote by an independent certification
        commission comprised of U.S. institutional members and
        education professionals.

Click here to watch a presentation about the Certification process.

Agency Certification Eligibility

AIRC Certification is intended for agencies (including organizations and companies), located both inside and outside the U.S., which recruit international students to accredited post-secondary programs or institutions anywhere in the world and who either have already recruited for U.S. programs or institutions or intend to do so.

For the purposes of AIRC membership and certification, an agency is defined as an organization, company or association that recruits and places students into accredited colleges, universities and other educational institutions on a commercial 'fee for service' basis. The term 'fee for services' refers to any payment made by an institution or an individual student applicant to an agency for services related to the counseling advice, application process and acceptance into a course or program in an educational institution. Individuals that provide placement services but have not established a company or individuals within an agency, including but not limited to shareholders, owners, directors, counselors and other staff are not eligible for AIRC certification or membership.

At the time of application for AIRC Certification, agencies are required to have been in the student recruitment business for two years, and have a successful record of placing students in accredited post-secondary programs or institutions. The date of first student placement must have been at least 18 months before the AIRC application is made.

Agencies must have a record of placing at least 25 students total before applying for AIRC certification. Agencies that are at least two years old but have placed between 25 and 50 students in accredited post-secondary programs or institutions may apply for AIRC Certification, however they may be awarded conditional certification until they have a more substantial record of student placements.

Agencies which have a successful record (at least two years of placement of at least 25 students) of placing students at U.S. accredited secondary schools only, and that intend to use this experience for recruiting students for the U.S. post-secondary programs and institutions, are also eligible to apply for AIRC certification.

A sub-agent is a person employed or contracted by the agency to transact the whole, or part of the student recruitment process.

A franchisee is an individual or company which licenses the rights to use an agent company’s trademarked name and business model to conduct business.

Agencies that engage sub-agents for part of the recruitment process or agencies that franchise their operations are eligible for certification. The agency applying for certification will be accountable for actions of the sub-agents and franchisees and any others working on behalf of the agency once AIRC certification is achieved.

The awarding of AIRC certification does not convey to sub-agents. Sub-agents may apply for AIRC certification independently.

The awarding of AIRC certification does convey to a franchisee of the agency provided the franchisee uses the agent company’s trademarked name and business model to conduct business.

An applicant agency is ineligible for certification if it or any principal or material owner thereof has been convicted of fraud or has pleaded no contest or guilty in a criminal proceeding or has been adjudged to have committed fraud in a civil proceeding within the last seven (7) years.

The AIRC™ Certification process is described in detail in the Certification Process and Standards Manual.

An external review of one or more offices as determined are appropriate and necessary. Read about our External Reviewers here.

Start the application process now!


“After going through the certification process, I am confident that AIRC as an organization will create unique benchmarks of performance in the international student recruitment business. The process is innovative, visionary and fulfills a great need in the market. It was challenging to view [ourselves] from an external perspective.” Sonya Singh, SIEC Global

Additional Questions About AIRC Certification

What does AIRC Certification Cost?

The fee for the AIRC Certification Process is U.S. $10,000, with payments at different points as follows:

1) Payment at Application – U.S. $2,000 non-refundable and paid upon submission of Application.

2) Payment at Approval to Undergo Certification – U.S. $5,000 non-refundable and paid PRIOR to Certification upon acceptance of the application to continue with the certification process. (In addition, Agencies pay the cost of the external review-including airfare for the reviewer, hotel, and meals. AIRC reserves the right to send an additional external reviewer at the agency’s expense for agencies with multiple offices worldwide.)

3) Payment Upon Certification – Upon notice of Certification, new members pay a first year membership fee of U.S. $3,000.

After the first year of membership, Certified agencies pay the annual membership fee. The membership fee is based on the number of students placed globally annually: 

Certified Agencies – Annual Membership Fee

U.S. $2,000 - Small Agencies(Placing fewer than 500 students globally annually – based on the previous calendar year – January through December)
U.S. $4,000 - Large Agencies(Placing 500 or more students globally annually - based on the previous calendar year – January through December)

Will information I provide be Confidential? 
All information provided to AIRC remains confidential within the Certification process. All External reviewers, staff, and members of the Board of Directors and Certification Board are required to sign non disclosure agreements prohibiting the sharing of any information about an agency applicant, correspondence, or deliberations regarding Certification.