Certified Travel Counsellor (CTC) Certification

Introduction

Certified Travel Counsellor (CTC) Certification is based on an individual’s ability to perform the knowledge and performance tasks required to meet travel industry expectations for employment. These tasks are defined in the Occupational Standards for Travel Counselling that were developed in conjunction with the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) using the emerit™ brand.

The Occupational Standards are broken down into 4 major categories – each of which identifies general activities within the occupation. These categories are:

  1. Professionalism
  2. Operations
  3. Client Service and Sales
  4. Travel Products



Costs for CTC Certification


CERTIFICATION FEES MAKE THIS YEAR YOUR YEAR TO BECOME CERTIFIED!

ACTA Members

Pay in full at time of enrollment for special rate of $225.00 + GST or HST.
If you wish to pay in steps, here are the fees:

  • Exam fee: $150.00+ GST or HST
  • Administration cost for Performance Evaluation and Industry Experience Reports: $150.00 + GST or HST
  • Total cost for CTC CERTIFICATION FOR STEP-BY-STEP: $300.00+ GST or HST


Non-ACTA Members

Pay in full at time of enrollment for special rate of $375.00 + GST or HST.
If you wish to pay in steps, here are the fees:

  • Enrollment fee: $100.00 + GST or HST
  • Exam fee: $150.00+ GST or HST
  • Administration cost for Performance Evaluation and Industry Experience Reports: $150.00 + GST or HST
  • Total cost for CTC CERTIFICATION FOR STEP-BY-STEP: $400.00 + GST or HST


Students: ACTA Members and Endorsed Colleges:

Pay in full at time of enrollment for special discounted rate of $195.00 + GST or HST.
If you wish to pay in steps, here are the fees:

  • Exam fee: $125.00+ GST or HST
  • Administration cost for Performance Evaluation and Industry Experience Reports: $150.00 + GST or HST
  • Total cost for CTC CERTIFICATION FOR STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS: $275.00+ GST or HST

Students: ACTA Endorsed Colleges:

Pay in full at time of enrollment for special rate of $225.00 + GST or HST.
If you wish to pay in steps, here are the fees:

  • Enrollment fee: waived
  • Exam fee: $125.00+ GST or HST
  • Administration cost for Performance Evaluation and Industry Experience Reports: $175.00 + GST or HST
  • Total cost for CTC CERTIFICATION FOR STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS: $300.00+ GST or HST

Students from Non-Endorsed Colleges:

Pay in full at time of enrollment for special rate of $280.00 + GST or HST.
If you wish to pay in steps, here are the fees:

  • Exam fee: $150.00+ GST or HST.
  • Administration cost for Performance Evaluation and Industry Experience Reports: $175.00.
  • Total cost for CTC CERTIFICATION FOR STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS: $325.00+ GST or HST

4 Steps to CTC Certification:


  1. Enroll for Certification
  2. Successfully write and complete a 125 question CTC Knowledge Exam
  3. Obtain *1800 hours of relevant travel industry experience – *ACTA will deduct 180 hours after candidate graduates from a travel school program
  4. Performance Evaluation completion by agency owner/ manager


1. Enroll for Certification

If you wish to enroll, please e-mail certification@acta.ca. There is a choice to purchase either a bundle package or pay step by step.

2. Successfully write and complete a 125 multiple choice question CTC Knowledge Exam

General Exam Breakdown

Supervised (proctored) setting
125 multiple choice questions
5% on Section A: Professionalism
30% on Section B: Operations
50% on Section C: Client Service and Sales
15% on Section D: Travel Products
You have 4 hours to complete the test.

What to expect on the Knowledge Exam

Examples include:

  • Destination information (map work)
  • Definitions
  • General travel product
  • Reading & interpreting product information
  • Price calculations

When and Where Can You Write the Exam?

The CTC exam is an online exam that must be booked in advance – you choose the date and time! Exams can be scheduled on any day as long as the registration and proctor application forms are submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the exam date being requested. Please note there will not be any technical support available for exams scheduled outside of regular business hours. If you attend an ACTA Endorsed Travel Program, your school may offer this test as an "exam on demand," please check with your instructor.

Who Qualifies to Proctor the Exam?

Proctor application form and guidelines.
All proctors must be approved by ACTA.
Proctor forms must be submitted with exam registration
Candidates are required to complete the proctor form and submit it to ACTA, a minimum of 14 days prior to the exam date. The only exception to this requirement is for students who are writing at their travel program as an exam on demand – where the instructor has already set up the exam arrangements.

Passing the Knowledge Exam

All online exams are computer scored and verified.
Scores within a few points of the passing mark are automatically verified and hand scored for accuracy.

How Does ACTA Determine The Exam Pass Mark?

Each exam has a unique passing score. This is because exams are created by assembling a random group of questions from a larger bank of questions. Each question has been reviewed and rated by an expert industry committee to determine how difficult the question is and how likely a travel counsellor is to select the correct answer. Typically the passing score will range from 74 to 76%.

What is the Exam Pass Mark?

If your score is higher than or equal to the exam standard, you will be assigned a pass result; if your score is lower than the standard, you will be assigned a fail result.

Why is the Pass Mark Kept Confidential?

Each exam form has a different exam standard (% pass rate) so that all candidates are treated equally in terms of an exam level of difficulty. Therefore the actual pass mark has no specific bearing other than to determine if the requirement of passing the exam has been met or not met (in the case of a fail). A report of the pass mark would be of no significance since it could not be compared to results from another exam form. However, each candidate can view their score upon completion of their exam.

What Happens If You Fail The Exam?

You may re-write the exam as often as needed. A re-write fee will apply.
Candidates have the right to appeal exam scores. A request to appeal the exam score must be sent to ACTA within 30 days after receiving the exam results.

Knowledge Exam Prep Materials

  • The Study Guide to certification outlines the skills in the occupational standard. You may use the guide to identify areas you may not have been exposed to and attempt to gain more knowledge and/or experience in those areas. $85.00 + shipping and handling+ GST or HST
  • A Prep Guide provides information on how to write a multiple choice exam and includes 25 sample questions. Fee $20.00 + GST or HST. Prep Guide is available at no cost to ACTA members.
  • A Practice Exam is available. Fee $20.00 + GST or HST. Available at no cost to ACTA members.
  • Purchase Prep guide and Practice Exam together for a special price of $35.00 + GST OR HST. Available at no cost to ACTA members.
  • To order Knowledge Exam Prep Material, contact certification@acta.ca

Knowledge Exam Registration

  • To register for your Knowledge Exam please contact certification@acta.ca. The forms are currently under construction and will be made available very soon!
  • The cost for CTC CERTIFICATION includes the enrollment fee, the Knowledge Exam, access to Specialist Programs, reduced member pricing on FAM trips, reduced pricing on in the ACTA online bookstore, and additional benefits as highlighted on the ACTA website.


For detailed information on the CTC certification process please contact certification@acta.ca

3. Occupational Experience

Required: 1800 hours. *180 hours will be deducted for students who have graduated from a travel school program. 1800 hours must include relevant, recent travel industry experience (up to one year prior to enrollment). Candidates must supply acceptable records as proof that this requirement has been met. Proof of experience may include: pay slips / Record of Employments (ROEs), letters of employment.
If you have completed any supplier training approved by ACTA, you can apply hours to reduce your occupational experience by 450 hours.* 450 includes the 180 deducted upon graduation. Included in supplier training are supplier specialist programs, webinars, product launches, training sessions and FAM trips. Applied hours for each event are set by ACTA.

Complete the Tracking Sheet for occupational experience. Also see the Credit Hours for your review.

Verification of Occupational Experience

ACTA will review the proof you provide to determine if it is acceptable and considered relevant. The fee to process this requirement is included with the cost of the Performance Evaluation.

4. Performance Evaluation

The performance evaluation is a test of your skill on the job. The evaluation observes a selected range of skills primarily dealing with sales & communication and is completed by the office manager or supervisor.

Performance evaluation forms must be ordered by the supervisor or manager doing the evaluation.
CTC Performance-Evalution-Request-Form 2016 (PDF document)


If you purchased the CTC bundle, you simply need to e-mail the completed performance evaluation documents to certification@acta.ca.

If you paid step by step, you are required to pay performance evaluation fee of $150.00 plus tax before submitting your documents.

5. Maintain CTC/CTM Designation

In order to maintain your designation, you are required to renew your CTC/CTM on an annual basis. For more information on certified membership – please consult the membership area of the ACTA website.

EXAM DATE CHANGE

A change in the scheduled exam date may be made for an administration fee of $25.00 + tax. Advance notice must be given.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What are my choices for becoming certified in the travel industry?

There are two certifications available for travel industry professionals. Certified Travel Counsellor (CTC) is available for front line industry professionals who sell travel. Certified Travel Manager (CTM) is for supervisors and managers wanting to earn a professional designation. Five years of industry experience which includes two in a manager/supervisor position is one of the requirements for CTM.

How long does it generally take to complete the program?

Once enrolled, candidates have up to two years to complete the program. Experienced counsellors may take less than a year as they already have the 1800 hours of work experience required.

Are all steps mandatory in order to become certified?

Yes. Representatives of the travel industry have determined what occupational standards items are best assessed by certain methods. Since only a portion of the standard is assessed through the Knowledge Exam (for example), there can be no exemptions.

Must the steps be completed in the order presented?

It is strongly recommended that you follow the process as laid out on the website. Experienced counsellors may be completing several steps at the same time.

How can I enroll to become certified?

Enrollment is a simple process. E-Mail us at certification@acta.ca.

Once we receive your request for enrollment we will begin the process for you and send you the information that you need to get you on your way.

How much does it cost to earn the CTC designation?

The total cost for the bundle package for ACTA Members is $225.00 plus tax and for non ACTA Members the bundle package fee is $375.00 plus tax. You also have the option to pay step-by-step for the CTM program. For a detailed breakdown of the fees, please refer to the section “Costs for CTC Certification” found on our website, http://acta.ca/travel-counsellor-certification

Once I’m enrolled, can I cancel and get a refund?

Yes, provided that the exam has not been booked, ACTA will refund you the entire amount less a $25 (plus tax) admin fee for any cancellations made within 10 days of your enrollment. If cancellations are made outside of the 10 days, there is a cancellation fee of $100 plus tax. Please note that scheduled exams and workbooks are non-refundable.

Knowledge Exam

Once I am enrolled how do I register to write my exam?

Exams must be booked at least two weeks in advance. Choose the date and time that you want to write your exam and email the information to certification@acta.ca. You must also submit your proctor’s application form at this time for approval.

Can I write a paper-based exam?

No, the exam is only available in an online format.

How do I prepare for the exam?

For the Knowledge Exam there are several tools available including: Study Guide, *Practice Exam and Prep Guide. Candidates may also review the National Occupational Standards for Travel Counsellors (available for purchase in both PDF and hard copy). To order preparation material, please email us at certification@acta.ca. *For ACTA Members as well as students and instructors from Endorsed Schools: the Prep Guide and Practice Exam are included in the bundle package. They will be sent to the candidate immediately upon enrollment.

I have a previous version of the Study Guide. It is still relevant?

It depends. We recommend that you purchase the most recent version. To verify, please email us at certification@acta.ca.

What percentage do I need to pass my exam?

For the Knowledge Exam – pass level is on a “sliding scale” around 72%. Each individual question has its own pass percentage depending on which questions are pulled for the test the pass mark may vary slightly.

How do I know if I’ve passed or failed my exam?

You will receive an email notification from emerit - the exam administrator - within the same business day as completing the exam, letting you know your score is available. To review your exam results, you will need to log on to the emerit website with your username and password that are provided to you by your Proctor on the day of your exam. If you passed, ACTA will send you an official pass letter within 10 business days via email. If you were unsuccessful, ACTA will also officially notify you via email. We recommend that you review the details for a breakdown of your score on the emerit website. This will help you prepare for your next attempt.

If you were unsuccessful, ACTA will officially notify you via email. We recommended you review the details for a breakdown of your score on the emerit website. This will help you prepare for your next attempt.

Can I get a copy of my completed exam?

No, for the security and integrity of our exam process, we do not disclose exam forms. A breakdown of your score will be provided in the exam details found in your emerit profile.

What are my next steps if I fail my exam?

Re-writes for the Knowledge Exam are available for an additional fee of $100 plus tax. Future exam re-write dates should be booked at least two weeks in advance. Once you have set up an exam date, time, venue and Proctor, please email us at certification@acta.ca.

If I’m unable to write my exam, can I reschedule it?

Yes, however, there is a rescheduling fee of $25 plus tax. No rescheduling permitted within 24 hours of the original exam date. Exams cannot be rescheduled without notifying ACTA office during regular business hours: 0900ET to 17:00ET from Monday to Friday.

Do I get a refund if I am a “no-show”?

No, there is no refund if you’re unable to attend the day of your exam.

What if I decide not to write my exam?

Exams are non-refundable.

Can I appeal my score if I do not receive a passing mark?

No, appeals are not accepted. Please note that all exams are computer graded.

If I cannot find a Proctor, how can I write the exam?

Unfortunately, you need to have a Proctor in order to write the exam. A Proctor can be a person from any industry who does not have any conflict of interest with you. For a detailed definition of a Proctor please refer to the second page of the proctor’s application form.

Who pays my Proctor?

ACTA does not pay for a Proctor. Should your Proctor decide to charge a fee, the fee is negotiated between you and your Proctor. A Proctor may wish to supervise your exam without charge as a favor or a goodwill gesture.

Is there anything that I can bring with me to the exam? ie. calculator, pencil,…

Yes, you can bring a battery powered calculator (no cellphone calculators permitted). However, you’re not allowed to bring cell phones, paper, pencils, pens, atlases, dictionaries or food/drinks.

How long is the exam?

The maximum allotted time is 4 hours. You do not have to stay for the entire duration if you complete your exam ahead of time. You may leave as soon as your exam is submitted.

When should I arrive for my exam?

It’s better to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your set exam time. If you arrive late, you will not be given additional time.

What if I arrive late for my exam?

If you are more than 20 minutes late and you are writing in a group setting, you will not be permitted to write your exam. In this case, you will need to notify ACTA immediately and reschedule your exam date for a fee of $25 plus tax.

Can I leave the exam session at any point (ie. for washroom breaks)?

Once the exam starts, you cannot leave the room until you finish. If it’s an emergency, please notify the Proctor.

1800 Hours of Work Experience

At what point should the tracking of my 1800 hours of work experience be submitted?

When you are completing the final administrative procedures required for your CTC, you can submit proof of your hours.

What constitutes the 1800 hours of work experience?

Travel industry experience covers the paths to earning 1800 hours of experience.

What credits are applied for the various training initiatives in the industry?

Please refer to the credit chart. You will note that 1 credit = 1 hour of relevant experience. You can track up to 450 hours. The remaining 1350 hours covers your required work experience.

For students, keep in mind that you can deduct 180 hours from the 1800 hours upon graduating from a travel and tourism program. However, the 180 hours is included within the maximum allowed 450 hours of relevant experience.

How can I track my work experience?

If you’re an experienced agent, you can ask your supervisor to submit an official letter verifying your hours.

I’m new in the industry and I’m working on acquiring my industry experience. How can I track relevant experience (i.e. webinars) in order to submit my hours?

The tracking sheet can be used to help you track your relevant experience.

Can past experience be applied prior to my enrolling in the CTC program?

Yes, you can track your experience earned for one year prior to enrollment. All experience must be directly related to the travel industry.

Performance Evaluation Checklist

How do I get the Performance Evaluation checklist?

You will need to forward the CTC Performance-Evalution-Request-Form 2016 (PDF document) to your supervisor. Once completed, your supervisor needs to submit the forms at certification@acta.ca.

Who does my evaluation?

Your office manager or supervisor. In the case of home based agents, your head office/administration office will assign who your evaluator will be.

Why is the performance checklist necessary?

The performance checklist qualifies the skills necessary to be a travel agent. By completing and submitting the checklist, your manager is verifying that you have the skills necessary to be a certified travel agent.

Completion of Certification

I’ve completed all the steps, now what?

ACTA will send you an official letter confirming your certification via email. Your Regional Manager will then contact you regarding your annual dues for your professional designation. The dues will be prorated according to the effective date of your certification. Once payment is received, you will receive your Certified Travel Counsellor certificate, a CTC pin and full use of your designation!

You will then become a “Certified Member” of ACTA and will be required to maintain your CTC designation via payment of annual dues. Renewal notices will be sent to your home address in November or December of every year.

The following is a list of benefits you can enjoy as a Certified Member of ACTA:

Marketing Positioning and Visibility

  • Eligibility to display the CTC/CTM designation and logo. Make a statement to consumers and the industry about the commitment you made in earning your professional designation.
  • Opportunity to be listed in the ACTA Travel Directory for Certified Professionals working in an ACTA Member Agency.
  • Opportunity to benefit from ACTA’s Strategic Priorities of Promotion of the ACTA Travel Professional with a campaign specifically for Certified Travel Counsellors/Managers.

Representation

  • Opportunity to be elected as a Regional Council Member representing CTC/CTM.
  • Opportunity to be elected to the ACTA Board of Directors representing CTC/CTM on a National level.

Information

  • Receive our bi-weekly electronic newsletter, ACTAVision, keeping you up-to-date on current events and what’s happening in the travel industry.
  • Access the Members Area of our website, which offers more detailed information on the issues ACTA is working on.
  • Receive a complimentary subscription to Canadian Traveller Magazine.
  • Find ACTA on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter providing another alternative to keeping in touch with the industry at all times.

Industry Networking

  • Network with peers at ACTA events including forums, golf tournaments and social functions.
  • Priority space will be extended to Certified Professionals on ACTA Educational FAM trips.

Ongoing Education

  • Access to ACTA On Demand webinars, elearning and live industry webinars facilitated by ACTA.

Discounts

  • Special reduced rates on ACTA Educational FAM trips.
  • PLUS, receive a complimentary ACTA ID Card featuring over 140 partners offering you industry discounts! (subject to meeting the eligibility requirements for all ACTA ID Cardholders)

CAN I CHANGE MY SCHEDULED EXAM DATE/TIME?

A change in the scheduled exam date may be made for an administration fee of $25.00 + tax. Advance notice must be given