Are you aiming to move goods across borders and conduct business on a global level?
Then going through the process to become a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) may be well worth your while.
The CITP designation is offered by the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT), the world leader in import/export training and certification.
You don’t need to be certified to begin an international trade career. But earning your CITP credential is an excellent way to validate your knowledge, boost your professional credibility, and stand out from the pack.
So how do you actually become a CITP? What are the steps involved?
Here’s what you need to do.
1. MEET THE EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
You must earn what’s called a FITT diploma.
If you have relevant work experience or prior education, you can apply to use it as credit toward the diploma.
But if you’re a total beginner, your first step is to enrol in an international trade course from a FITT-approved provider.
Herzing College is an official FITT training partner. The curriculum for our International Commerce & Import/Export program is based on the organization’s standards.
Once you successfully complete your program, you must then pass a series of exams to earn the FITT diploma, as Herzing instructor Karla Perez explains.
“Herzing students have the option to take the FITT exams and become a Certified International Trade Professional.
The material we teach in class is related to the FITT exams, but students also have to do some study on their own to prepare. In total, there are 6 exams to earn the FITT diploma.”
2. GAIN AT LEAST A YEAR OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE EXPERIENCE
To qualify for the CITP designation, you must have at least 12 months of experience working in international trade.
That experience can take many forms. What matters is not your job title, but your actual responsibilities.
For example, you might have worked in a role where you:
☑️ Prepared bills of lading for exporters
☑️ Developed entry strategies for foreign markets
☑️ Helped business banking clients with international financial transactions
☑️ Coordinated international shipments☑️ Created a plan to promote products overseas
Not sure whether what you’ve done qualifies? You can contact FITT directly to ask.
As part of your CITP application, you must submit a detailed resume and provide the names of two references.
3. AGREE TO FOLLOW THE STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT
You must abide by FITT’s code of ethics for international trade professionals.
The code is designed to make sure CITP holders demonstrate both competency and integrity.
For instance, a CITP is required to:
☑️ Respect other people’s beliefs and customs
☑️ Keep information confidential, unless legally required to divulge it
☑️ Use company resources ethically☑️ Communicate truthfully and act in good faith
The code also defines what constitutes a conflict of interest and how a CITP must avoid such situations.
4. PAY THE FEE
To become a Certified International Trade Professional, you have to become a Certified Member of FITT. That comes with a fee of $270 plus tax.
The money gets refunded if your application is not approved.
You must pay the same fee each year in order to maintain your CITP designation.
5. COMPLETE ONGOING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Every CITP is obliged to complete 30 hours of professional development each year to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
Currently, FITT doesn’t specify what counts as professional development. Nor does it have any sort of validation process, so it’s essentially an honour system.
CITP CHANGES ARE COMING FOR 2023
The steps to become a Certified International Trade Professional are set to change a bit as FITT adapts its process to qualify for ISO 17024 accreditation.
Starting in 2023:
☑️ Anyone who wants to become a CITP must pass an exam, no matter how much education or work experience they have.
☑️ FITT membership will not be required for CITP certification, but an annual fee will still apply.
☑️ CITP holders will have to agree to the ethical code every year, not just at initial certification.☑️ CITP holders will be required to complete 30 units of professional development over a three-year period to maintain the designation.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A CERTIFIED INTERNATIONAL TRADE PROFESSIONAL?
Start by completing international trade training from a FITT-recognized provider, such as Herzing College.
Students who complete our International Commerce & Import/Export program can challenge the FITT exams and start accumulating the work experience they need for CITP certification.
The program takes either 14 or 24 months; you choose the pace. Either way, you’ll get practical experience through an included 8-week internship at a local business.
Need more info? An Admissions Advisor can answer all your questions about course schedules, costs, financial aid options, and more.
Click below to explore our international commerce program and chat live with an Advisor. We’re here to help!