What kind of credentials do you need to become an agent?
A talent agent… in Hollywood? Or a literary agent?
Literary agents don’t need any credentials. They need contacts in the industry, DEEP knowledge of contracts, and a love of being poor and overworked.
There are people who just hang out their shingle and call themselves agents – and the writers who are desperate to be published have no idea that they’re making a horrible mistake. GOOD (potential) agents get a job as an assistant to an existing agent and apprentice there. They gradually take on a few clients while still under the watchful eye of their mentor.
There’s some short fiction magazines that are usually on the lookout for slush readers if you want to get a taste of what that’s like.
Slush piles are just the backlog of stories that publications receive.
Yeah, a talent agent in Hollywood, for screen writers
Start at the bottom as an intern.
What @Tirellan said. EVERYTHING in Hollywood involves starting at the bottom as an intern or assistant, making connections, working your ASS off, and moving up bit by bit.
Most Hollywood agents are associated with the big agencies. They likely have intern programs. Warning: You will be treated as slave labor.