How to Become an
Does the thought of helping parents and students with educational planning interest you? Then you may be interested in a career as an Educational Consultant. For all you need to know on how to pursue this career, read this guide.
What Does an Education Consultant Do?
An Education Consultant helps schools, individuals and families make the best educational decisions. They provide advice to help students with college selection, admissions processes, filling out financial aid applications and preparing for college admissions tests. Educational Consultants can work for a school or be independent consultants that are hired directly by parents.
There are various specialties within this discipline; however, specializing in college admissions is the most common. As you consider becoming an Education Consultant, you need to figure out whether you want to consult for schools, individual students or education companies. Here is a quick look at the three most common ways in which Education Consultants earn a living:
School or University Education Consultants – In this sector Education Consultants are often asked to examine how students learn on a systemic level and to recommend improvements to enhance the learning environment. These institutions may also employ Education Consultants to examine a specific problem and design a custom solution.
Education Consultants can work for individual students and their families – Often parents hire Education Consultants to help their children succeed in school and gain admission to the right universities. Education Consultants need to personalize solutions for individual students. Often, these consultants work exclusively with special populations such as athletes, at-risk youth or international students. The job could entail helping the student with academic challenges or to guide a student through the college selection and admissions processes. There are times when they need to advise families who need to apply for financial aid or prepare students for college admissions tests.
Education Consultants for product-driven firms – Private education companies work with Education Consultants to help develop learning products that teachers and schools use to improve student achievement. This type of Education Consultant may work on projects for textbook publishers, learning companies and educational technology firms. These consultants focus on making great educational products for students, teachers and schools.
Common duties of an Educational Consultant include:
Manage and implement the school policies
Develop training programs for teachers
Engage with school officials regarding the improvement of the school curriculum
Circulate the policies to stakeholders
Review and evaluate the various courses
Active participation in meetings, conferences, and workshops
Know and apply prepare recommendations of educational aids
Education Consultant Skills
Soft skills are important in any consulting job since it involves working with people. The ability to interact effectively with people is therefore vital. A strong work ethic shows professionalism and this is what people would want to see in someone they are going to take advice from. Consultants must possess strong analytical skills in order to analyze situations correctly. Educational Consultants generally have fixed working hours, and they have to work 5 days a week.
Other key Education Consultant skills include:
Attention to detail
Good planning and organization skills
Empathetic and sociable
Excellent presentation, written and oral communication
Committed to careful documentation and note-taking
How Do You Become an Education Consultant?
Education and Training
To become an Education Consultant, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree and some institutions require a master’s degree. While it can be helpful to get your degree in a relevant field like education or cognitive science, education consultants come from all kinds of backgrounds. To work in a school district you will probably need a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction as well as a valid teaching certificate. School districts often look for Education Consultants who have specializations in the following areas:
English/ Mathematics education
Audio/ Visual education
There are online master’s degree programs that help potential Education Consultants develop their expertise and prepare for job opportunities with more selective schools, universities and private clients. The M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction program covers Methods and Curriculum, Online Teaching and Learning, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).
Some schools offer postgraduate certificate programs in educational or college consulting. These are available as both on-campus and online programs and are generally around 200 hours long and can be completed within a year. Other courses cover career assessment tools, financial planning, higher education selection processes, application essays and the admissions testing process. Students also learn testing theories, counseling techniques and a Human Resources Development (HRD) Model.
Membership in a professional organization, such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association or the Higher Education Consultants Association is valuable to anyone pursuing this career as it increases their visibility to potential clients. Membership offers insurance, development opportunities and numerous discounts on tools, as well as current information on relevant topics. The IECA requires a master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution, three years of experience in educational placement counseling or admissions, on-campus assessments as well as professional references to become a member.
Finding a job
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not supply information on employment growth predictions for an Education Consultant. However, it does report that the employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. This expected growth is due to an increased number of enrollments. As more people continue to seek postsecondary education to accomplish their career goals more Education Consultants will be sought to serve the needs of these additional students.
A successful Education Consultant job search begins with a well-written resume that showcases your skills and experience. For guidance on creating a resume, take a look at our library of Education Consultant resume samples.
Once your resume is complete, search online for Education Consultant job opportunities. As you pursue your search, check in with your professional network and anyone you may have met through studies or work experience.
When applying for Education Consultant jobs, you will need a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position and the relevant skills and experience that you will bring to the role. For some cover letter inspiration, have a look at JobHero’s collection of cover letter samples.
Insights from an Education Consultant
Sarah Seitz, founder of The Enrichery is a current Educational Consultant. We spoke to her to get an inside look on how to become an Educational Consultant. Here's what she shared.
What is the common career path for an education consultant?
I’m not sure if there’s a “common path”. My path looks like this: I began as a high school English teacher at a school with no college counselor. I took it upon myself to include a “College Essay” unit in class, and realized how much fun it was to help kids through the process. After a few years of doing this, I joined an independent company that specialized in college admissions. Once I started getting enough calls to my personal number asking for help, I started my own business. I have never looked back.
What should someone consider before becoming an education consultant?
I would consider if you’re okay with seasonal ups and downs. The job is one that has highs and lows and follows the school year. You’ll need to be mentally able to handle the slow periods.
What type of person excels in this job?
An educational consultant needs to be good at research. You’ll need to do a lot of digging to find out information about schools, and the information is constantly changing. Of course, you also need to be very personable, as families can tell you a lot of personal information (some of it shocking!).
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being an education consultant?
Seeing kids move in a positive forward direction and hearing from them months later. It is really exciting to be a part of their personal growth and the opening of a new chapter.
How Much Do Education Consultant Get Paid?
Since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have salary data specifically for Educational Consultants, we will use the data supplied for postsecondary education administrators to get an idea of salary. They earned a median hourly wage of $42.59 in 2014. The lowest-paid make about $24.15 per hour, while the highest-paid can earn more than $83.79.
Top 10 States for Education Consultant Salary
Education Administrators in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.
Education Consultant Resources
Looking for more information? We put together this list of additional resources to help you as you continue to explore a career as an Education Consultant.
On the Web
Inside Higher Ed Blogs
online source for news, opinion and jobs for all interested in higher education
publisher of Education Week and other print and online products on K-12 education, with an aim to raise awareness and understanding of critical issues facing American schools
Danny Brassell: @DannyBrassell
is a popular motivational speaker and an Educational Consultant. For two decades he has advised students from preschoolers to rocket scientists’.
Dr. Alec Couros: @courosa
a Professor, researcher and educator who has given many keynotes and workshops about connected/networked learning, digital citizenship, social media in education, and critical media literacy. He also provides educators, students, and parents with the knowledge to thrive in our new digital reality.
Independent Educational Consultants Association
international professional association representing experienced Education Consultants that offers professional development opportunities to its members
Higher Education Consultants Association
focuses exclusively on independent college admissions consulting