Become a Personal Image Consultant: Career Roadmap

Mar 03, 2020

Research the requirements to become a personal image consultant. Learn about the job description, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in image consulting.

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Personal Image Consultants

Personal image consultants help their clients develop and project a desired image through grooming, clothing selection, and, in many cases, training in etiquette and self-presentation. Some travel may be required for this job; you may visit clients' homes or guide them in making appropriate purchases during shopping excursions. Personal image consultants also do a lot of office work when they're self-employed, like bookkeeping and scheduling clients, as well as marketing their services.

Career Requirements

Education Required Degree not required; some consultants choose to earn a certificate in image consulting or train under an experienced consultant
Licensure and Certification No licensing required, unless the image consultant offers regulated services, such as makeup applications or hair styling; professional certification available
Experience None needed to start a business since image consultants are typically self-employed; amount of experience necessary for certification varies by certification level
Key Skills Knowledge of current trends in fashion, makeup, and hair; good communication, strong teaching, and presentation skills; networking, marketing, and self-promotion skills; an understanding of different cultures
Salary (2020)* $55,112-$131,216 average annual salary

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Association of Image Consultants International, Chronicle Guidance Publications, City College of San Francisco, * (2020)

Become a Personal Image Consultant

Step 1: Get Training

While formal training isn't absolutely necessary to become an image consultant, it's often valuable, particularly if a person wants to earn professional certification. Image consulting training is sometimes available through community college training programs. Experienced image consultants sometimes offer training workshops and mentoring programs.

Students shouldn't over-focus on image consulting courses. Image consultants often benefit from having a background in beauty culture, fashion design or merchandising, psychology, and communications. Additionally, since image consultants are often self-employed, taking business courses is often very helpful. Community colleges sometime offer programs in small business management or entrepreneurship.

Step 2: Get Certified

The Association for Image Consultants International (AICI) offers three certification levels for professional image consultants. The First Level Certification is for those who have passed the AICI's certification exam, demonstrating knowledge of the core aspects of image development as well as appropriate business management skills. Other levels require participation in approved continuing education programs, several years of membership in a professional image consulting association, and demonstrable experience as a professional image consultant.

Aspiring image consultants should find out if an AICI chapter is located in their area to participate in chapter activities. By attending workshops and meetings, they can meet possible mentors and gain knowledge that will help them develop their professional skills. Participation in educational meetings and activities can also count as continuing education credit.

Step 3: Build a Business

Entry-level image consultants who want to develop their businesses have a few options. Some image consultants work for apparel shops as personal shoppers to gain experience in helping clients with selecting clothing. Others attract private clients by offering seminars and classes on image, business etiquette, and personal presence.

Step 4: Advance Your Career

Successful image consultants who advance within their industry keep abreast of new styles and trends by reading industry publications and journals. AICI-certified image consultants must also complete continuing education programs as a condition of maintaining their certification. Image consultants who hold licensure as estheticians or cosmetologists may also have to complete continuing education programs to renew their licenses. Your personal drive and motivation will largely determine your success as a personal image consultant.

Personal image consultants do not need formal education, though relevant certificate programs do exist and voluntary professional certifications are available.

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