Business ethics consultants often work with employees of organizations in order to educate them about their ethical obligations pertaining to customers, colleagues, and the company. The minimum education required to become a business ethics consultant is a bachelor's degree, however there are some positions that require candidates to have a master's degree.
Business ethics consultants evaluate the ethical practices of individuals or organizations, often meeting with the ethics boards or other governing bodies within an organization to develop a plan for training employees in compliance with the law and in their moral and ethical obligations to the company, to clients, to potential employees, and to the public. Business ethics consultants may have an education in law or in business administration. Training for this career can begin in high school with business and philosophy courses.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree; master's degree preferred for some positions|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||14% for all management analysts*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$91,770 for all management analysts*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Requirements for Business Ethics Consultants
A basic education in business ethics can begin in high school. Many secondary schools offer courses in business and in ethics, and some even have ethics teams that compete with other high schools. Courses in economics, finance and statistics can also be helpful, as can the study of philosophy, public speaking, government and English.
A business ethics consultant generally has either a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Business ethics are considered a management discipline, so any training that prepares a student for a role in business management is also useful for a career in business ethics consulting. Many colleges and universities offer ethics courses within the business administration program.
Consultants who want to work with organizations on their financial ethics will need a strong background in finance and accounting at the post-secondary level.
Some business ethics consultants are also attorneys. Attorneys must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Some colleges and universities offer pre-law courses, but law schools will accept students with a wide range of undergraduate degrees. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a prerequisite for applying to law school.
After passing the LSAT, a student admitted to a law school program must complete additional years of schooling to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.), a first professional degree equivalent to a master's degree. To practice law, law students must be licensed and pass a state bar exam. However, being admitted to the state bar is not required for a business ethics consultant.
Career and Salary Information
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide information specifically for business ethics consultants, attorneys--who may work in business ethics--could see a 6% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. The median annual wages for attorneys were $115,820 in May 2015. Additionally, BLS provides information for management consultants, who teach organizations about ethical practices and improve company efficiency. From 2014-2024, these workers may see job growth of up to 14%, and they earned mean annual wages of $91,770 in May 2015.
Occasionally a business ethics consultant is also a lawyer, and in these circumstances the individual must hold a Juris Doctor degree and appropriate licensure if they are also acting as an attorney. Depending on the consulting services provided by the ethics consultant, expertise in a particular field might also be essential. For example, business ethics consultants who offer counsel on issues related to finance must have a solid background in the field.