Educational Consultant: Career Information and Requirements

Sep 30, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an educational consultant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Educational consultants offer advice to students and their parents on topics such as applying to college and how to navigate the application process. These consultants typically have a background in education or counseling in order to qualify them to give this advice. There are also some certificate programs in this field, although a bachelor's degree is a typically a minimum requirement.

Essential Information

Educational consultants are independent academic advisors that are hired by parents or schools. These professionals advise students about educational and career opportunities. They may help students make decisions about boarding schools or choosing a college major. These consultants typically have a background in teaching, counseling or education. A bachelor's degree is required for this occupation, and new graduate certificate programs in educational or college consulting are available. While not required, educational consultants may consider joining a professional organization for career development and networking opportunities.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Additional Requirements Graduate certificate may be required by some employers
Projected Job Growth* (2018-2028) 7% for postsecondary education administrators
Median Salary* (2018) $94,340 annually for postsecondary education administrators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for an Educational Consultant

Educational consultants help students prepare to make transitions in their education program - such as going from high school to college. They provide advice to guide students through college selection and admissions processes, filling out financial aid applications and preparing for college admissions tests. Working with special populations, such as ethnic minorities, international students, athletes, re-entering students and the disabled is an important element of the job.

There are numerous specialties within the discipline; specializing in college admissions is the most common, but day and boarding school admissions and graduate school admissions are other options. Some educational consultants specialize in helping international students or students considered 'at risk.' Educational consultants may work for a school or be independent workers that are hired directly by parents. They frequently work as independent businesspeople, but may have a background as a teacher or guidance counselor.

Requirements of an Educational Consultant

Some schools offer certificate programs in educational or college consulting. It is a relatively new field and programs are not commonplace. These certificate programs often require that students already hold a bachelor's degree and are available as both on-campus and online programs. Certificate programs in this discipline are generally around 200 hours long and can be completed within one year. Most schools require that the program be completed within five years.

Courses in a college consulting certificate program 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 the Human Resources Development (HRD) Model. The HRD model is about initiating and developing skillsets based on an individual's current skillsets and goals.

Professional Organization Membership

While not a requirement, membership in a professional organization, such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association or the Higher Education Consultants Association can be valuable to an individual in this career. Membership offers insurance, development opportunities and numerous discounts on tools, as well as up-to date information on current programs, schools and marketing tools.

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have median salary data or employment growth predictions for educational consultants. However, it does have data for postsecondary education administrators, who earned a mean salary of $111,210 as of 2018. Postsecondary education administrators could see employment outlook grow faster than average from 2018 to 2028, the BLS noted.

An educational consultant is an individual who works for a school or family, offering advice on educational changes, such as applying to a boarding school or college. They may assist with the application process, or counsel a student or their parents on their options. A background in education or counseling, along with a bachelor's degree, is typical, and joining professional organizations may be useful for networking in this field.

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