How To Become an Educational Consultant (Plus Salary Info)

Updated February 3, 2023

A classroom with wooden desks and a blackboard.

Educational consultants assist schools, teachers, parents and students with improving educational experiences in a variety of ways. An educational consultant might help a school system create new procedures, assist parents of a child with special needs in navigating the school system or work with a high school student on planning their college and career goals. Becoming an educational consultant can take a little time because teaching experience is beneficial to pursuing this role, but careful planning can help you navigate your career more easily.

In this article, we describe what an educational consultant is, examine what an educational consultant does, list steps for how to become one, discuss their salary and describe skills for educational consultants to develop.

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What is an educational consultant?

An educational consultant is an educator with training and relevant degrees who offers feedback and suggestions to other educators, like teachers and administrators. They may also offer services directly to parents and children.

As an educational consultant, you work to become an expert in your field and then use that expertise to assist others in the field with improving their performances as educators. You may work with schools or universities or the students attending those schools, depending on your area of expertise. Many educational consultants have a background as a teacher or other educators.

Related: 13 of the Highest-Paying Jobs in Education (With Job Duties)

What does an educational consultant do?

As an educational consultant, you help your clients with a variety of aspects of the educational system, depending on their area of focus. Not all educational consultants provide the same type of help or are knowledgeable about the same concepts, so if you plan to work as an educational consultant, it's helpful to find your niche so that you can be an expert in it.

An educational consultant's responsibilities might include advice on using new educational tools, organizational recommendations and staffing recommendations for a school. An educational consultant working with an individual student and their guardians might make recommendations regarding special needs, exam preparation or college planning.

Related: 10 Common Types of Consultants

How to become an educational consultant

While reviewing your options in this career path, start with the steps below:

1. Pursue education

An educational consultant typically has some experience as a teacher, so the educational requirements are similar for both. You usually need a bachelor's degree at a minimum, in whatever area of teaching you prefer. You likely also want to complete any licensing requirements for teachers in your area, which probably includes a teaching credential, so that you can enter the profession when you're ready.

Related: How Much Should I Charge as a Consultant?

2. Get experience or further your education

If you plan on working for a consulting firm, some require you to have a master's degree. Regardless, a master's degree helps you gain expertise in the field that you can use as a consultant and also assures your clients of your knowledge.

General teaching experience is also helpful in becoming an educational consultant, as it's the best way to gain insight into your chosen focus of expertise. Ideally, you pursue a master's and gain some teaching experience. Many teaching and credential programs include fieldwork assisting or teaching classrooms as part of their requirements.

Related: 10 Jobs You Can Get with a Master's Degree in Education

3. Identify your desired area of expertise

Once you have some experience and possibly an advanced education, you may discover areas you think require a bit more improvement in the education system. You might decide you want to help individual students with special needs and their families, college-bound students who may be uncertain what to do next or entire schools or school systems. Even within those areas, there's further specialization you can do. Identifying the area you want to become an expert in is important for an educational consultant.

Related: What Is Specialization in Economics and Why Is It Important?

4. Gain experience in the field

Once you have some general experience as a teacher, perhaps earned a master's degree and have identified an area you want to specialize in, you probably want to work in that field. You may find it simplest to continue working as a teacher while searching for opportunities in that area of expertise. This might mean starting a blog, writing a book about your observations, working with colleagues on new initiatives or consulting on the side if your employer allows that.

Read more: How To Gain Teaching Work Experience

5. Understand regulations and policies for educational institutions

One area you may research independently to be a helpful and qualified educational consultant is the regulations and policies across cities, states and the country that apply to educational institutions. This can be helpful whether you're working with school systems or helping individual students, as you have a better understanding of what the government expects of schools and students. This then allows you to give more thorough advice on how to improve a school or a student's situation.

Related: 26 Careers in Education Policy (With Salary Information)

6. Attain experience working with those involved in education

As you plan to move from teaching into working as an educational consultant, you may gain experience in advising other teachers or students and their parents. You could run a blog where you write about your experiences as a teacher and advise your commenters, or you could work as a mentor in your current school. Because consulting differs slightly from teaching, gaining some experience before working full time as a consultant can be helpful.

Related: 11 Education Research Jobs To Consider Exploring

7. Consider joining professional organizations

There are a few organizations for educational consultants, such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association or the Higher Education Consultants Association, and membership can be helpful for your career as an educational consultant. Each organization has its own requirements for joining and an area of focus, so you likely want to research which one is the right fit for you. Joining an organization can add to your resume and help you find career opportunities.

Related: Learn About Being a Consultant

8. Decide between your own business or working for a consulting firm

Some educational consultants operate their own businesses where they work with clients they find independently, while others work for a consulting firm that directs them where they're needed. There are pros and cons to each option, and the best choice for you varies based on what type of work you want to do and how you prefer to work. You may also decide to start in one type of company and change later, such as starting at a consulting firm but later creating your own independent consulting business.

Related: What Is a Consulting Firm? Definition and How They Work

Salary for an educational consultant

The national average salary for an educational consultant is $64,994 per year. This varies based on the location of the consultant and the company you work for. Your compensation package may also include benefits such as a 401(k), health insurance, life insurance, a flexible schedule and paid time off. If you're an independent educational consultant, you can arrange any benefits for yourself but might earn the same salary. 

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided. 

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Skills for an educational consultant

An educational consultant usually needs all the skills that a teacher has and a desire to improve educational systems while assisting clients to navigate them. Some of the most helpful skills include:

  • Teaching skills

  • Knowledge of popular educational software

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Ability to demonstrate teaching methods

  • Knowledge of educational systems and structures

  • Awareness of college entry requirements and application processes

  • Ability to train adults effectively

  • Knowledge of educational regulations and policies

  • Understanding of how to assist students with special needs

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