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As our society becomes more complex, our schools have to adapt their methods to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. As an education consultant, you can help make that happen by bringing the best educational techniques and technologies to classrooms across the country.
Education consultants work with schools and individual families to optimize the progress of all students. Demand for motivated, passionate education consultants just keeps growing in the increasingly competitive education sector.
This guide will bring you up to speed on what it takes to become an education consultant, describing the required education, estimating the salary you’re likely to earn and sharing tips on maximizing your success in the field.
Education consultant job description
Here’s a quick look at the three most common ways education consultants earn a living:
- Schools and universities employ consultants to fix systemic problems, improve the learning environment, train faculty and advise administrators.
- Parents hire education consultants to help their children succeed in school and gain admission to the right universities.
- Private education companies work with education consultants to help develop learning products that teachers and schools use to improve student achievement.
Educational consultants typically develop a speciality in one of these areas.
Who makes a good education consultant?
Someone who is:
- Attentive to details
- Oriented toward service
- Good at planning and organizing
- Empathetic and sociable
- Skilled in identifying problems and brainstorming potential solutions
- Excellent at written and oral communication as well as presentation
- Comfortable working independently and collaboratively with other team members
- Careful about documentation and note-taking
- Able to meet aggressive deadlines
- Interested in traveling and working in a diverse range of environments
- Qualified with a degree in curriculum and instruction or education leadership
Varieties of education consultants
As you think more about becoming an education consultant, you’ll want to decide whether you want to consult for schools, individual students or education companies.
School/university education consultants
Schools and universities ask education consultants to examine how their students learn on a holistic level and recommend improvements in policies and programs. They may also hire education consultants to examine a specific problem and design a custom solution.
Education consultants for individual students and their families
Some education consultants work one-on-one with individual families. This situation requires the consultant to personalize solutions for individual students. Often, these consultants work exclusively with special populations such as athletes, at-risk youth or international students.
Education consultants for product-driven firms
The last type of education consultant works on projects for textbook publishers, learning companies and educational technology firms. These consultants focus on making great educational products for students, teachers and schools.
Professional development for education consultants
To work in a school district as an educational consultant, you will probably need a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Many school districts require a master’s degree along with a valid teaching certificate.
The highest-paid consultants often have years of experience as teachers or administrators. School districts often look for education consultants with specializations in areas such as:
- English/mathematics education
- Curriculum design
- Audio/visual education
- Emerging technology
- Blended learning
Whatever your interests, the best way to position yourself as an education consultant is to learn as much as you can about a specialization so you can sell yourself as an expert in that niche.
Maybe you are passionate about helping teachers integrate technology into their instruction, or you want to focus on best practices in a certain subject area. Because education is such an expansive field, you’ll want to narrow your area of expertise to something specific.
Independent educational consultants often register with organizations like the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) to increase their visibility with potential clients. 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 evaluations and professional references from its members.
Benefits of continuing education
Although you may be able to build a career without a master’s degree, education consultants with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction have a greater chance for promotions and an increase in salary. They will also enjoy a more extensive network of colleagues, contacts, potential clients and employers. The difference in income can be considerable, and many more opportunities will be available to education consultants with master’s degrees.
What kinds of programs can help education consultants?
Concordia University-Portland offers an online graduate degree program that helps education consultants sharpen their expertise and prepare for job opportunities with more selective schools, universities and private clients.
The MEd in Curriculum and Instruction program has multiple concentrations, including Methods and Curriculum, Online Teaching and Learning, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).
Jobs for education consultants beyond consulting
Education consultants may also work as teachers, librarians, instructional coordinators, assistant principals, principals, or as an educational administrator at a college or university.
Education consultants can easily become teachers if they obtain a teaching credential and have a strong educational background in the subject they plan to teach. A bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential are the minimum requirements.
A master’s degree in library science (MLS) is generally required for employment, and some states also require librarians to pass a standardized test.
Education consultants are well-positioned to become instructional coordinators. Instructional coordinators generally need to complete a master’s degree related to curriculum and instruction and may be required to have a teaching or education administrator license.
With a master’s degree in an education-related field, you can transition into being an academic advisor at either the K-12 or college/university level.
You will need a master’s degree in an education-related field to become a school principal. Most states also require public school principals to be licensed school administrators.
To become an education administrator, you will need years of experience and a master’s degree in an education-related field.