With a growing emphasis on academic achievement, test scores and preparation for postgraduate study, it is an exciting time for a career in educational consulting. Professionals in this field not only play an important role in assisting students with their educational planning, but in some instances they work directly with schools and universities to train faculty and improve their curricula and educational practices.
In addition to advising clients on changes to educational best practices, educational consultants provide guidance to improve student learning through the use of new technologies, academic intervention programs and data to determine if changes need to be made to curricula.
Teachers and other professionals interested in the educational consultant job description and looking to advance their careers in this field should consider an advanced degree, such as an online Master of Science in Education.
What Does an Educational Consultant Do?
Educational consultants advise educators, parents and schools on teaching styles and educational strategies that can improve students’ learning. Where some professionals in this field work with schools or school districts, others work directly with students and their families.
Although the day-to-day responsibilities of an educational consultant can vary based on where they work, sample job duties may include the following.
Recommend new or updated educational materials.
Supervise online and/or remote learning programs.
Provide guidance to match students to various learning environments, such as advanced placement classes or special education programs.
Meet with school administrators to discuss budgets and programs.
Prepare reports on the effectiveness of curricula and academic programs.
Assess classroom policies and educational standards.
Evaluate students’ academic progress and determine whether educational interventions are needed.
Guide teachers on how they can increase student participation.
Guide educators on how they can improve their teaching style.
Develop training and development programs for school staff.
Analyze an educational institution’s performance data, including graduation rates and test scores, and devise strategies to improve performance metrics.
Work Environments for Educational Consultants
The work environments for educational consultants vary widely based on the type of consulting services they offer. For example, where some work directly with schools, colleges, government agencies, or nonprofits, others prefer to work directly with students and their parents. In the latter example, educational consultants may work in private offices or at their clients’ homes. They may provide expertise on how to address the educational needs of students with behavioral and emotional disorders, or how to best teach students with developmental and learning disabilities.
An educational consultant job description generally indicates a full-time and year-round work schedule, even for those employed by schools.
Educational Consultant Salary
According to the compensation website PayScale, as of March 2021 the average base salary for educational consultants was around $63,200. Earners in the top 10% reported annual incomes of more than $95,000. Salaries in the profession vary based on a number of factors, such as the employer (working for a school, private company or being self-employed, for example), as well as the geographic region and the background and experience of the employee.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide data specifically for educational consultants, but it does for the closely-related occupation of instructional coordinator, which has many of the same responsibilities. The annual median salary for instructional coordinators, according to the BLS, is nearly $67,000. Those working in colleges, universities and professional schools have an annual median salary of about $63,000, while those working for government agencies earn an annual median salary of nearly $77,000.
Steps to Become an Educational Consultant
Educational consultants must have a solid base of knowledge and strong leadership and other skills to be successful. This is generally developed through education, experience and certification.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for an educational consultant, with many positions requiring an advanced degree. Although professionals in this field may come from all educational backgrounds, a degree in education or cognitive science can be beneficial. Those with a master’s or Ph.D., or those having specializations in areas such as blended learning, curriculum design and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are likely to have the best job prospects.
Master’s degree coursework often includes classes such as assessment of instruction, curriculum development and second language acquisition, among others.
Graduates may pursue various career paths that can help them toward their goal of becoming an educational consultant. For example, some professionals start their careers by working as high school or college admissions counselors, others start by earning their teaching certificate and teaching students in a classroom environment. Along the way, key skills such as empathy, communication, analysis, decision making and organization are typically developed.
Professional Organizations for Educational Consultants
The educational consultant job description does not specify that candidates must hold professional memberships. Having said that, however, professionals may find that pursuing membership with industry organizations such as the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) to be beneficial. While membership eligibility requirements vary from organization to organization, applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree to apply.
To be eligible for professional membership in the IECA, candidates must have at least three years of experience working in admissions or educational placement counseling, one year of experience in independent educational consulting, and must hold a master’s degree or higher in a relevant field, in addition to meeting other membership requirements.
Become an Educational Consultant
As long as education plays a key role in shaping students on their path toward success, demand for qualified, skilled education will remain strong. The BLS notes that employment in this general area of the education and training field is projected to grow by 6% between 2019 and 2029. This is faster than the projected average growth for all occupations.
Bachelor’s degree holders who are interested in learning more about how to become an educational consultant are likely to find that completing an advanced education can prepare them with the knowledge and proficiencies to be successful.