What is an Educational Consultant (and How to Become One)
Everyone has an opinion on how our education system should be changed. What if people actually listened to your voice in the matter? Being an educational consultant is one way to make that happen. When shaping our children’s, and therefore our society’s, future, you’re taking on an important role. It’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting into before you take the plunge.
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What is an Educational Consultant?
An educational consultant is an expert on a particular element of education, whether that be educational policies, curriculum, or theory. Educational consultants can work with students, families, teachers, administrators, and even schools or corporations. They are often behind educational overhauls when something is just not working right at a university or in a school district.
The exact job responsibilities of an educational consultant depend on where you work, and which aspect of education is your area of expertise. Although many different jobs share the title of “educational consultant”, they vary greatly in their function.
Types of Educational Consultants
There are lot of different types of general consultants, but educational consultants are divided even further amongst themselves:
- You could work for the state and offer insight to government agencies. This type of consultancy has the most direct impact on widespread educational policy.
- If you prefer a more personalized approach, some educational consultants work on the individual student level. They advise students and their parents on their educational prospects and goals.
- Most educational consultants, however, work independently. They are hired by education non-profits, parents’ organizations, private school boards, etc., often to deal with a specific problem.
What Do Educational Consultants Do?
An educational consultants’ duties will vary depending upon their employer. Whichever path you choose, you will have the chance to impact the educational experience, so you’ll be expected to keep up with relevant news, theory, and policy developments.
Be prepared to make proposals and defend them. You’ll have to do research to back up your recommendations, especially if you work for a government organization. Policy changes are slow-moving, but this is where you might have the most widespread influence.
On the other hand, if you prefer to promote individual students, you can work with them and their parents. If you choose this option, you’ll be drafting plans for their education so that they can meet their future career goals. You’ll have to be an expert on university admission policies, their programs, and rankings. Think of this as a sort of individualized, expert career counselor.
Most educational consultants make their living by working with separate educational organizations. A private school board might ask you to review some curriculum, a school policy, or make recommendations on how they could improve student performance. Non-profits or parent organizations will ask for similar things. You’ll likely have several clients, but you’ll be able to touch all aspects of the education system.
How to Become an Educational Consultant
If this sounds up your alley, then you might be considering becoming an educational consultant. However, the process isn’t exactly straightforward.
The first thing you have to do is establish yourself as an authority in the educational sphere. Most educational consultants have teaching experience, and it’s not hard to see why. Teaching gives you an insight on the day-to-day school operations that is impossible to obtain otherwise. However, you’ll also want to establish yourself publicly by attending conferences, writing books, being politically active, and even maintaining a web presence. Consider starting an education blog, and try to network as much as possible.
You’ll have to develop some sort of accreditation as well. Look for education associations in your area, as this is where you’ll have the most pull and chance at prominence. There is not official certification that you have to have as an educational consultant, but you won’t be taken seriously if you don’t have something to backup your words or experience.
The last step is just finding work. As a consultant, you’ll always be looking for a new client or job. Consider starting at websites like these:
These are all well-established career websites to get you started. You should refine those results to account for your location, desired salary, schedule, etc.
Becoming a consultant can be a great way to affect our education system for the better. Whether you prefer to work with big-picture issues, individual students, or on a single-school level, there is definite opportunity for you here. If you are passionate about making sure that kids get the best education possible, but prefer to approach it from a management rather than a teaching perspective, you should consider becoming an educational consultant.
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Dayton is a chronic Wikipedia addict, which is detrimental to her social life but stellar for her writing. She resides in Boise, ID, surrounded by her own frantic outlines, highlighted encyclopedias, and potatoes. The latter was not by choice.
This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published March 31, 2018.