Teaching Careers Updated November 8, 2019

Education Consultant: Career and Salary Information

By Robbie Bruens October 4, 2012

As 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 advising teachers, families, school administration, school boards, and government officials on the best educational techniques and technologies used in classrooms across the country. Education consulting is a rewarding and expanding career opportunity for those striving to improve educational best practices.

At a glance: education consultants

An education consultant makes a meaningful difference in how education is delivered and received. Being a guiding force in improving opportunities and classrooms, education consultants find themselves shaping the academic lives of students across the country.

Education consultant job description

An education consultant is often someone with teaching or administrative experience now serving as an advisor in all things education. Their focus is in training and advising members of the educational community on new technologies, classroom policies, student achievement, and much more.

Typical duties include:

  • Serve as an advisor for teachers, parents, school administrators, school boards, and government officials
  • Assess education standards and classroom policies, as well as grades and test scores
  • Help implement changes to curriculum based on data
  • Survey students to change programs or curriculum
  • Report on the effectiveness of current academic systems
  • Devise strategies to improve educational quality and help implement new policies
  • Design new training programs and offer teacher training workshops
  • Recommend different educational materials
  • Implement and guide usage of new technologies
  • Assist in correlating systems to improve student drop-out rates
  • Advise academic intervention programs
  • Supervise online education
  • Manage charter school operations
  • Match students to appropriate learning environments, such as special education programs
  • Guide college selection and application
  • Meet with administrators and teachers to discuss programs and budgets

Working independently or as a part of an education consulting firm, education consultants have a variety of options in how they target their consultation.

Educational consultants can offer general consultation on educational practices, but most find success by focusing on a particular specialty.

School and postsecondary institution education consultants

Schools and postsecondary institutions hire 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.

Consultants in these positions often overhaul programs, policies, and priorities. They will provide aid by training faculty and advising administrators and board members on turnaround initiatives. Many education consultants may deliver assistance in managing charter schools and their educational policies.

Education consultants for individual students and their families

Some education consultants work one-on-one with individual families as an independent consultant. 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.

They will work to match the child to the right learning environment: remedial or special education services as well as public, private, or boarding school. They will advise college selection and guide students and their families through the application process.

Education consultants for product-driven firms or government agencies

A third 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 aimed at improving student achievement.

Education consultants working for the government often gather and assess information in order to advise superiors. They may evaluate resources, advise on implementation of alternative sources, and present potential outcomes of new or existing programs regarding government work and business.

Who makes a good education consultant?

Someone who is:

  • Analytical and adept at decision-making
  • Attentive to details and well organized
  • Oriented toward service
  • Good at planning and organizing
  • Empathetic and sociable: Able to offer solutions and connect with students, teachers, and school officials
  • Skilled in identifying problems and brainstorming potential solutions
  • Possesses excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Comfortable working independently and collaboratively with other team members
  • 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

Education consultants in-depth

Education and certification requirements for education consultants

  • Education: Master’s degree, PhD, EdD, or JD
  • Typical study time: 6-10 years

Although you may be able to build a career without a master’s degree, education consultants with a master’s degree in a relevant field have a greater chance for promotions and increased salary.

Most employers look to hire education consultants with an advanced degree in a field like curriculum and instruction. Many school districts require a master’s degree along with a valid teaching certificate.

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).

The EdD program offers an intensive curriculum taught by a faculty of highly regarded scholars from diverse backgrounds, including prestigious universities and successful businesses.

The MEd in Educational Leadership, MEd in Educational Technology Leadership, and MEd in STEAM are also valuable programs for those wishing to become education consultants.

The highest-paid consultants often have years of experience as teachers or administrators. Whatever your previous experience, the best way to position yourself as an education consultant is to learn as much as you can about a specialization, selling yourself as an expert in that niche.

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
  • Testing

Certification

Independent educational consultants often register with organizations like the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) or the American Institute for Certified Educational Planners 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.

The American Institute for Certified Educational Planners requires an application, a master’s degree, and demonstration of high ethical standards through references and an assessment interview.

Salary range for education consultants

Salary ranges for education consultants can vary, dependent on whether employment is as an independent consultant or as an employee within an education consulting institution. Factors such as state, specialization, and experience also determine salary ranges. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median salary for an education consultant is $64,450. The lowest 10% percent earn less than $36,360 and the highest 10% percent earn more than $102,200.

According to ZipRecruiter.com, average pay for education consultants by state varies from $46,494 to $65,562.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also states a variation in salary scale based on the institution of employment:

  • Government: $76,970
  • Schools: local, state, and private: $69,900
  • Postsecondary schools: $58,420
  • Educational support and private organizations: $62,530.

Here is a snapshot of average education consultant salaries:

  • Payscale.com: $64,852
  • O Net Online: $64,450
  • Indeed.com: $59,336
  • Glassdoor.com: $63,133
  • ZipRecruiter.com: $59,911

Education consultant employment projections

Demand for motivated, passionate education consultants continues to grow in the increasingly competitive education sector. The BLS projects a 6% growth from 2018 to 2028. Growth will be dependent largely on state and local government budgets. However, school districts and postsecondary institutions will still be held accountable for test scores, graduation rates, and student achievement data. As schools seek to add training and educational guidance in areas such as technology and curriculum, education consultation will continue to be sought out.

Advantages and disadvantages

Pros:

  • Always learning new ideas and educational practices
  • Opportunities for rapid advancement
  • Build a powerful network
  • Flexibility and control
  • Specialist or expert status.

Cons: 

  • Job security — as one project ends, there may not be an immediate job available.
  • Long hours
  • Travel
  • Self-reliance for career advancement

For further information regarding working within an education consulting firm, check out “What are the Benefits of Working for an Educational Consulting Firm.” 

Professional development for education consultants

Continuing education

Education consultants are seen as experts in their field and hired for the advice and guidance they can impart in struggling or low-achieving school systems. Professional development is an imperative for standing out and doing the job well. Many programs and opportunities are available online and through most professional associations.

Professional Associations

Best of the Web

The internet makes it easy to connect with prominent education consultants. Here are some of our favorite resources.

Favorite education consultant blogs

Favorite education consultant Twitter and Instagram

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