How to Become a Professional Organizer

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How to Become a Professional Organizer: Career Path Guide

You can become a professional organizer without formal post-secondary education, although a diploma or degree in human ecology, interior design, or a closely related field can be quite helpful in developing the necessary professional and business management skills. 

 

Typically, professional organizers are self-employed, and many start their own businesses with little more than a few training seminars or online training courses under their belt.

 

If you want to become a professional organizer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a professional organizer:

 

• You are well-organized as an individual

• You enjoy the idea of teaching others about organizing professional or personal spaces

• You enjoy the idea of helping others achieve a greater sense of control over their time and space

• You are able to work with many different types of people

• You have a basic understanding of how to run and manage a small business

• You could imagine being your own boss

• You are willing to endure periods of limited income while building a client base

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a professional organizer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as salary expectations, an outline of the skills you’ll need, educational requirements, and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Professional Organizer

There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a professional organizer. It does however, take more than just being well organized yourself, as just doing what works for you will likely be too limiting for your client base.

 

There are many helpful teleclasses, webinars, websites, and books that can teach you what you need to know to start and grow a personal organizing business. Look for coursework, webinars or training sessions with the following types of topic areas to help you get started:

 

• Business basics for setting up and getting started as a Professional Organizer

• The organizing industry

• Organizing clients

• Organizing methods

• Space planning

 

If you are interested in pursuing formal post-secondary education, an undergraduate or diploma program in a field related to human ecology or interior design will provide you with a lot of the skills, knowledge and competencies necessary to become successful as a professional organizer.

 

 

 

Professional Organizer Job Description

Professional organizers assist clients with effectively organizing and managing personal and professional spaces, ranging from office filing systems to bedroom closets. Their ultimate goal is to improve the client’s organizational structure, which reduces client’s stress level by allowing them to gain a sense of freedom and control with regards to time and space.

 

To accomplish their goal, professional organizers must encourage and educate clients about basic principles of organizing. During the education process, they must also offer support, focus and direction to clients, in order to keep them motivated and keep the project moving forward.

 

Some professional organizers may work with the general population, while others may specialize in working with specific population segments, such as seniors, students or legal professionals. Aside from population sectors, they may also choose to specialize in specific area of organization, such as structuring bill payments, residential organization, memorabilia organization or legal filing systems.

 

Products and Services Offered by Professional Organizers:

 

• Paper Management

• Residential Organizing

• Business Organizing

• Kitchen Designing & Organizing

• Home offices

• Closet Design/Organizing

• Filing Systems

• Financial/Bookkeeping

• Packing/Moving

• Relocations

• Records Management

• Space Planning

• Time Management

• Computer Consulting

• Procedures/Manuals

• Public Speaking

• Wardrobe Consulting

• Memorabilia

• Home Inventory

• Garages/Attics/Basements

 

 

Professional Organizer Job Duties

Although the specific job duties of a professional organizer may vary based on their area of specialty, they are generally responsible for performing the following tasks:

 

• Conducting marketing activities to establish and build client base

• Pre-qualifying clients to see if they are suitable for service delivery

• Gaining a thorough understanding of client’s needs by speaking with them and conducting an initial assessment

• Developing organizational system to meet the requirements of the client

• Teaching clients how to implement and maintain storage systems

• Giving clients projects to ensure their organizational skills are developing

• Sourcing and recommending related products to client, such as label makers, storage units, etc.

• Motivating and encouraging clients

• Working within client’s budgetary restrictions

• May give speeches or presentations related to organized living and behaviour modification

 

 

Certification for Becoming a Professional Organizer

To become a professional organizer, you don’t need special certification. In fact, Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) certification can only be achieved after an organizer has completed over 1,500 hours of paid work over a 3-year period, and passed a professional competence examination.

 

Administered by the Board of Certified Professional Organizers (BCPO), CPO certification is voluntary. It is however, highly recommended to those who wish to advance their professional organizer career, as having it demonstrates high professional and ethical standards to clients. 

 

 

 

Who Creates Jobs for Professional Organizers?

The majority of professional organizers are self-employed as owners of their own organization companies. Jobs for professional organizers however, do exist in the capacity of working for others.

 

Whether self-employed, or working as a part-time or full-time employee of a company, professional organizers are often hired by the following types of organizations and individuals:

 

• Homeowners and renters

• Small business owners

• Home decorating firms

• Office/business decorating firms

• Independent professional organizers

• Professional organization firms (home or office)

 

The employment structure of professional organizers may depend on a variety of factors. For example, it may depend on their personal preference; some professional organizers may simply want to worry about helping people get organized, without having to worry about the business side of things, such as attracting clients, and wondering where their next cheque is coming from.

 

Others may choose to be self-employed, because they are allured by the prospect of setting their own hours and earnings. Their employment structure choice may also depend on job availability; some professional organizers may become self-employed due to a lack of suitable jobs.

 


 

Find Professional Organizer Job Opportunities

Professional Organizer Jobs - Canada

 

Professional Organizer Jobs - United States

 


 

Skills Needed to Become a Professional Organizer?

In order to become successful in a career as a professional organizer, you need to have skills and knowledge in business, in addition to skills in organization.

 

Business Skills: Skills in business will allow you to market your services to the market you’ve identified as your “target market”. They will also allow you to grow that client base sustainably, by learning how to set and operate within a business budget. These skills include:

 

• Knowing how to position yourself to attract your ideal client

• Knowing how to secure a client once you’ve attracted them

• Knowledge of how to start and operate a basic website or a blog

• Able to clearly communicate your value to prospective clients

• An understanding of the legal, insurance, and tax protection your business needs.

• Knowing how to price your services effectively

 

Organization Skills: Having skills in various areas of personal and professional organization will help you competently provide your clients with organizational system development services. It will also allow you to coach clients on how to maintain those systems, and realize the value in doing so. These skills include:

 

• Able to effectively conduct an assessment of the client’s needs

• Able to create an organizing plan of action

• Able to create customized organizing solutions that work for each individual client

• Able to work within a client’s budget, using products (such as storage bins) that they already own

• Able to source and recommend top organization products

• Able to maintain up-to-date Professional Organizer industry information and trends

• Able to motivate and teach others how to organize

• Able to effectively use techniques to work with a variety of client types

 

 

Characteristics Needed to Become a Professional Organizer

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a professional organizer, you need to have certain personal characteristics. Taking enjoyment from your job duties and your career is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which can lead to having a long and successful career.

 

• Enjoy advising and coaching others

• Enjoy helping others achieve a greater sense of control over their time and space

• Interested in the personal fulfillment received from helping others learn the life skill of organization

• An interest in being self-employed and controlling which projects you take on

• Able to work well with a wide variety of people

• Willing to endure periods of limited financial success while your client base in built

 

 

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Professional Organizer Salary

The amount of money that professional organizers make depends primarily upon whether they are self-employed, or if they are part-time or full-time employees of an organization.

 

If they are self-employed, as the majority professional organizers are, their earnings will primarily depend on the number of clients they have, and how much they charge per hour or per project for their services. The amount of money professional organizers make can also depend on the following factors:

 

• The region in which they work

• The setting in which they work, (such as rural, urban or suburban)

• What type of organizing they’re doing (such as business, personal, etc.)

• The amount of experience of the organizer

 

There is no salary information available from reliable sources specifically for the career Professional Organizer. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations.

 

Professional Organizer Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Interior Designers occupational group earn an average salary of $63,947 per year.

 

Professional Organizer Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Interior Designers occupational group is $29,008 per year.

 

Professional Organizer Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Interior Designers occupational group is $47,600 per year.

 

 

Careers Similar to Professional Organizer

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Professional Organizer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Event Planner

Interior Decorator

Interior Designer

Home Economist

Visual Merchandiser

 

 

References: Professional Organizer Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a professional organizer.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

Institute for Professional Organizers website: www.instituteofprofessionalorganizers.com

Time to Organize website: www.timetoorganize.com

Professional Organizers in Canada website: www.organizersincanada.com

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Professional Organizer

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Professional Organizer can be found on our Human Ecology Scholarships and Interior Design Scholarships pages.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Professional Organizer: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Professional Organizer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 


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