How to Become a Project Consultant

How to Become a Project Consultant: Career Guide

Although there are many possible paths for becoming a project consultant, here is an example of the steps you can take to get into this field:


1. Make sure you have the right personal traits for this work

2. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in an area that interests you

3. As a student, get work experience in that area via internships and summer employment

4. Pursue a mater’s degree in your field, and/or in Business Administration

5. Find work with a consulting firm upon graduating with your master’s

6. Advance your career as you gain experience


Below, we’ve expanded on these points to give you an idea of what you'll need to begin a career as a project consultant in Canada or the United States. We've also included helpful information for this occupation, such as what you’ll be doing, what education you’ll need, and the ability to look through actual “Project Consultant” job postings!



What Experience Will I Need to Become a Project Consultant?

When hiring consultants, employers and clients typically seek those with proven abilities or educated perspectives that can solve, or help solve, specific problems within their organization.


For this reason, becoming a project consultant usually requires extensive experience in a particular industry (typically in mid and senior-level positions), or extensive education in a certain field.



What Education Will I Need?

To gain employment as a project consultant, you will generally require a degree in a subject related to your chosen industry or area of operations, alongside extensive applied work experience and demonstrated knowledge of that industry. 


However, if you have a graduate-level education, the amount of applied work experience needed to demonstrate your expertise will be lessened.


Since the field and industry in which you might work can vary widely, there is no specific degree or subject for becoming a project consultant; every field of study is applicable, so long as you are going to be consulting in that field.


Regardless of the field and industry in which you will be working however, a degree, or even just supplemental coursework in Business Administration or Project Management would be very helpful.




What is a Project Consultant?

Project consultants support the strategy of an organization by working individually or within engagement teams to support operational, technical and strategic projects for clients who are faced with a challenge and require expertise to optimize their success, increase their business value, and/or internal capabilities.



What Does a Project Consultant Do?

Although their duties can vary, project consultants are generally responsible for the following:


• Lending expert knowledge a client’s project

• Gaining an understanding of a client’s current processes, analyzing their shortfalls and developing solutions

• Recommending policy, process and procedural improvements

• Building interdepartmental relationships in an effort to manage project objectives

• Designing features, timelines, implementation strategy and assignment of resources

• Working on diverse problems that require evaluation of identifiable factors

• Testing newly developed solutions

• Researching and documenting work-flow analysis, organizational reviews, management and staff analysis

• Developing project plans, including cost estimates

• Fostering and demonstrating corporate culture of clients

• Defining project parameters to other units participating in the project




Should I Become a Project Consultant?

The best way to find fulfillment in any career field, is to ensure that you’re a good fit for the work and all that comes with it, and that it’s a good fit for you. If you have the following personal characteristics and professional interests, this field might be very well suited for you, and vice-versa: 


• You enjoy meeting new people

• You have leadership abilities and self-confidence 

• You can diplomatically resolve conflicts and disputes

• You’re willing to take responsibility for a project, and be accountable for the results

• You enjoy sharing and demonstrating your expertise

• You have a keen interest in your field of expertise 

• You're interested in providing oversight and leadership in projects from planning to completion

• You’re willing and able to possibly be away from home for a portion, or the duration of a project 

• You’re willing to seek out and develop your own client base (if self-employed)



Who Creates Jobs for Project Consultants?

Project consultants can work for a consulting firm, or they can be self-employed and contract with a variety of different types of organizations across almost any sector of industry, including:


• Aerospace

• Architecture

• Computer networking

• Construction

• Education

• Government services

• Health care services

• Hospitality

• Information technology and software development

• Interior design

• Marketing

• Multiculturism and international aid development

• Non-profit services

• Oil and gas (including pipeline construction)

• Science

• Telecommunications

• Various other fields in the production, design and service industries



Project Consultant Jobs

Our job board below has "Project Consultant" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

What Career Advancement Opportunities Exist?

If you’re dedicated to your work, and display competence and initiative to your clients, you will be exposed to plenty of opportunities to advance your career. For example, if you are working as a self-employed consultant, this could mean taking on more clients, or clients of a higher profile, or upping your fees.


If you work for a consulting firm, advancement might take the form of moving into senior-level roles, wherein you might supervise teams working on more complex projects and becoming more involved in seeking out new business. You might even eventually become a partner in your consultancy, and focus your efforts on attracting new clients and bringing in revenue. 


Alternatively, career advancement for you might take the shape of leaving consulting to take on a senior management position at a non-consulting organization.



What are Careers Similar to “Project Consultant”?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Project Consultant”:


• Business Analyst

• Management Analyst

• Management Consultant

• Project Analyst

• Project Engineer

• Project Manager

• Project Supervisor

• Strategic Planning Consultant



What Scholarships Are There for Becoming a Project Consultant? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study in our system that are relevant to becoming a Project Consultant. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Apply for any and all 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!



Sources for This Career Guide

Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a project consultant:


• Occupational Profile: “Project Management Professional.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved March 16, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Management Consultant.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 16, 2017.

• Job Profile: “Project Manager.” Helen Hayes (August, 2016). Prospects. Retrieved March 16, 2017.

• Job Profiles: “Business Project Manager.” (December, 2016). National Careers Service. Retrieved March 16, 2017.

• Business Blog: “Project Management Consultant Career and Salary Profile.” (n.d.). Florida Tech Online. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database; below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a project consultant. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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