There are plenty of career options available for those with a doctorate in education who can take advantage of the skills learned in Ed.D. programs. One of those careers is to become a consultant for an organization. But what is an education consultant and how does your education help those companies who need one?
First, it will be helpful to define what a doctorate in education is and what it does for you. A doctorate in education prepares students for roles in educational organizations. These can include K-12 schools, colleges, and places of higher education. With an Ed.D. you will be able to enter one of these organizations and enter a leadership position.
This can include being a principal, a dean, a professor, an administrator, or a coordinator, and all of these are positions in which someone with the proper education can make a difference. As a graduate with an Ed.D., you will have the management, leadership, and personal skills to take an organization from where it is to where it wants to go. An Ed.D. also allows you to be an advocate for teachers and students and lets you push the school into a better place.
Is an Ed.D. only for educational jobs?
Thankfully, if you don’t want to step back into school life, the skills that an Ed.D. will be able to teach you will apply to business as well. There are plenty of jobs for a Doctorate in Education holder that don’t require you to work in the classroom. With an Ed.D. in Leadership and Organizational Innovation from an accredited institution such as Marymount University, you could become a CEO, a project coordinator, a corporate trainer, a chief learning officer, or a director of both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Marymount University offers a program that will get you your degree in just under three years. In this program, you will learn how to manage a diverse group of people, the theory and practice of leadership, and how to guide organizations through change.
Upon completion of your qualification, you will have a number of transferable skills. One role in which these skills can be applied is as an educational consultant.
What is an educational consultant and why are they needed?
Educational consultants guide and advise those working in education. They might be former teachers or people with experience in the education industry, and they will have all the knowledge needed to answer the important questions. In order to be an educational consultant, you need to have some level of experience as well as relevant degrees.
Still, an educational consultant isn’t just someone with experience in the industry. They need a variety of skills; for example, they should be good writers and fresh thinkers. People aren’t going to a consultant in order to hear information they could have found on the internet themselves. Instead, they want to have the specific questions related to them answered, and they also want to get support and a plan in place to move forward. A consultant knows how to manage both tools and people and has the confidence to take the lead and help steer the conversation along.
Many consultants in the educational field will help both parents and students identify their needs and pick a school that will cater to them. Additionally, they will help students apply for colleges and will be with them from the start of the process to the end. Other consultants work with the schools themselves to help enhance and advance the curriculum in order to meet their goals.
Consultants come in and know the best practices to succeed
For many organizations that find that they need a consultant, they often have a problem that they can’t solve themselves. A consultant is paid to come in and sit with the team in order to listen to what is going on, examine the problem for themselves, and then work to fix it. They are able to support, assist, and coach educators with outside advice, and their advice and perspectives are extremely valuable.
Consultants can also be put on the staff in order to provide professional development opportunities, either helping educators become better at their jobs or reviewing data in order to offer necessary advice to school teams. A consultant can be hired to take on an individual case to help out small teams, or they can manage and coach entire districts and schools with big-picture personal development.
If you want to have a job with a lot of options and areas where you can make some serious changes, then being a consultant is going to be the right path for you.
A consultant is a problem solver
A key role of a consultant is problem-solving. Companies bring them in to take on a problem they wouldn’t be able to solve on their own, and the consultant is the one who takes on the issue and provides a solution. Additionally, while the specialized knowledge and viewpoint of consultants are sought after, consultants often also act as an extra pair of hands on a project.
For many consultants, being a problem solver and being able to complete projects without being supervised is a necessary skill. Plus, they should be able to continue learning about their chosen fields so they can remain on the cutting edge of their field.
Different types of educational consultants
While you can get an educational consultant job in a more general sense, such as simply being hired in your field of expertise, you can also take on more specialized jobs as well. These jobs can include special education for one field of study, which helps schools write effective Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs).
The world of special education is always changing and growing as new ways to help students who need a little extra help are discovered. Consultants can help mediate discussions between teachers and parents, and they can provide a sounding board for teachers. If a teacher needs help with goal setting, co-teaching, explicit instruction, or behavioral issues, then a consultant can be useful as an experienced guide.
There is also the job of an educational technology consultant who can advise schools as they take in new technology and new educational methods. Many teachers can (ironically) have trouble learning about how technology works and how to best use it in the classroom. After all, they don’t want to waste class time on troubleshooting issues.
An educational consultant will be able to walk a teacher through how to use the technology effectively, and they will also be able to monitor the data behind it in order to monitor the progress of the initiative.
Learning about climate and culture
Every business and school has a climate, which is essentially how people feel whenever they walk inside the building. They also have a culture, which is how the company works and what values are held in high esteem. If you have a good climate and culture, then the office or school is a good place to work and values such as hard work and excellence are seen as the norm.
However, in places that do not have the best climate and culture, a consultant can be brought in in order to help these places reach higher standards. Consultants are even brought into places with good cultures to find incremental improvements.
Why is a doctorate in education useful for consultants?
While you don’t need an Ed.D. to become a consultant, they do help. This is because there are so many skills that you learn while pursuing your Ed.D., and all of these skills can help your consultancy. The skills of learning how to manage people will allow you to help get organizations moving. The skill of communication will help you communicate any problems clearly and also communicate the way that they can be solved.
Plus, the practical experience gained while studying for your Ed.D. is going to help you empathize and understand the various challenges that organizations are going to face.
A doctorate in education is one of those degrees that will put you head and shoulders above the rest whenever it comes to marketing your consulting business. However, you also need to make sure that you are prepared to do a few other things in order to make sure you are able to market yourself to organizations as a consultant.
Consultancy is competitive
There are a lot of consultants in the world, there are a lot of consultants in the education space, and there are a lot of consultants who have the same education that you do. In order to make sure that you stand out from the pack and get yourself hired, you need to have a few extra skills.
For example, make sure that your unique selling proposition is out there in every single piece of marketing you do. From business cards to emails to the communication you have with potential clients, you need to let them know why they should hire you instead of your competitors.
For example, you can provide good quality service for price comparisons. If you do good, high-quality work, do the work quickly, and provide it all for a fair price, then you will likely get hired over the consultant who hasn’t gotten those figures in balance yet. Additionally, you can have a professional reputation built up and have good availability to work on assignments.
Another thing you can develop is a strong and compelling leadership presence. Being a leader is one of the most important skills that will be used for any job in the educational field, and you need to make sure that you are a good one. While your Doctor of Education degree will help you get some of the skills needed to become a fantastic leader and manager, a lot of it is going to be talent and natural skill.
At the end of the day, you are going to be hired to solve a problem, and you need to be able to convince the people you want to hire that you are the best candidate to solve that problem. If you can instill confidence as a leader and the confidence that you can make their problem go away into the clients, they will hire you. If you have a strong leadership presence, then you will find that convincing clients to work with you is going to be easy.
Leverage your network
Additionally, don’t be afraid to leverage your network whenever you are first starting out as a consultant. You’ve got a lot of experience both in colleges and in the educational space, and during that time you will have likely met some people who can advocate for your skills. Alternatively, they might be in a position where you can actually provide them with some help professionally.
Try to figure out what professional organizations other consultants go to and see if you can score a ticket. If you can get your foot in the door and see how other consultants work, you can start getting your name out there. Additionally, don’t be afraid to look for committees and other volunteer organizations for consultants in your field.
All that work looks great on a resume, gives you professional experience for free, gives you access to some of the top people in your profession, and also allows you to see opportunities on the ground floor as they come in.
Do good work and people will talk about you
As a consultant, it can be hard to get that first job. Once you are able to get yourself into a job and you help an organization solve a problem, you really need to focus on doing good work. By providing excellent consulting services, clients are going to talk about you and recommend you to other people who need help. Word-of-mouth is a crucial element of networking.
The momentum can be very hard to start, but once it gets going it isn’t about to stop for anyone. So don’t be afraid to put your best foot forward a little more than normal on the first few jobs. Additionally, don’t be afraid to provide good and free value to those in your niche. You can do this online through social media posts or emails.
While networking and marketing are important, building a good reputation through good quality, well-priced work is essential, especially when first trying to establish yourself as a professional consultant. No matter what, you should focus on doing good work because that is the best way for you to get your name out there. Then, you can leverage your Ed.D. to help you get the job and that will bring you right to the top of your field in no time!
Setting the bar for the future
With a strong educational background, you should never be afraid to delve into the business of becoming an educational consultant. With a Doctor of Education from a reputable institution, you will have all the necessary skills to progress in your career. However, while your education is vital, once you complete your program, you need to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward and constantly seeking out opportunities in the consulting business, because that is going to help you get the clients you need.
With all this considered, you will be ready to start helping educational institutions find solutions to their problems and embark on a rewarding and fulfilling educational career while advocating for better educational access for all members of future society.