Generally, it takes around 10 to 12 years to become a consultant. This duration of time also includes the time spent on formal learning. However, the duration of time may differ from one field to another. For example, becoming a consultant in the healthcare field may take longer time compared to the time taken for the marketing department.
Nevertheless, to know how long it takes to become a consultant, you will need to have a thorough understanding of this career pathway. And in this guide, I will help you to understand this career pathway in detail.
How Can You Get To The Consultant Level?
To get to the consultant level, one needs to go through four basic steps which are mentioned below.
- Get a bachelor’s degree
In order to get to the consultant level, first you need to achieve an undergraduate degree. And it takes around four years to complete this degree.
- Develop experience
Secondly, it is important to develop experience in the sector you want to work in. For having experience in your chosen field, you will need to work for at least five years in any company with applicable projects.
- Earn a relevant verification
You will also need to earn a related certification by participating in any certification course or examination in the related field. Such activity can take from one to two years.
- Get a graduate degree
It is also necessary to get a graduate degree to get to the consultant level. It can take from two to four years to complete this degree.
What Skills Do Consultants Need?
There are numerous skills that consultants need to have. Below I have mentioned the most important skills that are required in this profession.
- Interaction skills
Consultants need to frequently communicate with clients. So it is important to have satisfactory communication skills, as it determines how customers outlook a consultant.
- Monitoring skills
A consultant needs to have satisfactory observation skills, as he or she needs to be capable of observing, analyzing, and providing interpretation on any areas of interest.
- Problem-solving skills
It is the most vital part of consulting. A consultant needs to use his or her skills to solve the issues that customers have and assist them in attaining their expected results.
- Human skills
It is very important to build and maintain good connections with customers. This is because customers will prefer to go to those consultants with whom they have great relationships.
- Company and time-handling skills
It is very crucial to manage your time effectively, along with being organized and high-yielding. It is needed to complete your work efficiently.
How Do I Start A Career As A Consultant?
After achieving your academic qualifications, you must be eager to start your career as a consultant. But the question is how to initiate this profession. To start this career, you need to consider a few important factors.
- Figuring out your area of proficiency
It is very important to recognize your expertise. This is because if you choose to work in a field in which you are proficient, you are most likely to become successful.
- Determining where you want to work
Select a target market where you can be more profitable. Also, you need to make sure you have enough skills to work in that industry. It is a very critical decision to find out where you want to work.
- Build a network
It is very crucial to build a network, as the more you build your network the more clients you will have. Also, they might help you in recommending you for a job.
- Create a website and become certified
Many people can get to know about your service through your website, this can help you to find clients.
Also, becoming certified can increase your reputation, thus can help you to become a well-known consultant.
- Set your price
Determine the rate at which you will provide your service. Set the price to such an amount that you can attract more clients.
What Is The Hardest Part Of Being A Consultant?
There are many tough parts of consultancy. And it is not easy to say which part is the hardest, as it may vary from person to person.
However, I personally feel that dealing with different personalities and solving their problems can be the hardest part. This is because many clients refuse to cooperate, and can behave rudely, solving their problems can be very difficult and sensitive. This is because you need to keep your mind calm, and convince your customer to cooperate. At the same time you will also need to think creatively to solve the issue.
What Personality Makes A Good Consultant?
A good consultant needs to be supportive and helpful along with being confident and realistic. Besides, it is very important to have a flexible mindset, in addition to having lots of patience. This is because consultancy is mostly about communicating, so one needs to have all these potentials in his or her personality to become a good consultant.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Being A Consultant?
The disadvantages of being a consultant are given below.
- There is job insecurity
There is no guarantee that after finishing one project you will have another work ready for you. You need to search for clients. So there is no certainty about upcoming works.
- It is very stressful
There is huge pressure and stress in this field of work. You will need to manage plenty of workloads along with completing them within a given timeframe.
- It requires working for a longer time
Consulting requires working for longer hours compared to other corporate jobs. So a consultant gets very little leisure time to spend with family or friends.
- There can be strict time limits
Many clients set a specific deadlines for their projects. Maintaining that deadline can be very challenging for the consultant, as the workload can be huge.
- Consulting can cause mental illness
Meeting problematic people and solving complex issues within a certain deadline can cause great pressure on one person. Dealing with all these along with working long hours can eventually make a person sick. So there are chances that consultants can suffer from mental issues.
Is it hard to be a consultant?
Answer: Yes, it is hard to be a consultant. The huge amount of work can make this career very stressful. However, for hardworking people, it may be easier.
Can a shy person become a consultant?
Answer: Yes, a shy person can become a consultant. Shy people can be great listeners, so they can listen to clients’ issues properly. But they need to make sure they interact with the clients.
Do you need a master’s to be a consultant?
Answer: No, it is not mandatory to have a master’s degree to be a consultant. However, many employers demand to hire consultants with a master’s degree.
Can an introvert be a consultant?
Answer: Yes, an introvert can be a consultant. But at the beginning, introverts may face difficulties with communicating, but with time they get comfortable.
The duration of time needed to become a consultant can depend on many factors, like the industry you want to work in, your motivations to complete your study and make experiences earlier, and so on.
However, it is important to focus on becoming a good consultant rather than the time taken to start this career.