How to Become a Lead Consultant?

Are you thinking of becoming a Lead Consultant or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Lead Consultant, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Lead Consultant job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
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Steps to Become a Consultant

Do you enjoy networking and helping your clients grow and succeed? If so, you may be ready to become a professional consultant. Use these six steps when you decide to follow a path in this career field:

Obtain your undergraduate degree.

A consultant's educational requirements are subjective. For example, some entry-level consultant jobs may only require a Bachelor's Degree in the industry, while candidates gunning for senior-level roles will want to arm themselves with a Master's Degree.

If you're focused on a career in a specific niche, such as healthcare, consider earning a minor in that particular field in addition to your business degree. Consultants typically hold credentials in areas such as:

  • Business administration.
  • Finance.
  • Economics.
  • Psychology.
  • Marketing.
  • Computer science.

Earn work experience.

The next step to becoming a consultant is to create an outstanding portfolio filled with your clients’ success stories. Working in your industry for a few years will help build your skill sets and provide you with the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of daily operations. This expert-level combination of experience and education enables you to stand out from other candidates.


Join a professional association.

Applicants with an association membership are also appealing to potential employers. Many groups offer discounted memberships for first-year consultants and students. Organizations like the Association of Professional Canadian Consultants help freelancers develop and grow their consulting practices through:

  • Networking events.
  • Online resources, like blog articles and podcasts.
  • Mentoring.
  • Marketing resources.

Get an industry-specific certification.

Similar to its educational requirements, a consultant's need for certification also depends on the industry you choose to serve. While certification may or may not be necessary if you want to improve your chances of finding a lucrative position with a prestigious consulting firm, earn your Certified Management Consultant certification. Once you complete the required courses and pass the examination, you can add this notable designation to your resume.


Complete a Master's Degree program.

Many aspiring consultants find it particularly helpful to earn their MBA (Master of Business Administration). With this degree, more opportunities are likely to pop up with businesses that prefer to interview candidates with advanced education. Just like your undergraduate degree program, specialize in a curriculum that offers courses in the field you're interested in, like healthcare management, for example.


Expand your network.

Networking is at the core of every consultant's tool kit, from setting up accounts with LinkedIn and Facebook groups to attending large corporate conferences. While it's important to make connections in any field, it's essential in this one. Most of your clients will come from direct contacts and referrals. It's also beneficial to network with other consultants, who can field questions about:

  • Managing administrative tasks.
  • Providing services.
  • Pricing structures.
  • Resolving conflict.

Lead Consultant Career Path

Lead Consultant

5 - 7Years of Experience
$97K - $131K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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20% advanced to

Principal Consultant

8+Years of Experience
$85K - $137K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Senior Principal Consultant

8+Years of Experience
$118K - $174K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Salary Trajectory

Lead Consultant Career Path

Consultant I
Consultant II
Consultant Supervisor
Lead Consultant
Principal Consultant
Senior Principal Consultant
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Related careers in the Consulting Industry

Interested in other Consulting careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Lead Consultant skills. Discover some of the most common Lead Consultant career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Business Consultant
0% skills overlap
9% transitioned to Business Consultant