Business Consultant
How to Become a

Business Consultant

The complete career guide to be a Business Consultant: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $91,770
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 13.6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute

Business consultants are commonly employed by consulting agencies. They work with businesses on a contract basis and serve as independent researchers who can observe the innerworkings of a company without bias, suggesting shifts in business models or operational improvements to enhance efficiency.

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What is a Business Consultant?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in business consultant roles:

  • Visit businesses and observe operations and employees to evaluate processes
  • Interview employees, managers, and leadership to understand operations and processes
  • Compile reports on inefficiencies, and make recommendations for changes that can reduce operational costs, make processes more efficient, and increase a company’s profitability
  • Present findings and recommendations to company leadership
  • Develop execution plans for recommended changes that are adopted by businesses

A Day in the Life

When businesses are aware that their departments are suffering from inefficiencies and are seeking advice on how to improve operations, reduce operating budgets, or increase profits, they often turn to consulting companies for guidance. Consulting companies send business consultants to the company to observe operations, record findings, and make recommendations. The advantage of bringing in outside consultants is that businesses are able to get an opinion that is unbiased by internal company politics.

Business consultants begin their work by observing a department’s or company’s operational processes, and interviewing its employees, managers, and leaders. In doing so, the consultant seeks to understand the innerworkings of a company and the processes that are required to complete a workflow. While reviewing processes, the consultant seeks to understand where processes can be improved, if any positions are repetitive and can be eliminated, and where cost savings can be earned to increase profits.

Business consultants may work with businesses for only a few days, or they may spend months or even years working with a company and helping alter and implement processes. Once business consultants feel comfortable with the information that’s been collected in observations, they compile the information and related recommendations into a detailed report and present it to company leaders. At times, the leaders will use the report to make changes independently, and at other times the consultant’s contract may be extended to help implement the recommended changes.

Typical Work Schedule

Most business consultants work full-time schedules, and overtime is common in this role. Often, business consultants travel for work and spend their workweeks out of town, coming home on weekends or between contracts.

Projected Job Growth

Demand for business consultants is expected to increase in the coming decade due to increased market competitiveness, particularly in the healthcare and insurance industries. With increased competition comes demand for more efficient operations, increasing the need for outside consultants to provide insight and recommendations to help companies improve processes and become more profitable.

Typical Employers

Most business consultants are employed by consulting agencies. Others work for insurance companies or government agencies, and some are self-employed and take on clients on a freelance basis. Many are employed by the big three consulting companies: McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company.

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How To Become a Business Consultant

Becoming a business consultant is a long process that requires many years of both education and professional experience. Most aspiring business consultants being their journey by earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The major you choose to pursue is somewhat flexible and should be guided by the type of consulting you hope to do. A general business degree can be useful across the board, or you could focus on a specialty area and study information technology, human resources, or finance.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, you can choose to begin working in your field to start earning professional experience, or you can choose to pursue a master’s degree. While not always required, many businesses that hire business consultants prefer to hire candidates that hold masters of business administration (MBA) degrees. In some cases, you may be able to work and go to school at the same time, and some employers may even be willing to cover the costs of your education.

Most business consultants become experts in their field by working in the field professionally for a decade or more. With an ample amount of professional experience and subject matter expertise, you’ll be highly qualified to provide other businesses with recommendations for how to improve processes and operations. Take an entry-level position in your field after graduating from college, and work your way up. Eventually, you will have enough experience to qualify for open business consultant roles.

Business Consultant Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Business Consultant salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Business Consultant's can make an average annual salary of $91,770, or $44 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $60,450 or $29 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #92 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Business Consultant. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Business Consultants

  • 7.2%   Doctorate
  • 29%   Masters
  • 41%   Bachelors
  • 5.1%   Associates
  • 12.4%   College
  • 4.9%   High School
  • 0.5%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Business Consultant job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 103,400 jobs for a total of 861,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 13.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #121 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Business Consultants

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 165,500 45,600 46%
Self-employed workers 144,400 28,600 29%
Federal government, excluding postal service 61,200 -5,900 -6%

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