Companies sometimes initiate programs that require knowledge and skills that the company has not developed yet. These companies sometimes hire specialists to assist in the development and implementation of a program. Program consultants are responsible for providing expert knowledge related to a particular program. The program consultant's roles depend on the type of program the consultant is advising.
At Cobalt, a program consultant is needed to train and manage car dealers. This consultant creates training programs designed to help dealers create better websites—which are used to sell cars. At Advantage Testing Inc, program consultants communicate regularly with parents of students, answering all questions. These consultants must also provide information to staff members at the company. Program consultants at United Health Group help the company with clinical audits. This consultant is also responsible for increasing company efficiency by examining the processes of the company and providing recommendations.
The work environment of a program consultant can vary depending on the company, though the most common areas are offices. Some program consultants are entirely self-employed and work on a contract basis, while other program consultants work for consulting firms that enter contracts with other companies. Some also work directly for a company providing services if the company has customers who frequently need consulting, such as with Advantage Testing Inc. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, program consultants usually work 40 hours a week. However, consultants might work longer hours when deadlines are nearing.
Program consultants must have previous experience in the industry that they are consulting. At Cobalt, the program consultant must have previous experience with both the automotive industry and with the Internet. At Advantage Testing Inc, program consultants must have strong interpersonal skills to work with parents in a patient and emotionally intelligent manner. At United Health Group, the program consultant must be a registered nurse and have previous managerial experience. Communication skills are almost always important, since these consultants must explain information clearly to their clients.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for program consultants and other management analysts will grow 24 percent by 2018. Finding work as a consultant can be difficult, though, because a large variety of applicants often can be hired by a company. Still, increased government regulations will force companies to hire consultants to avoid violating regulations.
Payscale.com reports that management consultants can earn between $53,849 and $159,967 as of 2010. Self-employed consultants are among the highest-paid in this industry. The amount of expertise and the reputation that the management consultant has built strongly affect earnings.