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Engineering consultants are usually self-employed, but also work for consulting firms. Consultants are experts, and clients rely upon their knowledge and advice to save money. The consultant can provide a variety of advice, such as effective equipment or system design plans. Aspiring engineer consultants must meet certain requirements, including a college degree and professional license. As of 2010, the average national salary for engineering consultants was $121,374, according to Cbsalary.com.
Consider the risks. If you are interested in self-employment, consider the financial sacrifice required to start a consulting business. The business may not immediately earn a substantial income.
Obtain a degree. Choose a career field, such as math, chemistry, physics or engineering. Obtaining a degree provides credibility, showing you are qualified. Many employers may also require a master’s degree. Expect engineering coursework to include electronics, chemistry, calculus and other courses related to engineering. Ensure the school’s program has the accreditation of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Obtain a license. Most companies require engineer consultants to obtain a professional engineering license. A license conveys to clients that the consultant is knowledgeable in engineering rules and regulations. Obtaining a license requires a degree from an accredited school, four years of experience and passing both the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the Principals and Practice of Engineering exam. Take the exams in the state where you will practice. Register for the license through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and expect each exam to last eight hours. A license is granted upon successfully passing both exams.
Join an association. Choose a nationally-recognized organization, such as the Institute of Management Consultants. Many associations offer members training, workshops and seminars.
Engineering counselors must possess good communication skills because they meet with clients and other professionals. Communication skills are also useful in helping the counselor network, soliciting services and obtaining clients. Good writing skills are important because engineering consultants must write reports that summarize and evaluate meetings with clients. Engineering consultants must possess adequate computer skills because they are required to create data reports and spreadsheets using word processing software.