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All you really need to do to become an etiquette consultant is start advertising your services. But because clients want to see that you've taken the time to learn the best practices of the trade, a certification from a training program can really help. Programs typically last less than a week and cover basic etiquette and niche subjects, such as business protocol, table manners and good communication practices.
Because there are no long-established associations or conferences specifically for etiquette consultants, you may have to do some digging to find certification programs. The Association of Image Consultants International is one place to network with consultants or to sign up for free teleclasses. Use social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Facebook and online searches to locate training programs. The Protocol School of Washington is an East Coast option, the Charleston School of Etiquette and Protocol is in the south, and, the Etiquette Institute is in Missouri. Gloria Starr training programs are offered in U.S. and international locations. Look for books that discuss your industry, such as FabJob's "FabJob Guide to Become an Etiquette Consultant."
Choose Your Niche
Once you've located training programs, dig deeper into the offerings to find out whether they fit your business needs. Determine the types of clients with whom you enjoy working, as well as your own expertise. If you've been a CEO for the past 10 years, you may do well to pursue a career as a business etiquette consultant. A server at a restaurant may be interested in table manners or dining etiquette. If you need help sorting out what you're good at, take online personality and skills assessments to identify your strongest skills and character traits.
Cost, Delivery and Continuing Education
Training programs for etiquette consultants can vary widely in cost, delivery method and the types of support you get afterward. Some programs -- such as the program outlined by FabJob.com -- cost only a few hundred dollars and can be taken entirely online. Other programs offer only in-person training that can cost several thousand dollars. The training may also be a combination of teleconferencing, online coursework and in-person seminars. Generally, programs that cost more offer post-graduation support or continuing education that adds value to the training. The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette, for example, offers a five-day in-person seminar, followed by 12 months of distance learning and one-on-one coaching for one year.
What the Courses Cover
The actual nature of the training can also vary widely. For a course focused on table manners -- such as at the Etiquette Institute -- you might dine on an elaborate meal, all the while learning about the etiquette surrounding serving and table placement. At the Protocol Institute of Washington's corporate etiquette training program, you cover a wide range of topics related to cross-cultural understanding and business etiquette. Ideally, programs also teach you about managing your business, including sales techniques and how to market your services. So long as you attend all parts of the training, you'll typically earn certification at the end of the program.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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