Parents usually track down educational consultants when they discover their
child has a certain educational need. That might mean that the child is gifted
or has some problems that can be tended to in a special environment.
Educational consultants work with all levels of educational needs. They
find places for troubled teens. They help high school graduates find appropriate
They find good boarding schools. They suggest good summer programs for
parents. They help parents find good schools for learning or physically disabled
George Posner is based in New York. But as an educational consultant, he
is required to spend about 20 percent of his time on the road. He travels
to different schools in Canada and the U.S. He evaluates their programs and
the quality of their facilities and gathers reports.
He says that any way you do it, you are going to have to have some inside
knowledge of the field for which you are acting as a consultant.
"Based on first-hand experience, we make a recommendation to the family
as to what school or program is the best fit," he says.
Occasionally, says educational consultant Stephen Bozak, schools he contacts
for information ask him how much he is going to charge for his services.
But Bozak is not a recruiter and he does not take money from schools to
place kids. That would be a violation of the conditions of his membership
with the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).
Bozak's job involves a lot of research and analysis. He also has to have
good people skills, he says. The parents he meets are often at their wit's
end regarding a delinquent child.
"Parents aren't just shooting in the dark trying to find a place for their
child," he says.
Bozak says such cases account for about 90 percent of his business. The
other 10 percent is made up of parents who want to put a talented or gifted
child into a boarding school so that their talents might develop.
Educational consultants can also work a whole spectrum of other jobs. They
might be helping a disabled student find a suitable school one day and be
looking for a school for gifted child musicians the next.
Educational consultants also work on the school buildings. Michel De Jocas
works as a facilities planner. He develops plans for changes or upgrades that
schools, as well as other institutions, want to make to their buildings.
But you don't have to know how to swing a hammer to do this work.
"You have to be a good generalist and have to have extremely good analytical
skills and good writing skills," De Jocas says.
"It's a very process-oriented work that we do where we take a client group
and then we bring them along in terms of a planning process. And in order
to make that happen, we have to have good writing skills and be able to generate
reports that are simple to read and convincing. You have to have good writing
skills to do that."
Educational consultants need to be able to travel often and for long distances.
Not all schools are accessible to the disabled. This might have some impact
on their ability to do the work.
The hours that a full-time educational consultant works are long.
"In special needs, there's always a crisis -- a kid running away from a
program," Posner says. "You have to be available almost at any time."
But in a typical day, he works from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. He regularly works
Saturday, but almost never Sunday.