Become a certified consultant | Certified

Become a certified consultant — does it make sense for you? Whether you should become a certified consultant or not really depends on the field you work in and the clients you serve. Certainly, in some fields, like real estate or medicine, you need to have specific credentials to call yourself a member of the profession. But you rarely need to become a "certified consultant" just to open up shop as a consultant.

However, if you want to act as a reseller of certain products, you may need to gain certification. It’s not unusual for IT consultants to pick up designations as certified consultants for products like Accpac, Siebel and so on. But there’s nothing stopping those IT consultants from being consultants without that certification. It just depends on the perks, referral fees and discounts they’d like to access.

Before you pay for certification, stop and ask yourself why you’re doing it. Don’t assume that the credentials of an association will be enough to win clients over. It’s not uncommon for a certificate to be worth the paper it’s written on. You might be better to invest your time in money in building your client base, education or training — not necessarily some "certification" you found on the web or in a classified ad.

Related to becoming a consultant:

Becoming a consultant FAQ

Andrea says:

Thanks for sharing your story. There are a ton of sites and ads proclaiming that you can pay them to become a certified consultant. I can see taking on training or whatever, but you want to know that you’re either learning something or getting a valuable credential.

I went through the process of becoming a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT) when I started out on my own, thinking that it would be necessary to attract clients. In five years, no client asked for it and no client even knew what a CPT was. I didn’t renew my CPT designation because the cost for attending the mandatory conferences and other recertification activities was several thousand dollars per year.

My advice would be to find out if your potential clients recognize any specific certifications and whether it’s possible to get work without one.