To become a certified management consultant, one must have worked as a management consultant for some time, often three years minimum. There may be both written and oral examinations on various topics related to the management consulting field. In addition, the consultant’s clients may evaluate the consultant as part of the certification process. There are professional organizations in the field that offer certification to become a certified management consultant, such as the Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMCUSA). This organization is a member, along with organizations from other countries, of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI).
While some certification programs in different professions offer certification before someone gets a job in that field, to become a certified management consultant, work experience is often necessary before certification becomes an option. For example, the IMCUSA doesn't offer certification until the consultant has at least three years of experience. In this way, the evaluation process is more of a progress report on the work the management consultant has done as opposed to a test of basic knowledge that is given in some professions.
There are different levels within the certification process. For example, the IMCUSA has three levels of certification. The first is Basic, at which time the consultant must have three to nine years of experience. The second level is Experienced, which is for consultants who have more than 10 years experience. The final level is Management, which is for consultants with more than 20 years of experience in the field.
In addition to work experience, one must usually have a certain number of client evaluations to become a certified management consultant, according to the IMCUSA. This means that people or companies the management consultant has worked for review how the consultant performed. This information is reviewed by the certification committee to determine if the consultant has been successful.
The next step to become a certified management consultant is usually a written and oral exam. The written exam may consist of topics such as professionalism and ethics. It can generally be taken over the Internet, which allows the management consultant some flexibility.
An oral exam may also be part of the process to become a certified management consultant. For the IMCUSA, this usually consists of an in-person review. The oral exam may take several forms; one of these may be a sample presentation that the management consultant would usually present to a client. This helps show the committee how adept the consultant is at the job.
Once it is determined that someone is knowledgeable enough to become a certified management consultant, recertification may be necessary. This can be done through continuing education or professional development activities. While being certified as a management consultant is not generally a requirement, it can produce more business because it demonstrates high levels of ethics and professional skills and knowledge in the management field.