Education and Training Requirements
If you are interested in this work, you will benefit from taking classes and being involved in activities that develop your ability to communicate and increase your understanding of visual effects. Helpful classes to take include English, speech, and drama. Since many people in this line of work are entrepreneurs, consider taking business, bookkeeping, computer science, accounting, and marketing classes to give you the skills to run and promote your own business. Learning a foreign language will increase the number of clients that you can serve.
While there are no formal, standardized training programs for image consultants, the higher level education a consultant attains, the more appealing they will be to corporate clients. Many consultants have degrees in marketing or public relations that are augmented by coursework in psychology, training methods, fashion, etiquette, and communications. Some people begin their careers in this field by working as apprentices or interns to experienced consultants.
Online learning platforms such as Udemy also offer classes in image consulting.
Some colleges offer certificates in image consulting, public relations, and related fields. For example, Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, offers a certificate of completion for aspiring image consultants. Classes in this program include Color and Design, Interpersonal Communication, Wardrobe Strategies, Apparel Quality Analysis, Textiles, and Psychology and Culture. Contact schools in your area to learn what types of programs are available.
Other Education or Training
The Association of Image Consultants International and Color Designers International provide continuing education opportunities at their conferences and in other settings. The Small Business Administration offer seminars on starting and operating a successful business. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) provides three levels of certification: certified image consultant, certified image professional, and certified image master. The AICI says that "certification is a great marketing tool to build your business and attract clients." Contact the AICI for more information.
Color Designers International offers certification to its members who meet experience requirements and pass an examination.
Image consultants who have their own companies may need to have a business license from their city, state, or another government entity.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Many aspiring image consultants obtain experience by completing an apprenticeship or internship. Experience in the business world, especially in management and public contact, is essential for a career in corporate consulting.
To be a successful image consultant, you must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including good listening skills in order to be able to listen closely to learn your client's goals. You must be patient, positive, friendly, and encouraging in order to inspire your clients to improve themselves. An image consultant must also be poised, mature, and professional in all interactions with clients and potential clients. Consultants who plan to open their own consulting firms need business management skills, knowledge of computers and social media, and strong marketing skills. An interest in fashion and style will be very helpful.