Article

Top 11 Consulting Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top consulting certifications available, including their benefits and requirements.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a consultant in the job market because they demonstrate an individual's mastery of key concepts, skills, and expertise. They also provide employers with evidence that a consultant has the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully complete projects. Certifications give consultants a competitive edge when applying for new positions and can help them stand out among other applicants. Additionally, certifications can add credibility to a consultant’s resume, as employers often look for proof of specialization or advanced knowledge in certain areas. Finally, certifications are valuable networking tools that allow consultants to connect with other professionals in their field and increase their visibility within the industry.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Consultings and explains how they can contribute to a consulting's career by providing greater knowledge, expertise, and credibility.

What are Consulting Certifications?

Consulting certification is a type of professional certification that demonstrates a person's skills, knowledge and experience in consulting. It also serves as an indicator of the individual's commitment to their profession and can help them stand out from other job applicants. Consulting certifications can be obtained through various organizations, such as the Association for Management Consulting (AMC) or the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC).

Holding a consulting certification helps to demonstrate that an individual has the proper training and expertise to provide advice and guidance to clients. It also shows employers that they are knowledgeable about current industry trends, have the ability to solve complex problems, and can work independently or in teams. Additionally, having a consulting certification may make it easier for consultants to gain access to exclusive networking opportunities and industry-related events. This can help them build relationships with potential employers, increase their visibility within their field, and stay up-to-date on news and developments.

Pro Tip: Before investing in a consulting certification, make sure to research the organization offering it and ensure that it is recognized in your field. Additionally, find out what types of experience employers look for when hiring consultants with the certification.

Related: What does a Consulting do?

Top 11 Consulting Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Consultings today.

1. Certified Management Consultant (CMC)

Certified Management Consultant (CMC) is a professional designation for management consultants who have achieved a high level of professional excellence. It is awarded by the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc. (IMC USA). The CMC designation recognizes an individual's expertise in the field of management consulting and their commitment to ethical standards and professional practices.

To become a Certified Management Consultant, you must meet certain requirements set by IMC USA. These include: having at least five years of documented experience in the field of management consulting, passing an exam that covers topics such as business strategy, finance, marketing, organizational development and ethics, and completing continuing education credits every three years to maintain your certification status.

The process of becoming a CMC typically takes about six months to complete. You must first submit an application for certification along with supporting documentation to IMC USA. Once your application has been approved, you will be scheduled to take the CMC exam. After successfully passing the exam, you will receive your CMC certification from IMC USA.

The cost of obtaining the CMC designation varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of IMC USA. For non-members, it costs $795 for the initial application fee plus $595 for the exam fee ($1390 total). For members of IMC USA, it costs $595 for the initial application fee plus $395 for the exam fee ($990 total).

2. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a professional designation given to individuals who have met certain educational, experience and examination requirements set by the state in which they practice. CPAs are highly trained professionals who provide a wide range of services including financial statement preparation, tax planning and compliance, auditing, consulting and other related services.

In order to become a CPA, an individual must first meet the educational requirements set forth by the state in which they intend to practice. Generally speaking, this includes completing at least 150 semester hours of college coursework with a concentration in accounting or related field. In addition to the educational requirements, individuals must also pass the Uniform CPA Exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The exam consists of four sections: Auditing & Attestation; Business Environment & Concepts; Financial Accounting & Reporting; and Regulation.

The time it takes to get your CPA license varies depending on individual circumstances such as how quickly you can complete your education and pass the exam. On average, it typically takes between one and two years for an individual to become licensed as a CPA.

In order to receive your CPA license, you must also fulfill any additional requirements set forth by your state board of accountancy such as continuing education credits or ethics courses. Additionally, you may need to pay associated fees such as application fees or exam fees. The cost of becoming a CPA will vary depending on where you live and what additional requirements you need to fulfill in order to become licensed.

3. Certified Professional in Business Analysis (CPBA)

Certified Professional in Business Analysis (CPBA) is a professional certification offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated their expertise and commitment to the practice of business analysis.

The CPBA certification requires candidates to demonstrate knowledge and experience in a variety of areas, including but not limited to: business analysis planning, requirements elicitation, requirements management and communication, enterprise analysis, solution assessment and validation, and project management.

It typically takes approximately six months to one year to prepare for the CPBA exam. Candidates are encouraged to review the IIBA's Body of Knowledge (BOK) prior to taking the exam. The BOK outlines the topics that will be covered on the exam as well as provides guidance on how best to prepare for it. Additionally, there are many online courses available that can help candidates gain a better understanding of these topics.

The cost of obtaining the CPBA certification varies depending on which route you choose. If you choose to take an online course or attend an in-person training session, costs can range from $500-$2,000 USD. If you choose to self-study using only resources such as books or videos, costs can range from $200-$500 USD depending on what materials you purchase.

In addition to any associated fees for studying or taking an exam preparation course, there is also an examination fee associated with taking the CPBA exam itself which is currently set at $325 USD per attempt.

4. Certified Project Management Professional (PMP)

Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) is a certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates an individual’s mastery of the principles and practices of project management. It is designed to help professionals demonstrate their knowledge and experience in managing projects, leading teams, and delivering results.

It typically takes around 6-12 months to prepare for the PMP exam. This preparation time includes studying for the exam, taking practice exams, and attending training courses or workshops. The actual exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within four hours.

To get certified as a PMP, you must meet certain criteria set by PMI. These include having at least three years of professional project management experience with 4500 hours leading projects, 35 hours of formal project management education/training, and passing the PMP examination.

The cost of obtaining the PMP certification varies depending on your country of residence and whether you are a member of PMI or not. Generally speaking, it costs $405 for non-members to take the exam and $555 for members.

5. Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) is an advanced certification offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It is designed to recognize business analysts who have achieved a high level of professional experience and knowledge in the field. The CBAP certification validates that a business analyst has the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively analyze and solve complex business problems.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain prerequisites and pass an exam. Prerequisites include having at least 7,500 hours of business analysis experience in the last 10 years, as well as 21 hours of professional development in the last four years. Once these prerequisites are met, applicants must register for and pass the CBAP exam.

The CBAP exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, which must be completed within 4 hours. The exam covers topics such as enterprise analysis, requirements management, solution assessment & validation, stakeholder engagement, and more.

The cost of registration for the CBAP exam is $325 USD for IIBA members or $450 USD for non-members. The fee includes access to an online study guide and practice test. Additionally, there are several study materials available from third-party vendors that can help prepare candidates for the exam.

6. Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB)

Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (CLSSBB) is a professional certification for individuals who have mastered the principles of Lean Six Sigma, a business process improvement methodology. The certification is designed to demonstrate an individual's ability to lead and manage complex projects, analyze data and drive change within an organization.

It typically takes between four and nine months to complete the training and certification process for a CLSSBB. The length of time depends on the type of program chosen, as well as the individual's prior knowledge and experience with Lean Six Sigma. Generally, it involves completing coursework, passing an exam and providing evidence of project work.

To become certified as a CLSSBB, individuals must complete a formal training program that covers topics such as Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC), Lean Manufacturing Principles, Design for Six Sigma (DFSS), Project Management and Statistical Process Control (SPC). After completing the training program, individuals must pass an exam administered by either ASQ or IASSC in order to receive their certification.

The cost of obtaining a CLSSBB certification can vary depending on the type of program chosen. Generally speaking, online programs range from $500-$2,000 while in-person programs can range from $2,000-$4,000. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with taking the exam or purchasing study materials.

7. Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is a certification program offered by the Scrum Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting and teaching the principles of the Agile methodology. The CSM certification is designed to help individuals learn and apply the core values, principles, and practices of Scrum. It also provides a way for organizations to identify qualified professionals who have demonstrated their understanding of Scrum fundamentals.

The CSM certification requires that individuals complete a two-day course with an accredited instructor. During this course, participants will learn about the history and principles of Scrum, as well as how to use it in their own projects. After completing the course, participants must pass an online exam in order to receive their certification.

The cost of the CSM certification varies depending on where you take the course and who is offering it. Generally speaking, courses range from $1,000-$2,500 USD.

Once you have completed your course and passed your exam, you will be eligible for a two-year membership with the Scrum Alliance which includes access to resources such as webinars, newsletters, and discounts on future courses or events.

8. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a professional certification offered by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a level of expertise in the area of information systems auditing, control, and security. The CISA designation is recognized worldwide as a benchmark for professionals in the field of information systems auditing, control, and security.

To become certified as a CISA, an individual must pass an exam administered by ISACA. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as IT governance, risk management, application control, system development life cycle, IT operations management and disaster recovery planning. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete and can be taken at any Pearson VUE testing center.

In order to qualify to take the CISA exam, applicants must meet certain criteria set forth by ISACA. These criteria include having at least five years of experience in information systems auditing or related fields; holding a degree from an accredited college or university; or completing specific courses through ISACA’s education program.

The cost for taking the CISA exam varies depending on whether you are an ISACA member or non-member. For members, the cost is $575 USD; for non-members it is $760 USD. In addition to this fee there may also be other costs associated with preparing for the exam such as purchasing study materials or enrolling in review courses offered by ISACA or other organizations.

9. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals. The CFA designation is considered one of the most prestigious and sought-after credentials in the financial services industry. It is awarded to individuals who demonstrate mastery of a broad range of topics related to investment analysis and portfolio management.

The CFA program typically takes three years to complete and consists of three levels: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Each level requires passing an exam that tests knowledge on topics such as economics, accounting, corporate finance, quantitative methods, portfolio management, equity investments, fixed income investments, derivatives instruments, alternative investments, and more.

To get started on the path to becoming a CFA charterholder, you must first become a member of the CFA Institute by registering for the CFA Program. This involves completing an application form and paying an enrollment fee which varies depending on your country of residence. After registration is complete you can then begin studying for each level’s exam.

The cost of becoming a CFA charterholder depends on several factors such as study materials purchased or if you are enrolled in review courses or classes offered by third-party providers. Generally speaking however it can be estimated that it will cost around $2,500-$3,000 per year for all materials needed to successfully complete each level’s exam including registration fees and exam fees ($450 USD per level).

10. Accredited Business Valuator (ABV)

Accredited Business Valuator (ABV) is a professional designation granted by the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) to those who have achieved a high level of expertise in business valuation. The ABV credential is awarded to appraisers who have completed an ASA-approved course of study and passed a comprehensive examination.

The ABV program consists of two parts: a self-study component and an examination component. The self-study component requires that applicants complete at least 80 hours of coursework, which includes topics such as financial statement analysis, business valuation methods, and legal considerations in business valuations. After completing the self-study portion, applicants must pass the ABV Examination, which is administered by the ASA twice each year.

To become an Accredited Business Valuator, you must be a member in good standing with the ASA and meet certain educational requirements. You must also submit your application for accreditation along with proof of your educational qualifications and experience. Once approved, you will receive your certificate from the ASA and be officially recognized as an Accredited Business Valuator.

The entire process typically takes between six months to one year to complete depending on how quickly you are able to complete the required coursework and pass the exam.

The cost for becoming an Accredited Business Valuator varies depending on the type of membership you choose with the ASA; however, it generally ranges from $500-$1000 USD plus applicable taxes.

11. Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a professional designation for management accountants and financial professionals. It is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

The CGMA designation recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of management accounting. The program requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in areas such as financial planning, budgeting, cost accounting, risk management, performance measurement, and decision making.

To earn the CGMA designation, candidates must pass an exam administered by the AICPA or CIMA. The exam consists of four sections: Financial Reporting & Analysis; Strategic Business Management; Corporate Finance & Governance; and Performance Management & Control. Candidates must also complete an ethics course prior to taking the exam.

The entire process typically takes three to six months to complete depending on how quickly a candidate can study for and pass all four sections of the exam.

The cost of earning the CGMA designation varies depending on which organization administers it. The AICPA charges $1,100 for its version of the CGMA exam while CIMA charges £395 ($525 USD). In addition to these fees, there may be additional costs associated with taking courses or purchasing study materials.

Do You Really Need a Consulting Certificate?

Whether or not you need a consulting certificate depends on your specific situation and goals. If you are interested in pursuing a career in consulting, then obtaining a consulting certificate can be beneficial. A certification will demonstrate that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide quality consulting services. It also gives potential employers assurance that you are qualified for the job.

However, it is important to note that having a certification does not guarantee success in this field. It is still essential to possess strong interpersonal skills, excellent communication abilities, and problem-solving aptitude. Additionally, it helps to have experience in the industry or sector in which you plan to work as a consultant.

Ultimately, if you are serious about pursuing a career as a consultant, then obtaining a consulting certificate can be an important step towards achieving your goals. The certification will provide evidence of your qualifications and give employers more confidence in your ability to perform well as a consultant. However, it is important to remember that having the certificate alone is not enough and that other factors such as experience and interpersonal skills are equally important for success in this profession.

Related: Consulting Resume Examples

FAQs About Consulting Certifications

1. What is a Consulting Certification?

A consulting certification is an accreditation that verifies an individual’s knowledge and skills in a particular area of consulting. It typically requires passing an exam or completing a course, and can be used to demonstrate professional competence and increase job opportunities.

2. What are the Benefits of Consulting Certifications?

Consulting certifications provide recognition for expertise in a specific field, as well as credibility with employers and clients. They also allow consultants to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, which can help them remain competitive in the marketplace.

3. How Do I Get Certified as a Consultant?

The process for obtaining a consulting certification varies depending on the type of certification and organization offering it. Generally speaking, the requirements include passing an exam or completing a course, which may involve studying material provided by the certifying organization or attending classes at an accredited institution.

4. What Are Some Examples of Consulting Certifications?

Examples of popular consulting certifications include Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP), Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP), Project Management Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (LSSMBB).

5. Is There Any Cost Involved in Obtaining a Consulting Certification?

Yes, there is usually some cost associated with obtaining a consulting certification, including fees for taking exams or enrolling in courses offered by certifying organizations. However, many employers will reimburse these costs if you successfully obtain your certification.