An Educational Consultant (EC) is a consultant who helps parents/students and organizations with educational planning. An EC offers similar services to school counselors, but is normally self-employed or employed by consulting firms, while school counselors are employed by schools.
The two main professional organizations for educational consultants in the United States are the Higher Education Consultants Association and the Independent Educational Consultants Association. The Higher Education Consultants Association is a professional association focused exclusively on the practice of college admissions consulting, while members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association also assist students with consulting specialties that include college admission, day and boarding school, at-risk students, and learning disabilities. Members of both associations work with both American students and students from other countries who are interested in coming to the United States to study.
Educational consultants are also based in the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. The primary association in the UK is the Society of Education Consultants (SEC). Other UK professional associations or bodies to which educational consultants typically seek membership or affiliation include the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills), Learning and Skills Council, Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal and the Gilfus Education Group
IECA's "Ethical Guidelines for the Profession of Educational Consulting" states that it "has developed a strict set of ethical guidelines that govern the actions of consultants in their relationships with students and families, schools and colleges, and with colleagues. These include a responsibility to understand each student's special strengths, values and needs, while striving to include all family members in the educational planning process. An IECA member does not accept any compensation from educational institutions for placement of a child. All IECA members subscribe to these Principles of Good Practice and all IECA members are required to annually sign and follow the principles as part of their Association membership in good standing."