The Average Annual Income for a Consultant


Overview of Consulting

Consulting can be an incredibly rewarding career, both personally and financially. A consultant provides advice and guidance to organizations to help them solve problems, improve performance, or capitalize on new opportunities. As a consultant, one’s average annual income is dependent upon the type of consulting, the client, and the experience of the consultant.

Let’s take a closer look at the different aspects of consulting to gain a better understanding of what one can expect in terms of income:

Definition of Consulting

Consulting is a profession that provides expertise in a particular area and offers advice, normally related to problem-solving. A consultant may work with individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. The term “consultant” encompasses many different job roles, from part-time contractors to full-time employees. Consulting covers fields ranging from technology, finance and accounting to healthcare, law and marketing.

The most successful consultants often have extended knowledge in their areas of specialty. This can help them provide better advice than those who are simply knowledgeable in the area they are consulting on. The ability to think strategically is also an important trait as consultants are hired typically to increase efficiency or progress of the entity they are advising or representing. Over time and with experience this often leads them to become experts in their field which can be highly rewarding both financially and emotionally for the consultant as well as their clients.

The average annual income for a consultant will depend heavily on their area of expertise and years of experience within it. Those with more desirable skillsets such as data analytics or coding can be very attractive to companies offering significantly higher salaries than those focusing on financial analysis or market research for instance. Consulting salaries also tend to range broadly depending on whether the consultant is providing short term consultation or spearheading longer engagements over multiple months or even years at a time as salaries for multiyear contracts will generally offer greater returns than one off assignments which could range between $50-$100 an hour depending on the complexity of the matter consulted upon.

Different Types of Consulting

The field of consulting covers a wide range of industries and professions. Professionals in this line of work typically provide expert advice or services to companies or clients in a particular area. Consulting is a popular industry as it offers flexibility and ways to make big money in shorter periods. Depending on the type of expertise, skillset, and experience, the potential to earn income can vary greatly. There are various types of consultants offering different services based on their areas of expertise. Examples include management consulting, engineering consulting, technology consulting, financial/investment banking consulting, medical consulting, tax consulting, etc.

Management consultants provide guidance for organizations on matters such as strategic planning and process improvement. They help companies develop efficient systems and guide them through times of change. Management consultants typically earn between $70-120K per year depending on their area of expertise and volume of work completed.

Technology consultants specialize in troubleshooting IT issues, developing new products/services related to technology advancement, or providing suggestions regarding tech solutions within an organization. Those who offer specialized IT solutions such as software engineering or system architecture commands higher salaries than those just offering basic IT support; tech professionals often make upwards of $80K annually.

Financial/investment banking consultants’ earnings vary greatly depending on the type or sector they work within – asset management banks will pay higher rates than retail banks for example – however most financial advisors earn between $50-70K per year (potentially more depending on performance related bonuses).

Medical consultants are specialized professionals who offer expert advice to clients regarding medical procedures and treatments; thanks to their knowledge and skill set combined with certification from an institution that grants accreditation for medical justification fees occur for services rendered ranging from $50-200/hour (this is rare but does happen). Other medical advisors have fixed salary ranges that range from $40-100K/year depending on area specialty (e.g., psychiatry pays higher than general practitioners).

Similarly Tax Consultants typically charge an hourly fee which varies by their type specialization too – tax preparers generally make around $20-35/hour while experts such as CPAs or Enrolled Agents command fees up to $150+ an hour but most average around $60-$90 per hour; these professionals also often receive commission based incentives if agreements are made with client companies instead ask fixed salaries which can range between $60-120K a year (it depends overall workload expectation also).

Average Annual Income

The average annual income for a consultant can vary greatly depending on their specialization, experience, and the type of employer they work with. Generally, consultants make anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 per year with some earning over $200,000.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can influence how much you can expect to make as a consultant:

Factors Influencing Income

The average annual income of a consultant can vary widely depending on a number of factors. These factors include location, industry, experience, communication ability and skill set among many others. A consultant may work on a project basis or retainers that range from hourly to yearly terms. Thus one’s financial earning potential may be impacted by the type and length of contract they maintain with an employer or client.

Compensation for consulting services is often determined by the complexity of the tasks assigned and their ultimate results, as well as the consultant’s level of expertise and specialization in the area required for the job. For example freelance consultants who provide highly specialized services that involve market analysis and research are likely to be remunerated more than those who provide basic onboarding support services for companies during organizational transitions.

Additionally, other key elements such as job title, travel expenses and bonus plans can also influence the net earnings of consultants when they are individually assessed by employers or clients before starting a job or running a project. By understanding all components that can impact upon an individual’s overall salary package it is possible to align expectations with outcomes across various consulting engagements within various industries.

Average Annual Income by Industry

In general, a consultant’s average annual income depends on their industry and experience level. Information technology consultants may earn significantly more than human resources consultants, for example. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides an estimate of the median income of consultants in various industries in 2019:

  • Computer and IT Consulting: $70,641
  • Consulting Management: $90,155
  • Business Process Consulting: $77,728
  • Human Resources Consulting: $63,848
  • Marketing Consulting: $57,227
  • Financial and Investment Consulting: 66,070

According to the BLS data, consultants with a bachelor’s degree have a median annual income of $85,971 while those with a master’s degree have an estimated median annual salary of $99,573. It can take several years for consulting professionals to develop their expertise enough to increase their salaries beyond this range.

Average Annual Income by Region

The average annual income for a consultant can vary greatly depending on the region they are employed in. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2018, consultants employed in the highest earning regions of the country saw incomes averaging more than $96,000 per year. Consultants in the Northeast made an average of $118,800 and those located in the South a median salary of $83,200 annually.

Consultants earning average salaries across all regions of the country saw an overall increase from 2016 levels. The Pacific region showed a notable 18 percent jump to an annual income level of $87,400 while Southwest region consultants reported 7 percent growth compared to their 2016 earnings at an average rate just over $80,000 per year. Those based in the Midwest saw above-average income growth from 2016 through 2018 with increases beyond 9 percent pushing their median annual pay up to around $78,720 for consultants according to available data.

Additional Income Sources

Besides the average annual income for a consultant, there are many other ways to increase your revenue potential. From freelancing, to side hustles and digital marketing, there are a variety of options available to increase your income.

This section will look at the various opportunities available and how to get started:

Bonuses and Commissions

In addition to their standard hourly wages and salaries, consultants may earn extra income in the form of bonuses or commissions. Bonuses are paid as an incentive for exceeding performance expectations, while commissions are typically earned through successful sales of products or services.

Bonuses often come in the form of cash payments, though prizes and other types of recognition may also be included. As a consultant, your bonus could be determined by individual projects completed successfully on time and on budget, client satisfaction ratings or additional responsibilities such as making training presentations or overseeing interns. If your performance is outstanding, you may receive merit awards from your employer as well.

Commissions are typically given to consultants who successfully close sales deals with clients; the consultant would receive a percentage of each sale made. Commissions can often add significantly to a consultant’s bottom line but depend on the success of sales; so most consultants rely on steady wages instead when calculating expected earnings.

Additional Services

In addition to their consultancy fee, many consultants are finding additional ways to increase their income. Providing additional services such as training sessions or group discussion panels, offering products/services via webinars, publishing literature and/or books around the subject, or even jumping on market trends such as online course creation and e-books can all be lucrative options for increased revenue.

When deciding which services to provide, it is important to consider the client’s needs. If a client requires specific expertise that you do not offer internationally but are skilled enough in those areas to provide value and assistance, pricing models should reflect this when considering additional income sources. In addition, while consulting is typically offered on a project-based fee structure, many freelance consultants offer ongoing assistance packages with different terms attached in order to gain long-term revenue from trusted clients.

For those looking for an alternative form of income from consulting services that doesn’t include physical face-to-face meetings with clients or require regular travel, options exist for virtual tutoring and instruction of students in topics ranging from language arts to mathematics. The availability of platforms like Skype or Zoom makes this style of consulting far easier and more accessible than in years past – however it is important to take into account the limitations posed by potential language barriers when supporting students online internationally.

Lastly, while salary can vary drastically depending a person’s location range (e.g., rural versus city) and experiences offered on an individual basis (e.g., specialized education), independent consultants can use these methods – among others – in order to maximize their income over time and build relationships for future business endeavors with new clients around the world.

Freelance Work

Freelance work is an increasingly popular, and lucrative, way to supplement one’s income. This type of work generally involves working independently, instead of as a salaried employee at a company, on short-term assignments for multiple companies on a per-project basis.

When considering freelance work, you may want to consider particular job responsibilities before taking on the job. These responsibilities may include:

  • Research and writing
  • Creating presentations or other materials for potential clients
  • Developing marketing plans
  • Creating business strategy documents
  • and much more.

Depending on your skillset, you could also provide services such as coaching or consulting in areas such as project/business management and executive leadership development.

When setting your price for freelance work, it is important to remember that you should be paid a rate commensurate with the value you bring to the prospective company and in accordance with current industry standards. On average , consultants can expect to earn anywhere between $50 – $200+ per hour for their services. With all of this in mind and factoring in separate taxes (both self-employment tax and regular income tax) associated with freelance work into account , a consultant’s average annual income can range from $40K -$150K per year or higher. To increase your earning potential with freelance work , look into creating professional partnerships that can serve as additional sources of income while continuing to build your client base .

Tips for Maximizing Earnings

As a consultant, you have the opportunity to maximize your earnings and increase your annual income. This involves building a strong business foundation, setting reasonable rates for services, and taking advantage of tax write-offs. With the right tactics and strategies, you can maximize your earnings and elevate your income.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips for maximizing your earnings as a consultant:


Networking is one of the most important ways to help create career success. Having the right contacts can put you in touch with potential new clients and even lead to job opportunities.

Develop a LinkedIn profile, attend industry conferences and seminars, and join professional organizations or associations related to your field to expand your network. By getting in front of potential employers, clients or recruiters, you can make yourself easier to find when opportunities arise. Maximize your earnings by letting everyone know what you are doing and how they might be able to benefit from working with you.

Specializing in a Niche

The average annual income for a consultant depends largely on their sector specialization and the level of expertise they have established in their particular field. Due to the vast array of service areas that consulting covers, it is important to recognize what services you are best suited and experienced in providing, and focus more readily on this specialty. This will help you become known as an expert in your chosen niche and will often result in bigger paydays due to high-end clients looking for specific assistance from knowledgeable consultants.

In addition to specializing in a certain industry or sector, additional ways to maximize income may include:

  • Expanding one’s client base by marketing oneself through digital or print materials, or speaking at events or webinars targeted to potential clients.
  • Keeping up with industry-related trends and regularly investing in self-development courses focused on one’s chosen field.
  • Becoming a member of organizations related to one’s specialization may also provide advantageous networking opportunities, often leading to lucrative endeavors.
  • Taking every available opportunity to learn from other professionals also increases earning potential as knowledge leads inevitably leads to greater proficiency which can result in better financial returns for thoughtful strategizing consultants.

Investing in Education and Training

Investing in education and training is the key to maximizing earnings for a consultant. Investing in yourself will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in whatever consulting field you choose. Continuing education is especially important for those who want to stay competitive in their chosen profession and advance their career. Companies are often willing to pay extra for consultants who can demonstrate expertise and a commitment to learning and development in their chosen field.

Attending micro-credentials, professional conferences, seminars, workshops, webinars, or online courses can pay dividends when it comes time to earn more money as a consultant. Additionally, obtaining certifications or credentials – such as ones related to project management or leadership – can bring additional benefits including higher pay scales, access to exclusive networks of consultants and the opportunity to work on lucrative projects with larger organizations.

It is also important that consulting professionals stay abreast of trends in technology and business when choosing courses. This can help ensure that their knowledge remains relevant as industry changes evolve. The combination of existing experience coupled with new knowledge also allows consultants who wish to increase their contributions strategic value within an organization that they service.

In sum, investing in your education is one surefire way of increasing your earning potential as a consultant over time!