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I-O Career Paths in Consulting

I-O Career Paths → Consulting

Click on a developmental level (box) to view additional details.


The career paths for Consulting were found to have five job levels (see figure above). Those hired as an Individual Contributor often take one of two different tracks: an Expert Individual Contributor track where they became a specialist in a given area(s), or a Management track where they are responsible for supervising others within the organization. Oftentimes the decision on which career path to take is dependent on the individual employee, but other times it depends on the organization’s needs and structure.

Within these tracks, additional career paths could be further delineated for Project Consultant and Research Consultant. Many I-O consulting organizations mix the research and project career paths- consultants are responsible for both client-facing and research-based projects, while others maintain a separation between the two. Where there is a separation, Project Consultants are primarily responsible for client-facing duties, whereas Research Consultants often conduct internal-facing work and do not regularly interact with clients.

It should be noted that not every consulting organization is large enough to create this extensive of a career ladder and thus may only have 3-tiers consisting of Individual Contributor, Manager, and Executive.

Across all levels of the Consulting career paths the following competencies and experiences were identified as most important.

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
  1. Communication: Verbal
  2. Ethical Behavior
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Integrity
  5. Trustworthiness
  1. Contribute to the success of projects or consulting assignments
  2. Develop strong relationships with client contacts
  3. Maintain composure under pressure
  4. Present information at client meetings
  5. Attend client meetings to build client relations

Job titles among I-O psychologists in Consulting may vary substantially. The table below identifies some of the more common titles.This list contains general types of job titles that may appear within each of the different career levels. They are meant to further clarify the different responsibilities between career levels and may not present actual job titles in your organization.

Individual Contributor


Project Assistant
Associate Consultant
Lead Professional
Consulting Associate

Expert Individual Contributor


Senior Consultant
Senior Professional



Team Leader
Program Manager

Manager of Managers


Senior Team Leader
Principal Consultant
Program Director



Executive Consultant
Vice President
Sr. Vice President

Click here to view a matrix of common job titles across each career sector.