Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path?

Consumer services is a broad sector that includes a wide range of careers, including doctor, lawyer, nurse, bus driver and hotel manager.

But what exactly is consumer services? Let’s dive into the ins and outs of this career path — from job prospects to earning potential — to help you make the most informed decision about your future.

What Are Consumer Services?


Consumer services are any services sold or provided for the benefit of consumers and not businesses. In other words, if a company provides a service that can be used by consumers, it’s generally considered to be in the consumer service industry. You can find many potential career paths in consumer services, ranging from entry-level customer service representative to nurse practitioner, but some of the most common fields within consumer services include education, leisure and hospitality consulting, legal services, health care, and banking.

Best Skills for a Consumer Services Career

These are the top skills that will set you apart in the consumer services industry:

Soft Skills

Since most consumer services careers are customer-facing roles, having the following soft skills can help you excel in the job and provide a better experience for consumers.

— Communication.

— Empathy.

— Active listening.

— Problem-solving.

— Adaptability.

— Patience.

— Interpersonal skills.

— Time management.

— Conflict resolution.

— Positivity.

— Teamwork.

— Attention to detail.

— Persuasion.

— Cultural sensitivity.

— Resilience.

Hard Skills

The hard skills you need for a consumer services career may differ depending on the role. For example, an orthodontist

will need to know teeth alignment techniques and treatments. If you want to be a financial advisor, you’ll need hard skills like financial analysis. You must also pass a certification examination.

Pros and Cons of the Consumer Services Career Path

Carefully consider the pros and cons before applying for a role in this industry.


There are plenty of opportunities. If you’re seeking a career with unparalleled growth potential, consider the consumer services industry. “The consumer services field is by definition limitless — as long as there are consumers, there will be jobs designed to help them,” said Christian Lovell, founder of Careers by Chris and a certified professional in human resources, in an email. Plus, the soft skills you learn in consumer services are often transferable to other industries.

If you enjoy working with people, this may be an ideal career path. Many jobs in this field involve lots of face-to-face interaction and relationship development. If you’re a great communicator, a career in consumer services will play to your strengths.

You can grow along with the industry. The consumer services field is dynamic, which means there may be opportunities to learn and grow. “You’ll face different challenges as the economy and your industry evolve, and if you rise to meet them, you’ll find longevity in your career path,” Lovell said.


You may have to deal with difficult customers. If you hate working with people or dread dealing with difficult customers, consumer services may not be the career path for you. “Being forced to interact with people when that’s not something you enjoy is going to build resentment, and that’ll come through in the work you do,” Lovell said.

There may be physical demands. Consumer services careers such as taxi driver or nurse may come with physical demands that don’t mesh with your lifestyle.

You may work irregular hours. Although not all consumer services jobs require you to work irregular hours, some do. “Many industries have high and low seasons, and that can translate to more or fewer work hours. This is especially the case for entry-level positions,” Lovell said.

Should You Pursue a Career in Consumer Services?

Consider the specific job and its long-term growth potential. “Consumer services is a good career path with some caveats. I wouldn’t recommend, for instance, that someone take a career path that won’t exist in five years,” Lovell said. “For example, if a company’s long-term plan is to replace all of their customer-facing roles with AI or some kind of automation, I’d be conscious of that when deciding whether or not to work there.”

While artificial intelligence will most likely not replace human-powered customer service roles entirely, jobs handling routine tasks are more vulnerable. So if you’re considering a career in consumer services, think about where the industry is headed in the next few decades. If you’re worried about job stability, look into careers that demand hard-to-replace skills, such as lawyer or genetic counselor.

Ultimately, deciding if a career in consumer services is a good fit depends on what matters most to you. “If you’re struggling to make a decision, reverse the question to ask what skills, abilities and values are important to you and what industries will allow you to thrive with those themes in mind,” said Persephone Hall, executive director of the Hale Center for Career Development at Connecticut College, in an email. “For example, if you value personal time with family and friends, a position in the consumer goods industry may not be a good match unless the role is in a corporate setting with a more traditional schedule.”

What Do Consumer Services Jobs Pay?

It depends. For example, entry-level roles that only require a high school diploma — such as customer service representative or sales representative — typically do not pay top dollar, but they’re a great way to gain experience. For these entry-level roles, you can expect salaries between $40,000 and $60,000. Jobs that require more technical skills, such as physician or lawyer, generally pay much more — often six figures and beyond.

[See: 25 Best Jobs That Pay $100K.]

Best-Paying Jobs in Consumer Services

If you’re considering a job in consumer services, check out the salaries and growth potential of our five top picks. All the jobs on this list are taken from the U.S. News 100 Best Jobs ranking and pay a median salary of at least $85,000. Data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Nurse Practitioner

Median salary: $121,610 Job growth potential: 44.5%

If you’re passionate about health care, enjoy working directly with people and want a challenging but fulfilling career, consider becoming a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with additional education and are also known as advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs. These health care professionals can perform physical exams, order laboratory tests, analyze lab results, prescribe medicines and authorize treatment plans.

To become a nurse practitioner, you need at least a master’s degree and must be a licensed registered nurse in your state. You’ll also have to pass a national certification exam and have a state APRN license.

Learn more about nurse practitioners.

2. Genetic Counselor

Median salary: $89,990 Job growth potential: 16.1%

Genetic counselor ranks No.1 among the Best Health Care Support Jobs and No. 14 in the 100 Best Jobs ranking.

These health care professionals meet with individuals to determine their genetic risks. For example, if you have a family history of cancer, you might be referred to a genetic counselor to help you assess your risk for similar diagnoses. The genetic counselor may also coordinate a blood test for a clearer picture of any genetic mutations that might explain current traits or predict future ones.

To become a genetic counselor, you’ll need at least a master’s degree in genetics or genetic counseling from an accredited program, and most states also require you to be licensed before you can start practicing. Certification is available through the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

Learn more about genetic counselors.

3. Lawyer

Median salary: $135,740 Job growth potential: 7.5%

Lawyers rank No.1 among the Best Social Services Jobs.

Lawyers provide legal services to consumers by representing them in court, providing legal advice and preparing legal documents, such as appeals and wills. Some lawyers practice as partners in law firms, and some are self-employed. They can also specialize in various areas, including family law, criminal law or environmental law.

Typically, aspiring lawyers start by earning a bachelor’s degree in a field such as political science or English. Then comes the challenging part: law school. After completing a Juris Doctor program, which typically takes three years, aspiring lawyers must pass the bar exam in the state where they intend to practice. Once licensed, lawyers often continue their education through ongoing training and specialization to stay on top of changes in the law.

Learn more about lawyers.

4. Financial Advisor

Median salary: $95,390 Job growth potential: 12.8%

Financial advisors help individuals manage their finances, which could mean sitting down with them to create budgets, develop retirement plans or determine how to better allocate their assets for future growth. Most financial advisors work in banks, brokerage firms and wealth management firms, but some branch out on their own as independent advisors.

To enter this field in consumer services, you’ll need a college degree in finance, accounting or another business-related field and pass a certification examination to become a CFP. After meeting these requirements, you’ll spend a lot of time on the job shadowing experienced senior advisors to learn how to navigate client relationships.

Learn more about financial advisors.

5. Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Median salary: $239,200 Job growth potential: 2.2%

Obstetrician and gynecologist ranks No. 1 among the Best-Paying Jobs and No. 14 in Best Health Care Jobs.

These health care professionals specialize in women’s reproductive health and help bring life into the world. More specifically, obstetricians treat pregnant women and new babies, while gynecologists are experts on all things related to women’s reproductive organs. You can be a gynecologist and not an obstetrician, but you cannot be an obstetrician without being a gynecologist first.

If you’re interested in this career field, prepare to go through at least 12 years of schooling. After a four-year undergraduate degree, you must take and pass the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, to get into medical school, which is another four years. After graduation, you must then take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Once that’s done, you’ll start your four-year residency.

Learn more about obstetricians and gynecologists.

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20 Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance

Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path? originally appeared on

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