Education is truly the key in your quest to become a higher level HR consultant. While a bachelor's degree from a reputable, accredited four-year university is required, a master's degree is also recommended, especially a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Most four-year universities offer coursework on Labor Relations and Benefits, which will prove invaluable once you have been hired for an HR job. Many companies will not promote you to the higher HR manager jobs or executive HR jobs without a master's degree or MBA. One thing to remember is that many companies will assist you in obtaining your advanced degree by either partial or full tuition reimbursement.
Working your way up the corporate ladder is how most people advance in their work, and HR jobs are no exception. Interning in the HR department of a company while an undergraduate student is the ideal way to begin your HR career, as it provides you with on-the-job training and allows you to develop a feel for the HR world. However, you should have had some full-time entry level HR jobs before you start applying for an HR Consultant position. In terms of timeline, you can expect to work at entry level HR jobs for up to five years and then serve another two years or so in a more supervisory capacity before you will be ready to look for an HR Consultant position.