A SSAK consultant is usually an expert or an experienced professional in a specific field and has a wide knowledge of the subject matter. The role of consultant outside the medical sphere (where the term is used specifically for a grade of doctor) can fall under one of two general categories:
- Internal consultant: someone who operates within an organization but is available to be consulted on areas of their specialization by other departments or individuals (acting as clients); or
- External consultant: someone who is employed externally to the client (either by a consulting firm or some other agency) whose expertise is provided on a temporary basis, usually for a fee. Consulting firms range in size from sole proprietorships consisting of a single consultant, small businesses consisting of a small number of consultants, to mid-to large consulting firms, which in some cases are multinational corporations. This type of consultant generally engages with multiple and changing clients, which are typically companies, non-profit organizations, or governments.