Absolutely no disrespect intended in my post. Please don't think there was.
In fact, why would I disrespect 'seo consultants' - I am one !
I have been (quite successfully) making my living for some time now doing exactly that, and have many very satisfied clients.
All I'm saying is that, speaking not perhaps for you, but for myself and many of my collegues and others in the seo consultancy community I mix with, it is frequently a surprise (although a pleasant one) that more website owners do not carry out their own seo.
Perhaps I'm being too honest for my own good here.
Many seo consultants are self-taught - certainly in the UK at any rate. Here there are no college courses, or university degrees in seo (at least not that I have noticed), so most people do exactly what I said originally, they teach themselves by reading up on it, experimenting with what they've read, practicing, perfecting, visiting forums like this and so on.
In fact I would caution any future seo client to be very wary of a 'consultant' who doesn't read up on his or her subject extremely regularly, as keeping up to date is very important if you want to be any good at it.
I have never seen an 'official' course on 'How to become an seo expert', and even if there was one, the skill is such a new one that at some point in the recent past, someone (the first teacher) must have taught tehmselves by...yep...you guessd it...reading up on it.
And yes, your right, you'd be surprised what else you can become an expert in if you put your mind to it. It's one of the most rewarding things you can do in life, in fact it is an important part of life.
Do you hire an 'expert' to cut your lawn, tie your shoe-laces, brush your teeth, or did you at some point in your life figure out how to do it for yourself, and find it's actually quite easy once you've worked it out (and a lot cheaper) ?