Getting ICF-Credentialed as a Life Coach

November 18, 2021 by Amanda Reill

Getting ICF Credentialed as a Life Coach

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is a non-profit organization that was developed to set the bar for life coaching standards. Though life coaching is currently an unregulated industry (meaning you don’t legally have to have a credential in order to practice), having formal training by an ICF-accredited institution, like Coach Training EDU, is a huge leg up on your competition.

ICF doesn’t teach training programs themselves - they exist as an independent source that sets a standard for what training should look like. They are the oldest, widest, and largest credentialing organization with more than 20,000 members.

Coach Training EDU provides several different routes to getting certified, depending on what specialty you intend to focus on. We have academic, wellness, executive, and general life coaching paths. Each of these paths will prepare you with everything you need to become ICF-certified. They all provide the knowledge and skills to run a successful coaching business and make sure you take care of yourself in the process.

3 Levels of Life Coach Certification

The ICF offers 3 levels of life coach certification:

1. Associate Certified Coach (ACC)

This is the most basic coaching certification the ICF offers. It means that you’ve accomplished the basic requirements necessary to become a certified coach. The requirements include: 

  • Training Hours Needed: 60.
  • Coach-Client Overviews: 3.
  • Mentor Hours Needed: 10 with ACC or higher.
  • Logged Life Coaching Hours: 100.
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Yes.

2. Professional Certified Coach (PCC)

This professional certification means that you’ve taken advanced coaching courses and training that have strengthened your coaching skills. The requirements include:

  • Training Hours Needed: 125.
  • Coach-Client Overviews: 6.
  • Mentor Hours Needed: 10 with PCC or MCC.
  • Logged Life Coaching Hours: 500.
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Yes.

3. Master Certified Coach (MCC)

This is the most challenging coaching credential to achieve with the ICF. It means that you’ve mastered the skill of coaching and have continued your education in the coaching process. The requirements include:

  • Training Hours Needed: 220.
  • Coach-Client Overviews: 6.
  • Mentor Hours Needed: 10 with an MCC.
  • Logged Life Coaching Hours: 2500.
  • Coach Knowledge Assessment: Yes.

You will notice that each level has the same components. As you pursue higher levels of coach education, more training and coaching hours are required. It is also necessary to establish a relationship with a PCC or higher-credentialed coach to achieve PCC and MCC certification.

How Can I Become an ICF-Certified Life Coach?

Coach Training EDU provides everything you need to prepare you to receive this credential.

Whether your sights are set on academic, wellness, executive, or general life coaching, any of CTEDU’s 1.0 training programs will guide you toward becoming an Associate Certified Coach (ACC).

Our 2.0 program, which can be taken directly after completing the 1.0, is a more advanced, in-depth course that sets you up to earn your PCC. Group mentor coaching is also offered through our program, which provides critical feedback for coaches to further develop their craft.

What is the ICF certification application process like?

Logging the required hours for training and mentoring will likely take longer than the coursework does. These hours are crucial because they give you the opportunity to practice your skills (coach training) and glean insights from an expert (mentoring). After you finish your 1.0 and 2.0 training programs, you will need to finish these hours before you can qualify for certification. Once you’ve done these, you’re ready to apply! It typically takes between 2-4 weeks for the ICF to process your application, depending on the route you’ve taken and the volume of applications they are managing.

Although it’s not a requirement of the trade, getting ICF-certified is well worth your while as you aim to establish a successful coaching business. It provides the credibility you need to demonstrate that you’ve been educated, mentored, and well-practiced at your craft. 

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