If you have a dream of being a life coach, it’s a good idea to get a life coach certification in the bag – especially if you have plans to grow your business and your personal brand.
There are a ton of life coaching courses to choose from, so we’re here to help you choose the best life coach certification for your needs and help you get started with building your life coach business asap.
In this guide we cover all the essentials on life coach certification, including how to get a life coach certification, the best life coaching courses and whether or not it’s even necessary to get a certificate – skip ahead to find the information you need.
- What is Life Coach Certification?
- Is Life Coach Certification Necessary?
- How to Get a Life Coach Certification
- 10 of the Best Online Life Coach Certifications
- 4 Tips for How to Choose the Best Life Coaching Courses
Ready to learn everything you need to know about life coach certification and the best life coaching courses on the market? Dive in.
Life coach certification is a credential you can earn to prove you have the skills and knowledge needed to be a life coach. As part of your certification, you’ll receive an official document – a certificate – that verifies you have completed a life coaching course and you’re qualified to practice as a life coach.
There are no mandatory qualifications you need to be a life coach.
Unlike becoming a medical professional or a nutritionist, for example, life coaching doesn’t require a degree, apprenticeship or any specific certifications.
You can choose to be a life coach without certification – but like any profession, it’s advisable to make sure you have the knowledge and skills you need to perform your job well.
It can also be a good idea for your business and your brand reputation.
A life coach certification can help you:
- Increase your authority in your nice
- Boost trust in your brand
- Establish yourself as a thought leader
With a life coach certification, you could find it easier to position yourself as an expert in your industry. It can also influence how much you make from being a life coach and how easy it is for you to win clients.
Thanks to the internet and the rise of eLearning, getting a life coach certification is now super easy. Here are the 3 steps you need to get an online life coach certification and start practicing asap!
Decide What Type of Life Coach you Want to be
To figure out what type of life coach certification you need to take, it’s a good idea to first think about what type of life coach you want to be.
Within the field of life coaching, there are a wide range of different areas of specialization. Choose a niche based on your interests, prior experience and education.
Here are some of the different types of life coaching specializations you could choose:
- Relationship Coaching
- Health Coaching
- Spiritual Coaching (e.g. energy healing)
- Grief Coaching
- Business Coaching
- Travel Coaching
- Nutrition Coaching
There’s a big range of options to choose from so take some time to consider which type of life coach you want to be and what life coach certification you’ll need.
If you’re not sure right now, try mind mapping or journaling to help you organize your thoughts. Try to answer these 5 questions:
- Why do you want to become a life coach?
- What you can offer to your clients?
- What existing knowledge do you have e.g. travel or business?
- Who do you want to help?
- What is your vision for your business?
By answering these questions, you can get an idea of the type of life coach you want to be, what you want from your life coaching business and what life coach certification you’ll need.
Research Life Coaching Courses
Next up, you need to research the different life coaching courses available to you – we’ve laid out the best life coaching courses currently on the market so you can skip ahead here.
When you’re researching life coaching courses, there are a few things to bear in mind. Here are the basics:
- Instruction Methods
Like any online course, a life coach certification will be influenced by the instruction methods used. When you’re researching life coaching courses, check what the instruction methods are and whether or not they fit with your schedule.
Here are some questions to help guide your research:
- Is the course fully online?
- Are there any live elements?
- Do you have one-on-one or group sessions?
- Will the instructor provide feedback on assignments?
- Is there a learning community?
These are all factors to consider when you’re researching life coaching courses as they will shape your learning experience and how much you get out of the course.
Different life coaching courses vary hugely in length and the time it takes to complete them. As a general rule, the longer the course is, the more detailed instruction you’ll receive.
Courses range from anywhere from 5 days to 12 months. At the same time, they require different time commitments from a few hours a week to a few hours a day or more.
Check out the length of the course and the amount of time you’ll need to give over to your studies each week to make sure that your life coach certification will fit with your lifestyle.
If you’re balancing your life coach certification with a full-time job for instance, you’ll need to work out how much time you realistically have to complete lessons, assignments and any live coaching sessions.
The cost of a life coach certification will also likely factor into your decision-making process. There are some free life coach certifications out there but most of the top life coaching courses are paid.
Costs range from anywhere between $100 to $10,000+ so it’s a good idea to think about how much you can afford to invest in your life coach certification when you’re choosing the course that’s right for you.
As well as the practical decisions you’ll need to make when choosing between life coaching courses, there’s also a question of what interests you most.
When you’re choosing a life coaching certification, cast your eye over the course content to see what you’re going to be learning.
Get an idea for the structure, the core modules and the assignments or examinations you’ll be required to complete. Find out what the depth of the course content will be and whether the focus is more weighted towards theory or practice. Some courses might offer coaching specifically or focus more on mentoring or training.
Most importantly, choose a course that sounds interesting to you! Pick a life coach certification that will keep you engaged and interested – otherwise completing it could feel like a struggle.
Look for the course that captures your imagination and sparks your curiosity.
Enroll and Complete the Course!
When you’ve chosen your course and enrolled as a student, all that’s left is to take the course and get your life coach certification!
Make sure you set aside time to complete the course and make studying part of your daily or weekly routine.
You can only get a life coach certification if you put the work in so focus, study hard and ace your examinations to get your certification and prepare to start your new career!
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to become a life coach in 2022 for more details on setting up your business and marketing your brand.
To help you choose the best online life coach certification for you, we’ve laid out 10 of the best life coach certifications currently available for beginners, including the cost, duration and key features for each one.
Click “Skip to” in the table for more information.
Institute for Life Coach Training
Certification: Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
✔️ In-depth course
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching
Certification: Certified Life Coach
✔️ Access to resource library
Rhodes Wellness College
Certification: Diploma in Life Coaching
✔️ Professional counselor training
The Life Coach School
Certification: Certified Life Coach
✔️ In-person training
Canada Coach Academy
Certification: Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
✔️ Extensive course resources
Life Coaching Institute of America
Certification: Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
✔️ Small class sizes
Health Coach Institute
Certification: Dual Health & Life Coaching Certificate
✔️ Health & wellness niche focused
The Coaching Institute
Certification: Diploma of Life Coaching
✔️ Designed for entrepreneurs
Full Circle Global
Certification: Diploma in Professional Coaching Practice
✔️ Holistic coaching program
Animas Centre for Coaching
Certification: Accredited Diploma in Transformative Coaching (ADTC)
✔️ Live training
Life Coach Certification: Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
Cost: approx. $7,800
Duration: 130 hours
Approved by The International Coaching Federation (ICF), this life coach certification is internationally recognized and extensive. The course is extremely in-depth and for most students, it takes approximately 1.5 to 2 years to complete the course. When you graduate, you’ll receive the life coach certification of Professional Certified Coach (PCC).
This life coach certification includes a blend of 4 mandatory courses and elective modules which you can choose according to your interests or your chosen niche. It ends with 2 essay exams and an oral exam that mimics a real-life coaching session.
- In-depth and intensive course
- Combines theoretical and experiential learning
- Includes group coaching sessions
Life Coach Certification: Certified Life Coach
Duration: Approx. 320 hours
The iPEC’s comprehensive Life Coach Training Program equips students with an intensive life coach certification and detailed knowledge of what it takes to be a life coach.
The program takes a holistic approach to life coach certification, including 3 elements: a CPC (Certified Professional Coach), an ELI-MP (Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner), and a COR.E Dynamics™ Specialist Certification. These 3 elements cover the foundations of coaching theory and application, as well as core life coaching skills and the opportunity to specialize in a niche field.
The ICF-approved course includes a blend of online learning and three 30-minute one-to-one sessions with a dedicated Success coach. It also has an online learning community for connecting with other students.
- Access to specialist library of resources
- One-to-one sessions with Success coach
- Opportunity to niche down
Life Coach Certification: Diploma in Life Coaching
Cost: $4,750 per semester
Duration: 647.5 hours
The Rhodes College certification is designed in collaboration with employers to offer a life coaching course that’s practical and applicable to real-world life coaching roles. You’ll learn how to coach clients, prepare and present life skills lessons and prepare reports. This life coach certification also includes specialist counseling modules such as employment counseling, family & couples counseling and addictions counseling.
The teaching is a blend of in-person and online classes and the assessments include field work, written exams and oral examinations.
- Provides professional counselor training
- Learn skills needed for employment as a life coach
- Qualify for membership to Canadian Professional Counselors association
Life Coach Certification: Certified Life Coach
Duration: Up to 1 year
For an intensive in-person course, the Life Coach School offers its life coach certification through 5 days of on-site teaching delivered by a range of instructors. If you can’t make it to the live events, the classes are also available online.
As part of the course, students receive 20 personalized sessions with a Certified Coach instructor which can be taken at any time over 1 year. Emphasis is placed on individualized learning and the content is self-directed, letting you follow the path that interests you most.
The Life Coach School program also offers opportunities to former students, including monthly calls with expert certified life coaches, an in-person mastermind workshop and the chance to be listed in the life coach school directory.
- Intensive, in-person training sessions
- Individualized training paths
- Lifetime access to the Active Status Alumni platform
Life Coach Certification: Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
Cost: $4900 for Module 1, $3900 for Module 2
Duration: Up to 125 hours
The Canada Coach Academy offers both a Life & Wellness Coach program and a Total Personal & Business Coach program so you can choose the course that’s right for you depending on your interests and your chosen niche.
Designed to meet the ICF coach education requirements, the Life & Wellness Coach Certification program is broken into two modules. Module 1 gives you the qualifications you need to become an ACC Level 1 Certified Life & Wellness Coach and Module 2 grants you the PPC level certification. The program includes live virtual sessions, group and individual mentoring and membership to the course community.
- Access to extensive course resources
- Community membership
- Weekly in-person lessons
Life Coach Certification: Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
Duration: 70 hours
Founders Gina Barritt and Leslie Schultz founded the Life Coaching Institute of America to offer an ICF-approved life coach certification that combines the ICF Code of Ethics and Core Competencies with the SPIRIT of Motivational Interviewing (MI), an advanced counseling approach focused on communication. The course equips students with a range of skills and tools to encourage better communication between coaches and clients.
Teaching is delivered online and is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning, including independent research and submissions of coaching sessions for feedback from instructors. The 70-hour course also offers 10 hours of live teaching via Zoom.
- Includes Motivational Interviewing techniques
- Small class sizes
- Intensive live weekend training
Life Coach Certification: Dual Health & Life Coaching Certificate
Duration: 6-12 months
The Dual Health & Life Coaching course from the Health Coach Institute includes modules such as holistic nutrition, habit changing and personal growth making it ideal for anyone looking to specialize in both health & wellness life coaching. The course also offers a module on how to market your business as a life coach and tips for entrepreneurs.
The combined health & life coach certification is ICF accredited and recognized by the Canadian Health Coach Alliance, the Federation of Holistic Therapists and the International Institute for Complementary Therapists.
- Health & wellness focused
- Flexible online learning
- Includes tips on how to set up a life coaching business
Life Coach Certification: Diploma of Life Coaching
Duration: Up to 24 months
If you’re based in Australia, the Coaching Institute offers a Diploma of Life Coaching, a rigorous life coach certification with the majority of teaching delivered live and in-person. The program is specially designed for students wanting to set up their own Life Coach business in Australia.
Approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the course provides 4 live training sessions with 17 days of face-to-face tuition and 250 contact hours with mentors and facilitators. The diploma also includes an additional 120 hours of bonus training.
- Made for entrepreneurs
- Live, in-person training
- Bonus training options
Life Coach Certification: Diploma in Professional Coaching Practice
Cost: £5200+VAT (approx. $6180 USD)
Duration: 152 hours
This 12-month coaching program combines theory, practical and experiential learning to provide an ICF-accredited professional coaching program that’s suitable for life coaches, professional coaches, mentors and more. The course provides comprehensive coaching centered on Personal Life Coaching, Business and Workplace Coaching.
The Full Circle course includes online learning and supervised coaching sessions with both group and individual mentoring opportunities also available. This program aims to challenge students’ current thinking and provide a new level of insight.
- Holistic professional coaching program
- Written and verbal feedback from coaches
- Focused on personal development
Life Coach Certification: Accredited Diploma in Transformative Coaching (ADTC)
Cost: £5495 (approx. $6530 USD)
Duration: 9-12 months
Centered on transformation and personal growth, The Animas Transformative Coaching program is an ICF-approved coaching certification. It is also accredited by the European Mentoring & Coaching Council and the Association for Coaching, making it well-suited to life coaches based in Europe and the UK.
The course is delivered through 6 modules of live virtual training, including group breakout sessions and discussions spread over 12 days with each module lasting 2 days. As part of the program, students also receive 4 hours of ICF group mentoring, 5 observed coaching sessions and one-to-one ICF mentoring. Students also get lifetime access to the Animas learning community.
- Live training modules
- Opportunity for in-person meetings with local coaches
- Lifetime access to the Animas community Facebook group
Here are 4 top tips to help you decide which life coach certification to go for.
Look at the Certification you’ll Receive
If you want to get a life coach certification, it’s important to check what type of certification you’ll receive at the end of your course.
As life coaching doesn’t require any specific qualifications or certification, there’s no right or wrong answer for the type of certification you should receive – but there are some factors to consider.
When you’re choosing a life coach certification, think about:
How you will use your certification: If you want to display your certification as a badge on your website or social media to help grow your following and generate income, it’s a good idea to opt for a certification that’s approved by an internationally recognized coaching institution like ICF.
Where your clients are based: If your target audience is located in one particular place or region, it can be helpful to get a certification from there e.g. for clients primarily in the UK, you might prefer to get a UK-accredited life coach certification.
How you will grow your brand: If you’re hoping to become a thought leader in your field and potentially use your life coach certification as part of a wider personal brand, including public speaking, brand partnerships and more, the certifications you have will matter. Make sure the life coach certification you receive aligns with your goals for your business.
Read Student Reviews
Like any purchase, it can be helpful to hear from previous customers before signing up for a life coach certification. You wouldn’t buy a new TV without reading reviews, so why do it for a professional certification?
Check out the reviews and testimonials from students who have taken the course to see if it was helpful to them. Look out for references to the teaching style, course material and assignments to get a good idea of what you’re buying.
Find out More About the Instructor(s)
As well as reading student reviews, it’s also a good idea to check out who your instructors will be. This can help you choose the best life coaching courses for you.
Try to learn whether you’ll have one instructor or multiple instructors. Look at what qualifications and experience they have both in teaching and in life coaching.
It’s also helpful to find out how much support you’ll get from your tutors – will you be able to speak to them directly? Will they be contactable if you have questions?
Make sure you’re happy with who will be teaching the course and how much contact you’ll have with them to help you decide the best life coach certification for your needs.
Talk to Certified Life Coaches
It’s always great to get a trusted opinion from someone who’s been there, done that and got the certificate.
To really get the inside track on life coach certification, reach out to life coaches in your network to find out what life coaching courses they took and what certification they received.
If you follow any life coaches on social media, drop them a message introducing yourself and asking if they’d be happy to answer your questions! Most life coaches and educators will be happy to talk to you.
This is also a perfect way to start building industry connections – which could help you in the future once you get your life coach certification.
Get Certified and Start your Life Coaching Business Today!
A life coach certification is the first step towards building a profitable life coaching business and living your coaching dream!
With Thinkific, it’s easy to become an online coach, instructor and course creator. We make it super simple to create effective and engaging online courses in no time, helping you get and retain life coaching clients and grow your income.
Try Thinkific for free and see how easy creating your own course can be.