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Life Coach Certification Program Information

Get information on certificate programs in life coaching, as well as professional certification in this field. Learn about coursework, certification requirements and career options in life coaching.

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Essential Information

A life coach works with individuals or teams to provide guidance in career, personal, spiritual and organizational goals. Certificate programs for life coaches are generally offered at the graduate level by colleges and universities.

These certificate programs take from 9-18 months to complete and consist of both classroom and fieldwork experience. The curriculum provides a strong foundation of training in performance management, career development, employee engagement, motivational speaking and leadership. Programs are often designed to meet International Coach Federation (ICF) certification requirements.

Certification is offered at several levels, depending on education and experience. Applicants must pass proficiency exams and maintain their certifications by adhering to ICF standards.

Education Prerequisites

Applicants to life coach certificate programs must possess an undergraduate degree. Some programs may also prefer applicants to hold a master's or doctoral degree. International participants must additionally have an appropriate visa and demonstrate English language proficiency by attaining certain scores on approved tests.

Program Coursework

Coursework in a life coach certificate program includes general business classes, as well as courses in pricing, marketing, developing materials and choosing a specialty. Common core course topics may include:

  • Professional life coaching
  • Coaching relationships
  • Leadership techniques
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Professional practices
  • Positive psychology
  • Organizational work behavior
  • Coaching dynamics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a life coach certificate program are qualified for several specialty careers in the field. Graduates can pursue positions such as:

  • Executive coach
  • Small business coach
  • Leadership coach
  • Life skill coach
  • Spiritual coach
  • Corporate coach

Job Outlook and Salary

As of October 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not report statistics on life coaches. A career that has some similar job characteristics is school and career counselor. The BLS projected job growth of 19%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2010-2020 for school and career counselors. Educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors could expect a median annual salary of $53,610 as of May 2012.

Certification Information

Graduates of a life coach certificate program may pursue certification through the International Coach Federation, which offers designations of Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach and Master Certified Coach. ICF certification typically requires a stipulated amount of education and experience, as well as letters of reference and passing an examination. Once certified, members of the ICF must adhere to specific ethical standards that cover professional conduct, confidentiality and conflicts of interest in order to maintain certification. The organization also hosts annual conferences and structured events for members.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics