How Long Does it Take to Become a Life Coach?

How long does it take to become a life coach? Learn about the requirements, and how much can you make when you’re done
how long does it take to become a life coach

Are you the kind of friend who people reach out to when they’re in trouble?

Maybe you’re the supportive shoulder to cry on with carefully chosen words of love and affection or perhaps you’re from the school of tough-love, who gives out expert advice in a no-nonsense, no-frills kind-of-way that your friends really appreciate.

Either way, if this is you, the thought of quitting your job and becoming the new Dr. Phil has probably crossed your mind more than a few times, right?

In fact, there were around 17,500 coach practitioners (a broad term that includes school therapists and government workers), working in the U.S in 2016. It’s a tough but rewarding career

In fact, it could be a lucrative position that you could one day turn into a business empire.

But just how long does it take to become a life coach? It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. 


There are no formal qualifications needed to become a life coach and certainly no need to have a doctorate in psychology. Technically speaking anyone can set themselves up as a life coach and advertise their services.

But most people aren’t going to hire someone without experience or the correct credentials. Here is how to become a life coach. 

International Coach Federation 

This body is the one you’re going to want to get to know very well if you’re interestedly in a career as a life coach.

Founded in 1995, they approve training courses at individual institutions and also have a membership option for those who are qualified, offering support, advice and further training throughout their professional life. 

If you’re serious about becoming a life coach you will want to take a course signed off by them. 

Coaching Knowledge and Ethics

One of the key components of any reputable course approved by the ICF is the coach knowledge assessment.

The course has several components and is designed to test your knowledge and understand of the ICF Code of Ethics. These are:

  • Setting the foundation which is about how to meet basic professional and ethical standards.
  • Cocreating the relationship teaches you how to win the trust of your client.
  • Communicating effectively is about how to listen to your client and asking the right questions in the right manner to ensure maximum impact.
  • Facilitating learning and results is about what to say to your client. It can help you to probably interpret your client’s actions and words and ensures you know exactly how to respond to them in an effective way,

What Course Is Right for Me?

There are 800 courses that are approved by the ICF, all over the globe. And yes, I hear you ask, many of these courses can be done online, including our course.

This means you don’t have to give up your day job whilst pursuing your ambition and if you decide life coaching isn’t for you, you haven’t lost a valuable career or given up weeks or months to attend school.

There are three levels of certification, depending on the number of hours you put in.

  • The associate certified coach requires 75 paid hours and 25 unpaid hours (100 hours total) of coaching and these must be spread out over at least 8 different clients. 25 of these coaching hours should take place a maximum of 18 months before you submit your application. You must also take the coach knowledge assessment.
  • The professional certified course requires 500 hours in total, of which 450 should be paid hours and 50 hours unpaid. There is a requirement for you to have seen at least 25 clients with 50 hours completed at least 18 months before the start of your course. As with the ACC, the coach knowledge assessment must also be completed. 
  •  The master certified course is the top end qualification certified by the ICF. From the end of February 2019, you will need to have completed your PCC before you can apply.  To secure this level of certification you will need to do undertake at least 200 hours of ‘coach specific’ training, have secured 2,500 hours of coaching of which 2,250 must be paid and 35 clients. Unlike the previous two levels, these hours have to be completed when you begin your training. 

The Pathway to Greatness

The MCC level course has only one pathway which takes about 18 weeks for a review but for the ACC and the PCC, there are actually three different pathways of taking the coaching qualification.

They are the accredited coach training program (ACTP), which is run directly by the ICF and takes approximately 4 weeks for a review after submission, the Approved Coaching Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) program is for third party providers and takes around 14 weeks and finally the portfolio path. This a popular option which also takes 14 weeks but includes a live performance component. 

Finding Your Dream Mentor

The great thing about training to become a life coach is that you don’t have to do it on your own. A mentor can help you on your way to greatness and can certify your ‘coach specific’ hours for the MCC.

The ICF has a list of approved mentors that you can search and access here by state. The database will give you the mentors name, email address, state and general details about what they are currently assessing.

So, Just How Long Does it Take to Become a Life Coach?

The truth to the question of how long does it take to become a life coach is that it varies, massively. It depends on what level of certification you are working towards, the different pathways that are available and your lifestyle in general.

But the minimum hours of contribution for each level should give you some idea of the commitment that is expected of you. This is not something you can qualify for overnight. 

So, what are you waiting for? Register for our life coaching course certification today and fulfill your life’s ambition.