ICF Coaching Credentialing
Many people have asked me how to become an ICF certified coach. In my previous blog, I explained the background of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as a coaching standard body and what ICF coaching competencies are. In this blog, I will explain how to obtain the ICF Coaching Credentials.
A recent ICF updated accreditation structure is as follows
- Level 1 Accreditation (formerly ACSTH) is for organizations that offer at least 60 contact learning hours, and it is designated as a pathway to the ACC credential.
- Level 2 Accreditation (formerly ACTP) is for organizations that offer at least 125 contact learning hours, and it is designated as a pathway to the PCC credential.
- Level 3 Accreditation, a brand-new offering, is for organizations that offer at least 75 advanced contact learning hours, and it is designated as a pathway to the MCC credential.
When you look for a coaching education program, find out if it is ICF Level 1 / ACSTH or ICF Level 2 / ACTP certified. There are many ICF-certified coaching education programs listed on the ICF website.
Credential-wise, there are 3 levels of certification for ICF coaches; i.e. Associated Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC). All three levels need to be renewed every 3 years based on the renewal requirements.
To obtain ACC and PCC, there are 3 paths; ACTP, ACSTH, and Portfolio path.
ACTP Path – If you graduate from an ICF ACTP certified program, you can apply for ACC or PCC. You need to pass the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA).
- For ACC, A minimum of 100 hours (70 paid**) of coaching experience with at least eight clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 25 of these hours must occur within the 24 months*** prior to submitting the application for the credential
- For PCC, A minimum of 500 hours (440 paid**) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of your coach-specific training. At least 50 of these hours must occur within the 24 months*** prior to submitting the application for the credential.
Completing an ACTP program is the easiest way to get certified and it’s also the most expensive way. ICF certified ACTP Program costs about 5k-12k.
ACSTH Path – If you graduate from an ICF ACSTH certified program, you can also apply for ACC or PCC. Other than passing the Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA), 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months to be documented on your online application, and submit an audio recording and written transcript of a coaching session to be evaluated. The other requirements stay the same as the ACTP application.
Portfolio Path – If you are counting Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units and/or non-approved training toward your training requirements, you are required to follow the ACC/PCC Portfolio path. This path has the same requirement as the ACSTH path and plus one more requirement – At least 60 hours of coach-specific training with robust documentation.
Now, you have a summary of the ICF coaching certification. Good luck with your pursuit.