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Do You Need to Be Licensed to Be a Life Coach?

Do you want to know if you need a license to be a life coach? If YES, here is everything you need to know about life coaching licenses and certifications. Life coaches aid people make the changes they want to see in their lives, whether those changes are related to their careers, health, relationships, or some other aspect of life. These coaches are always there to speak with clients about any issues they have, help clients set motivating goals for themselves, navigate through important personal and professional decisions, and much more.

How Much Do Life Coaches Make Yearly?

Also reports have it that the median salary for life coaches is $46,678. However, there is a wide range of what people can earn, with the lowest earners making about $28,000 and the highest earning $92,000. Meanwhile, coaches are not necessarily locked into these salary figures: especially since most coaches are self-employed, so they’re able to determine their own hourly rates.

As a result, life coaches may charge hourly fees of over $300, depending on their training and level of experience. Life coaches make money by charging clients for coaching services. Coaches often either charge an hourly fee or request a retainer. (A retainer is when a client is guaranteed that a professional, such as a coach, will be available for a certain amount of time in a given week or month).

Top life coaches charge as much as $3,500 per hour to help CEOs and other executives, but only few are able to command such high salaries. Most life coaches’ hourly rates fall between $75 and $200 per hour coaching a client, which doesn’t typically include prep time. When working on a retainer, coaches typically charge a client between $500 and $2,000 per month.

Legal Requirements Needed to Become a Life Coach

Due to the delicate nature of this business and concern for the welfare of clients, some people wonder if coaches should be licensed. The current answer is no, but only if you function solely as a coach. Although there are situations where some licenses are required, though not typically for the coaching component of the service. For instance, if you offer your clients a mixture of therapy and coaching, you are required to hold a license in your discipline depending on the state requirements in your area.

However, there are no specific legal requirements or regulations that must be followed when becoming a life coach. It is a wide open field and anyone can call themselves a life coach. Though there are no set laws to follow and zero legal state or federal guidelines to comply with there are still a few crucial requirements to become a life coach who attracts clients and succeeds in the profession.

1. Research Possible Licenses and Certifications

Although it is not mandatory in this industry, you should consider this extensively. That paper hanging on the wall means something – it means that you have undergone training to learn the needed skills, theories, and tools that will help you find positive outcomes for your clients. Additionally, training is meant to be continuous – as long as you are a coach, you should pursue more education.

Additional certifications don’t hurt, either! Training and certification although not legally required, is an essential requirement to become a life coach. Before you decide to invest into any certification or license, take your time to research and decide if it is right for you.

2. Choose a Training Program

Have it in mind that anyone with a website and business acumen can start a training program. So you have to take your time to separate the real from the fake. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is an organization with the sole purpose of promoting the advancement of the life coaching industry around the world. Over the years, this organization has developed well detailed standards that all schools looking to offer industry certification must follow in order to receive their accreditation.

Note that these programs are called Accredited Coach Training Programs, or ACTP, and there are over hundred ACTPs to choose from all over the world, each with varying areas of specialization and methods of training. ICF accreditation is quickly becoming a benchmark to measure good life coaching certifications. So be sure to select only programs with ICF accreditation.

3. Contact the School and Enroll for The Program

After you must have done the steps listed above, it is now time to make contact with the schools you must have shortlisted. Note that talking to coach trainers and graduates of the program will give you confidence and another perspective of the program, even more than the program website. Once you enroll into the program, you can expect to cover similar components irrespective of the program you choose, based on the requirements of ICF accreditation.

Although the training format, philosophy and mode of delivery might vary, the basic components will remain the same. ICF has established a code of ethical standards that accredited programs are expected to uphold. Note that your training will cover the code deeply so that you can be equipped with a thorough understanding of your profession.

4. Write Your Final Exam and Get Your License

Just like every other exam, the purpose is to evaluate your competency as a coach. Note that this exam includes written and oral tests based on each individual program. Once you pass these exams or tests, you have literally completed all requirements to become a licensed coach and should expect your certification or license.


Although there are no specific legal requirements or regulations that must be followed when becoming a life coach, professional credentials lead to coaches who are confident and ultimately more effective due to the specialized components included in professional training programs.

The coaching industry and its moderating organizations have shown great adaptability with regard to self-regulation. The legislation required for licensing simply moves too slow to allow coaches to remain competitive and keep up with the needs of their clients. That is why self-regulation not only comes to the rescue but is also the best place to start.