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The 6 Best Life Coach Certification Programs in 2021

One of the best ways to build credibility and skills as a coach in 2021 is to get a coaching certification from a reputable organization. And with so many coaching training and certification programs available today, finding one that fits your goals and budget has never been easier.

We’ve written this article to help you find the best life coach certification program for your specific situation. The “best” program is the one that aligns with your values, personality, and specific coaching goals, and that helps you become the best coach you can be. So the “best” may be different for everyone.

Want help deciding? We created a short quiz to help you find the best program for you. Take the quiz to find out!

With that said, here are the coach training and certification programs we’ve chosen to include:

We plan to regularly update and add to this article as we learn about new programs, and based on the responses we receive through our Coach Training & Certification Program Feedback Survey. If you have experience with any coach training and certification programs (included in this article or not), we’d love to hear about your experience.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, and Life Coach Magazine may receive a commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support!

Do You Need a Certification to Be a Coach?

You don’t need any kind of certification or qualification to be a life coach. As long as you are offering coaching services, and not therapy, you can begin working as a coach at any time. There is currently no government regulation of the coaching industry.

That said, there are organizations like the International Coaching Federation (ICF) that operate to accredit individual coach certification programs. You can also get an ICF Credential for yourself as a coach. Many of the best life coach certification programs are accredited by the ICF or another association, but this is not a requirement. You will find many excellent programs with and without an ICF accreditation.

So why get a coaching certification? Among other reasons, you might choose to pursue a coaching training and certification program because you want to:

  • Improve your coaching skills
  • Increase your credibility and visibility as a coach
  • Get help growing or starting your coaching business
  • Join a community of like-minded coaches and mentors

The Best Coach Training & Certification Programs

And now, here is an overview of some of the best coach training and certification programs available today.

Coach Training Alliance

Coach Training Alliance (CTA) was founded in 2008 by Will Craig (former president of the ICF Denver Chapter). Their Certified Coach Program takes a very hands-on, practical approach to coach training, with a focus on instantly applying what you’re learning to your coaching practice and business. The curriculum is comprised of their “three-legged stool” approach: coaching skills, marketing skills, and business skills–everything you need to have a successful coaching business.

  • Program Cost: $3,497 (Payable in full or in 3, 7, or 9 parts)
  • Course Length: 6 months
  • Accredited by: ICF

Our Recommendation: The Certified Coach Program from Coach Training Alliance is best for new or experienced coaches who want help growing and running a coaching business.

Where to Learn More:

Inspired Spirit Coaching Academy

Inspired Spirit Coach Academy - Website screenshot

Inspired Spirit Coaching Academy (ISCA) was founded in 2008 by Sandy Forster. After years of successfully coaching women on how to be “wildly wealthy,” Sandy decided to create a coach training and certification program to help other coaches do the same. With endorsements from people like Denise Duffield-Thomas and Jack Canfield, Sandy has had an impressive career helping others to apply the principles of the Law of Attraction in their own lives and in their coaching practices.

  • Program Cost: $3,400 (Payable in full or in 6 or 12 payments)
  • Course Length: 10 months (or self-paced)
  • Accredited by: ICF, IAC, IICT

Our Recommendation: The International Coach Training and Certification from Inspired Spirit Coaching Academy is best for new or experienced coaches who want to incorporate the principles of the Law of Attraction into their coaching practice.

Where to Learn More:

Transformation Academy

Transformation Academy offers several online coach training and programs, with a wide variety of coaching niches to choose from. Their Professional Life Coach Certification is an inexpensive way to get certified as a life coach, as well as to receive training on both how to be a coach and how to grow your business. You can also get access to this program as part of their more comprehensive Master Life Coach Certification program.

They offer several different coaching niche certification programs including Yoga, Career, Law of Attraction, Confidence & Growth Mindset, and many, many more. If you’re interested in these other programs, you can get access to all of these courses with a monthly Life Coach Membership. Transformation Academy is not accredited by the ICF. You can read more about that here.

  • Program Cost: $197
  • Course Length: Self-paced (can reasonably be completed in 30 days)

Our Recommendation: The Professional Life Coach Certification from Transformation Academy is best for new coaches who want a faster and more affordable way to get trained and certified as a coach.

Where to Learn More:

The Life Coach School

The Life Coach School was founded by Brooke Castillo. The Life Coach School offers an online coach training & certification program, as well as a monthly program called Self Coaching Scholars. Brooke is the host of the Life Coach School podcast, which is very popular and one of the most highly rated podcasts on iTunes. You can get a very good feel for Brooke Castillo and the Life Coach School by listening to any number of the hundreds of episodes.

The Life Coach School offers one of the best life coach certification programs available, but is not accredited by the ICF. You can read more about that here.

  • Program Cost: $21,000
  • Course Length: 12 months

Our Recommendation: The online coach training and certification program from the Life Coach School is best for coaches with some experience (either with Self Coaching Scholars or their own coaching practice), who are prepared to make a significant investment to take their life coaching skills to the next level.

Where to Learn More:

iNLP Center

iNLP Center was founded in 2011 by Mike and Hope Bundrant. It was the first successful online neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) training center. iNLP Center has training and certification programs for Life Coaches, NLP Practitioners, or Hypnosis Practitioners. If you aren’t familiar with neuro-linguistic programming, you can read more about it in this article.

  • Program Cost: $2,400 (Payable in full or in 6 monthly payments)
  • Course Length: Self-paced (Approx. 160 hours)
  • Accredited by: ICF, INA

Our Recommendation: The NLP-Integrated Life Coach Training from iNLP Center is best for new or experienced coaches interested in building a coaching practice that incorporates NLP techniques.

Where to Learn More:

Nickerson Institute

The Nickerson Institute of Integrative Health Training was founded by Dr. Wendy Nickerson, a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Integrative Health Coach. The Nickerson Institute’s approach to health coaching draws on the principles of positive psychology, synergy, as well as motivational interviewing, goal setting, and mindfulness. The goal being healthy outcomes and optimal functioning of the human mind, body, and spirit.

  • Program Cost: $3,299 (Payable in full or in 4 monthly payments)
  • Course Length: 15 weeks (or self-paced)
  • Accredited by: AADP, HCA, CAIN

Our Recommendation: The Integrative Health Coach Training Program from the Nickerson Institute is best for new or experienced coaches interested in a holistic or integrated approach to health coaching.

Where to Learn More:

How to Choose a Coaching Program

Choosing a coaching program is a decision that can be influenced by a number of factors. Your budget, past coaching experience, personality, and coaching goals are likely all factors that will play a part. For example, if you’re interested in the Law of Attraction, then joining a community of like-minded coaches with the Inspired Spirit Coaching Academy might be the program for you. If that’s not your thing, you may be interested in a more traditional coaching program like Coach Training Alliance. And if you’re looking for something more affordable to get started, then Transformation Academy might have the program you’re looking for.

We recommend that you find an organization with good reviews that aligns with your specific coaching goals and values. Here’s a recap of our top choices for the best coach training and certification programs.

We hope this article has helped you to find the best coaching program for you, and we sincerely wish you all the best on your coaching journey!

Do you have a coaching certification or experience with any coach training programs? Leave your feedback and possibly have your review featured in our updated articles.

This article was written by the Life Coach Magazine staff. We cover everything from personal development, to coaching tips, to how to grow your coaching business. Follow us on Instagram or sign up for our emails!

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