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The Best Retirement Coach Certification Programs

Last updated on February 19, 2024

Entering the post-work chapter of life comes with numerous challenges. It is a big transition that carries both economic and lifestyle changes. If you want to help retirees navigate these difficulties by becoming a retirement coach, the best way to prepare for this role is to get a retirement coach certification. 

There is a wide array of retirement coaching programs you can choose from, so we’ve narrowed the list to our favorites.

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What Is a Retirement Coach?

Why do people need coaching for retirement? After decades of active work life, retirement can present a shock to many people. Common retirement issues include a loss of identity, a change in income, and boredom. To ease this transition, people turn to retirement coaches. 

A certified professional retirement coach provides clients with mental, emotional, and financial guidance through retirement planning. Some of the challenges they identify and tackle are adjusting to a new lifestyle, accepting physical limitations, staying healthy and active, maintaining a fulfilled life, and managing finances during retirement. 

Clients can hire retirement coaches before retirement, during the transition, or once they’re already retirees. 

Retirement Coach vs Retirement Planner vs Retirement Adviser

A retirement coach doesn’t just focus on the financial aspect of retirement, but also on the emotional, social, mental, and spiritual. This is an excellent role for those who want to offer holistic guidance to retirees, not just of a financial nature. 

A retirement planner is strictly dedicated to long-term financial planning. They determine the amount of money people need to retire, when to retire, and how to use the funds for financial stability. They can assist in managing the client’s money while they are retired.

A retirement advisor helps retirees manage their money and investments. The aspects of retirement planning they specialize in are saving, investing, budgeting, and spending. Some retirement advisors pursue specific areas like tax planning or investment management.

How To Become a Retirement Coach

You don’t need a degree or a certification to become a retirement coach, since the only prerequisite is a high school diploma. However, certification can lend you credibility and help you build your strategy for running a successful retirement coaching business.

It’s common for professionals such as financial planners to niche in retirement coaching since they already have experience with the financial aspect of retirement. Retirement coaching training can help them gain insight into the non-financial aspects.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Certified Retirement Coach Program

Before you take the leap and enroll in a retirement coach program, you should determine which one will be the best fit. Taking into account the following factors will help you with that.  

Program Cost

Retirement coach training is an investment that starts at around $1,000. Besides the base fee, you should look into additional costs such as materials and the annual fee for continual access to content.

Course Length

If you’re looking to earn your certification by a specific date, the course length will be a significant determining factor. Self-paced courses offer the most freedom as you can adjust the completion time to your goals. 


Certification programs don’t need accreditation to be credible and reputable. What accreditation does offer is a guarantee that the program is following the guidance and respecting the standards of the accrediting entity. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the best-known accrediting body in this industry.   

Best Retirement Coach Certification Programs

Here are some of the best programs to consider.

Certified Professional Retirement Coach Program

If you’re looking for a well-rounded program that gives you a deep understanding of retirement coaching skills and techniques, we suggest the Certified Professional Retirement Coach

Certified Retirement Coach logo
Certified Professional Retirement Coach

The program is structured around 9 modules that combine self-study with interactive opportunities, including short videos and peer interaction.

It is especially well-suited for those who want to learn more about launching a coaching business since it offers several sales and marketing tools and templates to help you build a brand and attract clients

Additionally, it offers Continuing Education credits for CFP, SHRM, and IMCA members, supporting your professional growth.

To get a taste of what the program offers, check out the free first module.

  • Course Length: Self-paced
  • Program Cost:  $1,795
  • Accreditation: ICF
  • Mode of Delivery: Online

Retirement Life Coach Certification

Retirement Life Coach Certification by Retirement Life Plan emphasizes a research-based approach focusing on the social and psychological aspects of retirement.

Retirement Life Plan logo
Retirement Life Plan – Retirement Life Coach Certification

This certification is designed for those with previous coaching experience or training looking to specialize further in assisting clients through the transition to retirement. 

The program offers a combination of self-study modules, live webinars, case studies, and a range of coaching strategies to address the unique needs of retirees. 

However, a potential drawback is its duration, which is only half that of the CPRC course. This means it only qualifies for half of the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) credits approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

  • Course Length: Self-paced (up to 1 year)
  • Program Cost: $1,250
  • Accreditation: ICF
  • Mode of Delivery: Online

Alternatives (non-niche)

Retirement coaching is a very specific niche, so what can help you hone general coaching skills and perfect the mental and emotional aspects of coaching is enrolling in a life coaching program.

There are numerous programs that can equip you with life coaching skills, but our top picks are Coach Training Alliance and Transformation Academy. You can read about the rationale behind our selection in our CTA and TA reviews. TA programs are super affordable, and with our link, you’ll get a 50% discount (applied at checkout). 


  • How much does a retirement coach make?

A retirement coach’s salary depends on qualifications, location, and experience level. According to iPEC, the average base-level salary for a certified life coach ranges between $62,500 and $245,000 per year.

  • Do you need a certification to be a retirement coach?

Certification isn’t required for retirement coaches; however, becoming a certified retirement coach lends you credibility and helps build reputation as an expert in this field.

  • How much does a retirement coach certification cost?

Typically, the fee for retirement coach certification ranges between $1,000 and $2,000.

  • Does accreditation matter in a retirement coach certification program?

Accreditation can help you with recognition. If the program is ICF accredited, you’ll complete a number of hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) which can contribute to your further education. 

  • What is the most recognized coaching certification? 

In the coaching world, recognition is less about the certification programs and more about accreditation. There are so many training programs that it’s hard to keep up, so you can gain recognition by enrolling in an ICF-accredited certification program that will provide you with name recognition.


Whether you’d like to go straight for a retirement coach certification program or you’d like to begin with life coaching to learn the ropes, there are plenty of programs that will prepare you for the world of coaching.

Our recommendation for certified professional retirement coaching goes to the Certified Professional Retirement Coach program or Coach Training Alliance and Transformation Academy if you’d like to develop other facets of your coaching practice.

Take the Coach Certification Quiz

Need help choosing a coach training and certification program? We created this short quiz to help you find the best program for you.

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