Best Life Coach Certification Programs of 2024

March 30, 2024
By Team Simply.Coach
life coach certification

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Life coaching is a booming career option. This boom has also increased the number of coaches significantly, which has resulted in higher competition. To make a serious profession out of it, how do you plan to stand out as the best among the rest? If that’s what you’ve been thinking, Simply.Coach has the answer – you need a wingman by your side. And the ideal wingman for you is the best life coach certification program!

Almost every coach starts out wanting to know why you even need a certification to practice life coaching, since no law mandates a certification to be a life coach. 

Hence, this guide came into existence — to help you understand why you need a certification alongside helping you find the best life coaching certification programs of 2024. Follow along!

Growth of the Life Coaching Profession

If you go by numbers and stats, life coaching, in general, is a booming business. 

  • The International Coaching Federation (ICF) surveyed in 2023. The survey focused on how the life coaching business progressed between 2019 and 2022. It was found that the industry had seen a 54% boom. The survey also cited that 80% of clients expect their coaches to have some form of higher certification. 
  • Some other interesting stats were discovered by Grand View Research — according to the data, the market size of the life coaching industry in the US stood at a whopping 1,469.1 million US dollars in 2022. And it’s predicted that the industry will continue to grow by 4.85% annually till 2030.

Read: Best Online Coaching Platforms for Life Coaches

Importance of Selecting the Right Certification Program 

Since the industry is booming, more and more people who are compassionate in any way are choosing life coaching as a career.  

This increase in competition is a clear indicator that to make it big and pull yourself through this competition, you need a Unique Selling Point. That USP could be a life coaching certification program, but not just any program; you need the best life coach certification program. 

When you enroll for the best life coach certification program, you can:

  • Build your skills as a life coach 
  • Add a distinctive feather to your cap that makes you stand out
  • Understand the challenges of the life coaching career and navigate through them
  • Earn the trust of your clients and build your brand 

Criteria for Selecting the Best Coach Training and Certification Program

There are hundreds and thousands of life coaching certification programs, and everyone says their program is the best. 

How would you know the parameters that make a program the best life coach certification program? How would you know what to look for when enrolling to earn a certification?

If these questions bother you too, you’re not alone — every life coach looking to enroll in a program has faced these issues. 

Here are the proper criteria to choose the best life coach certification program: 

  • The prices 
  • The program’s length and figure out if you have that much bandwidth 
  • Real user reviews
  • Expertise of the teachers
  • Accreditation from a  government body
  • ICF-accreditation  

Easier said than done!

There are so many parameters that anybody can get overwhelmed — you, however, have this guide to help you. It has been compiled after evaluating hundreds of programs and every differentiating parameter you can think of. 

Cruise along, and you will be introduced to the best life coaching certification programs of 2024 and a lot more. Let’s get you started. 

Our Top Life Coach Certification Programs

Best Life Coach Certification Programs in 2024HighlightCostCourse Duration
Health Coach Institute Dual Life and Health Coaching CertificationBest for dual life and health coachingLump sum: $7,450 Or $1,065/month over 7 monthsIt takes about 6 months to complete the program
Certified Life Coach Institute Life Coach CertificationBest for coaches short on bandwidth$995 totalThe length of the program is about 32.8 training hours
Institute for Professional Excellence in CoachingBest for new graduatesLump sum: $12,495 Or with payment plans costing $13,995, spread across a year, if you can’t pay the entire sum at one goThe length of the program is 320+ hours. It can take up to one year to finish the program 
Institute for Life Coach Training Professional CertificationBest for electivesLump sum: $7,800 Multiple payment plans to make things affordable The length of the actual program is 130 hours. It can take 1 to 2 years to finish the program 
Coach Training Alliance Best for group classesThe most popular program offered by this institute is the Certified Coach Program, which starts at $3,457. Advanced programs start at $7,997The length of the Certified Coach Program is typically 30 hours

That said, it’s time to take you deeper into the world of each of these programs and help you choose the best life coach certification program that will be ideal for you.

Best for Dual Life and Health Coaching: Health Coach Institute Dual Life and Health Coaching Certification

This program by ‘The Health Coach Institute’ has grabbed the top spot in our best life coach certification list. It offers a distinctive Dual Life and Health Coaching Certification and is ideal for life coaches aiming to impact health and personal development domains significantly. 

This program is designed to equip future coaches with the necessary tools and knowledge to support clients in achieving holistic well-being. 

Program Features:

  • Dual Certification Advantage: Unique offering of dual health and life coaching certification enables coaches to cater to a broader range of client needs
  • Professional Accreditation: Accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), alongside recognition from the FCA and FHT, ensuring the program meets high standards
  • Flexible Learning Format: The program is delivered online over six months, allowing learners to progress at their own pace. There’s also an option to extend up to 12 months
  • Expert-Led Instruction: Instruction from experienced health and life coaches, offering over 30 years of combined expertise in the field
  • Comprehensive Coaching Toolkit: Provides extensive resources, including scripts, templates, and six 90-day starter programs for immediate application with clients

Learning Methodology

  • Habit Change Coaching Method: Focuses on creating sustainable behavior change through evidence-based strategies. Such factors make this the best life coach certification program you can trust 
  • Engagement and Support: Offers optional weekly live sessions for mentorship and support, facilitating interactions with program founders, coach mentors, and peers
  • Nutrition and Well-being: Covers holistic nutrition and health coaching, including strategies for addressing complex behaviors around food and lifestyle

Pros/ Benefits of this Best Life Coach Certification Program 

  • Community Access: Access to a private community group for networking and support from fellow students
  • Advanced Mastery Program: Availability of a 12-month advanced mastery program for deepening coaching skills and knowledge
  • Preparedness for Practice: Arms coaches with a “done-for-you” package, ensuring readiness to start a coaching practice upon completion

Cons you should know

  • Investment Required: It is one of the more premium offerings, reflecting its dual certification and comprehensive resources
  • Time Commitment: Requires a more substantial time investment compared to some other programs, due to its depth and breadth of content

Pricing of This Best Life Coaching Certification Program 

  • The overall cost of the program, when paid in full, amounts to $7,450
  • If you can’t pay in full, the institute also offers an option to pay $1,065/month for 7 month

Best for Quick Completion: Certified Life Coach Institute Life Coach Certification

This program by Life Coach Institute is next on our list of best life coach certification programs. 

Recognized for its excellence, this program has been featured by reputable sources such as Business Insider, Forbes Health, and ‘A Very Well Mind’, highlighting its status as the best life coach certification program for professional coaching education. 

Focusing on versatility and practical skills, the curriculum is designed to benefit life coaches looking to make careers across various domains, including business, personal relationships, and general life improvement.

Program Features

  • Certification Prestige: Acknowledged as one of the best life coaching certification programs, having trained over 10,000 coaches across various specialties
  • Program Duration: Offers a 32.8-hour Certified Life Coach (CLC) program and a 33-hour Master program, conducted over three-day sessions each
  • Learning Format: Classes are delivered via Zoom video conferencing, scheduled on weekdays or weekends for convenience, accommodating those with tight schedules
  • Program Costs: The CLC program is priced at $995. There is also an option to combine it with a Master program for a total of $1,995. Financing options are available, but they require a non-refundable deposit
  • Professional Recognition: The certification by this institute is recognized worldwide

Benefits of Enrolling for this Certification Program

  • Flexibility and Accessibility: Designed to be the most time-efficient certification program, catering to individuals seeking rapid completion
  • Comprehensive Support: Offers extensive post-completion support, including the opportunity to retake the course for free and assistance in starting a coaching practice
  • Global Network: Becoming part of a vast community of certified coaches, ensuring a supportive environment and networking opportunities
  • Accreditation and Ratings: The institution is ICF-accredited and boasts a 5-star rating, ensuring a high-quality education and certification process


  • Cost-effective compared to other programs
  • Financing options ease the financial burden
  • Post-course support enhances career prospect
  • Flexible scheduling accommodates working professionals


  • The intensive schedule may not suit everyone
  • Fixed start times could pose scheduling conflicts for some

Best for Support After Graduation: Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching

Next in our list of best life coach certification programs is the course by The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). 

Aimed at aspiring life coaches, the program encompasses a variety of coaching niches, including life coaching, health and wellness coaching, executive coaching, leadership development, and sports coaching. 

Program Structure and Content

  • Program Cost: $13,995 with payment plan options; a discounted rate of $12,495 for full upfront payment
  • Program Length: Over 320 hours of training, designed to be completed within approximately one year
  • Learning Pace: Self-paced, allowing students to integrate the training into their personal and professional lives with ease
  • Training Methodology: A blend of one-on-one training, group sessions, and a proprietary Core Energy Coaching methodology. This method focuses on addressing clients’ challenges and fostering sustainable transformation

Unique Features of This Best Life Coach Certification Program 

  • One-on-One Mentorship: Personalized feedback from a dedicated mentor coach
  • Resource Library Access: Includes materials to support graduates in starting and growing their own coaching businesses
  • Business Development Curriculum: A comprehensive guide to launching a successful coaching practice, included with tuition
  • Flexible Learning Options: Designed to fit into the busy schedules of its students, offering significant flexibility in how the course material is engaged with

Accreditation and Recognition

  • ICF Accreditation: Meets the educational requirements for an ICF Credential, showcasing the program’s quality and global recognition
  • HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) Pre-Approval: The program meets the criteria for recertification credit pre-approval by HRCI®
  • SHRM Recognition: Recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® certification holders
  • CCE Registered Credential Training Provider: Qualified to provide training courses for credit towards the Board Certified Coach credential


  • Individualized feedback and support
  • Access to a wide array of training sessions and resources
  • Comprehensive business development program included


  • Among the more expensive options in our list of best life coaching certification programs of 2024 
  • Lengthier in terms of required training hours compared to other programs

Best for Electives: The Institute for Life Coach Training 

This certification program is particularly suited for individuals with a keen interest in the social sciences, those seeking to transition into behavioral health from another field, or professionals aiming to integrate coaching skills into their current roles in business, education, or other sectors. 

Program Structure

  • Total Duration: Approximately 130 hours, spread over 1.5 to 2 years, based on the student’s pace
  • Required Courses: 88 hours dedicated to essential coaching skills and knowledge
  • Elective Courses: 42 hours, allowing students to specialize in areas of personal or professional interest
  • Learning Methodology: A mix of self-paced and scheduled classes, offering flexibility to accommodate different schedules

Key Features of This Best Life Coach Certification Program 

  • Elective Specializations: Includes a variety of topics such as wellness, grief, weight management, and career coaching, among others
  • Flexibility: Credits earned never expire, allowing students to pause and resume their certification journey as needed
  • Accreditation: ILCT was one of the first programs accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF) in 2002. It’s also approved for the Board Certified Coach credential by the Center for Credentialing and Education
  • Faculty Excellence: The program boasts a highly accomplished faculty, many of whom hold dual qualifications in traditional helping professions and coaching
  • Military and Government Support: Offers support for military spouses through the MyCAA program and a 10% discount for federal, state, and local government employees with the GSA coupon code

Financial Information

  • Cost: $7,800, payable in full or through a payment plan arranged with the institute
  • Military Funding: Approved under the Army Credentialing Assistance (CA) program, offering up to $4,000 per fiscal year for qualified individuals.


  • Comprehensive coverage of both core and specialized coaching topics
  • Flexible learning format to suit different life schedules
  • Lifetime validity of credits for ongoing education


  • It’s one of the more expensive options available among the others in our list of best life coaching certification programs 
  • Longer completion time compared to other programs.

Read: The Comprehensive Guide to Acquiring a Business Coach Certification

Additional Leading Programs

“Variety’s the very spice of life that gives it all its flavor” 

William Cowper

We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Cowper. So, we have made this small bonus section on some of the alternative leading programs you can consider apart from the 4 best life coaching certification programs we listed above. 

Have a look!

Coach Training Alliance

This is a top-rated institute to enroll in the best life coach certification program of 2024 for group classes. The advanced programs by this coaching institute typically have a duration of 6 months and are structured to provide a comprehensive learning experience, balancing theoretical knowledge with practical coaching.

Transformation Academy

This program is best for a variety of coaching niches. Since these courses are self-paced, the duration to complete each certification program can vary widely depending on the individual’s schedule and pace of learning. 

Many of the courses can be completed in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the time commitment and speed of the learner.

The Life Coach School

This program is best for mindset coaching. It typically spans a duration of six months. 

This is the best life coach certification program for you as it is designed to provide comprehensive training in coaching techniques, tools, and the business aspects of establishing a coaching practice.

iNLP Center

This institute is best for NLP coaching and hypnosis. One of their primary offerings, the Life Coach Certification program, is designed to be flexible and self-paced. 

Typically, students can complete this certification in about 8-10 months, depending on their pace of study and the time they can dedicate to the coursework.

Nickerson Institute

The courses offered by this institute are best for holistic health coaching. Certification program lengths can vary based on the course content, the depth of the material covered, and whether the program is designed to be completed at a self-paced rate or within a set timeframe.

Life Coach Training Institute

The is one of the best life coaching certification programs that offers a hybrid learning model. The Life Coach Training Institute provides a self-paced online life coach certification program that can be completed in as little as a few days to a few weeks 


CreativeMind University offers various programs in personal development, coaching, and psychology based on Jungian Psychology and Eastern Philosophies.

The duration of their certification programs can vary depending on the specific course and the structure (whether it’s self-paced or has a fixed schedule).

how to choose a coaching program

How to Choose a Coaching Program

Choosing the best life coach certification program is a deeply personal journey that hinges not just on finding a reputable course but on discovering a path that resonates with your core values, personality, and coaching ambitions. 

It’s about aligning your passion with purpose, ensuring that the program you choose equips you with skills and amplifies your unique voice in the coaching world.

Importance of Alignment with Values, Personality, and Coaching Goals

Your coaching philosophy is an extension of who you are. Whether you’re drawn to empowering others through life’s transitions, guiding them towards better health, or supporting their career growth, your chosen program must mirror these aspirations. 

A program that aligns with your values and personality becomes more than just education; it’s a transformational experience that shapes your coaching style and approach. Hence, that program is the best life coach certification program for you. 

Overview of Factors to Consider When Choosing a Coaching Program

Selecting the best life coaching certification programs involves more than just a glance at the brochure. It’s about peeling back the layers to understand what lies beneath the surface. 

Consider the following aspects to make sure you choose only the best life coach certification program:

  • Accreditation: Look for programs accredited by recognized bodies, ensuring the certification holds weight in the professional world
  • Curriculum: Evaluate whether the course content covers the essential skills you need and offers specialized training aligned with your interests
  • Faculty: Knowledgeable and experienced instructors can provide invaluable insights and mentorship
  • Community: A supportive network of peers and alumni can enrich your learning experience and offer networking opportunities

Here are a few more factors that you need to keep in mind. 

  • Cost: While opting for the most economical option is tempting, weigh the program’s value against its price. Consider it an investment in your future
  • Time commitment: Your lifestyle and current obligations will dictate the pace at which you can pursue the certification. Find a program that fits your schedule
  • Focus: Specialization areas can set you apart in the coaching field. Seek out programs that offer tracks or electives in niches that interest you
  • Credentials: Beyond the basic certification, some programs offer pathways to further credentials or continuous education. This can be crucial for long-term career growth

That said, Simply.Coach receives a plethora of questions from aspiring life coaches from all across the world. So, the coming sections have your questions answered by experts.

Read: A Comprehensive Guide to Online Billing Software for Life Coaches 

What is a Life Coach? 

A life coach is essentially a guide by your side, someone who supports you in navigating life’s complexities to achieve personal and professional fulfillment. 

They’re not therapists or consultants; consider them collaborative partners focused on forward momentum. Life coaches work with individuals to clarify their goals, identify obstacles holding them back, and devise strategies to overcome them. 

The goals of your role as a life coach are multifaceted. Primarily, you aim to empower others to make, meet, and exceed goals in both personal and professional life. 

Whether it’s career advancement, improving personal relationships, or finding a better balance in life, your goal is to foster a sense of self-awareness and confidence in your clients. 

You can provide the tools and support needed for personal growth and decision-making, facilitating a journey of self-improvement that leads to a more satisfied and purposeful life.

Educational and Professional Background for Life Coaches

Regarding the educational and professional pedigree expected of a life coach, it’s interesting to note that the field doesn’t impose strict prerequisites. 

An interesting survey by Zippia on the profiles of as many as 5,835 life coaches profiles revealed a trend towards higher education among practitioners. 

Here are some data insights from the survey: 

  • 55% of these coaches had earned a bachelor’s degree
  • 21% had advanced their studies to obtain a master’s degree
  • Fields of study such as psychology and business emerged as common backgrounds

That said, as long as you are not a practicing therapist, the law does not mandate you to have a higher education degree. If you have compassion and want to serve people, you can be a life coach. 

Life Coach vs. Therapist: What Is the Difference?

Understanding the distinction between you and a therapist is crucial, as your educational backgrounds, qualifications, and objectives in client relationships significantly differ. 


  • Need a comprehensive educational foundation, typically including both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree  
  • Diagnose and treat mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Life coaches: 

You are not bound by formal education or certification requirements to practice. While many undergo certification programs to enhance your skills and credibility, the profession is much more flexible regarding prerequisites.

  • Life coaching is more future-oriented, concentrating on personal growth, goal achievement, and overall life improvement
  • You work with clients to outline clear, actionable strategies for realizing your aspirations, ensuring these plans are in harmony with the client’s values, dreams, and desired lifestyle

How to Become a Life Coach?

Given the unregulated nature of the coaching industry, where anyone can be a life coach, pursuing a structured path toward certification, primarily through the best life coaching certification programs accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), becomes crucial. 

Here’s how you can navigate this path with confidence.

The Importance of ICF-Accredited Programs

Choosing an ICF-accredited program isn’t just about adding a credential to your name; it’s about legitimacy, ethics, and a commitment to a globally recognized standard of coaching excellence. 

These programs ensure that you’re equipped with foundational coaching skills and are versed in ethical guidelines and coaching competencies that are respected worldwide. 

Recommendations for Aspiring Life Coaches

As noted by experts in the field, diving into a coaching career requires more than just a passion for helping others; it requires preparation and self-exploration. 

Engaging with a certified coach one-on-one or enrolling in a coaching program can provide invaluable insights into the profession. It helps understand the profound commitment needed and align your personal “why” with your professional goals. 

Speaking with recent program graduates, participating in informational webinars, and understanding the distinct teaching methodologies of different ICF-accredited programs can guide you in selecting a program that resonates with your values and learning style.

Engaging in Reputable Life Coach Certification Programs to Gain Necessary Education and Tools

Embarking on a certification program is about more than learning to coach; it’s about transforming yourself into a vessel of change for others. Reputable certification programs provide the essential education and tools to facilitate this transformation. 

  • They offer a structured curriculum that encompasses coaching theories, practical techniques, and the development of a coaching mindset
  • Moreover, these programs often include mentorship opportunities, peer coaching, and real-life coaching sessions, offering a holistic approach to learning. 

This hands-on experience is invaluable, allowing you to apply your learning in real-world settings, enhancing your effectiveness as a coach.

Cost of Life Coach Training

Based on our research, the cost of undertaking the best life coach certification program starts from $900 and shoots up to $13,000.  

How Long Does Life Coach Training Take?

The programs in our list of best life coach certification programs take between a few hours to weeks and up to 2 years to complete before you can get your certification. 

Life Coaching Benefits

Apart from the usual, which is you get to help people struggling with various issues, there are other benefits of becoming a life coach. Some of the most noteworthy ones are as follows: 

  • You get to make a massive impact on the lives of other people
  • You are doing very meaningful work that keeps you self-satisfied and very content
  • You have a chance to get paid handsomely. Life coaches can easily make upwards of $65,000 annually at the start of their careers. The salary keeps on increasing with increasing experience and a base of loyal clientele 


Becoming a life coach is no joke — this is a noble profession that also gives you a chance to make some serious money. 

You get to make a deep impact on the lives of other people. Although you have no legal obligation to have a higher degree or certification to be a life coach, enrolling in a good institute and getting the best life coach certification program is a great way to stand out from the crowd. 

When you are given a certification from ICF, it is a clear sign of your professionalism and knowledge. Clients will automatically prefer you over the thousands of other life coaches who might not have a certification. 

You can choose the best life coach certification program from our list — Health Coach Institute Dual Life and Health Coaching Certification, Certified Life Coach Institute Life Coach Certification, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, and Institute for Life Coach Training Professional Certification. 
If anything still feels overwhelming, contact our experts today, and we will walk you through everything you must consider when choosing the best life coaching certification programs for you.

About Simply.Coach

Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.  

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