Life coaching certification programs

The Best Life Coach Certification Programs: In-Person U.S. Programs And Online Choices

When you decide to become a life coach, you’ll quickly realize some important facts. First, you’re in good company – there are tens of thousands of life coaches currently working with other clients. Second, many life coaches have also put time, energy, and money into earning a life coaching certification to work with clients. 

Before exploring the specific certifications available, you need a framework for evaluating your options. The tips in the next section will help you find a life coach certification that meets your needs in terms of cost, the time required, and other factors.

Four Tips To Choose The Right Life Coaching Certification For You

tips to choose the right certification

Once you decide to pursue a life coaching certification, you’ll be faced with many choices. Selecting the right program for your specific needs starts by understanding what a certification program can and cannot do for your career. A certification program will not automatically bring you clients. 

To get your clients, use our checklist for starting a life coaching business. Keep these principles in mind as you evaluate the different options outlined in this guide.

1. What is the reputation of the life coaching certification program?

Assessing the reputation of a program involves asking a lot of questions. For example, you might ask how many people have earned the specific certification? When was the program established? Also, do a Google search for the program’s name to see if life coaches are generally positive or negative about the program.

2. What is the cost of the life coaching program?

Nearly all life coaching certifications carry a cost. Think carefully about how much you can afford to invest in a certification program at this point in your career. Put the price of the program in context by asking two questions. 

First, how much 1-on-1 support will you receive from the program? Generally, more support means a higher price. Second, find out if the life coaching certification comes with continuing education and networking possibilities. A more extensive network can help you to grow your business further.

3. How long does the life coaching certification take to complete?

Some programs may offer a flexible schedule so that you can study on evenings and weekends. If that flexibility is essential to you, make sure the program offers that choice.

4. What is the learning format? 

Life coaching requires exceptional communication skills to support clients. To develop these skills, it is crucial to choose a certification program that works for your needs. For example, you may need the opportunity to study a concept and then have practice sessions. However, some basic programs may offer self-study options online, such as readings and watching course videos. Choose a program that meets those needs if you need a highly interactive experience to develop your life coaching skills. 

Life Coaching Certification Options

There are two main types of life coaching certifications to choose from – online or in-person. Since the online option has been increasingly popular, we’ll start with this option.

Certificate in life coaching online: Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

Signing up for an online life coaching certification program is good for many people. This section will focus on the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) certification program. Earning a certification online means you don’t have to worry about travel time. While every life coaching certification program is different in price, structure, and design, you can expect a few commonalities.


  • Schedule Flexibility

Completing a certification in life coaching online typically means you can work on the program at your own pace. This advantage means you can study early in the morning, late at night, or whenever you can find the time. The iPEC schedule offers virtual courses that run on weekdays and weekends.

  • High-Quality Digital Learning Experience

Over the past decade, e-learning platforms and tools have come a long way. Therefore, you can reasonably expect a high-end digital learning experience. For example, you might have access to a library of lectures, online quizzes, and other resources to help you learn. The iPEC Learning Center offers articles, guidebooks, podcasts, and videos.

  • No Travel Expenses

In some cases, earning a certificate in life coaching online may be more affordable than an in-person program. You will not need to spend anything on travel, parking, or meals to attend the program. That said, online life coaching certifications have a significant fee. The iPEC Coach Training Program is currently priced at $11,950.


  • Limited Networking Opportunities

Starting a life coaching business can be pretty challenging, especially if you feel alone. It may be tough to make connections with other aspiring life coaches in a digital certificate program. Fortunately, the iPEC program includes several sessions with a mentor coach.

  • Skill Development Challenges

A successful life coach needs exceptional skills in working with people. An online program may not provide sufficient opportunities for practice and feedback. As a result, your life coaching skills may develop more slowly than participating in an in-person certification program.

  • Higher Risk of Non-Completion

According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, only 20% of students complete online courses. When you sign up for an online life coaching program, staying focused can be difficult. Online distractions like social media and streaming services are one click away. Some people may find it easier to stay focused during an in-person learning experience.

Online learning is a great choice, but it is not suitable for everyone. This guide includes a guide to in-person life coaching programs in major U.S. cities and states.

The Local Guide To Life Coaching Certification Programs

This section will highlight some of the leading in-person certification programs across the country. If you don’t see your city or state listed, see the online life coaching certifications section above.

  1. How To Become A Life Coach In NY
  2. How To Earn A Life Coach Certification In Florida
  3. How To Become A Life Coach In Atlanta
  4. How To Pursue Life Coach Certification In Texas
  5. How To Get A Life Coach Certification In Houston
  6. How To Obtain A Certificate In Life Coaching In Denver
  7. How To Pursue A Certificate In Life Coaching Portland
  8. The Path To Becoming A Life Coach In California
  9. How To Become A Life Coach In San Diego
  10. How To Complete Life Coach Certification In Los Angeles


1. How To Become A Life Coach In NY

The New York University Certificate in Executive Coaching costs $10,000 (i.e., four courses at $2500 each). Aspiring life coaches have three years to complete the program.


  • Highly Accomplished Instructors

Offered by New York University, you will have the opportunity to study with highly accomplished professionals. David Lipsky, an adjunct instructor in the program, has worked with companies such as Bank of America, Walmart, and Sony. 

  • Business Focus

This focused program may be a great fit for life coaches who want to specialize in working with executives and business professionals.


  • High Cost

Completing a $10,000 certification program may be outside your budget. Remember that you have several ways to complete the program, which means you can space out the payments.

  • Limited Business Development Coverage

The four-course program does not appear to cover the business of coaching directly. If you are looking for a program that directly covers how to get clients, this program may not be a good fit for your needs.

2. How To Earn A Life Coach Certification In Florida

The University of Miami Certified Professional Coach Certificate Program is an eleven-month program that combines in-person and remote instruction. Priced at $6,995, the certificate program is one of the more affordable options.


  • Master Certification Coach Instructors

By studying at the University of Miami program, you will work directly with Master Certified Coach (MCC) instructors. Less than 5% of International Coaching Federation (ICF) credential holders possess this elite certification. It means that you will be learning from the best in the industry. 

  • Financial Assistance

Pursuing a life coach certification in Florida takes significant resources. Fortunately, the University of Miami program offers both a payment plan and a financial assistance program. Contact the university directly for additional details. 


  • Weekend Classes

The program requires students to dedicate several weekends to attending classes on campus. This requirement may cause personal difficulties depending on your existing commitments.

  • Telephone Sessions

Aside from a few on-campus classes, most of the University of Miami program is offered by a telephone bridge. This type of remote learning offers relatively engagement compared to other programs that provide digital resource libraries and video conferencing.

3. How To Become A Life Coach In Atlanta

Becoming a life coach in Atlanta, GA is similar to other cities and states. You need to develop coaching skills and start working on getting new clients. Earning a life coaching certification from a local provider is an excellent way to build your network and meet other life coaches in Atlanta.

The University of Georgia offers a 60-hour executive coaching program. With classes running on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the program fee is $6,999. 


  • Focused Methodology

The University of Georgia coaching program is primarily based upon the book “The Sherpa Guide: Process-Driven Executive Coaching” by Brenda Corbett and Judith Colemon Kinebrew. By focusing your studies on a single book, you will have the opportunity to dive deeper into the material and deeply understand it. 

  • Practicum Client Assignment

A practicum program gives aspiring life coaches the chance to put their skills to the test. By completing the practicum, you will have greater confidence to work with clients when you launch your business.


  • Small Faculty

Learning life coaching skills from a variety of perspectives can be beneficial. Unfortunately, the program website only lists two instructors. This disadvantage could be overcome if you seek out additional resources and mentors. 

  • Fixed Weekday Classes

At this time, the University of Georgia program runs live classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 pm to 4 pm. This schedule means it would be difficult to attend classes if you have a full-time job or other commitments.

4. How To Pursue Life Coach Certification In Texas

Attending a life coach certification program in Texas is an excellent way to open doors to professional contacts in the state. Signing up for the life coaching program at Texas State University is an excellent starting point. After registering, students have six months to complete the program. 


  • Affordability

The 40-hour program costs $1795, which makes it one of the least expensive life coaching certificate programs on the market.

  • Financial Assistance

Texas State University outlines several programs to help you to pay for the program, including the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship Program (i.e., spouses of active members of the military). In addition, you may be able to use the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program to cover some of the program’s costs.


  • Single Instructor

The program website only lists one instructor: Jean LaCour, Ph.D. While LaCour does have significant credentials, your life coaching skills might be limited by learning from a single individual. 

  • Minimal Practice Opportunities

The opportunity to practice life coaching skills and receive professional feedback can make a significant difference as you launch your business. Unfortunately, this program does not appear to offer mentorship hours, a practicum, or other comparable experiences.

5. How To Get A Life Coach Certification In Houston

Houston is a significant business hub in Texas, including thousands of people working in the energy industry, health sciences, and United Airlines. All of this economic activity means plenty of affluent professionals could benefit from working with life coaches on their goals. 
To earn a life coach certification in Houston, look closely at CoachRICE for Professionals at Rice University. With a tuition fee of $9845, the CoachRICE is focused on leadership coaching. Therefore, this program is best suited for life coaches passionate about business and executive coaching.


  • In-Person and Virtual Options

Students can sign up for a virtual or in-person program over four months. 

  • Practicum 

The Rice University program includes a practicum component. Students complete the academic portion of the certification before scheduling the practicum in coordination with their mentor coach.


  • Prerequisites

Compared to most of the life coaching certificate programs covered in this guide, Rice University has specific prerequisites. You must have a bachelor’s degree and five years of working experience. Also, applicants are encouraged to have leadership experience.

  • Weekday Schedule

The program’s classes are scheduled to run on Thursday afternoons and Fridays. As a result, it may be challenging to participate in this program if you launch your life coaching business while holding a full-time job.

6. How To Obtain A Certificate In Life Coaching In Denver

You don’t have to leave Denver, CO, to launch a life coaching business. Instead, you can sign up for the Coaching Skills Certificate at the University of Denver. At less than $1,000, the Coaching Skills Certificate is one of the most budget-friendly options in the country to explore life coaching.


  • Business Focus

The program has a consistent focus on coaching for managers and executives. In addition, the certificate also explores agility and teamwork dynamics.

  • Practicum

The three-hour practicum includes role-playing and group coaching to allow students to develop their expertise.


  • Limited Depth

This program is limited to 15 contact hours, far less instructional time than other life coaching certification programs. For example, the certificate does not appear to include coverage of the business of coaching. 

  • Single Instructor

The Denver life coaching program only lists a single instructor: Maureen Breeze. As a result, students may not get the same breadth of perspectives that more extensive life coaching programs offer.

7. How To Pursue A Certificate In Life Coaching Portland

Life coaching is a large industry that welcomes many different perspectives. For those who want to ground their life coaching business in Christian principles, the Western Seminary program may be the perfect program. The Seminary program is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).


  • Variety of Courses

The Western Seminary offers 15 courses on life coaching, such as the language of coaching, coaching change, and the coaching relationship. By completing in-depth courses in each area, new life coaches will be equipped to serve their clients more effectively.

  • Affordability

While many business coaching programs cost around $10,000, the Western Seminary program is different. The Certificate in Transformational Coaching costs $4200.


  • Christian Focus

Non-Christians will probably not find the Western Seminary’s religious outlook to be a good fit.

  • Online Only Focus

Attending a life coaching certificate program through a college or university can offer significant networking opportunities. However, you may find it more challenging to grow your network when all classes are offered online exclusively, which is the case at Western Seminary.

8. The Path To Becoming A Life Coach In California 

Building a life coaching career in California is an excellent choice because of the region’s large and affluent population. Since there is so much opportunity, you’re about to find life coaching certification opportunities in several Golden State’s largest cities.

Based in Sacramento, the California Institute of Healing Arts and Sciences offers a 300-hour program in certified life coaching. Priced at $6,551, the Institute program is comparatively affordable compared to traditional college and university-based programs.


  • State Registered

The Institute is registered with the Calfornia government’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. This accreditation provides some peace of mind regarding the organization’s program.

  • Flexible Payment Options

The Institute provides multiple ways for students to pay fees including a monthly payment and payment by credit card. Further, the organization accepts third party vouchers for payment such as Workmans Compensation. 


  • Full Day Saturday Classes

The life coaching program is currently exclusively offered in Saturdays (8:30am – 4:30pm). If a full day schedule is incompatible for your needs, take a look at one of the different programs. 

  • Minimal Program Description

The Institute website provides very little information about the nature of the program. As a result, potential students will have to spend more time asking questions about the instructors, course content and related factors.

9. How To Become A Life Coach In San Diego

Home to LEGOLAND California, San Diego is one of the largest cities in southern California. Launching a life coaching company in San Diego is easier when you have local connections. That’s why you be want to sign up for Leadership Coaching Certificate at the University of San Diego. Earning the professiona certificate costs $8350 and takes apppoximately 12 months.


  • Leadership Focus

Life coaches interested in working with executives and managers in San Diego will 

appreciate this program’s strong emphasis on leadership. For example, the Foundations of Leadership Coaching course covers human development, applied positive psychology and organizational change.

  • Performance Evaluation

Completing individual courses is not enough to finish off the program. Students are also required to complete a “live evaluation of coaching skills” after finishing the “Building Professional Practice in Coaching” course.


  • No Online Option

The prograqm is strictly offered on an in-person basis which means you will need to be within travel distance of the campus to earn this certificate.

  • Varied Course ScheduleStrict Course Sequence

The certificate courses are offered at various times like week day evenings, during week 

days and on weekend days. Accommodating the varying schedule of each course may put additional strain on your calendar.

10. How To Complete Life Coach Certification In Los Angeles

To get started in the life coaching business in Los Angeles, consider taking neurolinguistic programming (NLP) coaching. Global NLP Training offers instructions that can help life coaches develop their emotional intelligence, communication and motivation skills. The organization’s programs range in price from $2,250 to $2,400.


  • Motivation Emphasis

Some life coaches find that it is challenging to inspire their clients to follow their on their commitments. Learning NLP techniques may be beneficial in motivating life coaching clients to take action.

  • International Faculty

Global NLP Training is distinct in bringing together instructors from the United States and the Netherlands. This varied perspective may be particularly valuable for life coaches who plan to work with international clients. 


  • International Coaching Federation (ICF) Accreditation

Global NLP Training does not appear to be accredited by the International Coaching Federation. For many life coaches, ICF accreditation is an important marker of quality. If ICF accreditation matters to you, you may want to choose a different program.

  • Full Immersion Program

The program operates on  a ‘full immersion’ basis. This approach can yield faster learning but it may not be suitable for life coaches seeking a part time certification program.

What To Do After You Earn A Life Coaching Certification

The knowledge you learn from a life coaching program is invaluable. You’ll know how to understand clients, guide them away from problems and toward their goals. By learning these new skills, you have become very valuable to your clients and you deserve fair compensation for your efforts.

You can offer your life coaching services via CheckYa. In the beginning you don’t have to invest in designing a website, instead offer your services and get paid via CheckYa. You can also send them an easy to pay invoice with CheckYa. There are no limited on the number of clients or invoices you can have – click here to sign up for CheckYa.

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