Certification & Credential Options for Professional Coaches

According to the ICF Global Study Into Coaching (2020), 81% of clients say they prefer a certified or credentialed coach.


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To become a professional coach you need to choose a school that is ICF Accredited, with certification and credential pathways.

Graduating from a school that is ICF accredited will communicate to your future clients and employers that you have received the highest industry training, and have demonstrated the coaching skills, competencies and knowledge required to practice as a professional coach. Your certification will evidence your alignment with best practice and coaching ethics, and will promote the growth of coaching as a career and as an industry.


A process where coach training programs are reviewed and approved by an industry body.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) accredits programs via an application process that involves rigorous external scrutiny and quality testing. A school's curriculum is mapped across core competencies, with faculty, assessment and learning processes all assessed. You can be assured that the school is accountable and credible, and offering training that pathways into industry recognised certification and credentials.  International Coach has been accredited with the ICF since 2004. 


Professional Coaches hold Certification issued by Accredited Academies.

Certification is a recognized statement of attainment that indicates you have been assessed by a training provider as having the industry recognized skills, knowledge and expertise required to practice as a professional coach. Your certificate will indicate the level of skill and achievement (eg. Level 1, or Level 2)


Credentials are a professional designation awarded by an industry body. 

To apply for an ICF credential you must be certified, and you must have a documented number of training and coaching hours. Certified Coaches who have completed ICF Accredited training Level 1 training can apply for ACC via the Level 1 track.  Certified Coaches who have completed ICF Accredited training Level 2 training can apply for ACC or PCC via the Level 2 track.  A PCC credential must be achieved before applying for MCC.


By choosing an ICF Accredited school for your Coach Training you can be assured that both the school and it's curriculum has undergone rigorous external scrutiny and quality testing, with programs that directly pathway to Level 1 or 2 Certifications and Credentials.

International Coach Academy (ICA) has been accredited with the International Coach Federation (ICF) since 2004. 

We made the decision to align with the ICF over other local or international options such as RTO, IAC, WABC etc. because Coaching is a global profession, and the ICF continue to be the most established peak body in coaching worldwide.

ACC Accredited Education

ICA's Vocational Coach Program is ACC Accredited Education, meaning that it has been accredited by the ICF for Level 1 study (76 hrs).  Post graduation, coaches can apply for the credential of ACC via the ICF Level 1 track.

Read more about ICA's ACC Accredited Study

PCC Accredited Education

ICA's Professional Coach Program and Advanced Coach Program are PCC Accredited Education, meaning that they have been accredited by the ICF for Level 2 study (125 - 150 hrs).  Post graduation, coaches can apply for the credential of ACC or PCC via the ICF Level 2 track.

Read more about ICA's PCC Accredited Study

Level 1 and Level 2 programs are stand alone certifications.  This means that although you can pathway from a level 1 to a level 2 program, it is not a required pathway.  eg. Students can directly join Level 2 without previously having completed Level 1.

You can expect the following with ICF Accredited Study

  • Industry Best Practice

    The curriculum, learning processes, faculty qualifications, and credibility have undergone rigorous external scrutiny and quality testing.

  • Expert Faculty

    The faculty are industry experts who bring real world coaching experience to the learning, and are themselves credentialed and certified.

  • A blend of Theory & Practice

    The programs include the foundations, frameworks and theories of coaching, and opportunities to put theory into practice with mentoring and coach observation. At ICA this also includes coaching labs and peer coaching.

  • Transition into Industry

    Your learning and development will continue post graduation with alumni support and ongoing networking opportunities. With ICA, this is a lifetime association and membership.

  • Credential Pathways

    Completion of a Level 1 or 2 program will pathway directly to the ICF credential of ACC or PCC.


Whilst Coach Certification is now regarded as a 'must have' for coaches, credentials are optional (but highly regarded).  A credential such as ACC (Associate Certified Coach), PCC (Professional Certified Coach) or MCC (Master Certified Coach) will communicate to future employers and clients that you have met the ICF's professional standards and have the necessary coaching competencies to effectively work as a Coach.  It is a 2nd layer reassurance, reflecting a commitment to ongoing professional skill development and the latest coaching practices and research.

Credentialing and Certification Support

The certification and credentialing options, the difference between then, and the pathways can be confusing for those new to coaching. ICA Program advisors have been working in the industry for well over 10 years, with a deep understanding of the different program and credential pathways. List your questions below to get them answered.  Or, if you would prefer to speak to a real person - book a 20 min appointment. Save yourself hours of research!

Rossella Pin, MCC
Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland

Viya Chen, PCC


Susan McCauley, CPC
USA, Canada, Latin America

Julia Griffin, ACC
UK, Australia, Europe (& Other)

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Or, if you would prefer to speak to us in person, you can book an appointment with a Program Advisor.



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