At the PCC level, ICF offers three credential application paths – ACTP, ACSTH, and Portfolio. The path used to apply is determined by the type of coach-specific education received. All three paths have the same five requirements (education, experience, mentor coaching, performance evaluation and exam) and result in the same PCC Credential. Explore each application requirement for the PCC Credential below.
*Beginning August 1, 2022, all Credential applicants will be required to successfully complete the new ICF Credentialing Exam. Additionally, candidates who are required to submit a performance evaluation will be assessed using the updated Performance Evaluation criteria. Learn more about the upcoming changes.
July 27, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (New York) is the final deadline to submit a Credential application under the current application paths and assessments (Coach Knowledge Assessment and Performance Evaluation Criteria for ACC, PCC and MCC).
NOTE: Due to an unusually high volume of applications in our queue, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times for processing PCC ACSTH and Portfolio Credential applications. Please allow an estimated 20-22 weeks for review.
At the PCC level, 125 hours of coach-specific education are required. This education may be earned through one or more ICF-accredited or non-accredited programs. Your Credential application path is determined by the type of education you received.
Accredited Coach Training Programs (ACTP) have built into their program the education hours, mentor coaching and performance evaluation required to earn an ICF Credential. If you have completed this type of education program, you will submit your ACTP certificate and coaching experience hours in your credential application. Once the application review process is complete, you will then take the CKA Exam.
For those who fully complete and graduate from an ACTP program, the ACTP application path should be used. View Sample ACTP Application.
ACTP Path Application Price:
Estimated Time for Review: 4 weeks
Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) programs (or taking a portion of an ACTP program) focus on providing coaching education. The other aspects – mentor coaching and a recorded coaching session for the performance evaluation – need to be verified separately and included in the credential application, along with the program certificate(s) and coaching experience hours. Once the application review process is complete, you will then take the CKA Exam.
For those who did not complete an ACTP-Accredited program in full, and/or for those who completed an ACSTH program(s), the ACSTH Path should be used. View Sample ACSTH Application.
ACSTH Path Application Price
Estimated Time for Review: 14 weeks
If non ICF-accredited programs or Continuing Coach Education (CCE) units will be used to meet the required 125 hours of coach-specific education, you must use the Portfolio Path to apply for a credential. For non ICF-accredited education, the program curriculum will need to be submitted with robust documentation to ensure the education received meets ICF standards. The other requirements – mentor coaching and recorded coaching sessions for the performance evaluation – will need to be verified separately and must be included in the application, along with the program certificate(s) and coaching experience hours. Once the application review process is complete, you will then take the CKA Exam.
For those who did not complete an ACTP or ACSTH program to reach the required education hours in full, the Portfolio Path must be used to apply for a credential. View Sample Portfolio Application.
Portfolio Path Application Price
Estimated Time for Review: 18 weeks
Candidates for the PCC Credential must have at least 500 hours of coaching experience following the start of their coach-specific education.* Coaches must complete an attestation of this experience as part of the application.
The experience hours must have been with at least 25 clients, and 50 of the hours must have occurred within the 18 months prior to submitting the credential application. Of the 500 or more coaching experience hours, at least 450 of the hours must be paid.
*For this purpose, ICF defines the start of coach-specific education as any course with at least 30 hours of which at least 24 hours are in ICF Core Competencies instruction. Eligible courses can be ICF-accredited or non ICF-accredited. Please note that all non-accredited programs and CCE-accredited courses are subject to review by ICF as part of the portfolio application path.
Visit the Coaching Experience page for more details on experience requirements, including all acceptable coaching experiences and how to document them. You will also find the ICF Coaching Log Template at the bottom of this page, which you may use if you wish.
Candidates on the PCC ACSTH and Portfolio application paths must document at least 10 hours of Mentor Coaching on their application. Candidates on the ACTP application path completed Mentor Coaching as part of their ACTP program.
The Mentor Coaching hours must occur over a three-month period or longer. Of the 10 hours of mentoring, three hours must be one-on-one. The remaining seven hours may be one-on-one or in a group.
For the PCC Credential, the Mentor Coach must be a current ICF Credential-holder in good standing at the PCC or MCC level.
Visit the Mentor Coaching page for more information about mentoring and, if needed, to find a mentor coach.
Candidates on the PCC ACSTH and Portfolio application paths are required to pass a performance evaluation. This evaluation consists of an ICF Assessor’s review of two recorded coaching sessions with a transcript submitted by the applicant. Candidates on the ACTP application path passed a performance evaluation as part of their completion of the program.
The coaching session must be with a regular client who has hired you as a coach and not in any other capacity and must last between 20-60 minutes.
Please visit the Performance Evaluation page for more information, including the requirements for the audio and transcript files and access to the PCC Markers.
All candidates for the PCC credential, regardless of application path, are required to pass a computer-based written exam administered by ICF Credentials and Standards, unless previously passed with ACC Credential.
The Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) is a tool that can be used to measure a coach’s understanding of the knowledge and skills important in the practice of coaching. The CKA tests coaches on their understanding of the body of knowledge that includes the ICF definition of coaching, ICF Core Competencies and ICF Code of Ethics.
Please visit the exam information page to learn more about the exam process, access links to the ICF Core Competencies and Ethics pages, view sample questions and review other resources and information.
NOTE: The Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA) will be replaced by the ICF Credentialing Exam in August 2022. Once the new ICF Credentialing Exam has been released, all applicants for the ACC, PCC and MCC Credential will be required to take and pass the new exam, even if an applicant has previously passed the CKA.
For a visual representation of application paths and the required documentation to be included in each, please visit the Application Path Comparison page.
ICF Credentials and Standards will only accept documentation that has been included with your online application. Do not send documentation by mail or email.
To create your application, please complete the ICF Credential Path Survey.