Updated Credential Application Paths - International Coaching Federation
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Updated Credential Application Paths

In November 2021, ICF Coaching Education announced an updated accreditation structure for coaching education and training programs designed to “set the highest standards for coach-specific education in the world.” This updated accreditation structure will replace both the Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) and Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) designations with a level-based system, which aligns with the ICF Credential levels. These updated accreditation designations, described below, include the following: 

  • Level 1 (formerly ACSTH) is for organizations that offer at least 60 contact learning hours and 10 hours of Mentor Coaching by an eligible Mentor Coach; and administers a performance evaluation at or above the ACC level.  Level 1 education is designated as a path to the ACC Credential.  
  • Level 2 (formerly ACTP) is for organizations that offer at least 125 contact learning hours and 10 hours of Mentor Coaching by an eligible Mentor Coach; and performance evaluation to the PCC level. Level 2 education is designated as a path to the PCC Credential. 
  • Level 3, a new offering, is for organizations that offer at least 75 advanced contact learning hours and 10 hours of Mentor Coaching by an eligible Mentor Coach to the MCC level. Level 3 education is designated as a pathway to the MCC Credential.  

ICF Credentials and Standards is pleased to announce updated Credential application paths that reflect the new level-based accreditation structure implemented by ICF Coaching Education. These updated paths provide a clearer, easier-to-navigate application experience for Credential candidates.

Key Dates for Implementation

The updated Credential Application Paths will be available August 2, 2022.

July 27, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (New York) – Final deadline to submit ICF Credential applications under the current application paths and assessments (Coach Knowledge Assessment and Performance Evaluation Standards for ACC, PCC and MCC).

August 2, 2022, at 12 Noon EDT (New York) – ICF Credentials and Standards will resume accepting applications for the ACC, PCC and MCC Credential using the updated application paths. Candidates who submit a Credential application on or after this date 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. 

January 31, 2023 – CKA and current Performance Evaluation criteria will be fully retired. Any candidate who still needs to pass a Performance Evaluation after this date will be assessed to the updated Performance Evaluation criteria. Any candidate who still needs to pass the exam will take the new ICF Credentialing Exam, regardless of their application submission date.

Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential Paths

The ACC Credential Paths will be updated to reflect the level-based accreditation structure implemented by ICF Coaching Education. There remain three pathways to earn this credential, based on the type of accredited or non-accredited education you have received:  

  • Level 1 / Level 2 / ACTP Path 
  • ACSTH Path 
  • Portfolio Path 

ACC Credential Path Requirements

  • Level 1 / Level 2 / ACTP Path

    The ACC-ACTP application path will become the ACC-Level 1/Level 2/ ACTP path. This updated path will support candidates pursuing the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential who have completed an entire ICF-accredited Level 1, Level 2, or an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) course. Requirements for this pathway include: 

    • Completion of an entire accredited Level 1, Level 2, or Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP).
    • A minimum of 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight (8) clients following the start of coach-specific education. At least 25 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the ACC application.
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee

    • ICF Members: $175 USD 
    • Non-Members: $325 USD
  • ACSTH Path

    ICF Credentials and Standards will continue to offer the ACC – ACSTH application path with no changes in existing requirements. The ACC – ACSTH pathway supports those who have completed at least 60 hours of coach-specific education through ACSTH program(s) or part of an ACTP program. Requirements for this path include:

    • At least 60 hours of coach-specific education or training through an ACTP or ACSTH program(s).
    • At least 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months. The Mentor Coach must hold an ACC Credential and have completed a full cycle of the Credential (through renewal) or hold a PCC or MCC in good standing. A minimum of three (3) of the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching must be delivered one-to-one with the Mentor Coach. The remaining hours may be completed one-to-one or in groups of 10 or less. 
    • A minimum of 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight (8) clients following the start of coach-specific education. At least 25 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the ACC application.
    • Performance Evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of a coaching session to be uploaded with the ACC application).
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee 

    • ICF Members: $375 USD 
    • Non-members: $525 USD
  • Portfolio Path

    ICF Credentials and Standards will continue to offer the ACC – Portfolio application path with no changes in existing requirements for those who use CCEs or non-ICF Accredited programs to fulfill the coach-specific education requirement. Requirements for this path include: 

    • At least 60 hours of coach-specific education or training with robust documentation, demonstrating a comprehensive coach education aligned with the ICF Definition of Coaching, ICF Code of Ethics, and ICF Core Competencies. Education hours may include ICF-accredited, Continuing Coach Education (CCE), and/or non-ICF Accredited courses.
    • At least 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three (3) months . The Mentor Coach must hold an ACC Credential and have completed a full cycle of the credential (through renewal), or hold a PCC or MCC in good standing. A minimum of three (3) of the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching must be delivered one-to-one with the Mentor Coach. The remaining hours may be completed one-to-one or in groups of 10 or less.
    • A minimum of 100 hours (75 paid) of coaching experience with at least eight (8) clients following the start of coach-specific education. At least 25 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the ACC application.
    • Performance Evaluation (audio recording and written transcript of a coaching session to be uploaded with the ACC application).
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee

    • ICF Members: $475 USD 
    • Non-members: $625 USD

Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential Paths

The PCC Credential Paths will be updated to reflect the level-based accreditation structure implemented by ICF Coaching Education. There remain three paths to earn this credential, based on the type of accredited or non-accredited education you have received:  

  • Level 2 / ACTP Path 
  • ACSTH Path 
  • Portfolio Path 

PCC Credential Path Requirements

  • Level 2 / ACTP Path

    The ACTP application path will become the Level 2 / ACTP Path. This updated path will support candidates pursuing the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential who have completed an entire ICF-accredited Level 2 program or Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP). Requirements for this path include: 

    • Completion of an entire ICF Level 2 or Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP).
    • A minimum of 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of coach-specific education. At least 50 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the PCC application.
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee

    • ICF Members: $375 USD 
    • Non-Members: $525 USD
  • Level 1 / ACSTH Path

    The ACSTH application path will become the Level 1 / ACSTH Path. This path will support candidates pursuing the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential who have completed at least 125 hours of coaching education through Level 1-accredited or ACSTH courses, and/or a portion of an ACTP program. Requirements for this path include: 

    • Completion of at least 125 hours of coach-specific education through a Level 1-accredited, ACSTH and/or partial ACTP program(s).
    • A minimum of 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of coach-specific education. At least 50 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the PCC application.
    • At least 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three (3) months with a credentialed coach at the PCC or MCC level. A minimum of three (3) of the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching must be delivered one-to-one with the Mentor Coach. The remaining hours may be completed one-to-one or in groups of 10 or less.
    • Performance Evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with the PCC application).
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee

    • ICF Members: $650 USD 
    • Non-Members: $800 USD 
  • Portfolio Path

    ICF Credentials and Standards will continue to offer the Portfolio application path with no changes in existing requirements for those who use CCEs or non-ICF Accredited programs to meet the coach-specific education requirement. Requirements for this path include:

    • Completion of at least 125 hours of coach-specific education with robust documentation, demonstrating a comprehensive coach education aligned with the ICF Definition of Coaching, Code of Ethics, and Core Competencies. Education hours may include ICF-accredited, Continuing Coach Education (CCE), and/or non-ICF Accredited courses.
    • A minimum of 500 hours (450 paid) of coaching experience with at least 25 clients following the start of coach-specific education. At least 50 of these hours (paid or unpaid) must occur within the 18 months prior to submitting the PCC application.
    • At least 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three (3) months with a PCC or MCC Credentialed coach. A minimum of three (3) of the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching must be delivered one-to-one with the Mentor Coach.  The remaining hours may be completed one-to-one or in groups of 10 or less.
    • Performance Evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with the PCC application).
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee 

    • ICF Members: $750 USD 
    • Non-Members: $900 USD

Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential Paths

Level 3 accreditation for a coaching education organization is a new offering to align with the MCC Credential. There are now two paths available to apply for the MCC credential, based on the type of accredited or non-accredited education received:  

  • Level 3 Path 
  • Portfolio Path 

MCC Credential Path Requirements

  • Level 3 Path

    The Level 3 application path is a new path for Master Certified Coach (MCC) candidates. The Level 3 application path will provide a designated path for candidates who have completed an ICF-accredited Level 3 program following the award of the PCC Credential. Requirements for this path include:  

    • Pre-requisite PCC Credential.
    • Completion of an entire ICF-accredited Level 3 program or training following the award of the candidate’s PCC Credential.
    • A minimum of 2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients, following the start of coach-specific education or training.
    • Performance Evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with the MCC application).
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam.  

    Application Fee 

    • ICF Members: $675 USD 
    • Non-Members: $825 USD
  • Portfolio Path

    ICF Credentials and Standards will continue to offer the Portfolio application path with no changes in existing requirements. This path is designed to support candidates who have completed at least 200 hours of coach-specific education (including CCE or non-ICF accredited courses with robust documentation). Requirements for this path include:

    • Pre-requisite PCC Credential 
    • Completion of at least 200 hours of coach-specific education with robust documentation, demonstrating a comprehensive coach education aligned with the ICF Definition of Coaching, ICF Code of Ethics, and ICF Core Competencies. Education hours may include ICF-Accredited, Continuing Coach Education (CCE), and/or non-ICF Accredited courses.
    • A minimum of 2,500 hours (2,250 paid) of coaching experience with at least 35 clients following the start of coach-specific education.
    • At least 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three (3) months with a coach who holds an MCC Credential. A minimum of three (3) of the 10 hours of Mentor Coaching must be delivered one-to-one with the Mentor Coach.  The remaining hours may be completed one-to-one or in groups of 10 or less. 
    • Performance Evaluation (two audio recordings and written transcripts of coaching sessions to be uploaded with the MCC application).
    • Successful completion of the new ICF Credentialing Exam. 

    Application Fee 

    • ICF Members: $675 USD 
    • Non-Members: $825 USD 

FAQs — Updated Credential Application Paths


Updates to the ICF Coaching Education accreditation structure indicate that Continuing Coach Education (CCE) programs should not be designed for initial coach-specific education. Does this mean that Credential candidates will no longer be able to use CCE units to meet the education requirements through the Portfolio Application Path?  

Answer: No. ICF Credentials and Standards will continue to support candidates who use Continuing Coach Education (CCE) or non-ICF accredited programs to meet the educational requirements for an ICF Credential through the Portfolio Application Pathway for ACC, PCC and MCC Credentials. 

ICF Coaching Education, however, will require that if an accreditation applicant is delivering educational content that is considered foundational or initial coach-specific education, the applicant will not be eligible for the CCE Accreditation Process and will need to apply for a Level 1 or Level 2 Accreditation. 

I completed an ICF-Accredited education or training program years ago for my initial ICF Credential. If I pursue a higher-level Credential in the future, will my previous ACTP or ACSTH education/training still be recognized?  

Answer: Yes, any previous ICF-accredited coach-specific education or training that you have completed will continue to be recognized and count toward the coaching education requirements for an ICF Credential. Your past training and/or education does not expire. 

I am preparing to apply for the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential and have already completed 125 hours of coach-specific education. Do I now need to take a Level 2-accredited program?  

Answer: No. The coach-specific educational requirements for the PCC Credential require completion of at least 125 hours of coaching education. While Level 2 accreditations are designed to prepare students to coach at the PCC level, candidates can meet the educational requirements for the PCC Credential by completing a range of coach-specific educational programs, including ICF-accredited and non-accredited programs. As long as a candidate has completed at least 125 hours of coach-specific education that is aligned with the ICF Definition of Coaching, ICF Core Competencies and ICF Code of Ethics, they meet the educational requirements and are eligible to apply for the PCC Credential.  

When I am ready to apply for the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential, will I be required to receive education or training from a Level 3-accredited organization or program?  

Answer: No. As part of its recent Evolution of Accreditation changes, ICF Coaching Education established a Level 3 accreditation for educational programs designed specifically to prepare candidates for the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential. Level 3 accreditations support candidates who wish to pursue the MCC Credential with learning opportunities for the development of skills at the highest level. However, candidates for the MCC Credential are not required to complete an ICF-accredited Level 3 program to qualify for the MCC Credential.

The coach-specific educational requirement for the MCC Credential is the completion of at least 200 hours of coaching education. While the Level 3 accreditation is designed to prepare students to coach at the MCC level, candidates can meet the educational requirements for the MCC Credential by completing a range of coach-specific educational programs, including ICF- accredited and non-accredited programs.

For my ACC Credential, I completed an Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) program that was less than 125 hours. Can I complete a Level 1 program to meet the 125 hours of coaching education required for the PCC Credential?  

Answer: Candidates for the PCC Credential must have completed at least 125 hours of coaching education. If the total combined hours of the initial ACSTH program plus the Level 1 program are equal to or greater than 125 hours of coaching education, a candidate would meet the educational requirements for the PCC Credential.  

If the total combined hours of the initial ACSTH program plus the Level 1 program are less than 125 hours of coaching education, the candidate would need additional coaching education hours to be eligible for PCC.  

Candidates who complete a combination of ACSTH and Level 1 courses to meet the coaching education requirements for PCC would apply via the PCC – Level 1 / ACSTH application path. 

It is important to note, however, that Level 1 accreditation is designed to prepare students to coach at the ACC level, while the Level 2 accreditation is designed to prepare students to coach at the PCC level. 

For my ACC Credential, I completed an ACSTH program that was less than 125 hours. Can I use CCEs to attain the 125 hours of coaching education required for a PCC Credential? 

Answer: Yes, CCEs can be used to attain the 125 hours of coach-specific education required for a PCC Credential through the Portfolio application path. Many Level 2-accredited providers also allow the opportunity for participants to “transfer-in” their previous ICF-accredited coaching education and complete the additional Level 2 education hours/requirements which are designated as PCC-accredited education. 

However, please be advised that CCEs tend to be more topic specific and may not meet Core Competency and synchronous learning requirements needed to earn a Credential.  Applicants using CCEs will need to ensure all education requirements are met. Please visit the Training Information page for full details. 

I completed an ACTP program and currently have my ACC Credential. Can I still apply for the PCC Credential through an ACTP application path? 

Answer: Yes, candidates will still be able to apply for the PCC Credential via a Level 2 / ACTP application path.  

Will the ACTP and ACSTH application paths be discontinued for ACC and PCC Credentials? 

Answer: No. There are no plans to discontinue the ACTP and ACSTH application paths for ACC and PCC Credentials in the near future. As coaching education does not expire, application paths supporting ACTP and ACSTH graduates will continue to be available. 

Will Credential levels be changing from ACC, PCC and MCC to Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3? 

Answer: No. While a candidate’s coaching education provides an important foundation for their coaching practice, an ICF Credential reflects more than just the education or training a candidate has completed. An ICF Credential also reflects that the earner has the experience, knowledge and skill needed to meet the rising challenges facing today’s coach practitioners. ICF Credentials and Standards will continue to offer Credentials at the Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC) levels. 

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