If you are serious about developing your coaching business, an ICF Credential is the best way to set yourself apart by demonstrating your knowledge, skill and commitment to high ethical and professional standards. However, because coaching is not regulated by any country or state, you are not required to get training or credentials.Holding a credential – especially an ICF Credential – is extremely important to today’s coaching clients. The 2022 Global Consumer Awareness Study found that 85% of coaching clients say it’s important or very important that their coach holds a certification or credential. Earning an ICF Credential provides you with instant credibility and increased visibility to prospective clients.
Why is it important to have an ICF Credential?
Holding a credential – especially an ICF Credential – is extremely important to today’s coaching clients. According to the 2022 Global Consumer Awareness Study, 85% of coaching clients say it’s important or very important that their coach holds a certification or credential.Earning an ICF Credential provides you with instant credibility and increased visibility to prospective clients in a growing industry. It also helps you build your professional network. You’ll join a global network of more than 70,000 professional coaches, all with the same passion to change lives and make a difference.
Does ICF offer different levels of credentials?
Yes – ICF offers three credentials, correlating with your experience and coaching education.Associate Certified Coach (ACC) – Completed 60 hours of coach specific education and 100 hours of client coaching experienceProfessional Certified Coach (PCC) – Completed 125 hours of coach specific education and 500 hours of client coaching experienceMaster Certified Coach (MCC) – Hold or have held a PCC Credential, completed 200 hours of coach specific education and 2,500 hours of client coaching experience
What is an ICF Credential?
An ICF Credential is a professional certification indicating that you have completed a rigorous credentialing process designed to develop and refine your coaching skills. It is an indication that you are dedicated to upholding strong principles of ethical behavior in coaching. An ICF Credential shows your clients and peers that you are committed to the coaching industry and to developing yourself as a coaching professional.
Applying for a Credential
Are ICF Credential-holders required to be ICF Members?
The ICF Credential stands independent from ICF Membership. This is an important provision of compliance with globally accepted standards for bodies operating individual certification programs. The value of an ICF Credential as an industry-wide marker of an individual’s commitment to ongoing professional development and outstanding professional practice is distinct from the benefits of ICF Membership (e.g., networking and leadership-development opportunities, discounted event attendance, access to archived virtual learning).
Do I have to get an ICF Credential?
If you are serious about developing your coaching business, an ICF Credential is the best way to set yourself apart by demonstrating your knowledge, skill and commitment to high ethical and professional standards. However, because coaching is not regulated by any country or state, you are not required to get training or credentials.
Can I list my ICF Credential as “Pending” once I’ve submitted the application?
No. You may only reference an ICF Credential in your marketing information, website or other materials after it has been officially granted by ICF.Because submission of an application does not guarantee that you will be granted an ICF Credential, referencing an ICF Credential prior to official receipt is misleading and potentially unethical. Making a false claim is a breach of the ICF Code of Ethics.
Do I have to earn a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential before I can apply for the Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential?
Yes. To apply for the MCC, you must hold or have held a PCC credential.
Do I have to earn an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential before I can apply for the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Credential?
No – you may apply directly to the PCC when you meet all requirements. You do not need the ACC first.
How long does my ICF Credential remain active?
All credentials are valid for 3 years. To renew your credential, you will need an additional 40 CCEs obtained after your credential was awarded or after the last renewal of the credential was granted. Visit the Credential Renewal page to learn more.
When can I apply for my credential through the International Coaching Federation (ICF)?
You may apply for a credential whenever you have met all eligibility requirements and are ready to make your application. NOTE: Coach Education, Client Coaching Experience and Mentor Coaching hours do not expire.
I can’t log in to the ICF website. What do I do?
Please contact the ICF Support for assistance with issues logging into the website.
I chose to pay for my application in installments, but now I want to pay for it in full. How can I do that?
If you would like to complete the payment of your application fee:
Scroll down to "My Invoices" section, click on "View All Invoices"
Click into the invoice with the balance due for the application
In the upper right side, click on "Add to Cart"
Follow the prompts to submit payment
I submitted the wrong application. How do I change my application type?
Once your application has been submitted, it is put into the queue to be reviewed. Once the ICF Staff reaches your application, and if indeed it is the incorrect application, they will reach out to with specific directions on which application should be completed and the process for a refund and submission of the correct application.
I created the wrong application but did not submit. How do I change my application type?
To create a new application, you will need to go through the Credential Path Survey again and answer the questions appropriately. If the survey still takes you to the same application, then please reach out to ICF Support and provide your training certificate(s) so they can review and assist you in getting to the correct application. When your submitted application is reviewed, the incorrectly created application will be removed by ICF Staff.
I’m getting an error when uploading my files. Why won’t my documents upload?
There are typically two reasons why you may be having an issue uploading your documents.
If you have had your application open for an extended period of time, for security reasons, the page may time out and will not allow actions (like uploading) to be taken. Please leave your application by clicking on your name in the upper right-hand corner. Then access your application again and try the upload.
Another reason for an upload issue is the file name and size. The document size must be under 95 MB. The file name should not contain any special characters (e.g., ? / | \ ! @ # = $ % +).
If none of the above resolves the issue, please reach out to ICF Support for assistance.
Why am I not seeing the Member price for my Credential application?
To submit your application, you must be signed into the website. If you are a current member, you will be given the member price automatically. You will not need to enter in any code. If you are questioning the price you see, please note your application type and then visit the information page for the credential level you are apply (ACC, PCC, MCC). Locate your application path and verify the member/non-member fee.
The Credential Path Survey will not create my application. What do I do?
If you have completed the survey and are not presented with a page to create your application, please reach out ICF Support for assistance. In your email, please include the credential level (ACC, PCC, MCC) you are interested in applying along with your education certificate(s) so we can create the right application for you.
Applying for MCC
Will I have to take the Exam again, even though I’ve previously passed the Exam?
Yes. The ICF Credentialing Exam must be taken with each new application for a Credential, even if the exam has already been passed. The ICF Credentialing Exam is part of the credential process. In alignment with the highest standards for credentialing bodies, each credential is a stand-alone achievement, and the applicant must complete all requirements for the Credential for which they applied.
Can I use the Mentor Coaching I received for my PCC Credential?
No. Mentor Coaching hours submitted with an MCC Credential application cannot be the same Mentor Coaching hours applied toward a previous application for the ACC or PCC Credential.
Can my education / experience hours from my ACC and/or PCC Credential application be used for my MCC application?
All coach education and experience hours (as of the start of your coach education) can be used towards the MCC requirements, even if used previously for an ACC and/or PCC credential or any renewal of a credential.
Can I apply directly to become an MCC Credential-holder?
No. To apply for the MCC credential, you must currently hold or have previously held the PCC credential.
The Credentialing Process
Do I need to pay for the application first in order for it to be reviewed?
Yes, the application must be paid in full before the review process will start. If you opt to pay for the application in installments (2 or 4), your application review will not begin until the final payment has been received.
How can I monitor the status of my application’s review?
You may monitor your application’s review by signing into yourICF Profile.Then, access your credential application by clicking on “Continue Application.” This will bring you to the applications dashboard and you can view the status of each section of the application.
What is the estimated review time for my application?
The review time of an application is based on the credential level and application path you submitted. Estimated Review Time:
How do I create the application to apply for an ICF Credential?
To apply for your credential, you will take a short survey to help you access the correct credential level and application type for which you are eligible. Access the Survey.
Do I need to upload my coaching log into the ICF Credential application?
Due to data privacy laws, you will not upload your client coaching log to ICF. You will enter your total number of coaching hours you have acquired into the application and attest that you have obtained them in accordance with the requirementsIf you are selected for an audited, you (not ICF) will reach out to your clients asking them to verify to ICF your coaching hours with them.
I completed my coaching education with a provider that is not accredited by ICF. Can I still apply for an ICF Credential with non-accredited education hours?
Yes, you may use non-ICF accredited programs towards your credential education hours. You will apply through the Portfolio Application Path. NOTE: You will need to submit robust documentation to show what you were taught in the program and that it fulfils ICF Education requirements. Visit the Education Requirements page to learn more about what is accepted as Coach Specific Education and the documentation required.
What is the difference between the application paths? Is one path better than another?
All paths are created to have the same five (5) criteria for a credential application. The path you take depends on the type of coaching education you received. All paths lead to the same credential. No one path is better than another. All application paths require:
Once you have met all the requirements to apply for a credential, you will need to click on "Credentials & Standards" in the menu bar and then on the "apply now" button on the resulting gray navigation bar and take a short survey to get you to the right level and application type. Take the Survey.
Upgrading ACC to PCC
Will I have to take the Exam again if I upgrade to the PCC Credential?
Yes, you will. The ICF Credentialing Exam must be taken with each new application for a Credential, even if the exam has already been passed. The ICF Credentialing Exam is part of the credential process. In alignment with the highest standards for credentialing bodies, each credential is a stand-alone achievement and the applicant must complete all requirements for the Credential for which they applied.
Do I need more coaching education or CCEs to apply for the PCC Credential?
For the PCC, you need a total of 125 hours of Coach-specific education. If the education you used for your ACC was for 125 hours, then no, you do not need to have any additional coach education.If your ACC original education was for less than 125, then yes, you will need have additional coach education to add to your ACC education hours until you reach the 125 hours needed.
For my PCC application, can I use the Mentor Coaching that I received for my ACC Credential?
If your ACC mentoring was done with a PCC or a MCC credentialed coach, you do NOT need additional mentor coaching for your PCC application. If it was done by an ACC credentialed coach, you will need an additional 10 hours of mentor coaching done over 3-month period of time or longer.
Can my education/ experience hours from my ACC Credential application be used in my PCC Credential application?
Yes – to move from the ACC to the PCC, you may build up from the hours you had for your ACC until you reach the PCC required amounts. The same hours can be used for both your ACC and PCC applications.
If I hold an ACC credential, how do I apply for the PCC credential?
There is no special process or application to move from the ACC to the PCC. You will use the PCC application for the path through which you will be applying.Each credential application is reviewed independently and due to data privacy laws, we do not store previously entered materials. To apply for your PCC, you will need to upload/enter in all documents/information you wish to use towards your PCC, including those previously for your ACC.
Applying for ICF Accreditation
Certificates | Pins | Logo
How do I access the digital version of my credential certificate?
A link to download your certificate was included in the email you received awarding your credential. In addition, ICF Members may download a copy of their certificate from their ICF Profile, under the “My Account Links” section – click on “My Credential Certificate”. Non-Members may contact ICF Support to request their certificate.
Will I get a physical copy of my credential certificate?
No. However, in the email you receive awarding you your credential, there will be a link to download your certificate and then you may print it out.
Where can I get my credential logo?
A link to download your credential logo was included in the email you received awarding your credential. If the email is no longer available to you, please contact ICF Support to request the logo.
Can I order a replacement lapel pin?
Yes. For those who have already received their pin but have either lost it and would like to replace it or would like to have a pin featuring the ICF’s new branding (released in 2021), pins are now available for purchase - $10 USD (including shipping). Order yours today!
When will I receive my credential lapel pin?
Credential pins are mailed the following month the credential was awarded. Please allow 6 – 10 weeks from when your credential was awarded for the pin to arrive. If after 10 weeks the pin has not arrived, please check the mailing address in your ICF profile. If all is correct, please reach out to ICF Support to check on the status on the status of your pin. NOTE: ICF is not able to track the pin once it has been shipped.
CKA General Information
How did ICF determine that three hours is sufficient to complete the test?
Research based on “best practices” regarding multiple-choice tests was consulted to establish a fair and reasonable amount of time for completing a test of this type and number of questions.
I finished the CKA. Can I access the answers to advance my growth as a coach?
A score is provided for each of the five test domains along with an overall score. Receiving a low score in a particular section will indicate that the coach could explore additional mentoring or training in the competencies within that section. Feedback on incorrect individual test items is not provided at this time.
What happens if an applicant doesn’t pass the CKA?
An applicant can elect to retake the test for a fee of $75 USD.
What score is required in order to pass?
Currently, the passing grade is 70 percent (70%), but may change over time as ICF publishes new versions of the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
The current version of the test has approximately 155 questions. This number will vary slightly over time as new questions are added and older questions are removed. Also, different language versions of the test may have slightly more or less questions.
What is the question format of the CKA?
The questions are in multiple-choice format, with each question having four responses from which to select. Only one of the four answers will be correct.
My 60-day period to take the CKA has expired. How can I receive access again?
If it has been more than 60 days from when your received notice that you are eligible to take the CKA, you may reach out to Credentialing support for assistance in resetting your CKA Exam link.
Where do I find the link to take the CKA?
Access your ICF profile and towards the bottom of your profile page, in the “My Applications” section, your application will be listed. There you will find next to "Continue Application" - is a link for "Exam Information." Please click on that link to access your CKA when you are ready to take the exam.
When will I be given access to the CKA?
You will receive an email invitation to complete the CKA once your application review is complete. The email will contain directions on completing the CKA. The estimated time for review varies by credential application level and type. Please check the credential information page for the level applied to find the estimated time of review for the application path you followed (ACC, PCC, MCC).
CKA How to Prepare
Is feedback provided regarding the questions missed?
A score is provided for each of the five test domains along with an overall score. Receiving a low score in a particular section will indicate that the coach could explore additional mentoring or education in the competencies within that section. Feedback on incorrect individual test items is not provided at this time.
How should I prepare to take the Coach Knowledge Exam?
Read through the ICF Core Competencies and the ICF Code of Ethics. Review the sample questions provided. Reviewing your coach specific education, in particular the sections that cover the Core Competencies and Ethics is the best way to prepare for the Coach Knowledge Assessment.
What do the exam questions cover?
The exam content covers five broad domains: setting the foundation, co-creating the relationship, communicating effectively, facilitating learning and results, and coaching foundations and knowledge base. All questions are based on the ICF Core Competencies, ICF Code of Ethics and ICF’s Definition of Coaching. Questions are of varying levels of difficulty with some intended to assess awareness of a concept or skill while others may present a scenario that requires deeper understanding.
CKA Taking the Exam
How will I be notified of my results?
Once an applicant completes the Coach Knowledge Assessment, results are provided immediately to the applicant via email from the testing site. Approximately 48 hours after completion of the CKA, applicants will receive official notification from the ICF Credentialing department regarding the approval status of the credential application.
If I encounter a problem during the Coach Knowledge Assessment whom should I contact?
ICF will not provide assistance regarding the content of the test, including answers to or clarification around test questions. For technical problems with the test platform, applicants should contact ICF by email. ICF business hours are 8:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. (New York). The ICF office is closed on weekends and U.S. holidays throughout the year. If you experience any problems with the test, please contact the ICF Support Team by visiting the support page.
Can I start the Coach Knowledge Assessment and save to complete at a later time?
No. Once an applicant starts the test, the test must be completed within the three-hour time limit.
s the CKA an open book exam?
No. The exam in to be closed book exam. Notes and other study materials should not be used to answer the questions.
How long do I have to take the exam once I start it?
Once logged in to the online test portal, after an applicant selects their preferred language for the test, they will be given three (3) hours to complete the test. Most applicants complete the test in just over two (2) hours.
Once I receive the link, how long do I have to take the exam?
You are given 60 days to take the CKA. Once you have accessed the exam you have three (3) hours to complete the exam.
Credential Digital Badges
About Credential Digital Badges
Why does Credly need access to my LinkedIn account?
To share or add a badge to your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn requires an authorization process, that is required and standard for all third-party programs creating a connection between the two accounts. When you connect your Credly and LinkedIn accounts, you will receive a message outlining the permissions you are granting in the process. LinkedIn predetermines this message based on the authorization scope required to share your badge. Credly will not post to LinkedIn without your initiation or permission. Credly will only add badges to your profile or post them to your newsfeed upon request. You can disconnect Credly’s access to your social media account after you have successfully shared your badge to your profile or newsfeed. You can also manage Credly’s connection through your privacy settings within your social media account.
What is an open badge?
Open badges are web-enabled versions of a credential, certification or learning outcome which can be verified in real-time, online. What’s to keep someone else from copying my badge and using it? While badges are simply digital image files, they are uniquely linked to data hosted on Credly’s Acclaim Platform. This link to verified data makes them more reliable and secure than a paper-based certificate. It also eliminates the possibility of anyone claiming your credential and your associated identity.
What if I don’t want my badge to be public?
You can easily configure your privacy settings in the Credly Platform. You’re in complete control of the information about yourself that is made public.
What are the benefits of a badge?
Representing your skills as a badge gives you a way to share your abilities online in a way that is simple, trusted and can be easily verified in real time. Badges provide clients, employers and peers concrete evidence of what you had to do to earn your credential and what you’re now capable of.
How does my certification get displayed as a badge?
We have partnered with Credly to translate the learning outcomes you’ve demonstrated into a badge, issued and managed through the company’s Acclaim Platform. The technology Credly uses on its Acclaim Platform is based on the Open Badge Standards maintained by IMS Global. This enables you to manage, share and verify your competencies digitally.
Who is Credly?
Credly is the end-to-end solution for issuing and managing digital credentials. Credly works with credible organizations to provide digital credentials to individuals, worldwide.
What is digital badging, and why is it important?
Digital badging helps ensure that all credentialing and your hard work as a coach is validated. ICF digital badges validate your Associate Certified Coach, Professional Certified Coach and Master Certified Coach credential. According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study, coaches say the No. 1 obstacle for the coaching profession is untrained individuals who call themselves coaches. Digital badging gives ICF Credential-holders a way to share their knowledge, skills and abilities online in a way that is simple and trusted and can be easily verified in real time.
How to Use Digital Badges
Where and how can I share my badge through the Credly Platform?
You can share your badge directly from the Credly Platform to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook; over email; embedded in a website or in your email signature. Visit the Digital Badge Social Media page to learn more.
Is there a fee to use Credly?
No. This is a service we provide to ICF Credential-holders at no additional cost.
I have a question about the Credly Platform. Where can I find support?
You can find answers to frequently asked questions in theCredly Supportpages.
Can I export badges issued through Credly Platform to other badge-storing platforms?