ICF credentialing

An Explanation of the ICF Credentialing Process

The ICF credentialing process can be a bit complicated to understand, so we are going to break it down for you. If at any point your brain just can’t take it anymore, give us a call and we’ll explain it as simply as possible 🙂

Here we go… There are two main considerations in regards to your coach training and ICF credential – the ICF Credential Level and the ICF Application Path. We will explain each below:

The 3 ICF Credential Levels

  1. ACC (Associate Certified Coach)
  2. PCC (Professional Certified Coach)
  3. MCC (Master Certified Coach)

A person can obtain these credentials by meeting the requirements for each credential level. Here are the requirements:

Training Hours60125200
Mentor Hours101010
Coach Practice Hours1005002500

Most people start working towards their ACC credential first, however, you can skip the ACC if you meet the requirements for the PCC. We’ll cover that later.

The ICF Application Paths

Once you have met these requirements, you would then choose a path to apply for your credential on the ICF website. The application path choices are Level 1, Level 2, or Portfolio.

The path you choose to apply through is determined by the ICF coaching certification training program’s designation:

  • If the training program is a Level 2 training, it will offer 125 ICF training hours which will include the 10 mentor hours. 
  • If the training program is a Level 1 training, it will offer 60 ICF training hours and 10 mentor hours.
  • If the training program provides only CCE’s (Continuing Coach Education), you would choose the Portfolio path since it will take a variety of trainings to equal the full number of required training hours for your desired credential, such as 30 from one center and 30 from another center.

The application path you choose will determine what additional steps you need to take with your ICF application. Beyond the training hours, mentor hours, and coach practice hours, when you apply for your credential you will also need to jump through a few more hoops.

This table shows the additional steps you’ll take when you apply for your credential on the ICF website. For these purposes, I will only show the requirements for the ACC.

ICF Application Tasks for the ACC:Level 2Level 1Portfolio Path
Upload Certificate(s) with training hoursYesYesYes
Substantiate Training meets ICF standardsNoNoYes
Verify Mentor HoursNoNoYes
Attest to Coach Practice HoursYesYesYes
Submit Coaching Demo
Recording & Transcript
Take Online ICF TestYesYesYes
Evaluation Time to Receive Credential4 Weeks4 Weeks18 Weeks
Application Price$175/$325$175/$325$475/$625

Note: If you are enrolled in a Level 2 training, it provides at least 125 coach training hours plus mentoring. This allows you to either apply for the ACC credential once you have completed at least 100 coaching practice hours or skip the ACC credential and apply directly for the PCC credential once you have 500 coach practice hours completed.

Which Training Track is Right for You?

We provide Life Coach Certification Tracks to easily earn your ACC and PCC credential, either through the Level 2 path (green and blue) or the Level 1 path (purple) below. You can also earn up to five professional coaching certifications along the way. You can read more about that here.

ICF Credentialing Tracks

Our most popular training is our Master Coach Track (Level2) because it provides everything, including the practice hours, to obtain your ACC and PCC credentials. It also includes 4 certifications- NLP Practitioner, NLP Master, Certified Life Coach, and Certified Master Coach. This is the most efficient program if your goal is to earn your ACC and/or PCC credential. Plus, it also includes unlimited Mentoring Clinics and Coaching Supervision.

Life Coach Certification Track: Choose this track to earn your ACC credential from ICF. (Apply for your credential using the Level 1 Path).

Master Coach Certification Track: Choose this track to earn your ACC & PCC credentials in one complete training. (Apply for your credential using the Level 2 Path – simplest and quickest!)

Mental Health Coach Certification Track: This provides everything in the Master Coach Certification Track plus our Mental Health Coach Training.


No worries! Most people are super confused when it comes to the ICF credentialing process. In fact, we have a weekly live session just to assist our students with the process and make sure they are on the right track.

Schedule a call or Chat us using the chat icon below and we can answer all your questions!

Hope Bundrant
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