ACC Credential: A Great Start for Life Coaches

If you have a goal of becoming a professional life coach and have already decided that you want to start in the coaching industry, then you should consider obtaining the ACC credential. There are currently many ways you can go about starting your career as a life coach, though when it comes to finding the best way to begin your journey, there’s no denying that accreditation will open doors for you.

What is the ACC credential?

If you want to be a certified life coach, you need to obtain an ICF credential as it is the most recognized coaching organization in the world. There are 3 credentials you can obtain through ICF: Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC).

The ACC credential is the first credential you’ll receive, and it is a voluntary certification program for professional coaches who want to distinguish themselves from other coaches in their field. It demonstrates that you have met specific qualifications and that you are committed to ongoing learning and growth as a coach. It also indicates that you have met specific standards of professionalism, ethics, and quality of service delivery.

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Essentially, every applicant must fulfill the following requirements to receive their ACC credential.

  • Complete a minimum of 60 hours of coach-specific training
  • Complete 10 hours of mentor coaching
  • Clocked 100 coaching hours (75 hours must be paid-coaching, 25 hours can be pro-bono coaching) 
  • Performance evaluation (one audio recording and written transcript of a coaching session to be uploaded with your application)
  • Complete an online Coach Knowledge Assessment, administered by ICF

Why should coaches get the ACC credential?

The ACC credential is an excellent start for life coaches who want to build their business by offering coaching to clients or want to become a coach at their workplace. It opens doors in your community and shows potential clients that you have invested in your profession.

When you earn your associate certified coach credential, you’ll gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your visibility with a courtesy listing in the ICF Credentialed Coach Finder (CCF), available to current ICF Members and credential-holders.
  • Professional recognition for being a certified coach – you get both physical and digital certifications that display your credential and you can show to potential clients.

How to get your ACC credential

There are three paths to becoming an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the ICF:

  1. The ACTP Path (Accredited Coach Training Program)

The ACTP path is the easiest way to get your ACC with the ICF. It’s an all-inclusive certification program you can obtain through taking a life coaching course by a coach training organization. 

The best thing about the ACTP path is that your training provider takes care of the minimum coach-specific training hours and mentor coaching hours as well as helps you submit the audio recording and transcript to the ICF during your application.

  1. The ACSTH Path (Accredited Coach Training Program)

The ACSTH Path is designed for individuals who prefer some flexibility and an “a la carte coach training program”. This path offers only coach-specific training hours and mentor coaching hours (if your training provider does not provide mentor coaching as part of their ACSTH program, applicants have the option to find their own mentor). You’ll have the flexibility to complete the rest of the requirements on your own.

  1. The Portfolio Path 

This path is for coaches who’ve taken programs approved by the ICF under the Continuing Coach Education (CCE) program or from non-approved ICF coach training and want to use the coach-specific hours they’ve obtained from multiple courses to earn their ACC credential.


The ACC credential was designed to give a recognizable beginning-level credential to coaching professionals worldwide. If you would like to join those ranks, you shouldn’t hesitate. It’s an ideal way to get started and is quickly becoming a highly regarded credential within the coaching industry.

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