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The 20 Best Life Coaching Schools in 2024

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So you want to be a life coach but don’t know where to start? 

If you’re looking for the best life coaching schools to jumpstart your coaching business, you’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn what it takes to become a life coach, whether you need certification, and the best schools to help you become a life coach. 

Want to learn more? Read on! 

What is life coaching?

Let’s start at the beginning. What is a life coach?

A life coach is the broad term we give to coaches who help people transform their lives. 

That could be professionally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

But the thing is:

You shouldn’t call yourself a “life coach.” 

It sounds counterintuitive but the term “life coach” is so broad that your unique skills and talents get lost. 

Few people are looking for life coaches.

They’re more likely to search for a mindfulness coach or health coach or career coach. Becoming a specialist for your ideal client’s individual needs is a better way of building a coaching business.

That’s what I talk about in this video: 

So as a first step to becoming a life coach, think about your niche. What specialized experience or qualifications do you have that could help you excel in one specific area of coaching?

Speaking of which…

What qualifications do you need as a life coach?

Do you need ANY qualifications?

No, you don’t. You can become a life-changing coach and create transformative results without any courses or certifications. It is an unregulated industry so there’s no requirement to have a qualification

(Note, though, that some niches do require a certification. These are mainly health-related niches.)

However, you can’t become a life coach or specialist coach with no knowledge AT ALL. 

Your clients are looking to you as an expert in your field to guide them from one place in their lives to another. But the key is the results you can help them create. 

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6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

You need to have experience in what you’re teaching and a method to help your clients get from A to B. For example:

  • If you’re a parenting coach then you might have experience as a child therapist
  • If you’re a coach for entrepreneurs, you might have experience running a successful business and a blueprint to take others to the next level in their businesses

I started my first coaching business as a career coach.

Despite my relatively young age at the time, I had already secured a lot of promotions and a fairly high salary. So people would ask me for career-related advice–which made me realize I could monetize my skills even though I didn’t have a certification.

In the same way, my students tend to niche down and become mindset coaches, health coaches, and so on. Here’s my student Spencer talking about her journey as a mindset coach: 

Ultimately, a life coaching certification is not always worth it. You can end up wasting thousands of dollars when you already have the knowledge and confidence you need to become a successful coach. 

If you’re curious about how to become a coach as someone new to coaching, I explain more in this video: 

Going to life coaching school can also be a huge time suck. Often those certification programs can be 6-12 months long depending on your schedule.

Instead, you could spend that time…

  • Gaining your first paying clients
  • Building experience
  • Honing your skills while working

But it all depends on you and your goals. If you’re going into a specialist niche like health coaching, or you just want a certification to help you build your skills, then a certification might be what you’re looking for. 

And if you’re looking to start your business ASAP, then a course on how to build a coaching business could be a better fit. My own course, Employee to Entrepreneur, helps you do just that (I talk more about it below). 

Either way, I’ve gathered the top life coaching schools in this article to help you make the best choice for yourself.

But before we dive in, let’s take a look at how long it takes to start a life coaching business.

How many years does it take to become a life coach? 

It all depends on you! 

If you have a foundation of knowledge of the type of coaching you want to do, you could start straight away. Yes REALLY. 

Your first task is to find your first paying client and build a program for them. You’ll gain invaluable experience and real-life results that you can use to attract more clients. So while making a living as a life coach takes work and dedication, you can start your journey today.

Or, you can get a certification. 

The route you choose depends on you and your goals. 

But is it even worth it? How much do life coaches make?

Let’s find out. 

How much money can you make as a life coach?

There’s no limit to how much money you can make as a life coach. 

Depending on your goals, you can make five, six, or multiple six figures. Many coaches make seven figures or more–so there’s plenty of room to build your business, if that’s what you want to do. 

After all, coaches are in demand; coaching is a $2.85 billion global industry that is only growing. The average pay for coaches is $62,500/year in the US. For life coaches, most make between $100-$150/hour. 

And that’s just an average. Depending on how you build your business model and the number of income streams you have, you can charge more. 

Now you know what it takes to become a life coach. 

What if you still want to get certified? 

After all, that’s what this post is all about. 

Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right certification. 

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for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

How to choose the best life coaching certification

Let’s say you do want to get a certification to add to your credentials as a coach. How do you choose the best life coaching school for you? 

Here are the criteria I recommend: 

Reputation

How well-known is the university or institute? Do they have a solid track record of graduates with successful businesses? Or is it a fringe coaching school that no one has ever heard of?

If you can’t find any credible reviews or feedback about the course or college, back away. When in doubt, focus on credible universities. I’ve listed some great ones in the next section. 

Accreditation

Look for programs that are accredited by an organization like the International Coaching Federation (ICF). This is the organization that’s the closest to being a regulatory body in the coaching industry.

ICF’s credentials are:

  • ACC (Associate Certified Coach)
  • MCC (Professional Certified Coach)
  • PCC (Master Certified Coach)

Alternatively, you can be fairly sure that a certification program by a reputable university will help you acquire the skills you need.

Price

What is your budget for a life coaching certification? The average for a 6-month course is around $4,000-10,000. I know that’s a huge range but it depends on the course. There are some shorter courses for around $1,500. Look within your budget but still aim to find a reputable school. 

Length

Do you have 6-12 months of full-time schooling hours to give? Be honest about your other commitments and the learning style that would work best for you. There are some intensive courses out there but they require more concentrated study time.

On the other hand, some of the longer courses allow you to go at your own pace. Figure out how much time you have in your weekly schedule and choose a certification program that fits you. 

Course content

I’ve mentioned that it’s great to niche down, but what if you haven’t decided on a niche yet? Or what if you can’t find a program in your niche? This is where course content comes in.

Some programs are specialized like health coaching and executive coaching certifications.

Some programs are broad and can apply to any type of coaching.

And some life coaching schools have a foundational course in coaching skills and then more specialized modules on different coaching niches. It all depends on your needs. 

Learning style

Some programs are completely self-taught. Others have group sessions with a mentor coach. And some schools even offer one-to-one tuition with a mentor coach.

Think about how you learn best and go with a program that works for you. 

By weighing up all these criteria, you can narrow down the type of program and school you’re looking for. 

The 20 best life coaching schools

What are the best life coaching schools? Here are 20 life coaching schools and information on their certification programs for coaches. 

Note: I have based my recommendations on reviews and the reputation of the universities/organizations. I haven’t taken these certifications myself. Contact the schools you’re interested in and make sure they are right for YOU. 

SchoolPriceICF accreditation
The Institute for Life Coach Training$4,305 (6-8 months)Yes
The Certified Life Coach Institute$2,595 (6 days)Yes
The CaPP Institute$5,990 (6 months)Yes
Brown University$10,495 (6 months)Yes
Columbia University$8,700 (1 week)No
MIT$5,100 (2 days)No
iPEC$13,395 (10-12 months)Yes
The Coaching Training Alliance$4,339 (6 months)Yes
Coaching Training EDU$5,228 (6 months)Yes
Royal Roads UniversityCAD $12,992 (9 months)Yes
Rhodes Wellness College$9,900 (31 weeks)Yes
Rider University$5,580 (3 courses)No
University of Miami$7,495 (12 months)No
University of Southern California$4,800 (6 months)Yes
New York University$12,000 (12 months)Yes
University of Wisconsin-Madison$12,990 (8 months)Yes
Coach U$12,190 (12 months)Yes
Integrative Wellness Academy$2,499 (6 months)No
Institute of Integrative Nutrition$5,995 (6-12 months)No
The Health Coach Institute$4,950 (6 months)Yes

The Institute For Life Coach Training

Screenshot of The Institute For Life Coach Training website

The Institute for Life Coach Training was recommended by Business Insider as one of the best life coaching schools in the US. Here you can find a wide range of courses depending on the type of coach you want to become. You can take courses on coaching specific generations like Gen Z, Millennials and midlife.

You could focus on people with specific experiences such as guiding domestic violence victims or bereavement coaching. This specialized approach helps you to learn the specifics of your niche in more depth than you’ll get at any other school.

Price: Depends on the program ($4,305 for a 6-8-month ACC certified program)

The Certified Life Coach Institute

Screenshot of The Certified Life Coach Institute website

The Certified Life Coach Institute is a well-reviewed, International Coaching Federation (ICF) approved life coaching school. In just 6 days you can get certified as a life coach with these intensive courses. There are different levels of tuition and the courses are delivered online.

In Level 1 (101) you learn the core principles of life coaching, coaching ethics and how to build a business. In Level 2 (102), you deepen your learning with modules on different ways of thinking, shadow work, body language and advanced questioning. These are all tools that uplevel your skills as a coach. If you don’t want to commit to a 6-month course but still want a reputable certification, the Certified Life Coach Institute could be the school you’re looking for.

Price: $2,595 for Coaching 101 and 102

The CaPP Institute

The Coaching & Positive Psychology Institute (or CaPP for short) has a Certified Personal and Executive Coach Program (CPEC) that guides you step by step to becoming a coach. It’s a 6-month live virtual program with coursework in all areas of coaching. You’ll learn coaching skills like goal setting, stress management and building happiness. You’ll also have an in-depth study of how to build a successful life coaching business from the ground up.

The program covers branding, finding your niche and booking your first clients. You can trust that you’ll leave the CaPP Institute with a solid foundation in coaching skills and business knowledge. 

Price: $5,990 for a 6-month program

Brown University

Screenshot of Brown University website

Brown University’s Professional School of Studies is one of the best colleges in the US to get your life coaching certification. The school offers the Leadership and Performance Coaching Certification which is a broad-scope coaching program. It runs for six months and covers everything from coaching techniques to leadership skills.

Brown University is a great choice if you want to become a life coach to high-status professionals. This is because the program has a professional slant to it with an emphasis on decision-making, leadership and building strong professional relationships.

A certification from Brown University would also be highly attractive to entrepreneurs and executives because of the school’s reputation. Accredited by the International Coach Federation, you can start your journey at any point in the year. 

Price: $10,495 (virtual) and $11,495 (hybrid) for a 6-month program

Columbia University 

Screenshot of Columbia University website

Columbia University has one of the best life coaching programs in the country. With an amazing reputation and wide focus, their coaching certification carries a lot of weight. The program focuses on helping you design a signature transformational coaching process. You learn the science behind coaching with 9 core concepts.

Because the course is so broad, you can apply what you’ve learned to any coaching niche. This is the perfect school to consider if you are already knowledgeable about your niche but just need a program to teach your coaching skills. 

Price: Part one costs $8,700, $2,300 for part 2 and $8,700 for part 3 (virtual)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

screenshot of MIT website

As one of the leading universities in the country, MIT’s Leadership Coaching certificate is a program that fits those who want to coaching leaders. The program is based on the university’s signature coaching framework to motivate and inspire executives and leaders. The program is a 2-day intensive program that includes a bit of coaching.

While the program isn’t ICF-certified, MIT’s reputation weighs up for that. Note that this is an in-person program.

Price: $5,100

iPEC

The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) has a signature Core Energy coaching process that sets the foundation for your life coaching strategy. Their programs teach you how to help your clients identify achievable goals and support them to the finish line. All of their techniques and tools are research-backed and proven to help people.

iPEC is one of the few schools on this list that offers training in nine coaching specialisms. That way you can apply the process you’ve learned to your niche. This is a great online school if you want both a basis in coaching techniques and a specialist focus on your field. 

Price: $13,395

The Coaching Training Alliance

Screenshot of Coach Training Alliance website

The Coaching Training Alliance aims to get you certified and working as a thriving life coach within 6 months. You’ll learn the fundamentals of coaching skills, marketing skills and business skills so that you have all the tools to be successful.

The program is taught through a combination of self-guided coursework and mentoring groups led by your mentor coach. Classes are small with around 12 students in each group so you have a focused learning environment and enriching learning experience.

If you want a practical coaching program taught 100% online, the Coaching Training Alliance is worth exploring. 

Price: $4,339 for a 6-month program 

Coaching Training EDU

Screenshot of Coaching Training EDU website

Coaching Training EDU has a coaching certification program that covers all bases. Over 6 months you’ll learn all there is to know to make you an excellent coach. You can become any type of coach you can think of with the skills you’ll learn here; health coach, relationship coach, mindfulness coach, business coach and more.

If you want to become a career or life coach to young people like high schoolers and college-aged kids, this program will be especially helpful. Whatever type of coach you want to be, you can achieve it with Coaching Training EDU’s International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified coaching program. 

Price: Depends on the program ($5,228 for the 6-month Essential Associate Life Coach program)

Royal Roads University

Screenshot of Royal Roads University website

Royal Roads University is a Canadian college, but you can take the coaching program in person or online. They have a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching that is perfect for you if you want to become a business coach or a life coach to professionals. The course gives you all the tools to help your clients achieve their personal and professional dreams. This program counts as an Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) through the International Coach Federation (ICF). 

Price: $12,992 CAD

Rhodes Wellness College

Screenshot of Rhodes Wellness College website

Rhodes Wellness College is another Canadian college that offers a great life coaching diploma. It’s a special program because it’s the only one that includes professional counseling training as standard. This gives you some extra skills beyond the normal coaching abilities. Those counseling skills will be useful if you aim to coach young people or vulnerable people such as those going through divorce or grief.

The course is 31 weeks and covers a broad range of topics. You can choose to take the course completely online, in person or both. Rhodes Wellness College is a great option if your niche involves more sensitive topics.

Price: $9,900

Rider University

Screenshot of Rider University website

Rider University is great if you want a personalized approach to your life coaching program. To earn your Life and Career Coaching Certificate, you need to take 1–3 courses, depending on the degree you currently have. The courses are varied and specialized.

For example, you can take courses in counseling, career development, life coaching techniques and more. It’s like building your own life coaching certification for the type of coaching that interests you instead of following a prescriptive course. You’ll still learn the basics of coaching skills and get a certification from a reputable university. What more could you want?

Price: $5,580 (for an online, 3-course pathway)

University of Miami

Screenshot of University of Miami website

The University of Miami has a Certified Professional Coach Certificate that is so practical for anyone wanting to be a life coach. You’ll learn actionable skills like listening, motivating and building strong relationships with your clients for success. The topics are especially helpful if you want to be a business life coach but they aren’t limited to that. The topics are broad enough to apply to any niche.

The program emphasizes having a personalized approach to your client’s needs. If this unique approach resonates with you, the University of Miami might be the life coaching school for you! 

Price: $7,495

University of Southern California (USC)

Screenshot of University of Southern California website

University of Southern California (USC) has a great coaching program that covers everything you could ever need to know as a life coach. You learn communication skills, emotional intelligence, positive psychology and more. Add to that the fundamentals of coaching ethics and coaching agreements and you have one of the most well-rounded coaching certifications out there. You work with a mentor coach throughout the program and also gain coaching experience.

USC is an amazing choice for those on the West Coast wanting a flexible but thorough coaching program. 

Price: $4,800 

New York University

New York University (NYU) is one of the best schools in the country so it makes sense that they offer one of the best coaching programs in the country too! The 12-month Certificate in Executive Coaching program has four courses you. need to complete. You’ll learn through a three-pronged approach: The theory and science of coaching, evidence-based models and tools, and ICF core competencies.

Price: $12,000

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison helps aspiring life coaches achieve their goals through a well-rounded, highly-reviewed coaching certification program. Even though the course is 100% online, it uses a community-based approach to learning. This means you’ll build strong relationships with your peers and mentor coach to facilitate your learning.

In the course, you’ll learn how to communicate well, empower others and identify clear steps to achieving goals. They use a competency-based curriculum to explore subjects like neuroscience, positive psychology and even diversity and inclusion. This program will set you up to become whatever coach you want.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a great choice for online learners who still want to bond with classmates as you learn. 

Price: $12,990

Coach U

Coach U is a leading academy for coaching training programs. Their flagship program is the Professional Coach Training Program which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). There are two phases of the program. The first is the Core Essentials course. This will teach you the Core Competencies according to the ICF, coaching ethics and the basics of building a business. It involves around 78 hours of coursework to be completed within 6 months.

The second phase – the Professional Essentials – helps you refine your skills and teaches you about coaching in the workplace. It involves around 72 hours of coursework to be completed within 6 months. Both phases are delivered via Zoom with live classes and self-study combined. There is a fast track for the Core Essentials course which is a 6-day intensive if you prefer to learn a little faster.

Price: $12,190

Integrative Wellness Academy

Screenshot of Integrative Wellness Academy website

The Integrative Wellness Academy combines wellness and life coaching into their curriculum to create comprehensive programs. They offer a wide range of programs from business coaching to master life coaching. The life coaching program focuses on healing modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, visualization techniques and emotional healing techniques for a more holistic view of coaching.

You’ll also cover the basic coaching skills and the fundamentals of building a successful business. The program is delivered online and is self-paced. It takes up to 6 months to complete. If you learn well solo and want a more holistic view of coaching as a practice, the Integrative Wellness Academy is worth checking out.

Price: $2,499

Institute of Integrative Nutrition

Screenshot of IIN website

Institute of Integrative Nutrition is perfect for you if you want to be a health coach. They have a program that will give you a strong basis in both coaching and wellness knowledge. There are 41 course modules on a wide range of subjects ranging from biohacking to psychospirituality. Every level of wellness is covered so you can further hone your niche and find your interests.

You can earn your certification in 6 to 12 months in English or Spanish. If you want an online coaching school with expert wellness educators and a wide range of subjects to study, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition is the ideal choice for you. 

Price: $5,995

The Health Coach Institute

Screenshot of Health Coach Institute website

The Health Coach institute is one of the best schools for coaching. They focus on wellness coaching specifically but they have an excellent dual program that works for life coaches too. The Dual Life & Health Coach Certificate Program is a comprehensive program that teaches you how to guide your client through transformational change in their life and health.

The program covers nutrition, habit change science, and the principles of personal development and growth. There’s also a final module on how to build a successful coaching business which is invaluable advice as a new coach. 

Price: $4,950

Bonus: Employee to Entrepreneur

Screenshot of LZ.com course page

The last program I want to mention is my own self-study course, Employee to Entrepreneur. This program is for new coaches who want to start their own coaching businesses. ETE is not a certification program, but instead, it shows you how to start your business from scratch–especially if you have a full-time job. 

ETE works for all types of coaches. My students have started health, mindset, career, nutrition, parenting, productivity, and other types of coaching businesses. 

Reserve your seat for the free masterclass to learn more about ETE.

Over to you!

Now you know the best life coaching schools and whether their life coaching courses may be right for you. 

Get the Ultimate Guide

for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

But remember, you don’t have to have a life coaching certification if you don’t want one.

And even if you opt for one, you still need to learn how to build your coaching business.

I share the most effective and fastest strategy to building a six-figure business in my free blueprint.

Learn more:

How to Market Your Life Coaching Business

The Best Coaching Certifications and Courses

How to Make Your Life Coaching Business Legal

How to Become a Certified Life Coach

The Best Health Coach Certification Programs

The Best Wellness Coach Certification Programs

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

Hope you enjoy this blog post.

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