How to Choose the Perfect Relationship Coach Certification for Your Goals

relationship coach certification

Are you a natural when it comes to giving relationship advice? Do other people easily open up to you about what’s going on in their lives?

If so, perhaps you have what it takes to become a relationship coach!

Relationship coaching is one of many niches of life coaching. For those who want to ditch the 9 to 5 and start their own business, it’s a deeply fulfilling career.

But being good at helping others with their relationships isn’t all that it takes to become a relationship coach. For instance, many relationship coaches decide to get certified.

Let’s explore what it means to get a relationship coach certification and walk through some of the best certification options available to you!

Do You Need a Relationship Coach Certification?

If you want to start a business as a relationship coach, one of the best ways to gain the trust of potential clients is to become certified. 

However, certification is not mandatory to legally operate as a relationship coach! The coaching industry isn’t regulated like the fields of psychology or medicine. And even though there are reputable organizations that are recognized worldwide, they don’t have any legal power over your coaching business.

Yet, getting certified puts you one step ahead of everyone who isn’t… especially when you’re brand new to the field.

Here’s something to consider — the ICF performed a survey in 2022 and discovered that 85% of coaching clients believe it’s important for their coach to have a certification! 

Without a certification, you’ll have to find clients who are part of the other 15%. And every other non-certified relationship coach will be trying to get those clients, too.

Of course, the best path forward for you depends on your experience. If you have twenty years of experience in couples counseling, you may not need a relationship coaching certification to build credibility. 

Do your due diligence and evaluate whether it’s worth it for you or not to get certified. In reality, it all depends on each individual coach!

How to Get a Relationship Coaching Certification

So how does relationship coaching certification work, anyway? Let’s go through it step by step!

1. Pick your certification

Before you choose a coaching training program, you’ll need to know what credential you’re trying to get certified for.

There are a few internationally recognized organizations that provide coaches with certifications. But one of the most respected organizations is the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

If you decide to get certified with the ICF, you can choose one of three credentials. Each one requires more hours of coaching and training than the last:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC) – You must complete 60 hours of coach-specific education, plus 100 hours of client coaching experience
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC) – You must complete 125 hours of coach-specific education, plus 500 hours of client coaching experience
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC) – You must already have your PCC Credential, complete200 hours of coach-specific education, and accumulate 2,500 hours of client coaching experience

Each credential will also require:

  • 10 hours of Mentor Coaching 
  • A performance evaluation
  • Passing a written exam

Most beginning relationship coaches should start at the ACC level. However, you can skip the ACC level if you’d like and go straight to PCC — as long as you have enough education and client experience hours!

Some relationship coaches start by getting their ACC certification. Once they’ve gotten more training and experience with clients, they can apply for the PCC — and later on, the MCC as well.

2. Choose an accredited coaching program

Once you’ve chosen which certification you want, you’ll need to enroll in a relationship coaching program that fits the requirements.

There are three types of coaching training programs you can take to get certified:

  • Level 1 / Level 2 / Accredited Coach Training Programs (ACTP): These programs include all the minimum education hours, Mentor Coaching, and performance evaluation you need to get your ACC credential. 
  • Accredited Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) Programs: With these programs, you’ll get your coaching education, but you’ll have to find Mentor Coaching and the performance evaluation separately.
  • Non-Accredited or Continuing Coach Education (CCE) Programs: CCE units can be used to accumulate your required education hours. On the other hand, if you choose a non-accredited program, you’ll need to submit the curriculum to prove it meets ICF standards.

The simplest way to get certified is to choose an ACTP program. However, these will also be the longest and most expensive programs.

3. Complete the additional certification requirements

After you’ve completed your relationship coaching program, you’re nearly ready to apply for your certification! But you’ll need to make sure you have all the requirements before you can take your exam.

Your missing requirements will depend on the type of program you take. For example, if you chose an ACSTH program, you’ll need to work with a Mentor Coach to get your 10 hours of Mentor Coaching.

You’ll also need to submit a performance evaluation.

Finally, you’ll need to submit your ICF coaching log to prove you have the minimum required hours of coaching experience. Many coaching programs will match you with other students to help you accumulate your professional coaching hours.

And if you’re still missing some coaching hours, consider asking your friends and family if you can work with them for free to get some practice.

You can count coaching sessions in your ICF log, whether they’re paid or pro-bono. So if you’re worried about finding paying clients without a certification, you can relax!

4. Apply for your certification

Have you finally completed your relationship coaching education and all the additional requirements? If that’s the case, you’re ready to apply for your certification!

When you submit your application, you’ll need to upload all your information, including your coaching logs and chosen relationship coach training. Once you’re all done, and your application gets reviewed, you’ll receive information about your exam. 

Level 1 / Level 2 / ACTP Path Application Price:  

  • ICF Member: $175 USD 
  • Non-Member: $325 USD 

ACSTH Path Application Price:

  • ICF Member: $375 USD 
  • Non-Member: $525 USD

Portfolio Path Application Price

  • ICF Member: $475 USD 
  • Non-Member: $625 USD 

And that’s it! Once you’ve taken your exam, all that’s left to do is wait to hear back. You’re almost a certified relationship coach!

4 Best Relationship Coach Certification Programs

relationship coach certification

Looking for the best relationship coach certifications? Look no further! All of these 4 programs are ICF-accredited relationship coach training programs, which will make it much easier to get certified once you’ve completed your training. 

1. World Coach Institute

The World Coach Institute provides a variety of certification programs in several niches, including a relationship coach certificate. 

Before taking the Certified Relationship Coach (CRC) program, you’ll need to take the core Certified Professional Coach (CPC) course. Once you’ve completed this program, you can take the relationship coaching add-on.

The self-study foundational course starts at $997, while the teleclass costs $3,247. To take a niche masterclass such as relationship coaching, you’ll need to invest an additional $622.

2. Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

The iPEC is a world leader in coach training, including relationship coaching! Not only can you get certified by the IFC after taking their program, but they’ll also provide you with certifications of their own:

  • Certified Professional Coach (CPC)
  • Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP)
  • COR.E Dynamics™ Specialist (in the niche of your choice)

You can choose from four niche specialties — but as a relationship coach, you’ll need to choose the Life Coach niche. Even though it’s not specifically a relationship coaching program, you’ll gain a solid foundation to help your clients achieve powerful transformations.

Tuition costs $13,995 at IPEC, but you can also choose to invest in 3 installments. 

3. Coach Training World

Coach Training World provides a whole-person approach to coach training. Their program is grounded in science and psychology.

In the first step of their program, you’ll get to choose your niche — this is where you can niche down as a relationship coach and choose your preferred coaching style.

Plus, they’ll even help you achieve your required coaching experience hours! That’s one less hurdle to think about when you get certified.

Your tuition will depend on whether you take the Professional Certification or Coachpreneur Certificate. The first track costs $7,550, while the second costs $8,850. With the Coachpreneur track, you’ll get extra business development training. Payment plans are also available. 

4. Erickson Coaching International

At Erickson Coaching International, you can take their core coach training program called The Art & Science of Coaching. But you can go a step further and take the specialization in Couples Coaching!

In this niche training, you’ll learn how to conduct aligned conversations with couples to help them reconnect. You’ll also learn how to explore family developmental habits and engage in a solution-focused couples coaching approach.

You can also get your general coaching training from another coaching school and take this specialization.

Tuition for The Art & Science of Coaching certificate is $5,285. You can contact the team at Erickson Coaching International to find out more about the tuition for Couples Coaching.

If you’re between 18 and 25 years old, you can also apply for a Youth Subsidy. 

Get Your Relationship Coach Certification and Start Your Coaching Business Today

If you feel that becoming a relationship coach is your right path forward, you can now choose from some of the best relationship coaching certification programs available online

And when you’re finally ready to launch your coaching business, Paperbell is here for you! 

Paperbell is the crazy-simple way to sell your coaching online. You can even get started without creating an entire website. Get started for free to test it out for yourself!

relationship coach certification

By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
February 10, 2023

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