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Career Outlook: Professional Coaching

Coaching as a profession has evolved and become a much more prevalent part of the personal and professional development landscape. Clients come to coaches for help addressing challenging situations, defining their goals and setting up a plan to achieve them. Many times, coaches help their clients see possibilities they didn't know existed and achieve potential they didn't know they had.  

Coaching works because it's a personal, intensive process that identifies and develops the client's existing strengths and talents. Coaching is distinct from therapy, consulting and mentoring in that it is a forward-thinking profession that focuses on providing a framework for self-discovery based on the client's own personal and professional knowledge, rather than offering advice or psychological counseling.  

Jobs in Demand 

Industry Stats 

  • Mean annual wage range from $61,900 to $73,690 (BLS)
  • Projected job growth from 2019-2029 is 11%  (BLS

Self-employed coaches make up most of the market (79%, according to the International Coaching Foundation, or ICF), while internal coaches who work for public or private organizations are finding a greater use of coaching as an employee-development tool.  

For instance, 90% of Fortune 100 companies have internal coaches and many other private- and public-sector organizations are recognizing the benefits of internal or external coaching to improve business outcomes and employee engagement. 

Many self-employed coaches cite the ability to set their own schedule while seeing valuable results with clients as key motivation for working in this profession.   

Coaches find that career development opportunities are accessible through continuing coach education in specialized areas, such as Team Coaching, and through communities of coaching professionals who support one another.

Getting Started 

In a profession that's growing as fast as coaching, certification signifies to clients that you've taken the important step of attending a quality training program and attaining a minimum level of experience. It's a mark of your commitment to excellence.

The most-widely recognized certification organization for coaches is the ICF, which certifies coaching professionals according to established standards of training and experience at three levels:

  • ACC (Associate Certified Coach) designation requires 60+ hours of coaching training and 100+ hours of coaching experience
  • PCC (Professional Certified Coach) designation requires 125+ hours of coaching training and 500+ hours of coaching experience
  • MCC (Master Certified Coach) designation requires 200+ hours of coaching training and 2500+ hours of coaching experience.  

For more information, read the full certification requirements on the ICF website

At UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, experienced instructors and mentors are proud to provide highly interactive learning experiences through the Professional Coaching for Life and Work Certificate Program.

The program is an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program, which means that graduates engage in the coach-specific training and mentor hours needed to apply for certification once they secure the required coaching experience.

The Professional Coaching for Life and Work Certificate Program provides a clear and easy pathway for graduates to become ACC-certified coaches, and later PCC-certified coaches, as they demonstrate proficiency with coaching competencies and gain more coaching experience.

Program Details

Need help getting started?

Reach out to enrollment coach Katie Orton for one-on-one help answering your questions and finding the right courses to fit your schedule and goals.

Schedule an appointment today.

  • 15-unit course, complete in 5 months
  • Completely online
  • Taught by MCC- and PCC-credentialed professional coaches
  • Program features include 150 academic credit hours of coach specific training and mentor coaches who provide feedback on your coaching skill development to support you through your educational journey

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