How to Become a Life Coach in Illinois

If you love working with people; if you’re hoping to begin a new career that is meaningful; and if you want a job that is flexible, that could be full-time or part-time, consider becoming a life coach. Illinois has no official requirements for working as a life coach, but some training is recommended and can quickly get you on the path to this exciting new career.

A life coach is someone who works with people to set and achieve goals to improve their lives. A coach may help people with any issue or specialize in areas like health and wellness, careers, or family and relationships. Learn more about what it takes to start working as a life coach in Illinois.

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Requirements for Becoming a Life Coach in Illinois

There are no actual or official requirements to start working in this career and using the title of life coach. However, most coaches have had some training and many are also certified. If you’re serious about this career, you should have completed high school and be prepared to take a training course that could last a few weeks or up to a year.

Life Coach Training in Illinois

When looking for a training or educational program for becoming a life coach, stick with those that are approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF). These programs have proven that they provide quality training with work experience and other benefits. Some are self-study or online, while others have in-person sessions.

  • Radiant Coaches Academy, Chicago. For a quick, in-person training option, consider Radiant, which holds intensive, week-long sessions. The program is regularly available in Chicago, although you will need to check with the Academy for actual dates. The seven-day session includes instruction for 11 hours each day and a total of 65 hours of class time. By enrolling in the session, you will also get access to the Academy’s online training program.
  • American Life Coach Academy. For an online option, consider the live, online training offered by American Life Coach Academy. Like their in-person option, the online course includes 60 hours of training. It meets the qualifications to get you certified through the ICF and takes three to four months to finish.

Getting Certified as a Life Coach

You do not have to be certified to begin working as a life coach, but it is strongly recommended to be competitive in the field. A certificate through the ICF proves to employers and clients that you have the knowledge and skills to be an effective coach.

The ICF offers a few levels of certification. Most approved training programs will prepare you to earn the title of Associate Certified Coach, which requires 60 training hours and 100 coaching hours. From there, once you have more experience and have taken continuing education courses, you can become a Professional Certified Coach with at least 125 hours of training and 500 hours of coaching experience. To become a Master Certified Coach, you’ll need 200-plus hours of classes and 2,500 hours of experience.

Salary Expectations for Coaches in Illinois

Salaries for life coaches vary widely. Most coaches are self-employed and can choose how many hours they work and the rates they charge. With this in mind, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average salary for life coaches of $61,900 in 2015 across the country.

The BLS does not record state-by-state averages, but other organizations do. The average salary for coaches in Illinois in2019 according to was $55,525. Growth in the industry is not well tracked either, but it is expected to be going up in coming years.

How to Find Work as a Life Coach in Illinois

Most life coaches work for themselves, as freelancers or by setting up a small business. If you choose this route, you will need to do your own marketing and find clients. For a steadier career, consider finding an employer. Some companies hire life coaches to work with their employees, but you may also find coaching or consulting companies that are hiring in the state. Either way, you can expect to enjoy a rewarding career helping people meet their goals and work on self-improvement.