How to Become a Life Coach in Oregon

As more people become aware of what a life coach can do for them, this career has begun to take off in Oregon and other states. You can enter this career with a year or less of training and be ready to enjoy flexible working hours, meaningful work and a good income.

A life coach is someone who essentially helps people set and meet goals to improve their lives. You can become a general life coach, or specialize in certain types of coaching: health and fitness, nutrition, families, relationships, career and more.

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To be a life coach you don’t need a degree or formal education, but you do need certain qualities and interests. You must be compassionate and patient, a good listener, organized and passionate about helping people.

Requirements for Working as a Life Coach in Oregon

Becoming a life coach is pretty simple compared to some other careers. Oregon has no specific requirements, so technically you can call yourself a coach and start working. At a minimum, you should have finished high school or have a GED, be well organized, enjoy working with people and be good at communicating with and leading people.

Even better is a completed coaching training program. With a training program under your belt, you’ll have the foundational skills and knowledge to prepare you to help people change their lives. You will also have a credential that shows employers and clients that you are a skilled coach.

Coaching Programs in Oregon

There are a lot of options available for training to be a life coach. You’ll find plenty of online or self-paced study programs, as well as a few in-person courses. There is no regulation by the government, so look for programs that have been evaluated and approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Two of those in Oregon are:

  • Western Seminary, Portland. Western Seminary is a non-denominational, Christian school that offers coaching programs. Each class offered is approved by the ICF. The school’s Advanced Certificate in Transformational Coaching is an Accredited Coach Training Program that prepares you for ICF certification. It takes eight months to complete.
  • New Vibe Training, Portland. Also located in Portland, New Vibe is a school dedicated solely to training coaches. The course is ICF-accredited and leads to certification upon completion. There are in-person courses and sessions as well as online learning in this 125-hour program. In addition to classes, you’ll work with a mentor coach and begin coaching your own clients for work experience.

Certifications for Life Coaches

While you don’t have to be certified to work as a life coach in Oregon, there are benefits to getting a credential. Clients are more likely to hire certified coaches, for instance. The most widely-recognized organization for credentialing is the ICF, which offers three levels of certification:

  • ACC. To become an Associate Certified Coach you must have at least 60 hours of training and education as well as 100 or more hours working as a coach.
  • PCC. For the professional level, you need to have 125 hours or more of training and 500-plus hours of work experience
  • MCC. At the master level of certification you will have taken 200 hours of courses and worked for at least 2,500 hours as a coach with clients.

Oregon Coaching Salaries

Life coaching is not a career officially tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but the BLS has reported that the average salary across the U.S. was $61,900 in 2015. Other organizations report salaries by state. Ziprecruiter.com recorded an average annual salary of $61,816 for coaches in Oregon in 2019, for example.

Demand for life coaches is also not recorded by the BLS, but services like coaching are on the rise. Residents of Oregon particularly prize wellness and alternative services, so finding work as a coach there should be straightforward.

Landing Work as an Oregon Life Coach

As a life coach you’ll have a lot of flexibility in how you work. Coaching companies, consulting companies, health and wellness companies and others may hire you as a full-time employee. Many coaches work on their own, freelancing and working with clients in their spare time or starting a small business and coaching full-time.

In Oregon, you are likely to find the most work opportunities in and around Portland, where alternative lifestyles are common and residents are open to services like coaching. Other areas of the state should provide you with clients as well, especially in the larger population centers like Salem, Eugene and Bend.