How to Become a Life Coach in West Virginia

If helping others meet their personal goals is your passion, life coaching may be the perfect career for you. Life coaches are trained to provide services to individuals who want to improve something in their lives – whether it’s their career, relationships, well-being or other areas of challenge. The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” That means, as a life coach, you’ll listen to clients’ issues, help them identify goals and then help them achieve those goals.

You definitely need motivational skills to become a life coach. Other essential skills for this job include listening, communication and leadership. Many life coaches work on a part-time basis while pursuing other work. Most life coaches are self-employed, but others work for large organizations such as residential communities or businesses that provide wellness services to clients or to their employees. You may want to start your own business as a life coach, which means you also need to learn the basics of running a small business.

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How Do You Get Started as a Life Coach?

To become a life coach, you’ll need to first graduate from high school or earn your GED. Then, to learn life coaching skills, you should study in a training program that specializes in the field. The ICF has accredited schools across the country that offer life coaching programs, most of which are at least 60 credits in length. After completing your training, you should pursue certification from an agency like ICF, the gold-standard issuer of life coach certifications.

Learning the Trade

There are so many schools that offer life coaching, so how do you know which one is worth your time? A good rule of thumb is to choose a school accredited by the ICF. That way, you know you’re learning what it takes to gain certification from the ICF. Many schools that offer life coach training are available online, and they include:

  • Academy of Creative Coaching. This Georgia-based school has a completely online program accessible to West Virginia residents. The life coaching program lasts 133 credit hours and allows students to specialize in certain aspects of life coaching, if they so choose. The all-online design of coursework meets on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
  • American Life Coach Academy, INC. Students around the world can register to take the online life coach certification course offered by this school. There are three options for study, which each last 60 hours: in-person study in select states, live virtual online training, or hybrid virtual and in-person training combined.

Levels of ICF Certification

International Coach Federation (ICF) offers multiple levels of life coach certification, each based on education and experience. Beginners can earn their Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential by completing 60 hours of study and 100 hours of coaching experience. Professional Certified Coaches (PCC) must demonstrate at least 125 hours of study and 500 hours of coaching experience. The more advanced life coaches may choose to become Master Certified Coaches (MCCs), a credential that requires 200 hours of training and a minimum of 2,500 hours of experience.

Life Coaching Numbers in West Virginia

According to Ziprecruiter.com, life coaches in West Virginia earned an average annual income of $60,915 as of October 2019. For employment opportunities, West Virginia ranked 19th out of 50 states that same year.

Ziprecruiter.com claims that the life coach workforce in this area is very active. Salary for life coaches depends mainly on experience level, training and number of credentials held. Therefore, your pay will likely increase the longer you’re in the field.

Where to Find Work

It’s difficult to get a clear snapshot of life coach salaries and employment statistics by city in West Virginia, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect specific data on this profession. Instead, life coaches are grouped with rehabilitation counselors, educational, school, guidance and vocational counselors, and personal care and service workers. Larger cities have higher populations, which means more people will be seeking the services of a life coach. Therefore, starting your career in Charleston or Huntington will probably help you build a reputation and gain experience more quickly than other areas. Work on your training, certification and experience, and soon you’ll have more freedom to choose where you work as a life coach.