Certified Life Coach Salary Guide
Certified life coaches provide personalized advice and guidance to help people achieve their goals. While many life coaches work for a larger business or on top of a full-time job, it's possible to work as a life coaching business owner. Your options, and your life coach salary, vary throughout your career.
How Much Do Life Coaches Make in the United States?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes life coaches in rehabilitation counselors, who make $42,080 annually. This includes both experienced life coaches and people new to the profession, so the life coach salary throughout your career can vary substantially. Your salary also depends on whether you're part-time or full-time and employed by a company or self-employed.
Life Coach Salary Throughout the Career Path
If you opt to build your client base from scratch, you may be only billing for part-time hours at first, even if you spend other hours prospecting for clients and networking. As a new life coach, you may be earning a lower hourly rate. PayScale says the bottom 10% of life coach salaries average a little over $13 an hour.
That said, developing a reputation for results enables you to grow your rates, and indicating that you're giving a special rate to your early clients can help pave the way to grow your rates as you get established.
If you get a full-time life coach job, you could earn an average salary for the industry in the $40,000 range. Depending on the context, you may have the opportunity to be hired at a higher level if there is high demand and you have the preferred certification for life coaches.
When you have a full-time slate of clients and consistent client-base growth, you may find that working as a self-employed life coach offers much better flexibility and pay than being an employee.
Because a life coach chooses their clients, you can specialize in a niche where rates can be higher or deliver other products and services, like eBooks or online courses, that may add to your revenue streams.
If you find that your method is extremely popular and can't help everyone who wants to work with you, it's possible to start running your own practice where you hire other life coaches to work with clients using your methodology. This can boost your income while also allowing your style to impact even more people. This is usually the best way to see 90th-percentile pay, which according to PayScale, is around $120,000 a year.
Pay Difference By Location
While the BLS doesn't track life coaches independently, they count the life coach salary in their data for rehabilitation coaches.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Career Opportunities and Job Growth for Life Coaches
Coaching, counseling, and other helping professions classified under social service are growing rapidly, with projections from the BLS at 14% growth.
As a result, your chances of entering this field are good in general, especially if you are in California, New York, or Pennsylvania, which employ the most coaches according to the BLS. The NYC, LA, and Boston metro areas are also particularly high on the list for employment in this field.
Other Benefits of Becoming a Life Coach
While salaried life coaches will often receive a benefits package including healthcare or a retirement plan sponsored by the employer, one of the big benefits of self-employed life coaches is flexibility.
By choosing when you'll work with clients, whether you'll meet in person or have phone calls, and scaling your amount of clients, you can choose what hours you'll work and how many of them. This is considered a big advantage compared to more rigid full-time schedules.
Independent contracting is somewhat common in life coaching, but when you decide on your rates, you should consider that you'll be responsible for your own payroll taxes, health insurance, and any kind of individual retirement account you'd like to have.
It's easy to undercharge as a contractor, so talk to instructors in your certification course to better understand how much to charge and scale your rates as you gain experience and a strong reputation.
How Much Does it Cost to Become a Life Coach?
Life coaching's most expensive input is the certification program. Year-long programs often cost about $7,000. Applying for certification is $300 to $500 after the training program cost. You may also choose to remain a member of the International Coaching Foundation after that, which costs about $245 a year.
Given how much life coaches make, this investment is relatively small compared with the return on jobs requiring bachelor's degrees and higher education.
Salaries for Related Jobs
- Average Salary: $49,610
- Cost to become: Bachelor's degree, master's degree, and often a Ph.D. Professional certification/licensure costs as well.
- Average Salary: $53,370
- Cost to become: Bachelor's degree, master's degree, and professional certification/licensure in a specialty like school counseling.
- Average Salary: $78,600
- Cost to become: Bachelor's/master's degree usually needed, but costs vary depending on the area of consulting.
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