Is The ICF Membership Worth It?

If you are a professional coach, or you are considering becoming one, you probably looked into the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and found yourself a little lost initially. It’s normal. The ICF has a lot of information on their website, and so it can be difficult to find the answer to your questions at first glance.

One question we are sometimes asked by participants of our coach training is whether they should join the ICF as a member. This article is going to discuss the benefits a coach receives when they become a member so you can make your own decision.

When a coach gets their ICF credential, they receive a badge. To avail benefits and services, they will need to be a member. You can read more about the difference between an ICF credential and the ICF membership in this post.


To join the ICF as a member, a coach needs to meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Currently holding an ICF ACC, PCC or MCC credential,
  • Have completed a coach specific training of at least 60 hours,
  • Currently enrolled in an ICF-accredited training of at least 60 hours.

The ICF membership currently costs $245 USD per year.

Memberships run from April 1st to March 31st of the following year. The fee you will pay the first year will be prorated depending on the date you join. For example, if you join on October 1st, you will pay for half a year. You will then renew your membership at the end of March for a full year if you want to continue it.

You don’t need the membership to receive a credential, and you may decide not to apply a credential but remain as a member (though this last option is not common).


As a member of the ICF, you receive a few benefits that are not available to credentialed coaches who are not members.

  • Display an ICF member badge,
  • Access to the Member toolkit,
  • Discount on credentialing fees,
  • Eligibility to ICF partners’ discounts,
  • Ability to join communities of practice,
  • Access to free or discounted CPD resources (webinars, etc.),
  • Access to the Reciprocal Peer Coaching Program,
  • Access to the Research Portal.


Our answer is: it depends on what you do with it.

If you don’t plan on availing any of the benefits, it may be best to save money and not register as a member. After all, the value of the ICF membership lies in the benefits it offers that a credential doesn’t grant.

If you are still training as a coach and are not going to apply for your credential for another 6 months to 1 year (or more), our advice is to get the membership so you can display the ICF member badge on your website. It’s not the same as a credential, but it still shows your affiliation with the ICF.

If you plan on applying for an ICF credential, we also recommend you get a membership first as you will get a $150 USD discount on the credentialing fee. That means your membership will effectively cost you $145 USD. For that price, you get to display the ICF membership badge while you wait for your ICF credential badge.

If you don’t plan on applying for an ICF credential, the ICF membership can still be very valuable. The biggest benefit for us is that it offers continuing professional development opportunities for free or at a very reduced rate. So it could mean that for $245 USD a year, you get continuing education credits for a fraction of the price you would normally pay.


If you want to hear from us about all things coaching and not miss any new articles, sign up below 👇


Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

More articles