Levels 1, 2 And 3: The New ICF Credentialing Paths

In recent years, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) has launched a series of transformations to revamp their framework. This shift started in 2019 when they announced a new core competency model. They also modernised their website and created sub-organisations that seem relatively independent from one another and which are in charge of various activities like Coaching Education or Credentialing. They even changed their name! It used to be the International Coach Federation.

The latest update they announce is about their credentialing process. The change is twofold:

  1. Updated paths
  2. Updated standards and exam

In reality, like many of the previous changes announced by the ICF, not much will be different for professional coaches aiming for an ICF accreditation. 

In this article we will cover the new credentialing paths: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Check our other article for more information on the updated standards and exam.

Updated Credentialing paths

The current system

The “credentialing paths” the ICF refers to are simply the ways a coach can receive their ICF accreditation. The current system can be quite tricky to understand for new and experienced coaches, mostly due to the amount of abbreviations and scenarios involved:

  • ACC, PCC and MCC are the three coach accreditations of the ICF (read more), 
  • ACSTH and ACTP are the two programme accreditations (read more).

Depending on the training you have completed (ACSTH or ACTP) and the accreditation you aim for (ACC, PCC or MCC), the credentialing criteria are different. If you haven’t done an ICF-accredited training, you can still apply, but through a third path called “Portfolio.” 

The updated system (from August 1st, 2022)

In the new system, the name of the training accreditations will be aligned with the level of the accreditation the coach applies for:

  • ACSTH becomes Level 1 and will be for ACC applications,
  • ACTP becomes Level 2 and will be for both ACC and PCC applications,
  • A new Level 3 training accreditation will be created for MCC applicants.

The new labels (levels 1, 2 and 3) and the fact that they match the coach accreditation are definitely a big step in the right direction to make the process clearer. The biggest change is for accredited training providers – like us – who will need to meet new criteria for programme accreditation.

The Portfolio path, for coaches who haven’t completed an ICF-accredited training, will still be available. We won’t cover it here not to overcomplicate things.

Long story short

If you want to apply to ACC, you can either complete a Level 1 or Level 2 programme.

If you want to apply to PCC, you will need to complete a Level 2 programme, or several Level 1 programmes to accumulate at least 125 hours of Level 1-accredited training.

If you want to apply to MCC, you will need to complete a Level 3 programme after you have received your PCC accreditation.


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


International Coaching Federation. (2022). Updated Credential Application Paths. Link: https://coachingfederation.org/credentials-and-standards/updated-credential-paths


Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash