Accreditation vs. Certification – What’s the difference?

When it comes to becoming a coach, there are two main options for professional development: accreditation and certification. Both routes have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between accreditation and certification, and help you decide which route is best for your coaching career.

Accreditation and certification are two important terms used in the professional realm, especially for those wanting to advance their career.

  1. Accreditation is an acknowledgement by an independent organization that an individual, specific schools, programs, and other institutions meet certain standards.
  2. Certification refers to a credential earned from a coaching body upon completion of certain requirements or criteria.

For professionals looking to stand out in their careers and gain recognition for mastery of particular skill sets, becoming accredited or certified is essential for future success.

Top 5 differences between accreditation and certification

1. Purpose

The primary difference between accreditation and certification is the purpose of each. Accreditation is a process that is used to assess the quality of educational programs, while certification is a process that is used to assess the skills and knowledge of individuals.

2. Scope

Another difference between accreditation and certification is the scope of each. Accreditation assesses educational programs as a whole, while certification only assesses the individual.

3. Standards

Accreditation and certification also have different standards. Accreditation standards are set by external organizations, while certification standards are set by the profession itself.

4. Process

The process for accreditation and certification is also different. Depending on which programme and or which body, each have its timelines.

5. Cost

Accreditation and certification also differ in terms of cost. Accreditation can be a costly process, as it requires the hiring of external reviewers and the payment of fees that will be borne by the training school. Certification, on the other hand, typically only requires the payment of a fee to the certifying body.

Different Types of Accreditation and Certification

There are many different types of accreditation and certification available for coaches. The type of accreditation and certification you choose will depend on the type of coaching you do and the requirements in your area of expertise.

Some of the most common types of accreditation and certification include:

  • International Coach Federation (ICF)
  • European Mentoring Coaching Council (EMCC)
  • The Association for Coaching (AC).

It’s important to research the requirements for each type of accreditation and certification in order to find the best fit for you.

The benefits of Accreditation and Certification


1. Helps You Become a Better Coach

In order to become accredited, you must first complete an accredited coach training program. This program will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful coach.

2. Increases Your Credibility

This can be helpful when seeking employment as a coach or when working with clients. Having accreditation from a reputable organization will show potential employers and clients that you are a qualified and competent coach.

3. Helps You Stand Out From the Competition

One way to do this is by becoming accredited by a reputable organization. This will show potential employers and clients that you are committed to being the best coach possible and that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to help them achieve their goals.

4. Provides Access to Resources and Support

You will often have access to resources and support that can help you in your coaching practice. For example, many accrediting organizations offer online resources, such as tips, templates, and articles, that can help coaches in their day-to-day work. Additionally, many organizations offer discounts on coaching-related products and services, such as books, conferences, and courses.


1. Increases Your Credibility

Having a certification in coaching demonstrates to potential clients and employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to be an effective coach. In addition, it shows that you are committed to your chosen profession and to delivering high-quality services.

2. Offers a Way to Differentiate Yourself from Other Coaches

This is because you will have the credentials to back up your claims that you are an experienced and knowledgeable coach who has specialized knowledge in certain areas of coaching, such as life coaching or business coaching.

3. Provides Access to Professional Networks and Resources

Certification as a coach can provide you with access to professional networks, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF), which offers resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education credits that can help you stay up-to-date on industry trends.

4. Opens Up Employment Opportunities

Most employers prefer to hire coaches who are certified because it shows that they have a certain level of expertise and competence. Therefore, becoming certified can open up many new employment opportunities that you may not otherwise have had access to.

Both accreditation and certification have their own merits and benefits, so it’s important to research each type of credential in order to determine which one is the best fit for you.

No matter which type of accreditation or certification you decide to pursue, having this credential can help you become a better coach and give you the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in your field.

Remember, only you can decide which is the best fit for your needs as a future coach

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    Leila Rezaiguia
    Leila Rezaiguia