ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) – Ultimate Guide 2024

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Did you know that just around 5% of all ICF coaches have the ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential? That’s right – this is an elite group of coaches who have demonstrated the highest level of life coaching skills and expertise in the industry. 

If you’re interested in joining their ranks, then you’re in luck: this ultimate guide is going to walk you through everything you need to know to become an ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC)

My guide to the Best ICF Coaching Programs might be also helpful for you.

ICF Master Certified Coach
unsplash.com Jonathan Borba


  • The ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) Credential is the highest of the existing 3 (ACC, PCC, MCC).
  • It requires a PCC credential and a total of 2,500 coaching practice hours to apply for an MCC.
  • The cost varies between approx. 10k and 20k USD

What Is An ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) or Master Certified Life Coach?

If you’re considering becoming a coach, you’ve likely heard of the International Coach Federation (ICF). This organization is the leading global authority on coaching standards, ethics, and practices. 

But what about the designation of ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC)? This is the highest level of coaching certification that the ICF offers, and it’s only achieved by a small percentage of coaches worldwide. 

To become an MCC, coaches must meet rigorous standards in areas like client coaching experience, continual professional development, and ethical conduct. Essentially, the MCC designation is a mark of excellence in the coaching industry – it signifies that a master-certified life coach has achieved the highest level of mastery and can provide truly transformational experiences for their clients within every coaching conversation.

How To Become An ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC)

The Master Certified Coach (MCC) is the highest of the 3 following ICF Coach credentials. 

In order to become a Master Certified Life Coach you have to first complete the Level 2 – Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential. The PCC Credential includes 125 coach-specific training hours and 500 coaching experience hours.

After you finished the PCC you can aim for the MCC which has the following specific requirements.

ICF Master Certified Coach Requirements

Unlike the ACC and PCC credentials you may have previously held, there is only one path to becoming a Master Certified Coach credential holder.

To become an ICF Master Certified Coach, you must meet the following requirements.

  • you must hold an ICF PCC credential
  • 🕰️200 coach-specific training hours
  • 🕰️2,500 coaching experience hours (minimum 2,250 paid)
  • 🕰️10 mentor coaching hours
  • 📝successful completion (passing score) of a performance evaluation
  • 📝successful completion (passing score) of the ICF Credentialing Exam

Be aware that these requirements represent a high standard, and those who earn the ICF Master Certified Coach credential are widely recognized for their dedicated and professional coaching skill.

MCC Education Requirements & Application Paths

The 200 hours of coach-specific training must come from a new ICF Level 3 Path accredited coaching program or one of the old Accredited Coach Training Program (ACTP) or Approved Coach Specific Training Hours (ACSTH) programs. 

For more details check out: ACTP vs ACSTH Program/Pathway

If you have non-ICF-accredited education hours, there is an alternative “Portfolio Path”. Then you must submit the program curriculum with robust documentation to ensure your education meets ICF standards.

Here you find a detailed MCC Application Path Comparison as well as an MCC Candidate Guide.

MCC Experience Requirements

The 2,500 hours of coaching experience have to be with at least 35 clients, and you must have received satisfactory feedback from these clients. A minimum of 2,250 hours must be paid by clients.

MCC Mentor Coach Requirements

You have to do 10 hours of mentor coaching with a qualified mentor coach that holds an MCC as well.  This master trainer creates space for you to engage in reflective learning and self-discovery helping you reach your true potential as a coach and maximize your business performance.

The mentor coach hours must occur over a three-month period or longer. 3 of the 10 mentor coaching sessions have to be one-on-one and 7 can be group mentor coach sessions.

MCC Performance Evaluation Requirements

For performance evaluation, you have to submit 2 recorded coaching sessions (20-60 minutes) including a transcript to an ICF Assessor. This highly trained assessor will review these two audio recordings and the written transcripts to evaluate if you use the ICF Core Competencies to MCC level in each coaching session. 

MCC Final Exam Requirements

After you meet all other criteria you can take the final ICF MCC credential exam. In this exam you have to prove that you can apply the following International Coaching Federation Standards in your coaching process:

You can complete the 3 hours exam whether in an on-site Pearson VUE testing center or in your home or office while being monitored by an online proctor.

The online based questionnaire contains approx. 81 realistic coaching scenarios.
For each scenario, you are given 4 options you have to rank from “best action” to “worst action“. The range of possible scores is 200 to 600, with a passing score of 460.

Here you find more specific information about the content as well as
exam sample questions.

icf master certified coach requirements
unsplash.com Samia Liamani

3 Best ICF Certified Coaching Programs

3 of the best ICF-accredited coaching programs with excellent reputations are: 

For more details see my article about the Best Coaching Programs ICF-accredited. There you find even more coach training programs.

ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) Certification Cost

The cost for an MCC life coaching program varies between approximately 

  • $10,000 and $20,000 USD. 

First, you have to complete a PCC certification program and then you have to do an additional Level 3 ICF Program. 

The process of getting the ICF MCC credential comes with additional costs:

Application fee

  • ICF Members: $675 USD
  • non-ICF Members: $825 USD

It takes around 18 weeks after your MCC credential application until you will receive your ICF MCC credential.

Here you find a sample ICF MCC application PDF

Master Certified Life Coach Salary

The average life coach salary is $47,100 globally and $62,500 in North America. As Master Certified Coaches are on the higher end of the range and often perform executive coaching in a business context, the salary of MCC credential holders should be around $100,000 and $200,000 USD.

It’s important to note that the salary can vary widely depending on factors such as location, industry, and years of experience.

How To Prepare For The ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC) Exam

The final ICF exam is 180 minutes (3 hours) long and delivered by a computer in a testing center or through Pearson’s OnVUE remote proctored testing service.

It is organized as follows:

  1. Exam Instructions: 3 minutes
  2. Section 1 (41 items): 87 minutes
  3. Scheduled Break: 5 minutes
  4. Section 2 (40 items): 85 minutes

Most of the questions and scenarios will be around the ICF Core Competencies and the ICF Code of Ethics. If you focus on learning these life coaching competencies and high ethical standards properly, you will be in good standing to pass the exam.

Here you find a more detailed breakdown of the content of the exam:

Domain: Foundation

  • 13% – Competency: Demonstrates Ethical Practice
  • 12% – Competency: Embodies a Coaching Mindset

Domain: Co-Creating the Relationship

  • 12% – Competency: Establishes and Maintains Agreements
  • 13% – Competency: Cultivates Trust and Safety
  • 13% – Competency: Maintains Presence

Domain: Communicating Effectively

  • 12% – Competency: Listens Actively
  • 13% – Competency: Evokes Awareness

Domain: Cultivating Learning and Growth

  • 12% Facilitates Client Growth

For an even better preparation go through these Sample Exam Questions.

How To Find An ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC)

The best way to find an ICF Master Coach is the official International Coach Federation website. 

On their find a coach website, you can search by credential level and find your ideal mentor coaching partner. 

icf master certified coach cost
unsplash.com Toa Heftiba

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is The MCC Credential Valid For? MCC Renewal

The ICF MCC credential has to be renewed every 3 years. 

In the time of 3 years, you have to:

  • complete at least 40 Continuing Coach Education Hours (CEEs)
    • min. of 24 CCEs must be in Core Competencies.  
    • min. 3 of those hours must be in coaching ethics. (Coaches can obtain coaching ethics hours by completing ICF’s free Ethics course online). 
    • remaining 16 hours can be in Resource Development or Core Competencies. 

You can use up to 10 hours of Mentor Coaching (giving or receiving) AND up to 10 hours of Coaching Supervision (giving or receiving) towards the required 40 CCEs for renewal and count as Core Competency credits. 

How long does it typically take to become an MCC and what are the steps involved in the process?

You should calculate between 2-6 years to complete the MCC credential.
First, you have to complete a level 2 PCC training program which alone takes at least 1 year.

The most time-consuming part will be collecting the 2,500 hours of coaching experience. 

A simple example: If you can manage to do 4 hours of life coaching every day for 4 days a week you would need a total of 160 weeks to reach the 2,500 hours. This is around 3 years.

The example shows clearly that the path to an MCC is just for you if you are willing to dedicate your professional life fully to coaching.

What is the difference between an MCC and other levels of ICF certification, such as PCC or ACC?

The Associate Certified Coach (ACC) is the first level of ICF life coach certification and contains 60 hours of coach-specific training hours as well as 100 coaching practice hours. 

The Professional Certified Coach (PCC) is the level 2 credential of the ICF and contains 125 coach-specific hours as well as 500 coaching practice hours. The PCC credential is the requirement to apply for an MCC credential. 

The MCC credential is level 3 and requires an additional 75 coach-specific hours (total of 200) as well as a total of 2,500 coaching practice hours. 

Therefore MCC coaches have the highest reputation as life coaches as they have a lot more coaching experience (5 times the amount as PCCs).

How do I find a mentor coach to meet the mentor coaching requirements for MCC certification?

The easiest place to find an MCC mentor coach is on the official ICF website. There you can filter for MCC coaches to give feedback on your coaching conversation.

Mentor coaches can be also helpful for life coaching business advice.

What kind of coaching experience and training do I need to have before I can apply for MCC certification?

You must own the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Level 2 Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential. If you just start your life coaching career you can start with the PCC.

What benefits does MCC certification offer to coaches and their clients?

MCC coaches are the most reputable, experienced, and successful coaches out there. Because of your master life coach certification, you can expect client requests according to this high-quality profile. 

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.