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Top 11 Instructional Coach Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top instructional coach certifications available to help educators gain the skills and knowledge needed to become successful coaches.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 20 min read

Certifications are important for an instructional coach in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge in the field. Certifications show that the individual has taken the time to invest in their professional development, which can be attractive to employers. Additionally, certifications may give an instructional coach access to a wider range of job opportunities and higher salaries than those without certification. For example, many school districts or educational organizations require or prefer applicants with specific certifications for instructional coaching positions. Finally, certifications provide an opportunity for instructional coaches to connect with other professionals in their field and stay up-to-date on best practices and trends.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Instructional Coaches and explain how they can help propel an Instructional Coach's career.

What are Instructional Coach Certifications?

Instructional coach certification is a program designed to help educators become more effective in their practice. It is a comprehensive program that includes professional development, best practices, and resources to support teachers in the classroom. Instructional coaching is based on the idea that teachers need support in order to be successful in the classroom. Through this program, coaches learn about classroom management, instructional strategies, data-driven decision making, and other important topics related to teaching.

Instructional coach certification can help teachers become more effective at teaching by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary for successful instruction. The program provides coaches with the opportunity to work one-on-one with teachers, helping them develop an individualized plan for improvement. Coaches also provide guidance on how to make data-driven decisions and use evidence-based strategies to improve student learning outcomes. Instructional coaches are not only able to provide support for individual teachers but also help school staffs develop a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement. By helping teachers become better instructors through instructional coaching certification, schools can create a learning environment where students feel safe and supported while achieving their goals.

Pro Tip: When considering an instructional coach certification, be sure to do your research and look for programs that have been accredited by reputable organizations. Additionally, make sure the program includes both online and in-person learning opportunities so you can maximize your learning experience.

Related: What does an Instructional Coach do?

Top 11 Instructional Coach Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Instructional Coachs today.

1. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Instructional Coach

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Instructional Coach is a credential that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in instructional coaching. This certification is designed to recognize those who demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively support teachers and school leaders in improving student learning outcomes.

To become an NBPTS Certified Instructional Coach, applicants must meet the following criteria:

1. Have at least three years of successful teaching experience in the same grade level or content area;

2. Possess a valid teaching certificate or license;

3. Have completed an approved program of study related to instructional coaching;

4. Pass the NBPTS Certification Exam; and

5. Submit evidence of professional development activities related to instructional coaching.

The process typically takes between six months and one year to complete, depending on how quickly you can complete the required steps. The cost of becoming an NBPTS Certified Instructional Coach varies depending on the program you choose and any additional fees associated with it, such as application fees, exam fees, and other costs associated with professional development activities.

2. International Coaching Federation (ICF) Certified Professional Coach

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) Certified Professional Coach (CPC) is a professional coaching credential that demonstrates a coach’s commitment to the ICF Core Competencies and Code of Ethics. It is designed for those who are serious about developing their skills as coaches, and provides a way to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

To become an ICF Certified Professional Coach, you must complete at least 60 hours of coach-specific training from an ICF-accredited provider, pass the ICF’s rigorous exam, and submit a portfolio of coaching experience. The process typically takes 6 to 12 months to complete.

To get started on your journey to becoming an ICF Certified Professional Coach, you will need to select an ICF-accredited training program. These programs can be found online or in person, and range in cost from $2,000-$7,000 USD depending on the program length and format. Once you have completed your training program and passed the exam, you will then need to submit your portfolio of coaching experience for review by the ICF. Once approved, you will receive your CPC credential.

The cost of becoming an ICF Certified Professional Coach varies depending on the training program selected but typically ranges from $2,000-$7,000 USD. Additionally, there is an annual renewal fee of $75 USD for maintaining your certification status with the ICF.

3. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Instructional Coaching Certification

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Instructional Coaching Certification is a professional development program designed to help educators become instructional coaches. This certification recognizes the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively coach teachers in the classroom.

The program consists of three online courses that are completed over the course of six weeks. The first two courses focus on developing coaching skills, while the third course focuses on applying those skills in practice. Each course includes activities and assessments that must be completed in order to receive credit for the course. Once all three courses have been completed, participants will receive an ASCD Instructional Coaching Certificate.

In order to get certified, individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have at least three years of experience as an educator. Additionally, they must complete all three courses within six weeks and pass each assessment with a score of 80% or higher.

The cost of the ASCD Instructional Coaching Certification is $599 USD per person. This fee covers all three courses, assessments, and certificate upon completion.

4. National School Reform Faculty (NSRF) Instructional Coaching Certification

National School Reform Faculty (NSRF) Instructional Coaching Certification is a professional development program designed to help educators become more effective instructional coaches. The certification program is based on the NSRF’s proven model of instructional coaching, which focuses on helping teachers develop their own skills and strategies for improving student learning. The certification process includes an online course, a two-day intensive workshop, and ongoing mentoring and support from NSRF staff.

The online course consists of six modules that cover topics such as instructional coaching strategies, classroom management techniques, data analysis, and reflective practice. Participants must complete all six modules in order to be eligible for the two-day intensive workshop. During the workshop, participants will learn how to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and gain hands-on experience with NSRF’s tools and processes.

The cost of the NSRF Instructional Coaching Certification program varies depending on the type of institution or organization that is sponsoring it. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $1,000-$2,500 per participant. This fee covers the cost of materials and instruction provided during both the online course and two-day workshop.

In order to obtain certification through NSRF’s program, participants must successfully complete all components of the program within one year of enrolling in it. After completing all requirements for certification, participants will receive a certificate of completion from NSRF that can be used as proof of their successful completion of the program.

5. The New Teacher Center (NTC) Instructional Coaching Certification Program

The New Teacher Center (NTC) Instructional Coaching Certification Program is a comprehensive program that provides educators with the skills and knowledge they need to become effective instructional coaches. The program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person workshop.

The online course provides participants with the foundational knowledge of instructional coaching, including topics such as adult learning theory, coaching strategies, and reflective practice. It takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete the online course.

The in-person workshop provides participants with an opportunity to apply their knowledge from the online course in a real-world setting. The workshop focuses on developing coaching skills, such as communication, collaboration, and problem solving. Participants will also have the opportunity to observe experienced coaches in action. The workshop typically lasts two days and is held at various locations throughout the United States.

To obtain certification through NTC’s Instructional Coaching Certification Program, participants must successfully complete both the online course and the in-person workshop. Upon completion of both components, participants will receive a certificate of completion from NTC verifying their successful completion of the program.

The cost for NTC’s Instructional Coaching Certification Program varies depending on location but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD per person.

6. Learning Forward's Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

Learning Forward's Instructional Coaching Certificate Program is a comprehensive, research-based program designed to help instructional coaches become more effective in their roles. The program consists of four modules that are completed over the course of nine months. Each module focuses on a different aspect of instructional coaching and includes activities, readings, and videos.

The first module focuses on the role of an instructional coach and covers topics such as understanding the purpose of coaching, developing relationships with teachers, and facilitating professional learning. The second module covers strategies for effective coaching and includes topics such as goal setting, data analysis, and reflection. The third module focuses on implementation and covers topics such as lesson planning, classroom management, and assessment. The fourth module is focused on evaluation and covers topics such as measuring impact, evaluating progress, and using feedback to improve instruction.

To get the Instructional Coaching Certificate from Learning Forward, participants must complete all four modules within nine months. Participants can also choose to take one or two modules at a time if they prefer. Upon completion of all four modules, participants will receive a certificate from Learning Forward verifying their completion of the program.

The cost for the Instructional Coaching Certificate Program is $1,500 USD per participant. This fee includes access to all four modules plus additional resources such as webinars and discussion forums with other participants in the program.

7. The University of Virginia’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

The University of Virginia’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program is designed to provide educators with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful instructional coaches. The program consists of three online courses that are completed over a period of six months. Each course focuses on different aspects of instructional coaching, such as developing relationships, building trust, and creating effective learning environments.

The program is open to all educators, including teachers, administrators, and other education professionals. Participants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in order to be eligible for the program. The total cost for the program is $1,500 and includes access to all three courses and the required materials.

Participants will learn about the principles of effective instructional coaching, gain an understanding of how to develop trusting relationships with students and colleagues, develop strategies for providing feedback and support for teachers in their practice, and create an environment where learning can flourish. Upon completion of the program participants will receive a certificate from the University of Virginia recognizing their achievement in instructional coaching.

8. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program is an online program designed to help educators develop the skills and knowledge needed to become effective instructional coaches. The program is offered through UNC’s School of Education, and it focuses on developing the skills necessary for successful instructional coaching, including communication, collaboration, data-driven decision making, and reflective practice.

The program consists of six courses that can be completed in 12 months or less. The courses cover topics such as instructional coaching fundamentals; creating a culture of learning; assessment and data analysis; professional development planning and implementation; coaching strategies for adult learners; and reflection and evaluation. Each course is self-paced and includes readings, videos, assignments, discussions, activities, and assessments.

To get the certificate, students must successfully complete all six courses with a passing grade of B or higher. The cost of the program varies depending on whether you are a current student at UNC or not. For non-UNC students, the total cost is $2,000. For UNC students who are enrolled in degree programs at UNC’s School of Education or another college within UNC system schools (e.g., NC State), the total cost is $1,500.

Upon completion of the program requirements, participants will receive a certificate from UNC's School of Education indicating successful completion of their Instructional Coaching Certificate Program.

9. Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

The Instructional Coaching Certificate Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education is a professional development program designed to help educators become more effective instructional coaches. The program consists of five online courses that provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to support teachers in their classrooms. It takes approximately two months to complete the program, depending on how quickly you are able to work through the material.

To get the certificate, participants must complete all five courses and pass the final assessment with a score of 80% or higher. The cost of the program is $1,500. This fee includes access to all course materials, including videos, readings, activities, and assessments.

The five courses included in this program are: Introduction to Instructional Coaching; Understanding Teacher Development; Supporting Teachers in Classroom Practice; Enhancing Professional Learning Communities; and Facilitating Change in Schools. Each course focuses on a different aspect of instructional coaching, such as understanding teacher development, facilitating change in schools, and enhancing professional learning communities. Participants will gain an understanding of how to effectively support teachers in their classrooms as well as strategies for creating meaningful professional learning opportunities for teachers.

10. Stanford Graduate School of Education’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

The Stanford Graduate School of Education's Instructional Coaching Certificate Program is a professional development program designed to equip educators with the skills and knowledge necessary to become effective instructional coaches. This program provides participants with the opportunity to learn about coaching theory, practice, and research-based approaches to instructional coaching. The program consists of four modules that can be completed in 8-10 months.

Module 1: Foundations of Instructional Coaching introduces participants to the foundations of instructional coaching, including an overview of the history and current trends in educational coaching, an exploration of different models of instruction coaching, and strategies for developing a successful coaching relationship.

Module 2: Developing Professional Learning Communities focuses on how to create professional learning communities within schools or districts that support the development of instructional coaches. Participants will learn about the role of collaboration in creating a culture of learning and growth, as well as strategies for building strong relationships between teachers and administrators.

Module 3: Implementing Instructional Coaching Strategies explores various strategies for implementing instructional coaching within classrooms and schools. Participants will learn about data-driven decision making, goal setting, reflection practices, and other tools used by instructional coaches.

Module 4: Evaluating Instructional Coaching Programs focuses on how to evaluate the effectiveness of an instructional coaching program through surveys, observations, interviews, focus groups, etc., as well as how to use data from these evaluations to inform future decisions regarding instruction coaching programs.

The cost for this program is $1,995 USD (excluding taxes).

11. Johns Hopkins University’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program

Johns Hopkins University’s Instructional Coaching Certificate Program is a comprehensive professional development program designed to help educators become more effective instructional coaches. The program focuses on the core competencies of instructional coaching, including building relationships, providing feedback, facilitating collaboration and problem solving, and using data to inform instruction. The program consists of three courses: Introduction to Instructional Coaching, Advanced Instructional Coaching Strategies, and Applying Instructional Coaching in Practice. Each course is offered online and takes approximately 8-10 weeks to complete. The total cost of the program is $1,495. Upon successful completion of all three courses, participants will receive a certificate from Johns Hopkins University acknowledging their achievement.

Do You Really Need a Instructional Coach Certificate?

Instructional coaching can be a rewarding and meaningful career. However, many individuals may not realize that they need an instructional coach certificate in order to be successful in this field. While there are no formal requirements for becoming an instructional coach, a certificate shows employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support teachers and students. It also demonstrates your commitment to professional development and continuing education.

At its core, an instructional coach is responsible for providing guidance and support to teachers as they work to improve their teaching practices and student learning outcomes. In order to do this effectively, coaches must be knowledgeable about current trends in education, educational law, classroom management techniques, curriculum planning, assessment tools, and other best practices for teaching. An instructional coach certificate provides evidence that you have the necessary expertise in these areas.

Having a certificate also helps demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and development. Instructional coaching is a dynamic field with frequent changes in best practices and research-backed strategies for improving teacher effectiveness and student achievement. A certificate indicates that you are actively engaged in staying up-to-date on the latest developments in the field so that you can provide the most effective services possible to your clients.

Finally, having an instructional coach certificate can help increase your credibility with potential employers or clients if you decide to pursue self-employment or consulting opportunities. A certificate signals that you have dedicated yourself to mastering the skills needed for instruction coaching success and that you are committed to continual improvement of those skills over time.

In conclusion, obtaining an instructional coach certification is important if you want to establish yourself as a credible professional who has the knowledge and expertise needed for successful instruction coaching practice. It also demonstrates your dedication to staying up-to-date on current trends in education so that you can provide the best possible service for teachers and students alike.

Related: Instructional Coach Resume Examples

FAQs About Instructional Coach Certifications

FAQ #1: What is an Instructional Coach Certification?

Answer: An Instructional Coach Certification is a professional development program that provides educators with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to become successful instructional coaches. The certification focuses on topics such as effective coaching techniques, classroom management, curriculum design, and data analysis.

FAQ #2: What are the benefits of becoming an Instructional Coach?

Answer: Becoming an Instructional Coach can help you become a leader in your school or district. You will gain valuable knowledge and experience in working with teachers and students to improve student outcomes. Additionally, the certification can open up new opportunities for professional growth and development.

FAQ #3: How do I become certified as an Instructional Coach?

Answer: To become certified as an Instructional Coach, you must complete a course of study approved by a recognized governing body or organization. Depending on your state or country, this may include taking courses from universities or accredited programs.

FAQ #4: How long does it take to complete the certification?

Answer: The length of time required to complete the certification varies depending on the type of program chosen. Generally speaking, most programs require between 12-18 months of study in order to receive certification.

FAQ #5: How much does it cost to get certified as an Instructional Coach?

Answer: The cost of getting certified as an Instructional coach depends on the type of program chosen and location. Some programs may offer discounts for memberships or group rates. Generally speaking, you should expect to pay anywhere from $500-$2000 USD for the certification process.