Combining occupational therapy and psychoanalysis,, life coaches guide patients toward proactive control over their personal and professional lives. With the assistance of a life coach, struggling individuals develop personal and career goals, maintain healthy relationships with clear boundaries and work through major life challenges and changes. So many have benefitted from life coaching that it has quickly become an important and permanent part of the therapeutic landscape. In fact, the demand for life coaching in many places is greater than the supply.

Students who seek an online master’s degree in life coaching should expect to complete the program requirements in about two years. Course work for the typical master’s degree program will be directly related to life coaching and psychological principles; nonetheless, some programs allow students to take a few electives outside of the major field. The best life coaching schools place students in a professional practicum and most require either a thesis or project prior to graduation.

Why a Master’s Degree in Life Coaching?

In this information-driven age, those who continue their education and obtain post-bachelor’s degrees are rewarded with nearly full employment. According to a 2012 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), master’s degree holders had unemployment rates of only 3.5%, nearly half the national average. People with master’s degrees also generally earn more than 20% more than their colleagues with a bachelor’s degree, as shown in the BLS survey. Furthermore, counselors at the master’s degree level are in high demand. The BLS projects that positions in the mental health field, overall, will grow at twice the national average through 2020.

Getting Into a Life Coaching Master’s Program

Most life coaching psychology master’s degree programs are rigorous. Although expectations vary, common requirements include the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field
  • Sufficiently high grade point average (GPA) in the previous program – typically over 3.0
  • Sufficient scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of intent or a statement of interest

Inside a Life Coaching Master’s Degree Program

Most programs that award a master’s degree in life coaching take two years to complete. Unlike undergraduate studies, most course work at this master’s level will be in the major field. Typical classes include an introductory course, as well as classes in transformation, psychosynthesis, research and practical training.

The best programs also require a practicum and either a thesis or a project. In the practicum, master’s students develop practical skills in a supervised setting. Students demonstrate their knowledge of a research method through either their project or a master’s thesis.

What’s Next for Life Coaching Master’s Degree Holders?

Graduates of life coaching master’s degree programs often find work as clinical counselors in mental health clinics or private practices. Life coaches can expect the field to grow over the next decade, and those who directly counsel patients earn a median salary of $40,000 annually, according to the BLS. Others move into supervisory positions where they earn a median salary in excess of $55,000.

Many others choose to continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. While students seeking their doctorate can expect to spend at least another three years earning the advanced degree, there is a good return on that education investment. According to a Georgetown University study, mental health professionals with doctoral degrees earn nearly $1,000,000 more over their lifetimes when compared with those who stop their education with a bachelor’s degree. Graduates of doctoral degree programs can continue to counsel patients, earning a median salary in excess of $65,000. Many others choose to teach others at the university level, earning similar compensation.