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10 Best ICF Coaching Certification Programs

Coaching is for everyone and that is why now there are more coaches in the world than ever before, as well as raising doubts about what makes a successful coach. This is where certificates come into play. Certifications are a useful tool for swiftly determining who has the qualifications to execute a specific job. 

ICF Coaching Certification Programs

Of course, they aren’t failsafe, but they provide a quick way to comprehend and communicate who is competent. With a 6.7 percent annual growth rate, life coaching is the second strongest global industry. By 2022, it is expected to be a $20 billion global industry.

Enrolling in a life coach certification course is the best way to get started if you want to become a life coach. 

Everything you do is tied to your career, your finances, your relationship, your lifestyle, and your mental health

If you choose the wrong career, you will have a miserable existence. It’s critical to make the proper decision at the right time. A life coach certification is a course that will help you prepare to become a qualified life coach and begin your career. Online certificates are ideal for gaining relevant skills and competences without having to leave your existing employment. There are no rigorous requirements for enrollment. 

You can participate in any life coach online certification program even if you don’t have a suitable degree or expertise. Another element that makes these certifications ideal is the ability to work at your own pace.

In this article we will discuss the top 10 best ICF Coaching Certification Programs. But before we get into the top 10 best ICF Coaching Certification Programs, it’s important to understand what an ICF certification program is and how it works. So, first, we’ll go over some of the fundamentals of ICF Coaching Certification and how it works, and then we’ll go through the top 10 best ICF Coaching Certification Programs.

Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

What is an ICF coach certification program?

“The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the global standard for coach certifications in the coaching profession. ICF Coach Training and ICF Coach Certification are essential for people who want to be acknowledged and seen as specialists.”

In the world of coaching, no certifications are more well-known and well-respected than the International Coaching Federation (ICF) certifications. ICF has around 41,500 members in 147 countries and territories as of July 2020.

In 1995, the company was established. ICF promotes professional coaching standards around the world and offers independent certification for professional coaches and coach training programs through ICF Training Program Accreditation. They provide multiple levels of certification to interested and experienced coaches. There are 30,079 coaches with one of three ICF Credentials in 130 countries and territories as of July 2020,16,898 Associate Certified Coaches (ACC), 11,946 Professional Certified Coaches (PCC), and 1,235 Master Certified Coaches (MCC).

In 2011, the ICF and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) spearheaded the charge in submitting a charter to the European Union outlining how the coaching and mentoring profession can remain self-regulated across Europe.

In the life coaching sector, an ICF is regarded as the “gold standard.” You obtain quick global recognition and reputation after earning your ICF credential, which would take years to attain without it. Coach training programs are available all around the world, including top university programs, so you may transform your coaching goal into a reality with a credential to prove it.

When you obtain an ICF certification, you are demonstrating to potential clients and other interested parties that you have invested the time and effort necessary to become expert at your craft. ICF imposes instant credibility on its members as the world’s biggest association of professionally trained coaches, and it is dedicated to provide member coaches with the skills and resources they need to thrive in their careers.

Certified coaches who have met academic and experience standards and proven to have a thorough comprehension of the coaching skills that set a standard in the field are awarded ICF certifications. A coach’s commitment to ethics, expertise and mastery of coaching skills, and dedication to clients is demonstrated by earning credentials from the ICF.

The ICF Coaching Certification Program is mainly designated for:

➢ Those seeking to become professional coaches in a private practice
➢ Managers who want to enhance their innate coaching skills to fundamentally improve their organization’s talent retention and relationship with employees
➢ Internal trainers and organizational development professionals charged with training other managers and sharing their coaching expertise
➢ Near-retirees preparing for a rewarding career they can pursue for many years to come
➢ Practicing coaches who want to take their certification to a higher level
➢ Individuals desiring to enhance their personal relationships

• ICF Certification Levels:

There are 3 ICF certification levels that are offered to the members of ICF, Associate Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Master Certified Coach (MCC). All of these levels have similar requirements, with the main differences between them being the training hours, the coaching hours, and the credential level of the coach mentoring you. Each level of certification has its own set of requirements which are given below:

1. For Associate Certified Coach (ACC):

• Coaches receive 60 hours of special education.

• Client coaching experience of 100 hours.

• Performance evaluation after 10 hours of work with a competent Mentor Coach.

• Fees are $100 for ICF members and $300 for non-members.

2. For Professional Certified Coach (PCC):

• Coaches receive 125 hours of curriculum and instruction.

• 500 hours of coaching experience with clients.

• Performance evaluation after 10 hours of work with a competent Mentor Coach.

• Fees are $300 for ICF members and $500 for non-members.

3. For Master Certified Coach (MCC):

• Coaches receive 200 hours of curriculum and instruction.

• 2500 hours of coaching experience with clients.

• Performance evaluation after 10 hours of work with a competent Mentor Coach.

• Fees are $575 for ICF members and $775 for non-members.

How does ICF Coaching Certification Work?

The International Coach Federation offers a number of standards for aspiring coaches who want to become certified coaches. These criteria are rather difficult for aspiring coaches, particularly when contrasted to the “sit-through-and-get-certified” courses. These boundaries, on the other hand, are there for a reason. When a client is looking for a coach, they will benefit from employing one who is ICF certified because it eliminates a lot of the research they would have to do otherwise.

To apply for any of three levels of ICF coaching certification you will have to fulfill following five requirements:

  • The completion of ICF-approved training is the initial criterion.

There are a variety of authorized coach certifications to choose from, but in general, your coaching knowledge should include at least 60 documented hours of training for Associate level credentials (ACC Associate Certified) and more than twice that for Professional level credentials coach specific training hours (PCC Professional Certified). Only a quarter of those hours can be interrupted.

That means that you cannot have more than 12 hours of self-study or other tasks that do not entail a regular contact with your teacher, even if you enroll in one of the online coaching programs available by ACC, for example. The ICF Core Competencies should be the emphasis of your time with your instructor.

  • The second criterion is that you must have coached at the level of qualifications that you desire.

That is a difficult task. While the coach certification program will provide you with instruction, only practice will allow you to hone your skills and gain confidence in your ability to coach at the level required by the ICF.

  • The third criteria is that any candidate works for at least 10 hours with a mentor coach, with at least 3 hours spent in one-on-one sessions with your mentor. 

Although the mentoring strategy may vary per program, it is fair to presume that you and your mentorship will work on improving your coaching skills and preparing your recordings for submission to ICF if necessary.

  • The fourth condition is that candidates have a certain number of coaching hours under their belt before applying. 

Any ICF accreditation requires a certain number of hours of coaching. They demonstrate applicants’ experience, as competences are developed via practice rather than attending lectures and reading books. It’s also worth noting that at least 80% of these practice coaching hours should be compensated. Yes, you should have genuine customers who are willing to spend real money for your services.

The amount of time required varies drastically depending on the level. For the Associate Coach certification, you must have a minimum of 100 hours of coaching experience, with at least 80 of those hours being paid. The bar is significantly higher for the Professional Certified Coach PCC level, which is 500 hours. Master Coach qualifications are out of this world; one must have 2,500) hours of coaching experience.

  • Finally, passing the ICF’s own Coaching Knowledge Assessment is requirement number 5.

The Coach Information Assessment (CKA) is a technique that the International Coach Federation (ICF) uses to assess coaches’ grasp of key knowledge and abilities in coaching. The CKA assesses coaches’ knowledge of the coaching body of knowledge, which includes the ICF definition of coaching, Core Competencies, and Code of Ethics. The test isn’t difficult in and of itself, and you have plenty of time to finish it. Let’s speak about the numerous paths you might follow to become an ICF accredited coach. It appears to be extremely matter-of-fact and anchored on your training.

What are the best ICF Coaching Certification Programs?

The top life coach certification program will include a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of life coaching. Some may offer training in niche areas like business coaching or care and health coaching. The International Coach Federation has also granted them accreditation (ICF). Because the coaching sector is unregulated, you may be as creative as you want. The thing is, whether we like it or not, having a great certificate under the belt makes ICF Programs look more professional, legit, polished in knowledge, and an expert in the business.

In the mid-2000s, when coaching was still in its development, only a few coach training programs could offer to completely equip an aspiring coach with the knowledge, abilities, and confidence to take on their own clients. According to some estimates, over 1000 Innovative coach training programs are currently available around the world, with more being added each year.

Despite the fact that each program has passed the ICF’s academic rigour and Code of Ethics, not all programs are created equal. It might be hard for an aspiring life coach seeking for the ideal certification program to choose from all of these institutions in order to discover one that has the correct balance of value, reputation, talented teachers, and real-world applicability.

Now ICF certification is found in many of the programs offered. As a result, it’s possible that it’ll be more expensive than you expected. On the other hand, there are more economical options, however keep in mind that a $15 course is clearly not comparable to a $2500+ ICF certified program.

There are a variety of life coach certifications available online. While the majority of them are recognized programs, they are all unique and have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s talk about the top 10 best ICF Coaching Certification Programs now!

  1. Newfield Network:

The first Certification program on our list is Coaching for Personal and Professional Mastery from Newfield Network. Personal coaching is only for those who require it in their personal lives, even if this usually extends towards their professional lives.

 Professional business coaching, on the other hand, involves the coach working with the client or clients to help them improve in their own unique methods. Newfield Network provides coaching certifications for both personal and professional mastery in ontological ways. 

The premium 8-month curriculum at Newfield contains 125 student teaching hours, personal coaching and master coaching. Ontological coaching in Newfield is one of the most powerful transformation approaches accessible today, for both personal and corporate transformation. Ontological coaching is a technique that helps people to see new possibilities in their lives.

  1. George Mason University Coaching Program:

In GMU, Professional Certificate in Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being Program is targeted for business professionals who want to make a positive difference in their teams’ and organizations’ cultures. 

Strengths-based techniques and methodologies, as well as revolutionary activities that enhance self-awareness, create coaching presence, and support organizational well-being, are emphasized in Mason coaching. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) criteria and coaching skills are met through this experiential program, which includes a competence and research-based curriculum. 

The Advanced Coaching curriculum is based on the unique requirements of today’s government and business leaders. It was designed and developed in partnership with George Mason University’s Executive and Professional Education by the Center for the Advancement of Well-Leading Being’s to Well-Being education professionals.

Mason’s online courses are designed to involve as few face-to-face interactions as possible, allowing students to learn at home, when stationed abroad, or while on the road. While at home, stationed overseas, or travelling, students can take the same classes offered on campus in an online version. Programs and courses maintain the same academic rigour and integrity as their on-campus equivalents while allowing you to tailor them to your specific requirements. 

Many of the programs are entirely online. You will learn from famous and well-connected instructors who are invested in your academic and career success. At George Mason University, success coaching and academic advising are important aspects of the educational and developmental process that help students succeed. Mason is dedicated to helping students achieve holistic success in their academic, career, and personal lives by connecting them to campus resources and assisting them in setting and achieving academic, career, and individual ambitions.

  1. CoachRICE Certification from Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders:

In collaboration with the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, the Doerr Institute for New Leaders (DINL) is delivering a rigorous and International Coach Federation (ICF) approved curriculum that allows participants to develop and expand their coaching skills. The CoachRICE training program employs a range of instructional methods to provide a practical skill set while adhering to Rice University’s theoretical curriculum standards. 

Participants will improve their leadership abilities as well as their capacity to help others acquire leadership skills. Participants will study techniques that blend cooperation, creativity, and kindness of becoming a founder agent of change for various clients through condensed curriculum content. If you want to get certified as a coach through the International Coach Federation (ICF) after CoachRICE, here’s what you need to know: Take advantage of their Advanced Training Package and save $400 on a Leadership Coaching Program. For $7,225, you can get both 60 hours of coach training and 10 hours of mentor coaching.

The professional four-month program provides participants with 80 hours of coach-specific instruction and prepares them to apply for the ACC accreditation.. The curriculum combines a professional coaching competence with Rice University’s rigorous academic standards using a range of instructional approaches. The CoachRICE programme will teach you how to grow your team members and high-potential leaders while also boosting your business as a whole. 

Participants will receive a Rice Certificate of Achievement after successfully completing the program, which verifies completion of the 80 hours of coach-specific instruction and praxis required for the International Coaching Federation’s (ICF) Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential application.

  1. Coach School Certified Professional Program:

The Center for Coaching Certification LLC, its parent firm Effect Services LLC, and its founder Cathy Liska own this program. Other trainers are self-employed and have no vested interest in the company. The Center for Coaching Certification LLC owns the intellectual property for the curriculum and materials. 

The participant acknowledges that the contents will not be shared, replicated, duplicated, or otherwise reproduced for the use of anyone other than the class student, and that the content will not be used for training programs The students’ classes are registered. Records are also utilized for trainers’ internal training, accreditation organizations’ periodic audits, and, on rare occasions, for students in other classes whose recordings are poor. 

By registering for a class, you are agreeing to these recording purposes. Under the ICF ACSTH program the Certified Professional Coach (CPC) training course provides 60 hours of coach training. This course is for aspiring professional life coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, and business coaches. Participants come from a variety of industries, including corporate executives, managers, and educators, to learn more about professional coaching abilities and processes. 

This course equips coaches to help their clients realize their full potential and overcome self-limiting beliefs. Coaches can use their Certified Professional Coach training to obtain a higher level of awareness, develop self-sustaining and motivational action plans, and change their coaching style.

  1. Life Purpose Institute Coaching Certification Program:

The Life Purpose Coach certification is an introductory course that allows you to expand your coaching career by offering specialist coaching based on life purpose. Certification Programs for Life Coaches will help you become a Certified Life Coach. Here you will learn how to coach in the areas of relationships, health, life transitions, job, and life balance. After the training, you’ll get continuous help with your Life Coach company promotion.

Foundation programs all feature the same curriculum and include 60 hours of instruction. However, you can choose from a variety of formats to find one that best fits your schedule and teaches you at a pace that is comfortable for you.

• 5-day online intensive with four online follow-up classes
• 5-day in-person intensive with four online follow-up seminars
• 3-month online program with twice-weekly 2-hour sessions
• 6-month online program with weekly 2-hour sessions

It’s safe to assume that the majority of people who pursue a life coach certification do so in order to coach others. Investing in a course for the sake of self-development, on the other hand, is frequently worthwhile. 

Check out the Life Purpose Life Coach Certification. if you want to acquire some life coaching skills and experience to implement with your own life. This is a brief, condensed course aimed at helping you discover your life’s mission. Finding the answer to this question might elicit feelings of inspiration, courage, motivation, and resolve, all of which are desirable attributes. You might find yourself using your life coach certification to assist others as well. 

This course costs $169.99, however it is frequently on sale for a fraction of the cost. You’ll gain unlimited access to more than 7 hours of being on video from Transformation Services, as well as a life coach certification.

  1. The CaPP Institute Certification Program:

The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) InstituteTM provides existing and prospective coaches with the academic and fundamental tools they need to excel in their career, whether in private practice or leading and growing teams in a corporate context. They give their clients the tools they need to attain certain goals, such as advancing in their careers, strengthening relationships, conquering fear, and realizing personal ambitions. 

They use positive psychology to focus and filter our products, providing you the ability to better comprehend and adapt to your clients’ needs. The scientific study of what happens if people go well in life is known as positive psychology. Become one of the hundreds of CaPP graduates who have received the training they require:

• Raise the standard on your coaching abilities.
• Every time you coach a client, be effective.
• Make use of research-based evidence-based training.
• Learn specific tactics for accelerating a client’s and your company’s success.
• Learn the essential skills for developing a successful business while assisting others in attaining greatness in both work and life.

The Coach Training Intensive is a three-day program that gives you the structure to develop powerful coaching sessions that encourage actual change, “aha” experiences, transparency, and significant results every time you coach. 

You’ll gain the confidence and expertise you need to coach customers, team members, staff, and others to the outcomes they need when confronted with their most difficult issues and opportunities. Whether you’re a full-time coach, leader, director, psychologist or counsellor, educator, consultant, or a professional seeking a new skill set, Capp will provide you with the structure and resources to assist major shifts and transformations.

  1. Executive Coaching Certification by Center for Executive Coaching:

The Center for Executive Coaching (CEC) is a prominent coach training and certification institution for individuals interested in working as coaches to leaders, executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, managers, and up-and-coming talent. Numerous coach training programs are not geared to teach members regarding market demands and how to design solutions that provide clients with realistic, measurable results. 

The CEC is an outlier. They concentrate on realistic, market-driven solutions that provide clients with measurable results. They’ve taught 1,000 coaches from 32 nations in the last ten years. Members have immediate access to our acclaimed toolset of best leadership frameworks, which they may use right away. These frameworks have gotten such positive feedback that they were named a best practice in the industry by the World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS).

The International Coach Federation has fully approved them as an ACTP, and also offers CEUs through the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). They have a limited and exclusive curriculum, with no or more than 30 participants at any given time. The program’s compact size helps to focus on YOUR unique goals while receiving the assistance you need to flourish. 

Their strategy is practical, results-oriented, market-driven, and dependable. They go above and beyond the key skills of the International Coaching Federation, have a royalty-free license to two dozen best leadership toolkits, and offer customised support from a fantastic network of coaches.

  1. Fast Track to ICF Credential by Coaching Out of the Box:

Coaching Out of the Box offers workshops and resources for companies and communities that want to learn transferrable coaching skills in a fun, interactive, and experiential method that they can apply right away in their job. 

All of Coaching Out of the Box’s programs and products are created by ICF Master Certified Coaches, who are thought leaders and innovators in the field of applied coaching. Their project team includes numerous worldwide coaching educators who have taught thousands of experienced coaches on each and every region and have made significant contributions to the global spread of coaching.

All of the programs you’ll need to earn the needed 60 hours of Approved Coach Specific Training Hours for ACC accreditation, as well as 7 hours of group mentor coaching, are included in the Fast Track to ICF Credential package. Three hours of 1:1 mentor coaching is included in the Fast Track to ICF Credential, a value of $675 CDN / $575 USD.

  1. Holistic Life, Career & Executive Coach Training by Goal Imagery:

Holistic coaching enables a person to achieve their maximum potential in all aspects of their lives, including the intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects. The focus is on the actual application of ICF core competencies from the standpoint of coaching mastery, with just 10 participants in each class and 2.5-hour weekly classes. 

Positive psychology/strength-based coaching, emotional maturity (EM), cognitive science coaching, ontological coaching, adult learning, change theories, social cognitive theories, use of metaphors, imagery, and NLP are just a few of the coaching specializations and approaches covered in the learning.

A Holistic Health Coach is a certified expert who helps customers improve their health by using an inclusive framework to nutrition and lifestyle modifications. They will examine their customers’ eating habits, relationships, physical fitness, spirituality, and other factors in order to help them live a healthy life.

  1. Certified Coach Credential by Academy of Creative Coaching:

The Academy of Creative Coaching (ACC) is an ICF-approved training course that maintains the industry’s eleven core strengths and coaching code of conduct to provide students with the skills they need to help others set and achieve aspirations. Dr. Pamela Larde and Dr. Sonayia Shepherd created ACC in 2013 with the goal of creating a curriculum that combines the academic rigour of a degree program with the personality experiences of a series of lessons.

Because the International Coach Federation (ICF) has recognized the Academy of Creative Coaching certification course, graduates can apply for an ICF certification after obtaining coach-specific training. For the ACC credential, coaches must document at least 100 hours of professional client managerial experience, and for the PCC credential, they should log at least 500 hours of professional client coaching experience. 

After completing at least 60 hours of coach-specific training, their graduates are urged to join the ICF. Opportunities to join local chapters, develop leadership skills, attend conferences around the world, use the coach referral service, apply for an ICF credential, and use the ICF Career Centre are just a few of the perks of participation.

The following are some of the program requirements at ACC:

• Coach-specific training of 60 or 125 hours (includes independent study hours)
• Mentor tutoring for 10 hours with written feedback
• Evaluation of performance

Students who finish our 60-hour course have completed the required training hours to submit for the International Coach Federation’s Associate Coach Credential (ACC). Students who finish the 125-hour course have completed enough training hours to submit for the International Coach Federation’s Professional Coach Credential (PCC).

What are the benefits of ICF Coaching Certification Programs?

These are some benefits of enrolling in ICF Coaching Certification Programs:

➢ You’ll empower yourself with critical knowledge, skills, and techniques that have been proved to benefit your clients if you choose a program with ICF certification. You’ll also be more equipped to handle challenges, deal with difficult people, and assist your clients in achieving realistic and quantifiable goals.

➢ Your accreditation may also help you acquire more clients. You wouldn’t go to a doctor or dentist who wasn’t licensed, and some clients will be hesitant to choose a coach who hasn’t completed any formal training. Completing an ICF-approved or recognised course will allow you to list it among your qualifications, increasing your reputation with many potential clients.

➢ Coaches who complete ICF-accredited coach training programmes benefit both personally and professionally. Professional coaches have been taught to overcome any difficulties as well as deal with a diverse range of client types.

➢ Coaches with ICF certifications earn a lot of money since more people want to work with recognized professionals. Clients have confidence in the accredited coach’s ability to assist them in realizing their full potential.

Innovation coach training programs teach coaches how to prioritise their clients’ problems or needs and conduct meaningful dialogues with them.

➢ Innovative coach training programs provide comprehensive tools that enable coaches to advance in their careers and expand their global network as certified coaches.

➢ Finally, finishing an ICF-accredited course qualifies you to join the ICF. Members of the community get access to ICF tools and journals, as well as information about professional development opportunities and savings on conferences and local events, so you can keep growing as a certified coach and expand your network.

How can you Choose the right ICF Coaching Certification Program for you?

There are other paths to becoming a professional coach, but the certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF) is widely recognized as the “gold standard” of coach training programs. How do you navigate the different ICF Certification courses to ensure that the one you choose is perfect for you?

Here are some tips which will help you to choose the right ICF coaching certification program for you!

  • The most important element to evaluate is the faculty’s credibility. Always choose a professor with a PCC or MCC certificate to ensure that you are learning the skills appropriately. This is especially important when it comes to applying for certification and passing the ICF oral exam. If the professor does not clearly state that he is ICF-certified, double-check his credentials on the ICF website.
  • Is it possible for you to speak with your coach? Check with the institute or program provider to see whether a call with your ‘potential’ mentor is possible. Speaking with the person who will be training you will ensure that you are not in the hands of inexperienced individuals, and you will have a point of contact in the event that you are assigned a different module or trainer.
  • Must consider that faculty should also be practicing coaches so that they may share their knowledge and wisdom obtained from this experience with you. Because culture has such a strong influence on coaching, be sure your faculty understands and embraces your culture and its quirks. They should be aware of how your coaching techniques and talents are tailored to your particular culture.
  • There is usually a group of people who are known to exchange resources from time to time. It is not only necessary for information sharing, but it is also an excellent technique to approach business relationships. If a program connects you with professionals in your field and assists you in expanding your network at the start of your career, it is the perfect coaching source for you.
  • Getting the ICF certificate requires more than just completing the minimum training hours. Completion of logged coaching hours (100 hours for the ACC, 750 hours for the PCC) and mentor coaching are the final two steps. Mentor Coaching is a prerequisite of the ICF, and you must spend 10 hours with an ICF credentialed coach who will mentor you for the oral test. You should receive a reference letter at the conclusion of the mentor coaching, which you must submit with your exam and certification application. Mentor Coaching is a service provided by some training programs. Purchasing this individually will significantly increase the cost of your training. So, check to see if the package you’ve been provided includes 10 hours of coaching.


In this article we have come to know about the top 10 best ICF Coaching Certification Program and their basics quite comprehensively. Our strong verdict is that if you want to continue your career as a consultant you must have an ICF Certification. Becoming an ICF Certified Coach can help you meet business objectives, obtain more corporate customers, and build a corporate client pipeline. As a result, if you want to discover more customers in the Leadership and Executive Coaching arena, you should pursue ICF Coaching certification. We hope that this guide will help you in your coaching career, thank you for reading.

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2 thoughts on “10 Best ICF Coaching Certification Programs”

  1. I am a teacher of 20 years. I have worked with special Ed and special needs. I have my masters. I want to add life coaching to provide therapy for my troubled students. I would want to obtain this by September to be available at the beginning of the school year. I want to be able to get certified online.


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