Anyone can call himself an ADHD coach. Coaching is not a regulated profession, and there's no government body that oversees the education and certification of ADHD coaches. But studying with a recognized organization and obtaining certification from a well-known and respected accrediting body can lead to a career as a reputable ADHD coach, says coach Nancy Ratey in an interview with Additude Magazine, a publication about living with attention deficit disorders.
Aspiring ADHD coaches need to complete a training program before they can become certified, even if they have a background or graduate training in a mental health-related field. Clinical social workers and psychologists can call themselves ADHD coaches, but that doesn't mean they've completed the necessary training required to become an ADHD coach. Many organizations offer training programs. Some even purport to provide certification after just a few hours of coursework. But any organization can offer a certificate of completion. Prospective coaches should study with a reputable organization, such as the ADD Coach Academy, the Optimal Functioning Institute or the American Coaching Academy.
Reputable ADHD coaches have credentials such as the certified ADHD coach, or CAC, or the senior certified ADHD coach, or SCAC. These credentials are available from the Institute for the Advancement of ADHD Coaching. Other professional coaching organizations offer general credentials for coaches. The International Coach Federation, for example, offers credentials for associate certified coach or professional certified coach. But these credentials don't necessarily mean the coach has participated in coach training specific to ADHD. If you know for sure that you want to specialize in ADHD coaching, obtain the CAC or SCAC.
Associate Certified AD/HD Coach
The associate certified AD/HD coach, or ACAC, is for coaches who already provide professional ADHD coaching. Candidates for this credential can choose from two pathways to certification. Both require candidates to have at least one year of ADHD coaching experience, with at least 100 hours of direct client contact with at least five clients. In addition, both require candidates to have completed 30 hours of ADHD coach training and 60 hours of training in coaching. The first pathway requires candidates to have obtained certification in coaching from their training institute. Candidates who choose the second pathway and haven't received certification from their training institute must also participate in 10 hours of mentor coaching. Both pathways require candidates to pass a recorded oral examination.
Certified AD/HD Coach
Candidates for the CAC credential can also choose two pathways to certification. Both require candidates to be active providers of ADHD coaching. They need to have at least two years of experience, with 500 hours of direct client contact with a minimum of 12 clients. Candidates must also have completed at least 65 hours of ADHD coach training. The first pathway requires coaches to have 60 hours of coach training and certification from their training organization. The second pathway requires candidates who haven't obtained this certification to have completed a minimum of 125 hours of training. Candidates for both pathways must pass a written and oral examination.
Senior Certified AD/HD Coach
SCACs have obtained the highest level of ADHD coaching certification offered by the IAAC. They must have at least five years of ADHD coaching experience. Fifteen hundred hours of direct client contact with at least 20 clients are required -- a maximum of 150 pro bono hours counts toward the experience requirement. They must also have completed 65 hours of ADHD training and 60 hours of general coaching training, with certification or passing competency exams. In addition, they must pass an oral and written examination.