If you’re thinking about making a living as a career coach, one of your first questions will likely be, “how much money will I make as a career coach?”  The answer depends on where you want to work and what kind of coaching you will be doing. I have worked as a career coach as both an employee and a business owner for a decade. 

This is how I plan how much I will earn each year in my private career coaching practice.


Who employs career coaches?

Career coaches get employed by companies in both the not-for-profit and profit sector.

Not-for-profit and college or University advising roles tend to be on the lower end, with salaries ranging from $30,000 – $60,000 a year. Some coaches in community resource centres make about $15 an hour.

Some HR firms hire senior-level career coaches for outplacement services. Outplacement is when a company is letting a person go and hires an external company to help the departing employee to deal with the job loss and find a new job. You can get hired as a full-time coach and make $45,000 – $70,000. Most often HR firms hire freelance coaches and pay them between $65 – $185/hour.

How much can you make running your own business?

I make more money (about $120,000/year more) working for myself than when I worked as a career coach for a company. But, each year I set my goal at $50,000 US, which covers my home expenses and a bit of saving. 

One aside: I was never the kind of person who had a big salary. Most of my art jobs were $30k, and even my mid-level corporate jobs were around $52k. So, I’m used to living on little and don’t have huge expenses. I’m grateful for this because the pressure to replace a six-figure salary on a solo coaching business would have been too much for me. 

 I plan my offerings and content strategy to ensure I make this $50k goal. In the past few years, I’ve been able to meet this goal within four months, which gives the rest of the year a lot of freedom.

I prefer to budget low than to budget too high and not enjoy the work. The reason I started my own business was to give myself more freedom. I also love coaching.

I tuck the extra money into savings, some long-term, some short-term so that I can buffer the next year. The cool thing is that if you make double what you plan, you can tuck it into the next year, and not worry about landing clients for a whole year. Imagine what you could build in that time.


It comes down to what kind of life you want coaching to give you.

If you love having an impact on someone’s life, you might be happiest working at a not-for-profit and helping people with multiple barriers to employment to land dreamy jobs. If you’re motivated by high status and a lot of money, you might look to be a director of career services or start your coaching practice. Be honest about what works for you.

Kerri Twigg

Career Coach | Mindfulness and Stories Training for Career Contentment

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