Last updated on September 26th, 2023.
Since Robert Bandler and John Grinder began the practice of neuro-linguistic programming in the 1970s, many people have gone on to study and use the practice, popularly known as NLP, to help people improve their lives. While NLP is considered a “pseudoscientific” field, there is a systematic certification structure one must complete to practice it officially.
An NLP certification is an official document offered by NLP certification bodies proving one’s level of expertise in neuro-linguistic programming. With the certification, one is eligible to help others change their lives by using NLP to provide therapy, further their personal development, improve their communication, and more.
However, for you to achieve an NLP certification, you must meet certain requirements, complete the required lessons, and pass in-course evaluations as well as a final test. Read on to discover more about the NLP certification.
Check out this article on NLP examples so you can know if it’s right for you.
What is an NLP Certification?
An NLP is a certification you can receive after completing a set of lessons that delve into neuro-linguistic programming techniques that proves you are studied in NLP and can practice it.
Commonly, you’ll receive this certification from the following NLP certification bodies:
- The Association for NLP (see here)
- The American Board of Hypnotherapy and NLP (see here)
- The International NLP Trainers Association (see here)
- The International Trainers Academy of NLP (see here)
- The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (see here)
If you obtain a certificate from the above widely-recognized organizations, you can practice NLP anywhere in the world. Although they differ in their accreditation protocols, they all assign the same types of NLP certifications.
Types of NLP Certifications
Like diplomas, degrees, and other professional achievements, each certification in NLP gives you a distinct edge in the market. This way, you can measure the level of expertise someone may have based on the certifications they’ve acquired.
It can take you as short as a weekend to achieve an introductory certification in NLP. Although the depth of the information you cover is different with varying training bodies, you usually get the general view of NLP methodologies.
Commonly, most people take these courses to test their interest in NLP, build on the foundation of the 4 Pillars of NLP and also learn some techniques for personal development. However, some usually feel that once they get this introductory certificate, they can train others or use it in coaching businesses.
While this isn’t entirely false, a better understanding of NLP for a proper competitive edge requires a higher-level certificate. That’s why it’s vital to find out what you’re getting out of the particular course you are taking, so you know it matches the certificate uses you have in mind.
A certification that approves you as an NLP practitioner declares to the world that you’re capable of helping others achieve their goals through neuroscience discoveries and other methodologies you were trained in.
Generally, you’ll need to cover more than 120 hours of lessons to achieve a practitioner level of certification. This will also include an ongoing evaluation of your acquired skills and end with a final exam that shows your proficiency in all the sectors.
NLP practitioners apply their education to their careers in various ways. Some become professional coaches, while others merge it with other skills to provide consultancy services. Some merely do it for personal development.
To receive a master practitioner certification, you need to go through the practitioner training first. This level of certification resembles a master’s program after attaining a degree in college.
A master practitioner course can take around 120 hours to complete. It takes you through advanced NLP approaches with more complicated languages for a deeper understanding of the subject. Furthermore, you are exposed to more insights on other psychological methodologies that may come in handy with your practice.
As a master NLP practitioner, you can create more solutions tailored to your clients’ needs based on your in-depth and multifaceted understanding. With this certification, you can ask for higher pay than practitioners since you’re likely to provide more value.
After taking the practitioner and master practitioner courses, you may desire to teach others how to attain similar certifications. If this is what you want, you’ll have to attain a trainer certification under the teaching of a master trainer.
A full trainer course may take at least 120 hours to finish. However, before you’re given a certificate, you have to display a deep understanding of both the practitioner and master practitioner techniques.
You’ll learn effective teaching and presentation skills concerning the delivery of the NLP methodologies to students and their clients as well. Your trainer has to see the way you can shift from one role to another with ease and accuracy before they approve you on this level.
If you want a certification for teaching in all NLP levels, you’ll have to pursue a master trainer certification. There are only a few with this certification in the entire world, and it takes more than 130 hours of rigorous training to get it.
After NLP certification bodies’ continuous collaboration with the UK Leadership Forum, they were able to come up with a Master Trainer Criteria that can be used to ensure consistency and reliability in the field.
All master trainers must:
- Complete a recognized Master Trainer course or go through a Professional Assessment offered by authorized master trainers.
- Demonstrate their roots in the work of NLP founders.
- Possess a certificate signed by certified master trainers with roots in Bandler and Grinder’s work.
- Have at least three years of experience since acquiring their trainer’s certification.
- Have trained at least three trainers and other professionals in lower NPL levels.
- Provide proof of their contribution to the NPL community in the form of research or publications.
Most master trainers enjoy the educational part of neuro-linguistic programming. They like going deeper into the subjects to not only provide solutions to their clients but also explore untapped theories that could be applied to make the practice better.
How to Get an NLP Certification
The first step to attaining an NLP certification is finding a course that suits your needs, preferences, and reasons for taking the course. You can even find NLP certification courses online! If it’s for general interest and personal development, some simple online courses or systematically taught seminars would suffice.
However, if you wish to become an NLP professional, the best way is to find training that’ll provide a globally-approved NLP certificate.
Here are qualities to look for when choosing a certification program:
- Accreditation: Check the certificates issued by the training body. They should be signed by one or both NLP founders so you can be universally desirable in the field, especially if you want to use yours professionally.
- Experience of the trainer: Check how long the trainer has been in the field because generally, the longer they’ve practiced, the better trainer they will be.
- Length of the course: The time it takes to finish the course will mostly determine its worth. For instance, it’s unrealistic to become a practitioner over one weekend of training.
- Reviews and testimonials: Check if the training helps its students get the outcome promised and whether it matches your needs.
- Communication methods: A more interactive training is more effective than one that involves reading texts and taking a test as if it were an NLP book.
- Free trial: You might need this to determine whether spending money on the entire course is worth it.
Here are some reputable online courses we recommend:
- INLP Center Online NLP Training Plus (see here): This course is globally accredited by the International Coach Federation and International NLP Association.
- NLP Practitioner Certificate Course (Beginner to Advanced) (see here): If you want to improve yourself or your profession through Achology limited, this is the best course you’ll find online. Although major bodies do not accredit it, it can help you showcase your skills without spending a fortune.
An NLP certification enables you to declare your knowledge of the subject and your ability to help others. If NLP is not for you, there are other options the out there, such as: life coach certifications online or becoming a certified mental health counselor.
Depending on your needs, you can get your certification anywhere. However, the best certifications are issued by recognized NLP certification bodies and are approved by at least one of the two founders of NLP. With the insights you’ve gained in this article, you can choose a suitable training body and get the certification you need.
The Global Association of NLP (see here)
nlpcoahing (see here)
NLP.Techniques (see here)
Coaching Academy (see here)
NLP (see here)