Pathway 1

Pathway 1 is the pathway for health care professionals such as registered nurses, dieticians, social workers, speech therapists, physical therapists and physicians, among other professions.

This pathway is generally for individuals who have already obtained a minimum of 1000 hours of lactation specific clinical experience through paid or volunteer work as a Recognized Health Professional and/or Recognized Mother Support Counselor.

Pathway requirements are determined by the IBLCE. If you have questions about these requirements,  contact the IBLCE at or by telephone at 703-560-7330.

In order to become eligible to apply for the IBLCE board certifying exam, the following components must be completed:


Lactation Specific Education:

90 hours of comprehensive lactation training, which Lactation Education Resources provides exclusively online through our Lactation Consultant Training Program. Our lacatation courses are approved by the Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC), and can be accessed for up to one year after registration. For more information go to: and view our YouTube video.


Health Science - Higher education:

Usually included and completed in your health care professional training. If you have not taken any or all of these courses, they can be obtained through an online college or at the closest community college or university. Click here for additional details.

To review the IBLCE health science course requirements, go to the IBLCE Health Sciences Education Guide.

  • Biology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Infant and Child Growth and Development
  • Introduction to Clinical Research
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology or Counseling or Communication Skills
  • Sociology or Cultural Sensitivity or Cultural Anthropology


Health Science - Continuing education:

  • Basic life support (e.g. CPR) Available at your local hospital, fire department or Red Cross training facility
  • Medical documentation (included in the online LER 90 hour training course)
  • Medical terminology (available through our online IBLCE General Education package)
  • Occupational safety and security for health professionals (in our IBLCE General Education package)
  • Professional ethics for health professionals (included in the LER 90 hour training course)
  • Universal safety precautions and infection control (in our IBLCE General Education package)


Lactation Specific Clinical experience:

1000 hours of experience in a “helper” role with breastfeeding mothers and infants. The experience must be obtained within the 5 years immediately prior to applying for the IBLCE examination. 

Many health care professionals obtain this experience in their paid work in a setting such as a post-partum unit, nursery, pediatric clinic or similar setting. If you have not worked in any of these settings or need additional clinical hours, Pathway 3 might be the best way for you to obtain your clinical experience.

The IBLCE provides a clinical practice worksheet to help you determine how many clinical hours you have generated before applying to take the exam. Go to IBLCE Documents, go under the Guides column, and click on Lactation Specific Clinical Practice Calculator to bring up the Excel spreadsheet. For more information on clinical hour requirements, please contact the IBLCE or call them at 703-560-7330.