Where to Start
How can I become a Lactation Consultant?
Congratulations on choosing a career in lactation consulting. I think that you will find that it is a very rewarding field!
The organization that gives the certification exam for lactation consultants is the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). There you will find the 3 pathways to becoming a lactation consultant and other details. Please visit the IBLCE website at www.iblce.org to view the Pathways and the requirements for each. View the key IBLCE documents and the IBLCE Candidate Information Guide. The pathway that you will follow will depend upon your previous education and experience.
Best Wishes to all of our students taking the IBLCE Exam this July!
Becoming a certified lactation consultant requires a combination of training and experience. How much of each depends on your educational background and work experience. To find out details about different 'pathways' to becoming a Lactation Consultant watch our YouTube videos and contact the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). They set the requirements for certification.
See a Summary of the Pathways to becoming an IBCLC.
Learn about the educational and clinical experience required for Pathway 1.
Suggested Timeline for Pathway 1 Candidates
Learn about the educational and clinical experience required for Pathway 2.
Suggested Timeline for Pathway 2 Candidates
Learn about the educational and clinical experience required for Pathway 3.
Which course should I take?
Lactation Education Resources offers an online Lactation Consultant Training Program which is a comprehensive course designed to prepare you for taking the IBLCE certification exam. 90 hours of didactic training is required.
If this is your first exposure to lactation management information and you do not have a medical background, you may want to take the Basics of Lactation Management Self Learning Program to familiarize yourself with the basic materials, and then take the full program. The course on Medical Terminology would also be helpful before beginning your course of study.
Clinical experience is essential in gaining clinical skills. The Internship Program is for those who have taken a comprehensive lactation training course (minimum of 90 hours of continuing education credits) and who wish to gain clinical experience. Internships are available through us in the Washington, DC and Baltimore areas.
Where can I get the clinical experience that is required?
If you are working in a setting where you have contact with new mothers and babies, you can count time that you actually instruct, assist or support breastfeeding activities. For examples, nurses working on a hospital postpartum unit count hours that they teach a breastfeeding class, instruct mothers one-on-one, help mothers with a breast pump, assist with latch-on, etc.
If you do not currently have a position that allows contact with mothers and babies, you may need to volunteer at places such as WIC, your local health department, pediatrician's office, etc. View our YouTube video YouTube Video about where to find an internship in your area.
Lactation Education Resources offers a Clinical Internship Clinical Internship for those who have taken a comprehensive lactation training course and who wish to gain practical experience. Programs of 100 hours or 500 hours are available in the metro DC area.
Where and when is the exam offered?
The IBLCE certification exam is offered at the end of July annually in various locations in the U. S. and several countries around the world. For more details visit http://iblce.org/
IBLCE Exam application deadline is March 2, 2015.
LER offers a Breastfeeding Specialist Certificate that can be used until you have completed all of the requirements for the IBLCE exam.
Do I need to become certified?
Although certification is not a legal requirement, it is the ethical thing to do. By becoming certified you are offering your clients a measure of reassurance that you have achieved a certain level of competence. It also separates you from colleagues who have an interest in breastfeeding support, but have not taken the extra step of becoming certified.
Being certified may give you an advantage in hiring for certain positions.
Where can I find work as a lactation consultant?
Lactation consultants are employed in a number of places including hospitals, NICU's, private practices, pediatric practices and outreach including WIC centers. If you are unfamiliarwith the role of a lactation consultant in various settings, we suggest that you take our course 'Interviews with Lactation Consultants in a Workplace Setting'.
Where can I find out about certification?
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners offers the certification exam each year at the end of July. It is offered in computerized testing centers located in most large cities throughout the U.S. and in many countries around the world. Visit http://iblce.org/ to find out more. Save or print these charts as a pdf file.
Upcoming Dates for the 2015 IBLCE Certification Exam
Please note these deadlines to ensure all required information is approved by the IBLCE so that you can take the exam without problems.