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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! Silvia

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.  The Candidate Information Guide is at http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/candidate-information-guide.pdf
  The pathway that you will follow will depend upon your previous education and experience.

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.  

The following tables are a summary of each pathway.  Save or print these charts as a pdf file.

Pathway 1

Education

Lactation Specific Education

Clinical Experience

Education in one of the health sciences:

Dentist

Dietician

Midwife

Nurse, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse

Occupational Therapist

Pharmacist

Physical Therapist

Physiotherapist

Physician, Medical Doctor

Speech Pathologist or Therapist

http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/recognised-health-professions.pdf

 

Certain Mother Support Counselor Organizations fall into this category. Must complete the college level courses listed in Pathway 3.

http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/recognised-mother-support-counsellor-organisations.pdf

 

Continuing education classes in:

Basic Life Support
Medical Documentation
Medical Terminology
Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals
Professional Ethics for Health Professionals
Universal Safety Precautions and Infection Control

https://www.lactationtraining.com/our-courses/online-courses/iblce-additional-general-education-package

 

90 hours of lactation specific training (comprehensive course preferred)

The course should cover all of the disciplines and chronological periods listed on the IBLCE Exam Blueprint http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/iblce-exam-blueprint.pdf

 

1000 hours of hands-on breastfeeding clinical assistance, teaching, coaching, problem solving, probably obtained in your work setting. Does not need to be directly supervised.   Letters of reference required.

Worksheet to calculate clinical hours

http://iblce.org/resources/iblce-documents/

Look for “Lactation Specific Clinical Practice Calculator.

 

 Pathway 1 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUV1dtpa97Y

 

Red indicates courses that Lactation Education Training provides online. http://www.lactationtraining.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pathway 2

Education Lactation Specific Education Clinical Experience

College or University academic program College level courses probably covered in this program

Covered in the academic program

The course should cover all of the disciplines and chronological periods listed on the IBLCE Exam Blueprint http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/iblce-exam-blueprint.pdf

300 hours of hands-on breastfeeding clinical teaching, coaching, problem solving, assistance that is directly supervised.   May be provided in this training

 Pathway 3

Education Lactation Specific Education Clinical Experience

College level courses in:

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

http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/health-sciences-education-guide.pdf

Options for obtaining college level courses

https://www.lactationtraining.com/our-courses/online-courses/iblce-required-college

 

Continuing education classes in:

Basic Life Support
Medical Documentation
Medical Terminology
Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals
Professional Ethics for Health Professionals
Universal Safety Precautions and Infection Control

https://www.lactationtraining.com/our-courses/online-courses/iblce-additional-general-education-package

90 hours of lactation specific training (comprehensive course preferred)


https://www.lactationtraining.com/our-courses/online-courses/lactation-consultant-training-program

The course should cover all of the disciplines and chronological periods listed on the IBLCE Exam Blueprint http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/iblce-exam-blueprint.pdf

 

Pathway 3 video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRnPZb01Zgk

500 hours of hands-on breastfeeding clinical assistance, teaching, coaching, problem solving directly supervised by a IBCLC who has been recertified at least once Prior IBLCE approval required

Details in the Pathway 3 Plan Guide

http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/pathway-3-plan-guide.pdf

http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/pathway-3-plan-verification-form.pdf

 

Pathway 3 internship video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hikZ3qJHgt4

 

Red indicates courses that Lactation Education Training provides online.

 

http://www.lactationtraining.com/

 

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 about where to find an internship in your area.

Lactation Education Resources offers a 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 31, 2014

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

March 31, 2014

Deadline for the 2014 IBLCE certification exam application

All didactic training and clinical experience must be completed

May 31, 2014

Extension deadline for didactic training to be completed. Requires extra fee and signed agreement

http://iblce.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/sample-memorandum-of-understanding.pdf

Apply for the exam by March 31, apply for the extension for the didactic training only.

July 28, 29 or 30, 2014

IBLCE certification exam administration

October 2014

Exam results reported by the IBLCE

Check the IBLCE website to verify this information and for details as they become available www.iblce.org.