Lactation Management Training: From Novice to Expert

Questions to Ask Considerations How LER Meets This Requirement
How many contact hours does the course provide? IBLCE requires that exam candidates complete 90 hours of lactation education. Although the 90 hours do not have to be acquired in one comprehensive course, such a course would optimally provide coordinated instruction. LER offers a comprehensive in-depth Enriched Lactation Consultant Training Program of 90 hours.
Also available are the Core Phase I and Core Phase II of 45 hours, appropriate for people who have already taken some lactation management training.
How long has the course been offered? Courses that have been taught at least once and are offered on an ongoing basis can be an indication of stability. LER has been offering Lactation Consultant Training Programs since 1990.  The original courses were on-site.  Technology has improved to the point that programs are now offered Online.
What are the credentials of the course director and faculty? A course director who is responsible for course content should be IBCLC re-certified (IBCLC for more than 5 years). Faculty who teach lactation topics should be IBCLC certified. Ask about the academic, clinical, and practical backgrounds of faculty members. Faculty should have deep and broad experience in diverse areas of lactation consultant practice. If there are multiple faculty, ask who will teach the course you are considering. The course director is Vergie Hughes RN MS IBCLC FILCA.  She has been involved in teaching lactation management at all levels (a 1 hour parent’s class to a 90 hour lactation consultant training program) since 1990.  All other instructors are IBCLCs with the exception of the pharmacist who teaches the courses on medications and herbals in breast-milk and the speech pathologist who teaches infant oral anatomy.  The other 10+ instructors are specialists in their topic such as nutrition (PhD), legal aspects of lactation practice (JD), research (PhD).
Does the course provide a detailed description? The course description should include topics to be covered in the course and materials that are provided to students. It should describe any outside work required before, during or after the course such as reading, journaling, research, study modules, or projects. A list of sources for texts and other materials would help students access them. LER offers a course syllabus available at:
Information about suggested course text books is provided upon registration.  All course activities are contained within the web-cast lessons and Live Interactive Learning Sessions.
What types of instruction are provided? A well-designed course will use a mix of learning modes such as discussion, group work, role plays, skits, demonstrations, videos, lecture, etc. Some courses provide a mix of classroom instruction, distance learning, webinars, study modules, required reading, etc. A variety of modes enhances your learning experience and increases retention of the material. LER uses a variety of teaching methods.  Web-cast, videos, pop quizzes, links to relevant web-casts, completion exam, questions and answers via the course forum, email with instructors, case studies and assigned readings. LER also has Live Virtual Teaching Assistants who will be available during Live Interactive Learning Sessions to enrich learning.
How extensive is the course? The course should cover essential areas of the IBLCE grid (which represents areas covered on the
certification exam) and should teach students how to function as a lactation consultant. Students should select a course that complements the specific areas where they need initial instruction or reinforcement.
The Enriched Lactation Consultant Training Program is an in-depth, comprehensive course that covers all of the topics in the IBLCE exam blueprint. We also provide Virtual Teaching Assistants who will present a topic per week in a Live Interactive Learning Session.  The goal of the Enriched Lactation Consultant Training Program is to prepare students to successfully complete the IBLCE Certification Exam as well as to practice as a novice lactation consultant.
Does the course support the lactation consultant profession? The course should promote IBLCE certification, membership in ILCA, and compliance with the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. All students are encouraged to join the professional group, ILCA, and student discount forms are provided for students to enroll in the international group as well as the group in their country.  LER fully supports the WHO Code.
What are the payment policies? The application/registration materials and the course website should clearly state all fees associated with the course, including any separate fees for course materials. Policies regarding late registration, course cancellations, and tuition refunds should also be stated. The course fees indicated are on the website.  No additional fees are necessary.  The course text book may be purchased separately or borrowed from a colleague.
LER offers a refund policy available at:
Terms and Conditions page.
Does the course provide clinical practice? Some courses have affiliations with hospitals and other practice areas where students can obtain supervised clinical experience either during or after the course. Ask if instructors will help you find sites for acquiring your clinical practice hours. Clinical Internships are available through LER at nearly 15 hospitals and outpatient centers in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD area.  LER also has affiliation agreements with selected hospitals throughout the U.S.
Does the course provide an exam? Final or practice exams help the student focus on individual strengths and weaknesses. There is a post-test at the conclusion of each module and a final exam upon completion of the entire course.  The final exam is to verify learning upon completion of the entire course.  It is similar in format to the IBLCE certification exam and is practice for a computerized exam such as the IBLCE exam.
Does the course have formal recognition? The Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC) reviews courses through a voluntary process that grants LEAARC Approval. LER courses are approved by the LEAARC (Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee).  The training program is also approved to offer Nursing Contact Hours by the Virginia Nurses Association, CERPS by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, and CPEUs by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
What happens after the course? Some courses offer follow-up support or mentoring from faculty after the course is finished. Students are welcome to contact LER after the course when they encounter situations they are unsure of.  LER also offers a special Facebook group for graduated students preparing for the IBLCE Certification Exam.
Can I get consumer feedback? Ask if the course will provide names of former students to contact for consumer feedback. This will provide you a perspective from a student’s role in the course. Unsolicited comments from former students are posted on the LER website.  Contact with former students is available upon request.
Considerations for On-site Courses How LER Meets This Requirement
When and where is the course offered? Many courses travel to several locations. If there is not a convenient site in the current year, you can ask about plans for the next year. Not applicable, students may begin their course work at any time.
What is the policy on cancellation? Asking how many sites were canceled for insufficient enrollment in the previous year will help you determine if you can count on the course taking place. Not applicable, course is always available.
What is the limit on class size? Asking how many are currently enrolled will help you know how soon you would need to make your decision. Not applicable
What amenities are included? Learn whether coffee breaks, meals, and other refreshments are provided. If students eat lunch on their own, ask if they provide a list of places to eat. Also ask if they provide information on or assist students in finding reasonable lodging. Not applicable.  Save money on travel expenses, overnight accommodations and meals away from home.
Considerations for Distance / Online courses How LER Meets This Requirement
How is the course taught? Some distance learning is conducted Online and some may be taught through mail or email. Learn how students access materials and complete their assignments. LER courses are completely Online.  No travel required.  All activities of the course are contained in the web-cast lessons and during Live Interative Learning Sessions.  Tech support is provided for students needing computer support. We have a turn around time of less than one business day for tech support requests.
How do students and instructors interact? Does the instructor interact through Online group sessions, individual guidance, telephone, email, postal mail? How and how quickly is instructor feedback returned to the student? Instructors and students interact via the course forum.  Questions are responded to within 24 hours. Students may participate in Live Interactive Learning Sessions which allow for real time discussion of topics.  Students may also call the office.
What are the completion requirements? Learn what the expected time for completion of the course is. What written or verbal reports or work are required? What is the timetable for these reports? Does the course require a final exam? How is the exam proctored and scored? Students have access to the course materials for one year.  Most students complete the program in 3-6 months.  If students need an extension beyond one year, they may purchase an additional year for a nominal fee.  All assignments are completed within the web-cast sessions.  The completion exam is required and must be passed with a 70% score.  It is computerized and on the student's honor.  The exam may be repeated for practice.