starting the process

the process of becoming a lactation consultant can be overwhelming when first looking at the international board of lactation consultant examiners page. thankfully, there are several blog posts and groups on this topic designed to help clarify some of the confusion. do remember that this is an international certification and the requirements are set up in a way to try to make the profession accessible for every country. it is worth noting that much of the guidance you will see on this page has a lens of a us citizen.


[dt_sc_fancy_ul style=”circle-bullet” variation=”cyan”]

  • 14 Health Science Courses
  • 90 Lactation Education Courses
  • 300-1000 Hours Clinical Hours


[dt_sc_fancy_ul style=”circle-bullet” variation=”cyan”]these classes must be completed at an accredited institution of higher learning and have no time limit to accrue them.

  • biology
  • human anatomy
  • human physiology
  • infant & child growth and development
  • introduction to clinical research
  • nutrition
  • psychology OR counseling skills OR communication skills
  • sociology OR cultural sensitivity OR cultural anthropology
  • basic life support
  • medical documentation
  • medical terminology
  • occupational safety & security for health professionals
  • universal safety precautions & infection control


[dt_sc_fancy_ul style=”circle-bullet” variation=”cyan”]must accumulate within 5 years of sitting for the exam. DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CERPS. must be lactation-specific education.

  • 90 hours of lactation education


[dt_sc_fancy_ul style=”circle-bullet” variation=”cyan”]supervised clinical hours are completed via paid or volunteer opportunities under the approved pathways listed on the iblce website. these must be completed within 5 years of applying for the exam.

  • pathway 1 “healthcare professional or peer-to-peer support”: 1000 hours
  • pathway 2 “approved program”: 500 hours
  • pathway 3 “mentorship”: 300 hours


common questions from ibclc candidates

in the united states it is not required to be a registered nurse in order to become an ibclc. the rn license does increase job opportunities, though, as some locations will not hire an ibclc without the nursing license due to liability reasons. this is rooted in nursing being licensed, while not all states have ibclc licensure yet.

the process varies for everyone, with most finishing the process in 2-5 years. the factors that impact the length of time are the number of health science courses completed prior to starting the process, access to clinical hour opportunities, finances for courses, etc.

costs vary for the process as the health science and lactation education courses are offered through a variety of places, and some mentors do charge for pathway 3 hours. the cost to apply for the exam is $660-760 depending on pathway used.

ibclcs are employed in a number of places: private practice, hospitals, doctors offices, schools, research, wic agencies, community organizations, etc.

private practice income may vary (most do not make much by way of self-pay for 2-5 years), $40,000-$75,000 for a full-time position per