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.
- 14 Health Science Courses
- 90 Lactation Education Courses
- 300-1000 Hours Clinical Hours
- human anatomy
- human physiology
- infant & child growth and development
- introduction to clinical research
- 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
- 90 hours of lactation education
- 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 salary.com