Become an IBCLC

How do I Become an IBCLC?

An IBCLC works in a wide variety of settings which may include an inpatient setting, outpatient clinics, or out in the community.  Others may choose to use their IBCLC certification in a variety of other ways including leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research in the lactation field.

An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. An IBCLC is certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE®). The IBLCE has 3 pathways to qualify for their exam.  Each pathway has three requirements: 1) General College Education Courses, 2) 90 hours of Lactation Specific Education and 3) 300-1,000 Lactation Specific Clinical Experience Hours (required hours vary by Pathway). 

OBRC’s Pathway 3 Clinical Training Program

At OBRC, we help prepare the next generation of lactation consultants by providing our own Pathway 3 Clinical Training program. This program helps those who qualify to obtain clinical experience hours through our 4-month, full-time, clinical rotation schedule. Trainees will gain experience in a variety of settings including: inpatient and outpatient areas, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank, as well as clinics out in the community. Completion of the OBRC P3 Program fulfills the clinical training requirement to be eligible to sit for the exam put forth by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) for designation as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant / Registered Lactation Consultant (IBCLC/RLC). 

If you DO NOT work in one of the below facilities where you can obtain on the job clinical practice hours, then our program may be the one for you!  

  • Hospital
  • Birth Center
  • Community Clinic
  • Lactation Care Clinic/Practice
  • Primary Care Practitioner’s Practice/Office

We offer three different rotations:

Winter: January - April  Apply by Oct. 15

Summer: May - August  Apply by Feb. 15

Fall: September - December  Apply by Jun. 15

Click here to see the syllabus for our Pathway 3 Program

Step 1

  • To be eligible, you must review and choose one of three pathways set up by IBLCE. 
  • Pathway 1Pathway 2, or Pathway 3
  • You must meet the criteria through one of these pathways to be eligible to sit for the IBCLC examination.
  • If Pathway 3 is the best fit for you, then you qualify for our Pathway 3 program! Please see steps 2-4 below.

Choosing a pathway...

STILL NOT SURE WHAT PATHWAY IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Contact an IBLCE coordinator who can assist you. Use this directory to find the direct phone number for a coordinator who can assist you. 

Please note that OBRC staff can only answer questions about our pathway 3 program. We cannot provide guidance on pathway 1 or 2 nor can we answer questions about substitutions to the courses required IBLCE to take the exam.

Joining the OBRC Pathway 3 Program

Step 2: Program Commitments

After applying and interviewing, the selected Pathway 3 Trainee, will be required to commit to:

  1. Be able to commit to 4-months, full-time clinical training and assignments.
    • Due to time constraints, we allow only a limited number of emergency days off.

  2. Create an IBCLE account, submit documents provided by OBRC as your Pathway 3 Plan to IBLCE for approval.
  3. Submit documentation of OUHSC required immunizations.
  4. Acquire liability insurance coverage for lactation consultant (once accepted).
    • CM&F is the leader in lactation liability coverage
  5. Pay the OBRC Clinical Lactation Training fee: $1,900.00.
    • Can be paid in monthly installments of $400, $500, $500 & $500
    • Trainees are required to pay one installment (or payment in full) before the first rotation day.

Please note that our program is associated with the OB/GYN Department of the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. This association creates additional fees & requirements similar to those expected of all HSC students, such as parking fees, identification badges, etc.

Step 3: Application Process

Prior to applying,you must complete and have proof of the below:

1.  An associate’s degree or higher.

2.  Proof of the below health education or a recognized health license.

     Health Sciences Education requirements. *Please note that submission of a recognized health license waives the requirement for below courses.

       The following 8 subjects must be taken from an accredited institution of higher learning:

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

      You will also need to complete the below courses/certifications:

  • Basic Life Support (available at your local hospital, fire department or Red Cross training facility)
  • Professional Ethics for Health Professionals
  • Medical Terminology
  • Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals
  • Universal Safety Precautions and Infection Control

3.  Complete 90 hours of Lactation Specific Education.  (We recommend LEAARC, LER and Walden University.)

4. Compete a national background check.

5. Complete a drug screen(Must be done 1-2 months prior to application deadline)

6. Obtain records of OUHSC required immunizations.

7. Use the online application button below to submit proof of all of the above requested documents and pay our application fee of $100.

Step 4: Interview Process

Please allow 7-14 business days for OBRC to contact you regarding your application.

OBRC will review your documents and notify you if you're approved for an interview.

 

At this time, our program allows only one trainee per semester.

Testimonials

I had already been working as an RN in Women's Health when I began thinking about becoming an IBCLC. I decided to do Pathway 3 so that I could get a better understanding of lactation. I'm so thankful that I did! With Pathway 3, I was able to focus solely on lactation rather than trying to learn as well as manage a full patient load.

- M.F. (2019 OBRC Pathway3 Graduate) 


I really enjoyed the pathway 3 program through Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center. I feel that I learned something new every day. I really liked that we got to spend time in labor and delivery, mother baby, NICU, outpatient and at the milk bank.  I felt very prepared in all areas. I enjoyed getting to go to other hospitals and experience the way that they do things. I feel that being a pathway 3 trainee opened up doors for my career and for me to be able to meet my goals as an IBCLC. I met a many different IBCLCs at various hospitals and it has helped me have more connections in the lactation world. Overall I felt very prepared and extremely happy with the pathway 3 program, I have made lifelong friendships and connections and I am very thankful. I would highly recommend the Pathway 3 program through OBRC!

- B.G. (2017 OBRC Pathway3 Graduate)