Become an IBCLC

How do I Become an IBCLC?

Do you want to make a positive impact on the lives of those around you? Do you love working with mothers and babies? Do you want to get babes and moms on the best start for a healthy life? Then becoming an IBCLC may be for you! We suggest that you read the below articles to help you understand the role of an IBCLC.

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®), independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE)

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.

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners 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)

Visit the IBLCE website to review the pathways and decide which one fits your background the best.

Below is a brief overview of the three different options:

 

Pathway Overviews

Pathway 1

Pathway 1 IBCLC candidates must practise as a Recognised Health Professional or provide breastfeeding support through a Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation. In the
case of applicants who provide breastfeeding support through a Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation, they must have completed the 14 subjects set forth in the Health Sciences Education Guide. Additionally, all Pathway 1 candidates must have the following:

  • Minimum of 90 hours of lactation specific education within the five years immediately prior
    to examination application.
  •  If applying for the April 2021 examination or beyond, an additional five (5) hours of
    education focused on communication skills. Preferably these five hours will be directly related to
    lactation and breastfeeding care, but this is not a requirement.
  • Minimum of 1000 hours of lactation specific clinical practise in an appropriate supervised setting within the five years immediately prior to examination application.
    • Clinical practise is to be obtained in an appropriate supervised setting, to include the
      following:
      o Hospital
      o Birth Centre
      o Community Clinic
      o Lactation Care Clinic/Practice
      o Primary Care Practitioner’s Practice/Office.
    • Clinical practise hours can be earned through independent practise as a licensed/registered healthcare professional in non-healthcare settings.
    • For clinical practise, breastfeeding support counsellors from a Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation, clinical hours must be earned in a delivery setting which meets the following criteria:
      o Provide structured training programmes for their counsellors which include comprehensive education in breastfeeding and lactation management
      o Have a Code of Ethics or Professional Conduct
      o Provide structured supervision for counsellors, with an appropriate level of training
      o Provide a continuing education programme for counsellors
    • Please note: Candidates associated with an IBLCE Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation are to earn clinical hours on an hour-per-hour basis. Please reference the IBLCE  Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation on the IBLCE website for detailed implementation information.
    •  Whether a Recognised Health Professional or a breastfeeding support counsellor from a
      Recognised Support Counsellor Organisation, the 1000 hours does not need to be directly supervised.
  •  Adherence to, with attestation, the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs.

Pathway 2

Pathway 2 IBCLC applicants must complete a comprehensive academic programme in human lactation and breastfeeding that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or another accrediting body with equivalent accreditation standards for lactation academic programmes. The programme must be accredited at the time of the candidate’s completion.

These comprehensive lactation academic programmes are university or college-based, include both didactic and clinical components, and require health sciences education, whether as a prerequisite or as education which must be earned concurrently, prior to completion of the academic programme.

All Pathway 2 applicants, via their lactation academic programme, must have:

  •  Minimum of 90 hours of lactation specific education within the five years immediately prior
    to examination application.
  •  If applying for the April 2021 examination or beyond, an additional five (5) hours of education focused on communication skills. Preferably these five hours will be directly related to lactation and breastfeeding care, but this is not a requirement.
  •  Minimum of 300 hours of directly supervised lactation specific clinical practise within the five years immediately prior to examination application.

o The IBCLC(s) providing the direct supervision must be currently certified IBCLCs in good standing.

Pathway 2 IBCLC applicants must have completed the accredited lactation academic programme within the five years immediately prior to their examination application. Only these specific programmes are eligible.

Each academic programme has unique admission and completion requirements. You must contact the schools directly for more information about their precise requirements. For a listing of Pathway 2 programmes visit the CAAHEP website and select “Lactation Consultant” in the “Profession Name” search field.

Pathway 3

  • Pathway 3 candidates demonstrate completion of the required college level general education courses, the continuing education courses and lactation-specific education.
  • Pathway 3 is also appropriate for healthcare professionals who cannot acquire the necessary breastfeeding management experience on the job (e.g. an RN who works in the ICU).

Pathway 3 mentorship is a structured, defined relationship between an applicant and IBCLC(s) which must be preapproved. The mentorship must be developed according to the specifications found in the Pathway 3 Plan Guide, and the certification status of the IBCLCs serving as mentors must be verified by IBLCE prior to beginning the mentorship. All Pathway 3 Plans MUST be verified by IBLCE through an application process (which includes a fee) PRIOR to earning clinical hours for this Pathway.

In addition to the Health Sciences Education courses, Pathway 3 candidates must complete:

  • Minimum of 90 hours of lactation specific education within the five years immediately prior to examination application.
  • If applying for the April 2021 examination or beyond, an additional five (5) hours of education focused on communication skills. Preferably these five hours will be directly related to lactation and breastfeeding care, but this is not a requirement.
  • Minimum of 500 hours of directly supervised lactation specific clinical practise as described in the Pathway 3 Plan Guide and obtained within the five years immediately prior to examination. For those who choose the IBCLE Pathway 3 (Lactation Specific Clinical Experience via Mentorship), the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center offers a 4-month, full-time, clinical training opportunity.

o The IBCLC(s) who provide the direct supervision must be currently certified IBCLCs in good standing.

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 helps those who qualify to obtain clinical experience hours through our 4-month, full-time, clinical rotation schedule. Here you will gain experience in a variety of settings including inpatient and outpatient areas, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and other high-risk settings, the Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank, as well as out in the community. We offer three different training schedules: Fall, Winter & Summer.

 

Fall: September - December  Apply by Jun. 15

Winter: January - April  Apply by Oct. 15

Summer: May - August  Apply by Feb. 15

 

 

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). 

Click here to see the syllabus for our Pathway3 Program

Joining the OBRC Pathway 3 Program

Application Process

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

1.  An associate’s degree or higher.

2.  Proof of health education or recognized health license.

  • Be a registered/licensed/recognized health professional in the United States OR
  • Complete all Health Sciences Education requirements as specified by IBLCE. These Health Science College Courses can be taken at an accredited college.

3.  Complete OR provide proof of registration of 90 hours of Lactation Specific Education.  We recommend LEAARC.

4. Completion of the below Health Specific Courses. *Please note that submission of a recognized health license waives the requirement for below courses.

  • 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

Once that has been completed, the process is as follows:

5. Compete a national background check.

6. Complete a drug screen. (1-2 months prior to application deadline)

7. Obtain records of OUHSC required immunizations.

8. Use the online application button below to submit proof of all of the above requested documents.

Interview Process

OBRC will review your documents and will notify if selected for an interview.

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

If you are selected as an approved applicant, OBRC will schedule an in-person interview.

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

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 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

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.

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)