Lactation Consultant

For a brief introduction on becoming a Lactation Consultant, please watch this video from our lead instructor, Gini Baker.

WEBINAR – To learn about becoming a Lactation Consultant click here


This university based program is a clinical training program for Lactation Consultants. Lactation Consultants work within all realms of the lactation field. The LC will be able to triage breastfeeding problems, educate consumers and professionals, and work with the setting up and management of breastfeeding programs. The lactation consultant deals with all aspects of the lactation process and practice.

Lactation Consultants are employed by hospitals, physician’s offices, clinics, or are in private practice.

Although one does not need to be a nurse to train as a lactation consultant, nurses who work with mothers, babies, and families often extend their skills by becoming Lactation Consultants. Lactation Consultants may work with pregnant women and their family in community perinatal health programs such WIC.

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Applications & Pathways

LC Pathways & Schedules
Determine your appropriate lactation consultant pathway
LC Course Pathway 1 Approval Checklist
LC Course Pathway 2 Approval Checklist
LC Hours Calculation Form
Directions: How to complete “LC Hours Calculation Form”

This information is a general overview and subject to change without notice.

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Employment or job opportunities and pay scale

Lactation Consultants typically interact with patients in a role similar to nurse practitioners, as advanced practice clinicians. They generally work independently to triage and manage a clinical lactation concern for mother, baby, and family unit. In most areas, they are paid an hourly rate that seems to parallel the RN salary range which is from $20-$45 per hour. Lactation consultants do not have to be RN’s to function in their role, although some hospitals may have an additional requirement that the LC be an RN.

Lactation Consultants may be employed in hospitals and manage hospital breastfeeding centers and boutiques. In this roll they may facilitate other lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, triage phone calls and warm lines, and manage breastfeeding stores that rent breast pumps and sell breastfeeding clothing and products.

Lactation Consultants are frequently hired by WIC, the federally funded Women, Infant, and Children program. These lactation consultants are usually also dieticians, although that is not a requirement.

Some UC San Diego Extension Lactation Consultant graduates have chose to establish private practices. In this role they do lactation consultations with patients and their families either in a business setting or in the patient’s home. The fees are set by the individual lactation consultant. The business may also include retail products, breast pump rentals, support groups and classes. As these are businesses, the lactation consultant would need to secure a business license and any appropriate additional paperwork or community requirements.

It is important for the perspective student to know that Lactation Consultants generally are employed part time although more full time positions are becoming available.  Currently, UC San Diego Extension does not offer job placement assistance, however most graduating students who have sought employment as Lactation Consultants have secured positions.

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UC San Diego Extension supports IBLCE as the credential and certification for practicing Lactation Consultants. The IBLCE exam is given the last Monday of July every year. The student must complete the IBLCE requirements as currently defined at

Students may meet the certification exam requirements by any pathway. All UC San Diego Extension students who successfully complete the training program and its requirements are eligible to sit for the IBLCE exam.

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Course Assignments

Assignments include but may not be limited to:
• Internet resource assignment (monthly)
• Worksheets (monthly)
• Review of 2-3 study articles (monthly)
• Lactnet journal (monthly)
• Policies and Position Papers Assignment (monthly)
• Community Support Group
• La Leche League meetings
• Breastfeeding Coalition Meetings
• Long term cases studies
• Clinical observation requirement
• Periodic testing

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Time Commitment

• Didactic/Classroom: Approximately 120 hours
• Additional homework: Approximately 10-20 hours per month
• Clinical: Based on number of hours needed to meet the IBLCE requirement (LC Hours Calculation Form)
• Pathway 1: Student documents 1,000 hours clinical within last five years
• Pathway 2: 300 hours clinical

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Required Textbooks

LC Education Only Pathway 1
Required Textbooks
1. Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician, by Walker, 3rd edition (Jones & Bartlett) (May 20, 2013)
ISBN: 9781449694654
2. Case Studies in Breastfeeding: Problem-Solving Skills & Strategies, Cadwell K, Turner-Maffei C, Jones and Bartlett,
ISBN: 0763726001
3. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, by Wambach/Riordan, 5th Edition, (Jones and Bartlett),
ISBN: 9781284053005

Optional Textbooks
1.Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide by Lauwers/Swisher, 5th edition,
(Jones & Bartlett, July 2010), ISBN: 9780763780524


Hybrid LC Pathway 2
Required Textbooks
1. Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician by Walker, 3rd edition (Jones & Bartlett) (May 20, 2013)
ISBN: 9781449694654
2. Case Studies in Breastfeeding: Problem-Solving Skills & Strategies, Cadwell K, Turner-Maffei C, Jones and Bartlett,
ISBN: 0763726001
3. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, by Wambach/Riordan, 5th Edition, (Jones and Bartlett),

Optional Textbooks
1. Counseling the Nursing Mother, Judith Lauwers, BA, IBCLC and Anna Swisher, MBA, IBCLC,
ISBN-13: 9780763780524
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Financial considerations

• Cost of program:

– Pathway 1 online: education and homework only = $995
– Pathway 2 Hybrid class: education, clinical and homework = $3495

• Cost of books approximately $250
• Cost of IBLCE exam approximately $495
• Cost of lab coat approximately $25
• Cost of lab coat approximately $25
• Cost of Specialized Certificate $60
• Cost of homework printing and supplies approximately $150 for the year
• Cost of babysitting and travel to the course, as applicable

For financial aid or student loan information, please review UC San Diego Extension’s financial aid information. There are no scholarships for this course from UC San Diego Extension.

There may be scholarships from your local breastfeeding coalitions. You may have educational funds as part of your employment as with many hospitals.

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