Lactation Consultant Pathways


How to become a lactation consultant?
What are the eligibility requiremnets?
Pathway 1
Pathway 2
    Program Criteria & Overview
Exam eligibility pathways



How to become a lactation consultant

The path to becoming a lactation consultant and realizing your dream to work as a professional with moms, babies, and families may seem confusing. Following are the pathways as determined by the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultant Examiners for certification via exam. To take the IBLCE exam, which is given the last Monday in July on an annual basis, you will need three things: College, Class & Clinical.

College: An RN, RD, other health profession meets this requirement. If you are not already in the healthcare industry, you need 8 college courses and 6 CEU courses (online at UC San Diego Extension). If you do not have the college portion it is recommended you go to nursing school first.

Class: All candidates need a minimum 90 hour class in breastfeeding, preferably from an approved program – such as UC San Diego Extension, which has three formats:

Hybrid: offered once a year in Fall (September). This course meets the 90+ hours and the clinical requirements and includes education online and clinical in person.
Online: offered every quarter. Pathway 1 students only. Course is education only.

Clinical: Depending on your pathway, your clinical requirement will vary:

Pathway 1: student already has 1000 hours within the last 5 years working with BF dyads. No more clinical is required.
Pathway 2: student will need 300 supervised clinical hours. These hours will be part of the UC San Diego Extension LC program. You would need to arrange with someone local to be your clinical person. UC San Diego Extension gives the clinical preceptor direction and you the student will spend a minimum 300 hours with them. There is homework that is submitted online and weekly virtual class meetings via webinar (hybrid version).

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What are the eligibility requirements – Who can take the IBLCE test?

There are 3 pathways to be eligible to take the IBLCE exam. These are described on the IBLCE.org website. UC San Diego supports pathway 1 academically and pathway 2 as an LEAARC approved program.

Beginning in 2011, all UCSD students will be required to have completed the following education prior to start of the UC San Diego LC Program. Please complete the “LC Course Approval Checklist Form” and return it to Nicole Mitchell prior to enrolling in the Lactation Consultant You must be approved to enroll in the program.

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Pathway 1 and UC San Diego Extension: Who is eligible to apply to the program?

Candidate must have completed step 1, 2 & 3 of the following before the start of UCSD Lactation Consultant Program:

1. General Education Requirement:

A Licensed, registered or recognized health professional
When you apply for the exam you will be required to identify your health profession and you may be required to submit a copy of your license, registration, diploma or transcript.

Health professionals who typically apply for IBCLC certification include: physicians, nurses, midwives, dietitians, occupational, physical and speech therapists, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists and chiropractors. If your profession is not on this list, please click here for more information about whether or not your professional training will satisfy the General Education requirements.

When applying for the course, candidates must demonstrate completion of these courses by submitting documentation of completion from accredited colleges or universities.

2. Clinical Hours Requirement:

Currently working in a paid or volunteer job in which you provide care to breastfeeding families or if you have worked in this type of job during the past 5 years AND can document minimum of 1000 hours working directly with moms and babies and breastfeeding. Documentation must be verifiable by a supervisor. For more information about how to calculate the clinical practice hours required by Pathway 1, please review the Pathway 1 Hours Calculation form (PDF) and the directions to fill out the form (PDF).

3. Other UC San Diego Extension pre-requisites for admission to program:

Completion of a minimum 45 hour lactation education training program, preferably the UC San Diego Extension program, within the last 5 years

Note: Pathway 1 education is available online if you do not need clinical or onsite if you do need clinical. See dates for onsite program.

LC Course Pathway 1 Application

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Pathway 2 and UC San Diego Extension: Who is eligible to apply to program?

Candidate must have completed step 1 and 2 of the following before the start of UC San Diego Extension Lactation Consultant Program:

1. General Education Requirement:

Have completed following requirements in an academic/college setting:

When applying for the course, candidates must demonstrate completion of these courses by submitting documentation of completion from accredited colleges or universities.

Each course must be at least one academic term in length and candidates must have received a passing grade in each course.

The 8 college subjects:

• Biology
• Human Anatomy (* UC San Diego offers Anatomy & Physiology to meet both courses.)
• Human Physiology
• Infant and Child Growth and Development
• Nutrition
• Introduction to Research
• Psychology or Counseling or Communication Skills
• Sociology or Cultural Sensitivity or Cultural Anthropology

The 6 continuing education subjects:

(All courses are offered at UC San Diego Extension) When applying for course, candidates must submit documentation of completion of continuing education in the following 6 topics.
• American Heart Association Basic life support (CPR)
• Medical documentation
• Medical terminology
• Occupational safety and security for health professionals
• Professional ethics for health professionals (e.g. Code of Ethics)
• Universal safety precautions and infection control

2. Other UC San Diego Extension pre-requisites for admission to program:

Completion of a minimum 45 hour lactation education training program, preferably the UC San Diego Extension program, within the last 5 years

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Pathway 2: Program Criteria & Overview

Criteria for Completion of the Program and Graduation
 
 

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Exam Eligibility Pathways

IBLCE will continue to offer 3 ways through which applicants may quality for the certification exam for lactation consultants. In general, these pathways are described as shown in the table below.

 

Pathway 1 Pathway 2 Pathway 3
Open to health professionals and breastfeeding support counselors who are providing care to breastfeeding families within a supervised setting. See the IBLCE for definition of clinical instruction. Graduate from an academic program in human lactation and breastfeeding that includes both the didactic and clinical instruction. (UC San Diego Extension Program) Complete a mentored lactation education plan that is under the direct supervision of one or more recertified IBCLCs. Independent and not part of UC San Diego Extension program.

Regardless of the exam eligibility pathway followed, all first-time exam candidates for the exam must meet the requirements in:

• General Education
• Education in Human Lactation and Breastfeeding
• Lactation Specific Clinical Experience

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