90 Hours of Lactation Education
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners as an entity does not offer any education. It is up to you to obtain these required hours elsewhere. IBLCE does, however, approve your education plan if you decide to elect IBCLC Pathway 3 as your course of study. Additionally, IBLCE states that “the education must be about breastfeeding or human lactation, preferably following along with the Detailed Content Outline.” Your courses must be completed within the five years leading up to your exam application.
5 Required Communication Hours
As of the Spring 2021 exam, you are also required to complete five hours of communication skills. While these can be any communication course hours you would like, we recommend that these hours involve lactation and breast/chest feeding-based communication skills. These five hours are only good for the five years before applying to sit the exam.
IBLCE Exam Information
The IBLCE exam is currently offered twice a year in English in April and September. The fall exam, which is in or around September each year, is offered in other languages. The IBCLC exam is about four hours long and is broken into two parts. Exam application windows are open twice a year in the spring and the fall. To sit the fall exam, you must apply in the spring and sit the spring exam. The same applies to the fall. It is important to note that approximately 30% of exam applicants get audited. If you happen to be one of them, you will have ten (10) business days to prove that you have completed all the requirements to sit the exam.
Generally, the exam will consist of approximately 175 multiple choice questions following the IBCLE’s Detailed Content Outline. If you do not pass the exam on your first try for some reason, you are eligible to receive a 50% discount on up to three subsequent exams over the following three years.
Other Lactation Credentials That Are Available
Many other lactation credentials can be earned, should you wish to do so. To date, IBCLCs are considered the gold standard of lactation consultants. Different breastfeeding and lactation credentials are considered “stepping stone credentials” and are often obtained in working toward your IBCLC certification. These credentials vary in their requirements and content.
Some Commonly Known Lactation Credentials Include:
- International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
- Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC)
- Certified Breastfeeding Educator (CBE)
- Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC)
- Certified Advanced Lactation Consultant (CALC)
- Certified Advanced Lactation Specialist (cALS)