What is Required to Become an IBCLC?

There is a variety of educational hours you will need to satisfy the IBCLC Requirements.

  1. Health Sciences Education (commonly referred to as the 14 Health Science Courses)
  2. Lactation-Specific Education (often referred to as 90 Hours of Lactation Education)
  3. Communication Education (5 hours of Communication Education)
  4. Lactation Specific Clinical Experience (widely referred to as Clinical Hours)

A. IBLCE Recognised Health Professions

B. 14 Health Sciences Courses

  • Dentist
  • Dietician
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical Therapist or Physiotherapist
  • Physician or Medical Doctor
  • Speech Pathologist or Therapist

The following eight subjects must be taken from an accredited institution of higher learning to meet IBCLC requirements:

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

For the remaining six subjects, candidates may complete courses offered by an institution of higher learning or continuing education courses.

  • Basic Life Support
  • Medical Documentation
  • Medical Terminology
  • Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals
  • Professional Ethics for Health Professionals
  • Universal Safety Precautions and Infection Control

Lactation Specific Education

A comprehensive education in human lactation and breastfeeding is a vital part of preparing to become an IBCLC. Candidates are encouraged to secure an education that covers all the disciplines and chronological periods listed on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline.

Complete at least 95 hours of education in human lactation and breastfeeding, including 5 hours focused on communication skills, within the five years immediately prior to applying for the exam.

  • Includes in-person presentations, online education, distance learning, and independent study modules.
  • Education may be from an IBLCE verified Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERP) Provider, but it is not required.
  • Education is to be on topics specific to lactation and breastfeeding, examples of which can be found on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline.
  • IBLCE uses a 60-minute hour to calculate the education hours.

Please note: starting with examination applications for the April 2021 examination administration and those administrations following, for the 95 hours of lactation-specific education, five (5) hours of education must be focused on communication skills. Preferably, these five hours will be directly related to lactation and breastfeeding care, but this is not a requirement. If you are interested in pairing your lactation-specific hours with IBCLC mentorship in a clinically rigorous program, take a look at our Pathway 3 Global Mentorship Program.

Note: “IBLCE does not offer, approve, or accredit lactation education designed to prepare candidates for the certification examination. Nor does IBLCE recommend or endorse any particular program or course in lactation education.”

Sign Up to Receive Updates from
The Pathway 3 Global Mentorship Program

Thank you for your message. We will reach out to you soon with more information on your request.
There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later.