International Board Certified Lactation Consultants must recertify every 5 years. Five years after last passing the exam, IBCLCs have the option to recertify by Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs). One CERP is equal to 60 minutes of education that IBLCE has determined meets the learning needs of practicing IBCLCs. Recertification by exam is always an option for IBCLCs; however, re-examination is mandatory every 10 years.
Once initially certified, a certificant holds the IBCLC certification for five years. At the five-year mark, an IBCLC can recertify by re-examination or by CERPs. The purpose of allowing recertification by CERPs is to encourage continued professional development and to promote lifelong learning. At the 10-year mark, an IBCLC must recertify by re-examination.
It is recognized that the knowledge acquired before and examined at initial certification do not necessarily relate to the knowledge of the person to practice in the field in the years to come, especially if the knowledge is not regularly updated to incorporate new insights and practice. IBLCE therefore requires all IBCLCs to recertify every five years.
Within a five-year period significant development in available information and management options will have occurred, and an IBCLC’s knowledge base will not remain current if further educational opportunities are not pursued. The five-year interval for recertification was chosen given the rate of change in the field.
If an IBCLC elects to recertify by CERPs at the five-year interval, IBLCE requires that 75 CERPs be earned, of which a minimum of 50 must be lactation specific and 5 must pertain to professional ethics—the remaining 20 CERPs may be on any topic relevant to the lactation consultant profession. The IBLCE Exam Blueprint is central to the rationale for the required number of CERPs:
The majority of CERPs (50) must be lactation specific because that is the primary field of knowledge being assessed.
Five (5) CERPs about professional ethics are required in order to raise awareness about this important issue.
The remaining CERPs (20) may be on any topic related to the field of lactation consulting because some of the disciplines on the Exam Blueprint are neither lactation nor ethics specific.
The IBLCE recertification policy requires that IBCLCs recertify by examination every ten years. This re-examination policy is intended to periodically assess knowledge and cognitive skills related to lactation consulting.
At the ten-year interval, the examination for all candidates is premised on the fact that the examination will be based on a new practice analysis study that captures major practice developments in the field in the past ten years.