Revisions to IBCLC Scope of Practice and Clinical Competencies

As is a certification best practice, and based on the data from the most recent IBCLC®Practice Analysis, IBLCE® has updated the Scope of Practice for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC) Certificants as well as the Clinical Competencies for the Practice of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs).
The process to update these key documents included a careful review of the most recent practice analysis by the IBLCE Certification Committee, comprised of IBCLCs from around the globe including three Board members and four additional Committee members, as well as taking into consideration feedback from IBCLCs during an open public comment period conducted in all IBCLC examination languages in 2018.
The data from the practice analysis responses and the comments from IBCLCs during the comment period militated in favour of only modest changes to the Scope of Practice and Clinical Competencies documents. Specifically, changes to these documents are reflective of current practice and include the following:

  • Emphasis is being added to the assessments and skills needed to address child(ren) specific needs.
  • Additional information is included in the Scope of Practice regarding the IBCLC’s role in providing breastfeeding and lactation care in relationship to maternal and child health and mental health.
  • Additional information is included in the Clinical Competencies about the safe handling, storage and use of human milk; breastfeeding during an infant separation; the relationship between foods and breastfeeding; and breastfeeding in public.
  • Language is being updated to reflect gender neutrality.

Additionally, given IBLCE’s previous transition to the use of British English, revisions were made to reflect this change. The updated versions of these documents can be found on the IBLCE website.

IBLCE sincerely thanks all of the volunteers who played a part in this important process, as well as the over 100 IBCLCs who provided valuable feedback during the public comment period and which IBLCE carefully reviewed.

IBLCE Receives Reaccreditation of the IBCLC Certification Programme


Contact: Sara Blair Lake, J.D., CAE
Chief Executive Officer
For Immediate Release
December 17, 2018
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners®
Receives Reaccreditation of the
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® Programme
from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the
Institute for Credentialing Excellence
WASHINGTON, D.C., December 17, 2018—The NCCA reaccredited the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners certification programme for a five-year term during a recent meeting.
Founded in 1985, IBLCE® is a professional certification organisation acting in the public interest by establishing eligibility, examination, experience and ethics requirements for certification in lactation consulting. Currently, over 30,000 in 108 countries are certified to use the IBCLC® designation. The IBCLC certification examination is offered in 18 languages. The IBCLC programme first received NCCA accreditation in 1988 and has held this prestigious third-party accreditation continuously for thirty years.
IBLCE earned renewal of NCCA accreditation of its IBCLC programme, the gold standard in lactation care, by submitting an extensive application demonstrating the programme’s compliance with the NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. Upon receiving news of the reaccreditation of the IBCLC certification programme, Chair Roberto Mário Issler, M.D., IBCLC said, “It is a testament to the excellence and quality of the IBCLC programme that it has held this valued and prestigious third-party accreditation continuously for thirty years. Since 1988, the IBCLC certification has been the mark of excellence in professional lactation care recognised by consumers, healthcare providers, employers and other stakeholders.”
NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. Since 1977, the NCCA has been accrediting certifying programmes based on the highest quality of standards in professional certification to ensure the programmes adhere to recognised standards of practice in the certification industry. The accreditation standards cover a number of aspects associated with quality certification programmes including governance, psychometrics, maintenance of certification, transparency to the public regarding programme requirements, and quality assurance. There are currently just over 300 NCCA accredited programmes that certify individuals in a wide range of professions and occupations, including those in healthcare.
The mission of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence is to advance credentialing through education, standards, research, and advocacy to ensure competence across professions and occupations. NCCA’s mission is to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of certification programmes that assess professional competency. NCCA uses a peer review process to: establish accreditation standards; evaluate compliance with these standards; recognise programmes which demonstrate compliance; and serve as a resource on quality certification.

Important Notice from IBLCE (please read in its entirety)

UPDATE as of May 28, 2020: The examination window for the rescheduled March/April examination is September 8 – 25, 2020.  This is also then the examination window for the September 2020 examination candidates.

UPDATE as of May 9, 2020: IBLCE issued an Updated Interim Guidance on the Use of Technology to Meet Pathways 1, 2, and 3 Clinical Practise Requirements. This replaces the guidance issued on April 17, 2020. Please see the announcement explaining this update here. The Pathway 3 Plan Guide was also updated to reflect the changes in how you can earn clinical practise hours at this time.

UPDATE as of April 22, 2020: Please see this important update for March/April 2020 IBCLC examination candidates.

UPDATE as of March 17, 2020: Please see this update from IBLCE regarding potential communications from its testing partner, Prometric.

UPDATE as of March 13, 2020: March/April 2020 IBCLC Examination Administration

As the organisation devoted to the professionals who care for breastfeeding families all over the globe, both health and family are important to IBLCE.  As you are undoubtedly aware, the COVID-19 virus is creating significant issues and challenges for many in countries all over the world.  In light of this difficult situation, the IBCLC examination will not be taking place as scheduled from March 30-April 3, 2020.  Given the highly fluid situation, the precise dates for rescheduling have not yet been determined.  However, please note that the rescheduled IBCLC examination will not be taking place within, at minimum, the next 60 days. Please view these Frequently Asked Questions. These will be updated as IBLCE makes more information available. All updates will be posted on the website and social media (Facebook and Twitter) as they are available.

Please do not contact the computer-based-testing centre or Prometric for further information or to reschedule. 

IBLCE is aware that this is disappointing news for many including those dedicated professionals who have not yet earned the credential as well as those recertifying, all of whom are working diligently to prepare for the examination.  However, it is important to note that the rescheduling of this examination administration does not impact the certification status of current IBCLCs who were planning to take the examination in March/April 2020.

Opening of Applications for September 2020 Examination Administration

For those planning to sit for the September 2020 IBCLC examination administration, IBLCE had previously announced that applications would open in mid-March 2020.  Due to current events, IBLCE anticipates that this opening will be slightly delayed until the week of April 20, 2020.  IBLCE apologises for any inconvenience, but plans to extend the deadline until Friday, June 5, 2020 to allow adequate time for those interested in sitting for the September 2020 IBCLC examination to apply. 

Remote Customer Support

Due to the highly unusual situation presented by COVID-19, IBLCE’s staff and associates will be working remotely.  In order to provide effective customer service, IBLCE strongly recommends that you email, rather than call, the regional location which serves you.

Thank you for your understanding of these modifications of IBLCE’s dates and processes necessitated by this unique situation.  Please stay tuned to IBLCE’s website and social media (Facebook and Twitter) for updated information as it is available. Please take care of yourselves and your families during this time and we look forward to serving you virtually!

The IBLCE Team

For March/April 2020 IBCLC Examination Candidates: We understand that some employers may request clarification about the reasons why the March/April 2020 IBCLC Examination was postponed. To clarify this, IBLCE can provide you and/or your employer with a letter that explains the reasons why the examination was postponed and when more details will be given. Please contact your IBLCE regional location regarding this letter and we will be happy to assist you.