What are the requirements to sit for the IBCLC exam?

All initial applicants must fulfill these key requirements prior to applying.  All requirements are to be completed within the 5 years immediately prior to applying for the IBCLC exam, except for the Health Science Education, which can be completed at any time prior to applying. 

  1. Health Sciences Education
    Refer to the Health Science Education Guide for a list of these subjects and descriptions.Candidates whose profession is listed as a Recognised Health Profession are considered to have fulfilled the health science education requirement.Or, one meets this requirement if one can provide evidence from a governmental authority that recognises the profession as a clinical health profession.
  2. Lactation Specific Education
    95 hours of education that covers human lactation or breastfeeding topics, including five hours of education focused on communication skills.
  3. Lactation Specific Clinical Experience
    Provide care that supports breastfeeding families, including lactation assistance to pregnant and breastfeeding persons and lactation education to families and/or professionals.
  4. Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs
    Adhere to, with attestation, the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs.

Please note: starting with examination applications for the April 2021 examination administration and those administrations following, the 95 hours of lactation specific education includes five (5) hours of education focused on communication skills. Preferably, these five hours will be directly related to lactation and breastfeeding care, but this is not a requirement. This change was recommended as communication is a key area in the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline and in practise, as IBCLCs must understand the client and provide the most appropriate plan of care, engage in active listening and emotional support, and assist the client in making informed decisions.

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 programme or course in lactation education.

For more detailed information please review our  Candidate Information Guide.*

*Please read in conjunction with the Updated Interim Guidance on the Use of Technology to Meet Pathways 1, 2, and 3 Clinical Practise Requirements (Reissued on October 6, 2020).