Certification FAQs

Initial Candidates

How can I check the status of my application for the September 2020 examination?

You can see the status of your application by logging in to your account through the IBLCE online credential management system
 
If your application has not been confirmed, you will see a notification with additional information on your home page. Please wait for an email from IBLCE staff. Additional information or documentation may be required. 


If you do not see a notification when you log in, you can check your application status by clicking on ”Apply for an Exam” in the sidebar (pictured here). 

If the status of your application is ”pending results” or ”confirmed,” then there is nothing further for you to do at this time; IBLCE will email you information in July regarding scheduling your examination appointment.

How can I view/print a receipt of my payment?

You can access your receipt by logging in to your account through the IBLCE online credential management system.  
 
Once you’ve logged in, please go to “My Purchases.” Find the payment for which you would like to see the receipt and click “View” next to that payment. You can also print a copy from that screen.

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
    90 hours of education that covers human lactation or breastfeeding topics.
  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, in addition to the 90 hours of lactation specific education, five (5) hours of education focused on communication skills will be required. 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 (issued on May 14, 2020).

What information do I need to complete my application for exam as an initial candidate?

You will need information about the following topics:

  • Which pathway you followed — Pathway 1, 2 or 3
  • Whether or not, in the past five years, you have completed the required 90 hours of lactation specific education
  • How you will demonstrate completion of the Health Sciences Education.
  • How many hours of clinical practise in lactation and breastfeeding care you have completed in the past five years
    • 1000 supervised hours for Pathway 1
    • 300 directly supervised hours for Pathway 2
    • 500 directly supervised hours for Pathway 3

In addition, you will need to provide personal information such as birth date, country of citizenship and professional background and information about exam preferences such as whether you require accommodations during the exam administration and/or where you want to sit the examination. If you require accommodations, you will need third-party documentation that supports the need for accommodations.

Please note: starting with examination applications for the April 2021 examination administration and those administrations following, in addition to the 90 hours of lactation specific education, five (5) hours of education focused on communication skills will be required. 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.

I am a clinical health professional but my profession is not listed on the Recognised Health Professions List. What do I need to do to demonstrate completion of the Health Sciences Education courses?

If you are able to provide documentation that you are authorised by a governmental authority to practice as a clinical health professional, you will be considered to have fulfilled the Health Sciences Education requirements. Any health care professional from the Recognised Health Professionals list, be it a nurse, doctor, etc. must provide these documents too if audited.

I’m not a Recognised Health Professional. How do I demonstrate completion of the Health Sciences Education?

You will provide information on the application about this, as well as if your application is randomly chosen for audit you would need to provide supporting documentation (e.g. copies of transcripts and/or certificates showing that you have a passing grade in each of the 14 health science subjects).  Please note that IBLCE reseves the right to audit any candidate application. Review the Health Sciences Education Guide for details.

I am not a recognised healthcare professional, and I am taking some of the 14 health science courses online. Are college classes from sites like EdX, Coursera, or Study.com acceptable for the eight classes that need to be from an accredited institution of higher learning?

IBLCE looks for the course to be provided by an accredited institution, so if the provider is not accredited, then you will need to make sure that you take any necessary additional steps to have it recognised by an accredited institution. The proof of completion must have the name of the accredited institution on it.

In some cases with online classes, for a course to be recognised by an accredited institution, the student pays a higher fee and/or meets additional requirements (e.g. a short exam).

What do I need to show as proof that I’ve completed an appropriate course online?

If your application is selected for audit, you would need to provide a copy of the certificate(s) of completion for your class(es). Each certificate should show the name of student, course name, passing grade, date of completion, and accredited institution name. Depending on the provider, you may need to complete additional coursework/quizzes to earn the recognition from the accredited institution.

If the online provider itself is accredited, a transcript or certificate from the provider is sufficient. If the course comes from an accredited institution but does not offer official documentation such as a certificate, you would need to demonstrate completion by obtaining another type of official documentation. A screenshot may be sufficient only if there is no other option and if it includes all required information: name of student, course name, passing grade, date of completion, and accredited institution name.

I’ve reviewed my transcripts against the descriptions in the Health Sciences Education Guide but I still have some questions about some of my courses. Will IBLCE take a look at my transcripts and tell me if my courses qualify?

IBLCE does not review courses prior to application submission. You will need to compare your transcript(s) against the course descriptions provided in the Health Sciences Education Guide. Further explanation is provided in the Health Sciences Summary.

I need to sign up for a course in human lactation and breastfeeding. Which course do you recommend?

IBLCE does not require, recommend or endorse any particular course. You may wish to contact independent professional associations for information. Lactation specific education that covers the disciplines and chronological periods listed on IBCLC Detailed Content Outline may be used to meet the Lactation Specific Education requirements. This education may be offered in the classroom or through distance learning such as online courses and independent study modules.

Please note that self-study is important but it is not able to be counted toward meeting  the required lactation specific education.

How do I document my lactation specific education? Is there a special form I need to complete?

The application form will ask you to verify that you have met this requirement. You should retain copies of certificates that prove your attendance at each of the courses you completed, as IBLCE does randomly audit applications and reserves the right to audit any candidate application.

Can education awarded for E- or R-CERPS count toward my 90 lactation education hours?

Initial exam candidates are expected to have completed 90 hours of lactation specific education. If you attend a session that has been awarded CERPs by IBLCE, we will accept only the hours verified as L-CERPs.

E- and R-CERPs are sessions that are not lactation specific education, but are related to the practise of lactation consultants; a course may be helpful to an IBCLC’s practise without being specific to lactation. You will need to find education that focuses on lactation specific aspects (e.g. anatomy for breastfeeding care).

How do I obtain the required clinical experience in lactation and breastfeeding care?

IBLCE provides 3 ways that candidates, health care professionals or non-health professionals, can obtain the required clinical practice in lactation and breastfeeding care:

  • Pathway 1 – Completing a minimum of 1000 hours of of lactation specific clinical practise in an appropriate supervised setting within the 5 years immediately prior to examination application.

OR

  • Pathway 2 – Completing an accredited lactation academic programme that includes at least 300 hours of directly supervised lactation specific clinical practise within the 5 years immediately prior to examination application.

OR

  • Pathway 3 – Completing an IBLCE-verified Pathway 3 Plan of at least 500 hours of directly supervised lactation specific clinical practise with an IBCLC as described in the Pathway 3 Plan Guide and obtained within the 5 years immediately prior to examination application.

Please note that personal experience breastfeeding your own children and experience helping family members and friends cannot be used to qualify for the IBCLC examination.

How can I earn the hours as an IBLCE Recognised Health Professional for Pathway 1?

• Paid or unpaid experience at an appropriate supervised setting (look below for examples)

How can I earn the hours as a non-health professional for Pathway 1?

What if I am not able to find clinical experience as defined by Pathway 1?

You may want to look at Pathway 2 accredited lactation academic programmes or Pathway 3 mentorship programs with an IBCLC.

Which types of settings are considered an appropriate supervised setting to earn clinical hours?

The following health care delivery settings meet this criteria and clinical hours can be earned through paid or volunteer work on an hour-for-hour basis in these settings:

  • Hospital
  • Birth Centre
  • Community Clinic
  • Lactation Care Clinic/Practice
  • Primary Care Practitioner’s Practice/Office

Clinical experience may include in-person consultations, telephone consultations, or online breastfeeding or lactation care provided through the above settings.

May I use my work experience as a breastfeeding peer counsellor to qualify through Pathway 1?

If you are working in an appropriate supervised setting or for a Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation, you may use your work experience as a breastfeeding peer counsellor to qualify through Pathway 1.

I have experience as a volunteer breastfeeding support counsellor and experience working as a recognised health professional. May I use experience from both of these roles to qualify through Pathway 1?

Yes, you may use a combination of experience from different jobs or volunteer positions to qualify through Pathway 1.

I want to qualify though Pathway 1 but I spend only a portion of my time each day helping families with breastfeeding concerns. How do I calculate my lactation specific clinical practice hours?

The hours that you report will be based upon a good faith estimate that you make about the amount of time you spend providing lactation and breastfeeding care. Keep in mind that should your application be selected for audit, you will need to provide supporting documentation. Please note IBLCE reserves the right to audit any candidate application.

Keeping a weekly time log for several weeks can help you determine how many hours, on average, you spend helping breastfeeding families. You may find the Lactation Specific Clinical Practice Calculator found on the IBCLC Information page helpful in calculating your hours.

I work in a store that sells and rents breastfeeding supplies and equipment. I help customers with their breastfeeding questions and problems. I am not a health professional. May I use this experience to qualify for the IBCLC examination through Pathway 1?

No. You may not use this experience to qualify through Pathway 1. IBLCE requires that you work or volunteer for a Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation or be at an appropriate supervised setting.

For Pathway 1, can I count my time providing lactation care and/or support online?

Clinical experience may include in-person consultations, telephone consultations, or online breastfeeding or lactation care in the following scenarios.

  • Through an appropriate supervised setting.
  • Through work (paid or volunteer) with a specific breastfeeding support counsellor organisation that is recognised by IBLCE.

I think my application has been selected for audit, but I am not sure. What should I do? The deadline to complete the registration is approaching.

If you are selected for audit, you will be contacted via email by IBLCE. If you have already completed your application and payment for the examination, then there is nothing further you need to do unless you are contacted by IBLCE in regards to an audit or other application aspect such as an accommodations request. The deadline for submitting the audit documentation will be different than the application deadline and will be provided via email by IBLCE staff.

I am applying for an initial exam; how much time will I have to respond to an audit and what do I need to submit?

If you are selected for audit, you will be contacted via email by IBLCE staff. The email will ask you to provide documentation as indicated in the following points. You will have 10 business days from the date of the email to provide supporting documentation. If documentation is not received by the provided deadline your application may be denied and 50% of the paid fee will be refunded. The following outlines the documentation that IBLCE looks for during an audit:


1. Health Sciences – proof (e.g. transcripts) of having completed the Health Sciences Education courses on or before time of the examination application submission. If you are educated in one of the professions on the List of Recognised Health Professions, a copy of your license, diploma, or degree will be sufficient.
 
2. Lactation Specific Education – proof (e.g. certificates of completion) of having completed 90 hours of lactation specific education within the five years prior to application submission. For Pathway 2 candidates, a document that provides proof of the completion of the accredited lactation academic programme will be accepted.
 
3. Clinical Experience Hours – complete the Lactation Specific Clinical Practice Calculator. For Pathway 2 candidates, a document that provides proof of the completion of the accredited lactation academic programme will be accepted.

Can I complete requirements during the 10 business days provided to support documentation?

Education or hours completed after the date of your application will not be accepted. All the requirements to be accepted for the examination must be completed before you submit your application.

I’m not sure I qualify to become an IBCLC. What other credentials in breastfeeding care does IBLCE offer?

IBLCE offers only one certification. The International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) certification is the only credential awarded by IBLCE.

As a volunteer accredited breastfeeding support counsellor with an IBLCE Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation, can I still use the flat-rate hour calculations for earning the 1000 clinical practise hours?

The flat-rate hour calculations are still available to use until January 1, 2022. In light of the current situation and through November 2020, volunteer accredited breastfeeding support counsellors with IBLCE Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisations using the flat-rate hour calculations to earn the needed 1000 hours of clinical practise, all modality types of care can count toward the flat-rate of 500 hours per 12 months. The 250 hours per 12 months rate for telephone and/or online care is increasing to 500 hours per 12 months.   

Refer to IBLCE’s Updated Interim Guidance on the Use of Technology

 

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