FAQs for Recertification


How do I confirm that the education provider of my courses is not a company, inclusive of manufacturers, distributors, or marketers, whose products fall within the scope of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (1981) and subsequent World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions (e.g., infant formula, bottles, and teats)?

If you are not certain about the education provider’s full range of products or relationship with the WHO Code, you should contact the education provider directly and confirm their compliance with the WHO Code.

Which educational opportunities would be acceptable, and do I need to provide documentation indicating compliance with the WHO Code?

As is current practice today, IBLCE accepts education related to the general disciplines and the chronological periods listed on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline for certification and recertification.  Should your application be randomly selected for audit, IBLCE will ask for proof of completion of the education from a provider and for that education to count towards certification or recertification, the educational provider cannot be an entity whose products fall within the WHO Code (e.g., infant formula, bottles, and teats).  Proof of this may be required during the audit.  Official documentation or a letter from the educational provider attesting that it is not a company, inclusive of manufacturers, distributors, or marketers, whose products fall within the scope of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (1981) and subsequent World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions (e.g., infant formula, bottles, and teats) and expressing support of the WHO Code would suffice. For ease of compliance with this requirement, IBLCE encourages WHO Code compliant and WHO Code supportive educational entities to include this information on the Certificate of Attendance provided to learners.

If education is completed from a noncompliant educator at any time before the effective date of January 1, 2022, but application for certification or recertification is submitted after that date, will the credits be accepted?

In order to afford a transitional period with respect to this new requirement, education completed prior to January 1, 2022 can be used toward certification and recertification.  Certificates dated January 1, 2022 or later will not count towards IBCLC certification or recertification if the educator is an entity, inclusive of manufacturers, distributors, or marketers, whose products fall within the WHO Code (e.g., infant formula, bottles, and teats).

I am due to recertify this year. What part of my work or volunteering will be accepted towards the 250 hours of practise in lactation consulting?

The 250 hours in lactation consulting can be full- or part-time, volunteer or paid, or a combination of both. Here some examples:

  • In-person, telephone, or online breastfeeding and lactation care to breastfeeding families. Visit the IBLCE Advisory Opinion on Telehealth for additional information on online care.
  • Breastfeeding and lactation education to breastfeeding families to the public, families and professionals.
  • Administrative and supervisory work as an IBCLC in the areas of breastfeeding and lactation.
  • Volunteer participation on a committee or board of an organisation that promotes and/or supports breastfeeding.
  • Speaker for a lactation educational activity.
  • Participation on an editorial board for a lactation or breastfeeding related journal or publication.
  • Research regarding lactation.
  • Developing breastfeeding policy in healthcare.
  • Publishing evidence-based information about human lactation and breastfeeding.

Refer to the following documents regarding practise as an IBCLC, as well as taking into consideration the importance of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes from the World Health Organization:

IBCLC Scope of Practice
Clinical Competencies for IBCLCs
Detailed Content Outline

Why isn’t IBLCE disseminating 2020 IBCLC certificates by post?

The impact of COVID-19 necessitated changes to IBLCE’s typical process of disseminating IBCLC certificates. After evaluating options for the necessary quality assurance and dissemination processes, IBLCE determined that the logistics of providing paper certificates, inclusive of ID cards and examination results packets, are not in accordance with the World Health Organisation guidelines for protecting IBLCE team members and associated vendors from COVID-19.  

We understand that certificates are important to many of you, and IBLCE is working to provide a new solution that meets IBCLC needs and that can be provided by IBLCE staff and vendors in alignment with current health guidelines. 

IBLCE is currently evaluating digital certificate options that will be available in 2021. We look forward to introducing this new and convenient certificate option this year. More information will be posted on the IBLCE COVID-19 Resource Centre and emailed to 2020 candidates as it becomes available. 

For those who became certified or recertified in 2020, there are other options to verify your certification status now, including: 

  • Logging into your online account and see your status under “My Credentials.” You can find directions to access your account here.
  • Submitting a Certification Verification Form so we can provide your certification status to whomever you authorise.
  • Searching by IBCLC Credential Number (L-#) in the updated Public Registry.  
  • Contacting your IBLCE location for a letter verifying your IBCLC certification status that can be provided to third parties.

How can I check the status of my application for the IBCLC 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 check the status of my recertification application via CERPs?

You can see the status of your application by logging in to your account through the IBLCE online credential management system
Once you’ve logged in, you will see the menu pictured here. Please go to “My Credentials,” where you can verify if your application is complete by checking the expiration date on your certification. 
If your application was accepted, your expiration date will have moved out five years. If the application is complete, there is nothing further for you to do at this time. IBLCE will issue new certificates and IDs later this year.  

If the expiration date has not changed, please wait for an email from IBLCE staff. Additional information or documentation may be required.

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. 

Is a basic life support credential required to meet the basic life support education requirement? If so, the credential is only valid for two years. Do I need to complete it again before the recertification application?

You can meet the basic life support education requirement for recertification at any point within the five-year recertification cycle. A basic life support credential is not a requirement. A didactic basic life support course will be sufficient to meet the requirement.

Under current policy, a basic life support education course counts as 3 R-CERPs. Will this still be the case starting in 2021 when this education is a requirement?

Yes, each basic life support course counts as three R-CERPs and you can count a maximum of six R-CERPs from this type of education within each five-year recertification cycle. This methodology of counting basic life support courses would apply to those recertifying by examination as well.

Is the basic life support education required for IBCLCs recertifying by either examination or CERPs in 2021 and moving forward to be counted in addition to the 75 CERPs?

The additional requirement of basic life support education for recertification beginning in 2021 is part of the 75 CERPs in total for recertification by CERPs. The minimum total CERPs to report for recertification is 75 CERPs.

What happens if I Retire?

In 2021, IBLCE will introduce a Retired Status for active IBCLCs who intend to retire and no longer practise as an IBCLC. For a limited time, those who held the certification in good standing in the past will be able to apply for this status. Dates for these applications will be announced on the IBLCE website.

Those who have achieved this status may use “IBCLC Retired” on a résumé, or below their name on a business card. However, it may not be listed directly following their name or signature (e.g., charting) as an active credential. The intention of this status is one of recognition and is for those who are no longer actively practising as an IBCLC and have no intention to return to practise.

Learn more here.

How do I submit my recertification application?

Recertification applications in English, German, and Spanish are submitted online via the Credential Management System. For applications in additional languages, visit the appropriate language-specific section of the IBLCE website for a link to submit applications electronically.

All recertifying applicants have existing online accounts, even if you have never accessed it. To access your account, use the “Forgot Password” link on the Login Page.

If you have already activated your Online Account, please go directly to the Login Page and enter your Username and Password.

For a step-by-step walkthrough of the online Recertification process, please review this page.

Is there a fee for Recertification?

Yes. Please refer to the Fee Schedule found in the Recertification Guide.

I am not computer savvy, I need help using the system.

Review this guide including screen shots to help walk using your online IBLCE account.

How will I know what to do once I log into the online system and am ready to begin filling out my application?

Once you have activated your account and updated your personal information, the “My Home Page” screen is the place where you should go for instructions about what to do next.

Once you click on the “Application Forms” link in the yellow left-hand navigation bar, you will see the application forms that are available to you for completion. After you complete each form, the system should return you to the “My Home Page” screen for the next set of instructions.

I’m an IBCLC, what happens if I don’t pass an examination?

If you don’t pass the April examination, your IBCLC certification will expire on June 30 of that year. If you don’t pass the September examination, your IBCLC certification will expire on December 31 of that year. Due to adjusted timing of the April/May 2021 examination because of the impacts of COVID-19, IBCLCs who did not pass the April/May 2021 examination only will have an expiration date of July 31, 2021.

How are current IBCLC credential expiration dates affected by moving to two exams a year?

All current IBCLCs will be receiving a new expiration date of December 31 of the year you are expiring.  You will receive an updated certificate within the year that you are expiring.

If I let my IBCLC certification lapse, do I need to meet the clinical hour and education requirements to sit the exam?

If you let your IBCLC certification lapse, then you have one exam attempt or one year, whichever comes first, in which to sit the exam without having to meet the clinical hour and education requirements.

Why is the fee different between countries?

In order to make its certification financially accessible to all those qualified to participate, despite the wide variance in economic conditions throughout the world, IBLCE uses the purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita metric as determined by international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and used by a number of international NGOs. PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of countries. Further information on fees can be found in the Recertification Guide.

Will I get some type of receipt after I submit payment online?

Yes, you will receive a confirmation of your online payment in English via email communication to your primary email address. You can also print a receipt from your online account in the “Payment History” section.

What happens if I don’t recertify?

If you choose not to recertify in the year that your IBCLC certification expires or you fail the examination as an IBCLC, you will no longer be permitted to use the designation “IBCLC” and/or “RLC” after your name. To regain the IBCLC certification you MUST sit the examination and pass. All application deadlines are applicable, so please review these if you plan to seek certification.

Should your certification lapse by either failing the IBCLC examination or not renewing by either sitting the examination or recertifying by CERPs, you may take the examination one time within the following twelve months after the expiration year without having to meet the IBCLC examination eligibility requirements; this is limited to one examination seating within the year that immediately follows the lapse of your certification. For any subsequent examination attempts you are expected to meet the eligibility requirements valid at the time of examination application. For example, an individual who fails the examination in April will be able to take the September examination of that same year or the next April examination without having to meet the prerequisites for the exam. An IBCLC who fails in September will be granted one attempt for either April or September of the following year without having to demonstrate meeting the prerequisites.

Should your IBCLC certification lapse, then you will pay the fee associated with initial examination applicants the next time that you apply to sit the exam.

In 2022, IBLCE will introduce an Inactive Status for currently active IBCLCs who are unable to meet recertification requirements in the year they are due to recertify, but intend to earn the certification again within one year. During Inactive Status, individuals do not actively hold the IBCLC credential. This status will replace the Lapsed Status described above.

To regain the IBCLC certification, during the Inactive Status, individuals can either sit and pass the examination without meeting the current eligibility requirements, or recertify by CERPs (75 CERPs), which at that time will include the self-assessment. All candidates exiting Inactive Status
via either method must also complete an additional 15 CERPs.

Should one not reapply for certification in the year of the Inactive Status, then one would need to sit and pass the examination, having met the initial candidate eligibility requirements. Should an IBCLC choose not to enter into the Inactive Status and let their certification expire, then they would need to sit and pass the examination, meeting the initial candidate eligibility requirements.

More information about Inactive Status will be posted as it becomes available.

I originally applied to recertify by exam, but have decided to recertify via CERPs instead. How do I update my application?

You can make this change as long as you are within the deadline to recertify via CERPs. Please contact your IBLCE regional customer service team to make a request.

I was eligible to recertify by either exam or CERPs this year, I chose to take the exam but failed. I have 75 CERPs, can I recertify by CERPs?

Due to the fact that you failed the exam, your certification is no longer valid. You may not recertify by CERPs.

I sent my recertification by CERPs application by the deadline but I was short 3 CERPs. Why can’t I get the CERPs since my certification doesn’t expire until December 31st?

Due to the fact that you did not meet recertification requirements by the deadline, your certification is no longer valid.

Can I apply education obtained before sitting the exam towards my recertification/what is the cut-off date to obtain CERPs?

Education for the purposes of recertification by CERPs can be earned after you are certified as an IBCLC. The timeframe in which CERPs can be earned is dependent on which exam is taken.

For initial candidates who pass the April exam: education can be earned toward recertification starting July 1 of that year through application for recertification 5 years later. For example, if you pass the April exam in 2018, then you can begin to earn education points (CERPs) for recert by CERPs from July 1, 2018 until you submit your application for recertification in 2023.

For initial candidates who pass the October exam: education can be earned toward recertification staring January 1 of the following year through application for recertification 5 years later. For example, if you pass the October exam in 2018, then you can begin to earn education points (CERPs) for recertification by CERPs from January 1, 2019 until you submit your application for recertification in 2023.

For current IBCLCs that are recertifying by exam, education may count towards recertification at any point after sitting the exam in the expiration year through application for recertification 5 years later. For example, if you are due to recertify by exam in 2018, then you can begin earning education (CERPs) at any time following the exam seating in which you took until you submit your application for recertification in 2023.

Can I recertify earlier than my expiration year?

The recertification policy is such that IBCLCs can recertify early by one year by taking, and successfully passing, the exam. Please note that if you choose to recertify one year early in this manner, then your expiration date will be five years from when you passed the exam (e.g. If you are due to recertify in 2019, but you pass an exam in 2018, then your next expiration date will be 2023 and not 2024). If you are denied or fail the April or September  examination, your certification will expire on June 30th or December 31st of that year respectively.

IBCLCs are not able to recertify by CERPs one year early.

What is the deadline to submit an application for recertification via CERPs?

The last day to submit an application to recertify via CERPs is September 30th of the year of your expiration.

Do I need CERPs to sit the exam?

IBCLCs are not required to demonstrate any continuing education recognition points (CERPs) in order to qualify for the exam.

Am I required to recertify?

The IBCLC recertification policy requires that certificants 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 a new practise analysis, capturing major developments in the field.

Please note: commencing with IBCLCs recertifying in 2022, the examination will remain an option for recertification but will no longer be a requirement. A self-assessment and required focused continuing education will be an option in lieu of examination at each five-year recertification period.

How many CERPs do I need to recertify?

A total of 75 CERPS

  • At least 50 L-CERPs

L-CERPs are awarded to education that is specifically about human lactation and breastfeeding.

  • At least 5 E-CERPs

E-CERPs awarded to education that is about professional ethics and conduct.

  • At least 20 additional CERPs which may be L, E, or R-CERPs

R-CERPs are an optional category that covers education that is related to the practise of IBCLCs, but is neither lactation nor ethics specific. R-CERPs are not required but can rather be applied for the 20 out of 75 required CERPs.

May I use continuing education that has not been awarded CERPs?

When you submit your recertification by CERPs application, you may submit continuing education that has not already been recognised for CERPs. The Individual CERPs Guide provides details about the types of educational activities that you may submit.

Is it possible to have my educational activities reviewed before I submit my recertification by CERPs application?

You can review the Individual CERPs Guide to see if your activities meet IBLCE requirements. Review ahead of the recertification application is not available.

Do I need to submit proof of my 75 CERPs?

You should keep copies of your certificates of participation in the continuing education, as your application may be randomly selected for audit. IBLCE provides 10 business days to submit supporting documentation. Please note that IBLCE reseves the right to audit any certificant application.

I was a preceptor of a Pathway 2 candidate. Can I earn CERPs for that?

Yes, you can earn a maximum of 15 L-CERPs per student who completes the Pathway 2 programme. You can report up to a maximum of 50 L-CERPs over the five-year recertification cycle. Hours are allocated based on a percentage of time spent in the preceptor role.