- General Recertification FAQs
- Credential Status FAQs
- Basic Life Support Requirement FAQs
- Clinical Practice Requirement FAQs
- Recertification by Examination FAQs
- Translation of the IBCLC Examination into a Language Policy FAQs
- Recertification by CERPs with Continuing Education Self-Assessment FAQs
- Using IBLCE’s Online Systems FAQs
General Recertification FAQs
1. Is there a fee for Recertification?
Yes. Please refer to the Fee Schedule found in the IBLCE Fee Guide.
2. 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 IBLCE Fee Guide.
3. Can I recertify earlier than my expiration year?
IBCLCs may recertify up to one year early by taking, and successfully passing, the examination. 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 examination (e.g. If you are due to recertify in 2022, but you pass an examination in 2021, then your next expiration date will be 2026 and not 2027). 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.
4. Am I required to recertify by examination?
No, as of 2022, IBCLCs are no longer required to recertify by examination every ten years.
IBCLCs are required to recertify every five years to maintain their credential. IBCLCs now have the option to recertify by examination OR to recertify by CERPs with the Continuing Education Self-Assessment for each five-year recertification cycle. Learn more here.
5. When will I receive my IBCLC certificate by post?
The impact of COVID-19 necessitated changes to IBLCE’s typical process of disseminating IBCLC certificates. We understand that certificates are important to many of you, and IBLCE is working to provide them in alignment with current health guidelines. Please check the Examination Resource Centre for updates about when certificates will be sent by post.
For those who recently became certified or recertified, 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.
6. I was granted an extension in 2020 and/or 2021 for extraordinary circumstances. Now that recertifying by examination is no longer required every ten years, am I eligible to recertify by CERPs with the CE Self-Assessment?
Yes, you are now eligible to recertify by CERPs with the CE Self-Assessment instead of sitting the examination.
7. I was due to recertify by examination in 2020 and was granted an extension in 2020 and 2021 for extraordinary circumstances. May I apply for an extension for a third time in 2022?
For IBCLC examination candidates in 2022, IBLCE allow for a deferral for three consecutive years with proof of 15 L-CERPs for each year that certification is extended. The deferral for a third year is exclusively only to be related to COVID-19 extraordinary circumstances. If granted, the extension does not extend the IBLCE Recertification by CERPs next five-year cycle for certification; the IBCLC will still be expected to recertify in the original five-year cycle meeting current recertification requirements.
Credential Status FAQs
1. What happens if I retire?
In 2021, IBLCE introduced a Retired Status for active IBCLCs who intend to retire and no longer practise as an IBCLC. Learn more here.
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 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 practice.
Learn more about Retired Status here.
2. 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.
IBCLCs who do not pass the IBCLC examination are not eligible for Inactive Status.
3. I chose to take the examination but failed. I have 75 CERPs, can I recertify by CERPs?
Due to the fact that you failed the examination, your certification is no longer valid. You may not recertify by CERPs.
4. 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” after your name.
If you let your IBCLC certification lapse in 2021, then you have one examination attempt or one year, whichever comes first, in which to sit the examination without having to meet the clinical practice and education requirements.
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.
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 with Continuing Education Self-Assessment (75 CERPs). All candidates applying for IBCLC certification after Inactive Status via either method must also complete an additional 15 L-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 in place at that time.
More information about Inactive Status will be posted as it becomes available.
Basic Life Support Requirement FAQs
1. 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 current basic life support credential is not a requirement. A didactic basic life support course will be sufficient to meet the requirement.
2. Can the basic life support education required for IBCLCs recertifying by either examination or CERPs be counted as part of the required 75 CERPs?
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.
Clinical Practice Requirement FAQs
1. I am due to recertify this year. What part of my work or volunteering will be accepted towards the 250 hours of practice 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, the public, and professionals.
- Administrative and supervisory work as an IBCLC in the areas of breastfeeding and lactation.
- Paid or volunteer breastfeeding care at a Recognised Breastfeeding Support Counsellor Organisation.
- 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 practice 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 (Effective 2023)
Recertification by Examination FAQs
For FAQs about the IBCLC examination, please see the Examination FAQs page.
1. Do I have to recertify by examination every 10 years?
No, IBCLCs are no longer required to recertify by examination every 10 years.
In August 2018, the IBLCE Board decided that the IBCLC examination would remain an option for recertification but would no longer be required every ten years commencing with those recertifying in 2022. Instead, a self-assessment with required focused continuing education would now be an option each recertification cycle. The rationale for this is that formal or organised education can lead to advancing practice, as well as that self-assessment encourages self-reflection by allowing the certificant to self-identify strengths and areas of improvement.
For FAQs about the IBCLC examination, please see the Examination FAQs page.
2. What are the requirements for recertification by examination?
Candidates planning to recertify by examination should complete at least 250 practice hours of lactation consulting as well as a basic life support course prior to submitting their application for the examination of their choice. More information about these requirements can be found in the Recertification Guide.
Please note that CERPs are not required to be eligible to apply for the examination.
3. 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 more information when you are able to schedule your examination appointment.
Translation of the IBCLC Examination into a Language Policy FAQs
1. Why has IBLCE changed its policy on the translation of the IBCLC examination into a language policy?
IBLCE’s revised strategic plan contemplates a strategic language policy as well as financial sustainability. The World Health Organization, with a substantial budget, often makes its information available in just 6 languages, while IBLCE currently offers its examination in 17. Analysing longitudinal data over multiple years, there is relatively low demand for the examination in 7 languages, and given the extensive costs associated with the translation and publication of the examination into each language, IBLCE is transitioning, effective 2024, to focusing its efforts on the 10 most frequently administered examination languages/those which are financially sustainable.
This is a matter of equity to the global IBCLC community as well as good stewardship. As the CE Self-Assessment is available in all 17 languages, current IBCLCs have a method to recertify with a number of cost-effective ways to earn continuing education.
2. What languages does this currently affect and why these languages?
The languages being discontinued for examination administration commencing in 2024 include Croatian, Dutch, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Polish, and Slovenian. See data for candidates taking the examination to earn the credential for the last three years in these languages below.
These languages have had low demand among initial test-takers for a number of years; the data provided above is for the last three years.
This decision has been made objectively, on the basis of data and sustainability.
3. So does that mean the IBCLC examination will never be offered in these languages again?
No, what this means is that at present, the second administration of 2023 will be the last year the IBCLC examination will be offered in these languages. Moving forward, for the IBCLC examination to be translated into a language, whether new languages or those currently being discontinued, the requirements of the Translation of the IBCLC Examination into a Language Policy must be met if there is not a history of an examination language meeting threshold sustainability metrics. This is fair, objective, and financially responsible.
4. What does this mean for IBCLCs who use these seven languages currently being discontinued?
IBLCE will continue to provide information in these languages on its website and in its Briefings, just as it does currently. IBLCE intends to maintain its current network of IBLCE Coordinators. Effective for those recertifying in 2024, IBCLCs in these languages will need to recertify by CE Self-Assessment and continuing education. For examination translation into one of these languages or any new languages, the requirements set forth in the Translation of the IBCLC Examination into a Language Policy must be met inclusive of necessary lead time for examination translation.
5. What if I have questions regarding the translation of the IBCLC examination into one of these discontinued languages or a new language?
After reviewing the Translation of the IBCLC Examination into a Language Policy, please reach out to the regional location which serves you.
Recertification by CERPs with Continuing Education Self-Assessment FAQs
- Recertification by CERPs FAQs
1. How many CERPs do I need to recertify?
You are required to complete a total of 75 CERPs.
Beginning in 2022, IBCLCs who choose to recertify by CERPs must take the CE Self-Assessment to inform their continuing education. The CE Self-Assessment is a computer-based test with approximately 70 multiple-choice items based on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline. Upon completion of the CE Self-Assessment, you will receive immediate feedback in the form of a Personalised Professional Development Plan (PPDP). This plan will show you the topic areas of the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline where you need to focus your continuing education.
Please see the “Continuing Education Self-Assessment FAQs” for more information. Learn more about Recertification by CERPs here.
2. Do I need to submit proof of my 75 CERPs?
You should keep copies of your certificates of participation in continuing education, as your application may be randomly selected for audit. If selected for audit, IBLCE provides 10 business days to submit supporting documentation. Please note that IBLCE reserves the right to audit any certificant application.
3. 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 31?
Due to the fact that you did not meet recertification requirements by the deadline, your certification is no longer valid.
The deadline to recertify by CERPs is always on September 30 of the year that your certification expires.
4. 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.
5. How can I check the status of my recertification via CERPs application?
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.
- Continuing Education Self-Assessment (CE Self-Assessment) FAQs
Learn more about accessing and using the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard here.
1. How do I take the CE Self-Assessment?
When you are eligible to register for the IBCLC Continuing Education Self-Assessment, you will receive an email from IBLCE and an email with log-in details for the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard. You will need to reset your password and register for the CE Self-Assessment before launching the assessment.
If you have previously received this email and claimed your account, you can log in to the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard here.
Learn more about using the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard here.
2. Can I take the CE Self-Assessment more than once during a five-year recertification window?
You are only allowed to take the CE Self-Assessment once during any 5-year recertification period and 18-24 months after you are certified/recertified.
3. How long will the CE Self-Assessment take?
You have 120 minutes (2 hours) to complete the CE Self-Assessment. It must be completed in one 120-minute period. Please do not start the CE Self-Assessment unless you plan to complete the full Self-Assessment.
4. Can I take a break during the CE Self-Assessment?
You may take a break during the CE Self-Assessment, but you cannot stop the clock. It must be completed in one 120-minute period.
5. How do I apply the results of the CE Self-Assessment to plan my continuing education?
Upon completion of the CE Self-Assessment, you will receive your Personalised Professional Development Plan (PPDP) immediately. The PPDP will show you in which areas of the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline you are required to focus your continued education.
Your PPDP shows the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline topics and your score in each topic. A proficient score is 75%. You are required to earn CERPs in each topic where you scored below 75%. When you are selecting a course in one of your areas, review the Detailed Content Outline to ensure that the course description is aligned with the required area of continuing education.
You can access your PPDP at any time in the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard. Learn more here.
6. How many CERPs am I required to earn based on the CE Self-Assessment PPDP?
As a result of IBCLC feedback, the CE Self-Assessment transition plan has been modified to clarify the recertification by CERPS with CE-Self Assessment requirements. IBCLCs are required to earn a minimum number of their CERPs based on the results of their Personalised Professional Development Plan (PPDP):
- For IBCLCs due to recertify in 2023: if you have one or more required topic areas identified in the PPDP, you are required to earn a minimum of three (3) CERPs in each of those topic areas,
- For IBCLCs due to recertify in 2024 and beyond: if you have one or more required topic areas identified in the PPDP, you are required to earn a minimum of five (5) CERPs in each of those topic areas, OR
- If you have no required topic areas identified in the PPDP, you can earn CERPs based on your career path, practice setting, or interest areas in alignment with the Detailed Content Outline (DCO).
You can access your PPDP at any time in the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard. Learn more here.
7. Can I apply CERPs hours that I took before the CE Self-Assessment to my required areas identified in the CE Self-Assessment?
Yes, you can apply CERPs hours that you took before the CE Self-Assessment to your required areas as identified in the Personalised Professional Development Plan from the CE Self-Assessment.
8. What type of documentation do I need if I am selected for audit?
IBCLCs who are selected for audit during the recertification process must submit copies of their CE Self-Assessment Personalised Professional Development Plan, proof of CERPS earned in the areas identified on the CE Self-Assessment Personalised Professional Development Plan, certificates of completion, as well as proof of completion of a basic life support class and a completed copy of the Practice Calculator to document the required practice hours. Documentation needed for other types of activities that count toward recertification is detailed in the Individual CERPs Guide. Find the Practice Calculator and Guide here.
For the purposes of the recertification process, IBLCE does not maintain records of participants in education programmes that have been awarded CERPs through the IBLCE CERP Provider Programme. IBCLCs who have lost or misplaced their certificate of completion must contact the educational provider.
9. What is the purpose of the CE Self-Assessment?
The CE Self-Assessment is intended to encourage self-reflection and to guide subsequent focused continuing education to advance practice as an IBCLC.
The CE Self-assessment uses a “Blended Approach” in continuing education, balancing the commitment to maintain competency and continuously evolve to align with industry standards in the topics outlined in the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline. It also allows IBCLCs the flexibility to select continuing education more specific to their career path, practice setting, or interest areas. Once fully transitioned to the CE Self-Assessment, up to approximately half of the required number of CERPs will be prescribed by the areas identified for improvement in the Self-Assessment and the remaining CERPs will be determined by the IBCLC.
10. How was the CE Self-Assessment developed?
In August 2018, based on feedback from IBCLCs and further research and analysis, IBLCE decided that the IBCLC examination would remain an option for recertification but would no longer be required every ten years commencing with those recertifying in 2022. The CE Self-Assessment was developed by IBCLC Subject Matter Expert (SMEs) representing the IBCLC population, practice settings, geographic location, and discipline. It was pilot tested in 2021 and now available to IBCLCs who are due to recertify in 2022.
- Continuing Education FAQs
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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).
4. Can I apply education obtained before sitting the examination towards my recertification/what is the cut-off date to obtain CERPs?
Education for the purposes of recertification by CERPs must be earned after you are certified as an IBCLC. The timeframe in which CERPs can be earned is dependent on which examination is taken.
For initial candidates who pass the April examination: education can be earned toward recertification starting July 1 of that year through application for recertification five years later. For example, if you pass the April examination in 2021, then you can begin to earn education points (CERPs) for recert by CERPs from July 1, 2021 until you submit your application for recertification in 2026.
For initial candidates who pass the September examination: education can be earned toward recertification staring January 1 of the following year through application for recertification five years later. For example, if you pass the September examination in 2021, then you can begin to earn education points (CERPs) for recertification by CERPs from January 1, 2022 until you submit your application for recertification in 2026.
For current IBCLCs that are recertifying by examination, education may count towards recertification at any point after sitting the examination in the expiration year through application for recertification five years later. For example, if you recertify by examination in 2021, then you can begin earning education (CERPs) at any time following the examination seating in which you took until you submit your application for recertification in 2026.
For current IBCLCs who last recertified by CERPs, education may count toward recertification at any point after the date on which your previous recertification by CERPs was approved.
5. 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.
6. Is it possible to have my educational activities reviewed before I submit my recertification by CERPs application?
You can review the Individual CERPs Guide here to see if your activities meet IBLCE requirements. Review ahead of the recertification application is not available.
7. 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.
8. I was granted an extension of certification due to documented extraordinary circumstances and had to present 15 L-CERPs with my extension. Do these L-CERPs count toward the 75 needed to recertify?
Yes, these 15 L-CERPs can be counted toward the 75 needed for recertification by CERPs.
Using IBLCE’s Online Systems FAQs
Please see IBLCE’s Online Systems to learn how to submit an application, check your status, print a receipt, and more using IBLCE’s online credential management system and the CE Self-Assessment Dashboard.