Step 1: Prepare for IBCLC Certification

To sit the IBCLC certification examination, you are to meet eligibility criteria in the three areas below, as well as adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs.

To be eligible to sit the IBCLC examination, you may pursue one of three pathways (Pathway 1, Pathway 2, or Pathway 3) to meet the key eligibility components. You must meet the criteria through one of these pathways to be eligible to sit for the IBCLC examination. The pathways are designed to ensure that all applicants have a health sciences background, a minimum of 90 hours lactation specific education as well as relevant clinical experience and adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs by attestation. These three eligibility pathways permit individuals from a variety of diverse backgrounds to gain the knowledge and skills relevant to practise as an IBCLC.

To determine which pathway is right for you use this decision map to guide you.

The IBCLC examination tests the application of knowledge in the disciplines listed on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline.

The IBCLC examination consists of 175 multiple choice questions. The examination is given in two parts, and once you have completed Part One, you may not go back to that part. Most questions in Part Two are associated with an image. The standard IBCLC examination is of four hours duration.

British English is the foundation for all translations of the IBCLC examination. With respect to measurement, the IBCLC examination includes both metric weights and measures as well as US weights and measures, with the more prevalent metric measurement noted first, and with the US measurement noted second in a parenthetical, e.g,., 30 mL (1 oz).

The skills in the Clinical Competencies for the Practice of IBCLCs and Scope of Practice for IBCLCs are representative of the ways in which IBCLCs apply this knowledge to clinical situations.

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, review the Candidate Information Guide.

Ready to proceed to Step 2: Certification Fees & Key Dates? Click here!

Ready to proceed to Step 3: Apply for the IBCLC Exam? Click here!