Lactation Education and Consultant Careers

Employment

dad, son, and pregnant mom talking with a consultant

IBCLCs and breastfeeding professionals are able to obtain employment in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, out-patient clinics, private practice, WIC programs, public health programs, breastfeeding peer counselor organizations, parent education/support programs, employer lactation programs, donor milk banks, and academic institutions.

Lactation education can enhance job skills for health professionals who work with breastfeeding families.  Breastfeeding peer counselors and breastfeeding educators also benefit from lactation education, and play an important role in supporting breastfeeding families. 

Job market

Several national and global initiatives reflect an increased demand for Certified Lactation Consultants. The US Surgeon General, Dr Regina Benjamin, issued a Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding in January 2011.  In that report she states that in order to meet the needs of breastfeeding families across the US, we need four times the number of lactation consultants that are now certified.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track Lactation Consultants and they are categorized with nurses as they typically interact with patients in a similar roles. In most areas, they are paid an hourly rate that seems to parallel the RN salary range which in Oregon is from $24-$50 per hour. Lactation Consultants do not have to be RN to function in their role, although some hospitals may have an additional requirement that they be an RN. Hospitals typically post positions on their own job boards. A recent job posting at Legacy Hospital, which a graduate of the Lactation Program we are proposing would qualify for, shows a salary range of $27-$37 per hour.