IBLCE Certification Pathways

Here is a simple explanation of the three International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) certification pathways.

All three pathways require:

  • Appropriate health sciences education
  • 90 hours of lactation education
  • Clinical experience (the number of hours depends upon the pathway)
  • Taking and passing the IBLCE exam

Pathway 1

Health professionals and breastfeeding peer-counselors who can obtain clinical experience in their work or volunteer setting use this pathway. It requires 1,000 hours of clinical experience. You are not required to have any IBCLC supervision of your clinical experience in this pathway. You must document your hours, and provide the name of a supervisor or manager who will act as a reference for you to confirm that you obtained the clinical experience. PCC offers a Lactation Education Certificate that provides 90-hours of lactation education required for this pathway.

Pathway 2

These are college credit programs that include the required lactation education and clinical experience. These programs must provide students with the opportunity to obtain 300 hours of clinical experience supervised by an IBCLC. PCC offers a Pathway 2 Lactation Consultant Certificate . It is a 1-yr certificate program that includes one term of 90 hours of lactation education, and 300 hours of clinical experience. This program starts in the Spring of each year and applications are accepted mid-January. See program website for deadlines.

Pathway 3

This is a pathway used by those who have a mentor who is a recertified (has been certified for 5 years or more) IBCLC who is willing to directly supervise their clinical experience. It requires 500 hours of clinical experience supervised by a recertified IBCLC mentor. When using this pathway, you must complete an IBLCE Mentorship contract and have it approved before you can begin to accumulate any of your clinical experience. PCC offers a Lactation Education Certificate that provides 90-hours of lactation education required for this pathway.

Additional Resources