How to Become a Lactation Consultant?

How to become a lactation consultant

Lactation consultants are there to provide help and care to mothers and their babies. Starting from pediatric, obstetric, all of these tasks are done by lactation consultants.

These types of nurses are employed in governmental offices to help in the programs regarding infants, women, and children.

If you want to be a lactation consultant, you must have a nursing degree, and this is required for a nurse license.

Please note that there are also other requirements for this profession.

Below I will guide you on how to become a lactation consultant in different states, with different backgrounds, etc.

So let’s get started.

When you want to take up this career you must ask how to become a lactation consultant?

And you will get an answer from nay trusted sites.

You will get to know that it’s not required to be a registered nurse to become a consultant, as most employer search for the professionals who are registered caregiver, and has international board certificate of a lactation consultant.

This means you require your high school certification of the same. You have to follow the four years of nursing degree, which will prepare you for the nursing licensing exam.

Then, if you want to become IBCLC certified, you have to finish at least 90 hours of coursework in lactation and have to perform 1000 hours of supervised medical hours with babies and their mothers to pass the test.

You also have to keep up with the education required to gain board certification.

So how to become a lactation consultant certified? That’s coming up next.

How to become lactation consultant certified?

How to become a lactation consultant certified

There are different types of certification courses available for a lactation consultant, and you can choose from the list below.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

This is the international board certification, and for this, you must study the comprehensive science of lactation, and perform at least 1000 hours of observing work with some families.

IBCLSs are required to renew their certification every 5 years, and they have to go through a test to retain their title.

These professionals work in private and doctor’s offices, in hospitals, and some go for home visits too.

See also: What is IBCLC? The Full-Depth Definition

Here’s a very informational video made by Bebe Jadore on how to become an IBCLC.

Bebe Jadore’s recommendation:

Certified Lactation Professional (CLP)

To become a CLP you need to take 45 to 90 hours of lactation coursework.

After the course is complete, the participant has to take the final test to finish the certification program.

CLPs are required to renew their position every five years, and they have to go through a test. CLP certification can lead to IBCLC.

These professionals are qualified for situations such as counseling needs, latching issues, milk supply, and other complicated things like being medically challenged, low birth weight, and so on.

CLPs mostly work in hospitals, private practice, and outpatient settings.

Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC)

To become one, you need to take 45 to 90 hours of breastfeeding management and have to pass the final test.

CLCs are required to renew their certification every three years, and this is also regarded as the stepping stone to become an IBCLC.

See also: CLC vs IBCLC – Which one is better for you?

These professionals help with the circumstances like providing knowledge in milk production, counseling mothers, assess latching techniques, corrective interventions, the effect of medications on newborns, and so on.

You will find them servicing at parenting centers, doctor’s chambers, and maternity units.

Certified Lactation Educator (CLE)

For this certification, you need to take a twenty-hour lactation educational course.

Also, as the name suggests this role is to educate mothers about breastfeeding.

See also: Postpartum Nurse Interview Questions

CLEs encourage families during the lactation period and give support in the role of doula, or an educator in childbirth.

These professionals are non-biased, and they take evidence-based information from the families, and they do not provide advice in medical situations, but they refer the families to the local resources for more help.

CLEs do not make treatment plans.

See also: Can a Lactation Consultant Prescribe Medication?

As you might already know, I’m personally a registered nurse and a public health nurse by training.

If you are too, that’s great!

Next, I will show you to steps on how to become a lactation consultant as an RN.

How to become a lactation consultant as an RN?

How to become a lactation consultant as an RN

You don’t require to be a healthcare professional to take up the job of a lactation consultant, an IBCLC is the topmost certification for this job.

If you want to become the same, you have to meet standards set for health science courses, and you must have clinical experience in the practical field.

To become an IBCLC you have to take up 14 health science subjects, however, nurses will not have to go through the same.

If you become a nurse before you take up the lactation consultant degree, you have to get a nursing degree at first.

To become a licensed nurse, you have to pursue a two-year program.

To become a registered nurse, you will require to take two years of an associate degree program or a bachelor in nursing science which is for 4 years.

After you graduate, you need to take the NCLEX-RN test to get the license.

The last step here is to apply for the board of nursing to become an RN.

Certification of lactation consultant

The certification program of becoming a certified lactation consultant is different from nursing training.

All consultants have to receive a particular education before they start practicing for the position. A lactation consultant has to go through a strict educational phase and they must acquire experience in clinical fields.

Only after that, they can become an IBCLC in the management of breastfeeding.

After you become an IBCLC professional you need to renew the certification every 10 years.

How to become a lactation consultant online?

You can take a lactation consultant course online, and you have to take 90 hours of training, and then give an exam to become a certified IBCLC.

This very program is in-depth training in breastfeeding and lactation management that helps in the certification exam for the consultants, or for the one who is practicing.

The course is for the ones who have the ultimate desire to provide education on lactation to mothers.

Also, with the online program, you get to qualify and study for the IBCLC exam.

The things you will get from the online certification:

  • General educational requirements
  • 90 hours of specific training
  • Clinical internship details
  • IBLCE test review course

See also: Breast Care Nurse Interview Questions

How much does it cost to become a lactation consultant?

The exam for the lactation consultant costs about $600, this is for the moment you apply for it.

After you complete the exam you also have to bear some other costs, also when you need a mentor to guide you in the college course.

How long does it take to become a lactation consultant?

You have to go through 300 to 1000 hours of lactation-specific experience in the clinical field.

This is required to take the IBCLC test.

After you clear the exam, you will be eligible for the role of a lactation consultant.

Next, I will show you how to become a lactation consultant in different states of the USA.

See also: What Happens at a Lactation Consultant Appointment?

How to become a lactation consultant in different states?

If you have a query on how to become a lactation consultant in the US, you need to know the educational and other requirements for different states.

Here, check out some of them.

How to become a lactation consultant in Texas?

The major requirement to become a lactation consultant in Texas is to take 300 to 1000 hours as a breastfeeding counselor, and after that, you have to take the exam to become a lactation consultant.

The practical experience will depend on your education.

How to become a lactation consultant in NC?

Particular parts require education in chemistry, public health, development and growth of infants, and medical terminology.

If you want to become a lactation consultant in North Carolina, you have to take up at least eighty hours in these subjects and in other fields too, and then you can take the IBCLC exam.

How to become a lactation consultant in PA?

You have to cover 90 hours of lactation education, and it can complete in 2 weeks through an online course.

However, the clinical experience will take 3 to 18 months to complete.

How to become a lactation consultant in Florida?

To become a lactation consultant in Florida, you must go through 5 years of education in practical and theoretical aspects of breastfeeding management.

The certification is provided by the IBLCE.

in Ohio?

This requires at least 90 hours of particular education and it completes in five years, and after that, you can sit for the IBLCE exam.

This course can be taken online, and at least 60 minutes of class is required.

in Tennessee?

You won’t require a registration or license by the Tennessee Board of Medical Exams to become a lactation consultant.

However, there is some professional who has a nursing degree, and a nurse must have a nursing license to become a professional.

in California?

You require 90 hours of lactation-specific course; 6 continuing education and 8 undergraduate health science courses are required.

Also, you have to go through 300 to 1000 clinical hours.

in MD?

You will have to take up health science courses, and complete ninety hours of didactic education in lactation.

You have to finish the clinical experience and pass the certification test.

in Colorado?

You have to take 90 hours of didactic education in lactation, complete your clinical experience, and pass the certification test.

in NJ?

You have to meet the requirements of IBCLE to become a lactation consultant in New Jersey.

When you complete this program, you will be provided the designation of a lactation consultant.

Now you know pretty much all about on how to become a lactation consultant, in different states, online, with an RN degree, etc.

If you would like to learn more about study nursing, check out these articles of ours:

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About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.