Have you been dreaming of becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)? It's time to make that dream a reality. Get started on your IBCLC journey today!
You will need to read the IBLCE's Candidate Information Guide to determine which Pathway will work best for you.
Basically, you will need the following:
How you get these things and the number of required hours of clinical experience vary depending on the Pathway you choose. See the details in each Pathway link, below.
The IBLCE requires that you have completed several college-level health sciences courses as well as a few continuing education health sciences courses. Read the IBLCE's Health Sciences Education Guide for more information and review their Health Sciences Summary Page.
You will need the following courses from an accredited institution of higher learning:
And these courses from either an accredited institution of higher learning or a continuing education provider:
Breastfeeding Outlook has a Health Sciences Continuing Education Program that covers all of these except for Basic Life Support (which must be taken locally) for just $99!
The very best way to get your 90 hours of lactation education is to take a LEAARC-Approved Comprehensive Lactation Course. You can be assured that these courses will properly prepare your to take and pass the IBLCE exam and to have a successful career as an IBCLC.
The number of clinical hours you need and how you get them will be determined by your Pathway. The IIBLCE's Candidate Information Guide has more detailed information on accruing and counting lactation-specific clinical hours. Remember, if you are doing Pathway 3, you cannot being accruing clinical hours until your Pathway 3 Plan has been approved by the IBLCE.
And you must have ALL of your requirements completed BEFORE you apply. So this means you need to start early! If you still need to complete some college courses, you need to start even earlier. Give yourself at least a year to get your clinical hours and sign up for your 90 hours of lactation education about a year before you plan to test.
The exam itself currently costs about $600, due when you apply. Completing your exam requirements will also be costly, especially if you need to take some college courses or get a mentor. So determine the potential costs, clear off a credit card or start saving. Don't be afraid to ask for support from relatives and friends. We have gift certificates available. Just ask for them for your birthday or the holidays! Marie also offers a scholarship for her 90-hour program each year. So do some research and get some help. This is a career, not a job, and it is worth the investment of your time and resources.
Once you've fulfilled all your requirements and submitted your application, now it is time to prepare to take that exam. This is not an easy exam. We hear from smart people every year that failed. And we often hear statements like, "That was the hardest exam I have every taken!" and "That was harder than my nursing boards!" So be prepared. You will need to spend a significant amount of time studying and you will need to practice taking computerized, timed, multiple-choice test questions. Also, the IBLCE Exam is about 2/3 image-based. This means that the there will be an image provided and a question asked about the image. This makes the exam even more challenging. So you need to practice answering image-based questions, too.
As Marie often says, "This is a GLOBAL exam!" And, because it is global, you must be prepared to answer questions about topics you may never face in your practice. You must know the standard recommendations for dealing with lactation management issues, not the way your hospital does it. You must be able to sort out the right "exam response" vs. what is right in your day-to-day practice. You must keep this in mind as you prepare.
When you are ready, there are many companies out there with exam prep materials. Do your research and find the best ones. We offer our own selection of review courses, practice exams, drill questions, and Marie's live seminar, Picture Perfect, which helps you learn how to analyze those pesky images on the exam. We are here to support you from the initial stages of gathering information all the way to passing the exam and beyond. Your Success is our Goal!
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