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Easy and Hard Ways to Meet IBLCE’s Health Science Requirement

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If you are planning to take the IBCLC® exam for the first time, you should know that you are required to have 14 health sciences courses under your belt before you submit your exam application. There are easy and hard ways to meet IBLCE’s health science requirement!

If you are educated in one of the “Recognised Health Professions” — as defined by IBLCE — it’s really easy! You are already set. The IBLCE assumes you have completed the course prior to receiving your degree, and you just need to submit a copy of your government-issued license or registration or a copy of your diploma, transcript or degree. In that case, you can skip reading this post — or forward it with someone else who is struggling.

If you’re struggling with this, listen up! I learned a few things today I’ve never known before.

The 8 “Higher Education” Courses: Easy and hard ways to meet IBLCE’s health science requirement

Over the years, I have casually referred to these as the “college” courses. Certainly, most people take them in college, each of the courses must be “a minimum of one academic credit session” and the term distinguishes them from the other 6 required subjects, which may be completed in “continuing education,” so my audience knows what I mean. But if you look carefully at the rules, you’ll see that IBLCE also recognizes any course that has been approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) or an “equivalent college credit equivalency service.”

As you might notice, most — but not all — are indeed college courses. College courses are almost always hard. But you might find more variety, and less hassle, by going through the ACE courses rather than using a more traditional route.

Another alternative: CLEP or DSST

IBLCE also recognizes learning completed through independent study, if the learner passes either the CLEP® (College Level Examination Program) or DSST® exam. You can think of these as college-course equivalents of the high school GED program.

However, the intent here is to help people prove their prior knowledge. The current cost of $20 to $30 per test may make you feel like diving right in — but you’d be wise to get some help in preparing. If you’re an over-achiever, you might be able to do this by studying one or more of the recommended resources. But it may be a good idea to prepare more than that to complete the IBLCE’s health science requirement.

I took the sample CLEP questions for Biology, then Infant and Child Growth and Development. I scored about 90% on each practice test. Admittedly, I haven’t taken a biology course or a growth-and-development course in more than 40 years. But, there was only one question for which I was certain of my answer on each of those practice exams. I was mostly making good guesses.

The 6 “Continuing Education” courses

Easy and hard ways to meet IBLCE’s health science requirement especially pertain to the six “continuing education” courses. These subjects can be taken through some organization or entity that offers continuing education. These include: Medical Documentation, Medical Terminology, Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals, Universal Safety Precautons and Infection Control, Professional Ethics for Health Professionals, and Basic Life Support.

You could probably take these 6 courses at a college or university, but why would you? You’ll end up spending more time and money. Instead, consider completing those courses through a continuing education provider. Our package is conveniently online and includes 5 of the 6 classes, and is a great bargain at just $100. You can complete in just a couple of evenings, printing your certificate immediately. It’s simple, fast, and convenient. The only thing missing is basic life support — that “hands-on the CPR dummy experience” isn’t easily provided online! — but you can get that from your local fire department, YMCA, Red Cross, or elsewhere.

What works for you? 

We’ve established that there are easy and hard ways to meet IBLCE’s health science requirement. Certainly, there are many options for meeting your health sciences education requirement, but not all options are the same. For example, online education may seem to beat going to a regular classroom, but it’s not for everyone. You may need much more structure and interaction to successfully complete a course. Or one way may work better for another if you want to actually know the material — rather than just “checking the box” to meet the requirement. Consider: how have you learned other information best? What fits your needs right now?

How have you met, or how are you planning to meet IBLCE’s Health Sciences requirements? I’m interesting to hear the pros and cons of your experience. Comment below, or please email us at

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