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Recertifying as an IBCLC: By Exam, or by CERPs?

Woman at computer with cup of tea

Did you get a letter or email saying that you’re due to recertify your IBCLC certification? If so, be sure you know the requirements, and your options.

What are the recertification requirements?

The IBCLC certification is valid for a 5-year period. You must recertify by exam at least once every 10 years. However, 5 years after taking and passing the exam, you may recertify either by taking the exam, or by earning continuing education recognition points (CERPs).

As an example, let’s say you took and passed the IBLCE Exam in 2009. In 2014, you could have recertified by taking the exam again, OR by earning CERPs. If you recertified in 2014 by using CERPs, then in 2019, you MUST take (and pass!) the exam to recertify as an IBCLC.

Recertifying by exam

Rarely does anyone prefer to take the exam, but if you want to — go for it! (Personally, I believe that anyone who is a card-carrying member of the AARP should be exempt from taking any exam! But that’s just me, and so far, I haven’t convinced any certifying agency to grant such an exemption!)

Recertifying by CERPs (5 years after passing the exam)  

If you decide that taking the exam is too nerve-wracking at your 5-year mark, go the CERP route. You will need to accumulate a total of 75 CERPs. Of the total, 5 must be E-CERPs, 50 must be L-CERPs, and the other 20 can be E-CERPs, L-CERPs, or R-CERPs.

If you haven’t already done so, dig up your supporting documentation for your CERPs. And if you haven’t accumulated enough CERPs, you can earn your CERPs at home with your cup of tea in your hand and your dog in your lap. You can even print your certificate from your home printer!

Get a plan to recertify

Keep close track of the deadlines. If you’re renewing through CERPs, build yourself a calendar for completing those 75 CERPs, because it’s about 75 hours worth of work. You’ll need a plan to complete your CERPs before the deadline.

If you’re recertifying by exam, build a calendar to review all of the topics and have a solid study plan. Consider my live or online Lactation Review. Since its debut in 2004, we’ve offered the live Lactation Review more than 150 times, and it’s still going strong because it helps you to focus on what you really need to pass. But whatever you do, start planning! The exam is not as far away as it seems!

What are the costs and deadlines?

The key dates can be found on the IBCLC site. Exact fees vary, depending on what country you are from. I’ve just given a quick overview here, but you should always look at the IBLCE’s site for detailed information.

Will you be recertifying your IBCLC credential this year? Will you be taking the exam or recertifying by CERPs? Tell me in the comments below!

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  1. Bonnie williamson

    I have taken your courses before I live your website. I will be 69 you help me pass the incl exam 5 years ago. Now I only a short time I expire in 2021 so I would like to know what you have fir me. I just love the way teach fir old people like me I have been incalculable since 1996. So help Me get my CERPs before 2021 please

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Oh hi, Bonnie! I’m so glad, so glad I could help you. And it’s always good to hear someone say, “I love the way you teach.” Honestly, I can only be myself, but I’ve had that comment from many of the really young gals (not just the “old people” you mention!) but again, honestly, I just come being who I am. Yes, definitely, you’re wise to start earning your CERPs now. Click on this link because we are running a sale on CERPs right now. Whoo–hooo! You asked on the right day! Any questions, please send email to, OR feel free to call us during normal business hours at 703-787-9894. We are not actually in the office, but we are answering email and phone remotely. Thank you, and stay safe out there!!

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