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

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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. All IBCLCs must recertify every 5 years. However, you may recertify either by taking the exam, or by earning continuing education recognition points (CERPs).

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  

For some, taking the exam is too nerve-wracking! 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. Beginning in 2022, there are also some additional requirements as to the makeup of total 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 Online Lactation Exam 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 IBLCE 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!!

  2. Claire

    Hi Marie I have taken your review coarse before. It was amazing I learned so much. I will just be doings CERPS this time. I am a little worried about time and the costs any tips? Blessings Claire

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Claire, thank you, I’m so glad you found my Lactation Exam Review so helpful! My aim to help everyone to pass on the first try, and sounds like you were able to do that! Doing CERPs does cost money, no doubt. We offer CERPs as individual courses, which is the most expensive way to buy them. Instead, we suggest that you get them in bundles. We have bundles available for 15, 30, 45, and 75 CERPs. And, since you’re a faithful reader, I’ll let you in on a little secret: We do have a sale coming up later. (I can’t say how much “later” and my team and I are still working on the logistics, really.) But if you’re eager to get started today, then it’s still full price.

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