Before you read on, please note that IBLCE Exam application requirements are subject to change. Although we believe the following information to be current and correct of this writing, we encourage you to check the official IBLCE site as you prepare for the exam.

Checklist and pen. Making a checklist for your IBLCE Exam application helps plan ahead.

Make a checklist before you tackle the IBLCE Exam application

Completing the IBLCE Exam application seems mysterious to many candidates. But it shouldn’t. The trick is to know what you need to do, and make sure you do it.

In order to take the IBLCE Exam, you must first complete all of the requirements for the Pathway you selected. Only then can you submit an application. Check the IBLCE list of key dates. For example, applications for April test dates are due the November before; applications for October testing dates are due in May of that year. In other words, you need think about these things well in advance of your planned testing date.

Submit your IBLCE Exam application online at the IBLCE site through a portal that IBLCE makes available before the application deadline. Again, the IBLCE’s Upcoming Key Dates list is your guide to these dates.

When you get ready to complete your application, make sure you have this information:

Pathway you used to qualify for the IBLCE Exam

The IBLCE offers three pathways. Be sure you know what’s what, and be ready to specify which pathway you used in order to qualify for the exam.

Completion of your health sciences education

This can be a little confusing. If you are already a healthcare provider, as recognized by IBLCE, just providing your state license number will be sufficient. I’ve given more details here.

Certificate from your 90 hours of lactation-specific education

This is easy! Not everyone will need this, but you should have it handy, just in case. As a reminder, if you lost your certificate but you did one of my courses, you can easily download a duplicate certificate at any time.

Completion of your lactation-specific clinical hours 

Before you submit your IBLCE Exam application, you must have completed your lactation-specific clinical hours within the last 5 years. Be prepared to articulate the number of hours you have completed, as well as contact information for two supervisors who can confirm these hours. Some applicants will be asked for this information; others will not.

Personal information on IBLCE Application

This includes your date of birth and country of citizenship.

A word of warning: The name on your IBLCE Exam application must exactly match the identifying documents that you use on the day you appear for the exam. So, if you apply as Mary Jones, you do not want to later show up at the testing center with a photo ID that says Mary Jones-Smith. Be sure to read the exact instructions from Pearson VUE on this matter.

Any exam accommodations you will be requesting

If you have a special need, be prepared to say that in your IBLCE Exam application. Note, too, that the only way that you will be given a break is if you request a break for a medical reason (including breastfeeding your baby) ahead of time. Otherwise, if you take a break, you will have less time to complete the exam. Last I knew, you also need to have a documented medical need, so please look and see if such documentation is still required. Do not expect another opportunity; apply for the accommodations now.

Preferred testing site

Be thinking about where you would like to take the IBLCE Exam. Locations cannot be guaranteed, so the sooner you apply for the exam, the sooner you will be able to make your appointment for taking the exam. That means you’ll have a better chance of securing the site nearest your home or office. Remember to be on the lookout for a follow-up notice from the testing company and be ready to specify your preferred location.

Method of payment

IBLCE accepts credit cards and prepaid credit cards only; payment must be in US dollars. Be prepared to have “room” on your credit card. If you’re in the US, the exam will cost hundreds of dollars. (There are different fees, depending on the country where you taking the exam; the IBLCE fees list can help you plan ahead.)


If you are audited, you will need to provide all of this information; if this happens, you’ll be notified soon after completing your application. Otherwise, you may not need to provide the actual documents. But always be prepared! We’ve talked with many people who were audited.

Make a note for the future…

You’ll need to look for that follow-up confirmation from the testing center, schedule a day off from work, and more. Make a list of any other details you think you’ll need!

Need help figuring out how to ensure you succeed at the IBLCE exam? We have many resources available, including our popular Lactation Exam Review course (in-person or online), practice exams and drills, and other study tools. Please call my office at 703-787-9894 or e-mail us at info@breastfeedingoutlook.com.

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