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How Much Money Can a Lactation Consultant Make?

Lactation consultant adding money to a piggy bank

Like all professions or occupations, whether you earn an hourly wage or a yearly salary, your income depends on many factors. If you’re wondering how much money a lactation consultant can make, ask yourself these questions.

Where do you live and work?

As you might imagine, people who work in a rural area usually don’t make as much money as people who work in an urban area. People who live in one state might make a different amount than those live in another. People who live in one country probably don’t make the same amount of money as people who live in a different country.

How much experience do you have?

The person who has more education and experience, and who has demonstrated more expertise, will be able to command a higher dollar remuneration than the newbie. Before you go job-hunting, be sure to revise and update your résumé.

If you’re wondering how much money a lactation consultant can make, the biggest factor — as with any profession, occupation, service, or product — very much depends on the perceived value of what you can offer.

How are your negotiating skills?

Entities and employers have budgets. They budget a certain amount of money for a certain position. Sure, you need education, experience, and expertise. But don’t expect the employer to offer you the top dollar right off the bat.

Like anyone else, how much money a lactation consultant can make highly depends on the ability to convince the employer of worth. I’ve experienced several different situations.

I distinctly remember that the Dean at Georgetown University offered me the top dollar for the faculty position I was applying for at the College of Nursing. I was overjoyed! But it was the only time in my career that my employer gave such a generous offer.

Another time, a boss offered me less than I felt I deserved. I was a highly experienced clinical nurse specialist with multiple degrees and multiple certifications. And, I was a published author. She said she couldn’t offer me more money. I told her I understood, thanked her kindly, and walked away. I knew I had multiple other opportunities. Later that week, she called and offered me more money. I cheerfully accepted the position.

What’s the trick? If you know you’re the best your boss is ever going to find, polish your negotiating skills. There is no set standard for the money a lactation consultant can make

What does the employer really need or value?

Does your facility offer a shift differential? How about better pay for working weekends? And, if you hold a state license (e.g., RN, RD, etc.), will your IBCLC be valued as an additional certification that snags a bigger paycheck for doing your job? Maybe. Maybe not.

It’s difficult to point to just one number that represents the amount of money a lactation consultant can make. Each facility is a little different. So scope it out.

What about if you are in private practice?

This varies substantially. However, few solo practitioners talk about how much money they make as a lactation consultant, so it may be difficult or impossible to get an accurate answer.

I’ve never met an IBCLC who got rich from being in private practice. There might be someone out there who has, but I’ve never met one. However, many have told me how hard they struggle for a steady income. 

So maybe your real question is, how much can you charge a client? Many lactation consultants charge more for the first visit than for subsequent visits. But most mothers and babies are fairly healthy, and if you can’t help to solve their problem in one or two visits, you might ask yourself if you are effective in your job.

However, if you can structure your practice to deal primarily with complicated or chronic problems, you can plan on recurring income from that client’s family.

The amount of money a lactation consultant can make in private practice depends on the fee structure. The tricky part is figuring out where to start. I find that in most locales, the lactation consultant can charge about the same hourly rate as the local massage therapist, and not get much price resistance. That’s not a perfect approach to figuring out fees, but it’s often a good place to start.

Have you given thought to what money you would like to make as a lactation consultant? Do you have an idea of what money a lactation consultant in your area could make? Share your experience in the comments below!

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