I’d give a cookie to know how many people apply for the IBCLC® exam but aren’t allowed to sit for it. In plain English, you will not be allowed to sit for the exam unless you meet the eligibility requirements. It seems to me that these 5 are the most confusing requirements for IBCLC exam exam-takers.
Yes, you must meet the requirements before you apply
Please, please understand. You must meet all of the requirements before you apply for the exam, not before you sit for the exam!
There are two types of exam applicants. In this post, I’ll refer to those who have
- never been certified as “newbies” and
- previously earned their IBCLC as “recertifiers.”
Yes, there are requirements beyond the 90 lactation specific hours
For sure, yes, if you’re a newbie, you need to complete those 90-hours of lactation specific education within 5 years of applying for the exam! But do not let that requirement confuse you, you need more than that. Before you apply for the IBCLC exam you must have completed:
- 90 hours of lactation specific education
- 5 hours of education in communication
- 14 health science courses
- hundreds of hours of clinical experience. The number of hours required depends on the pathway you choose to qualify.
Yes, it will take you 95 hours to complete your 95 hours
I’m serious. About once a week, someone asks, “How long will it take me to do your 90-hour course?” Um, 95 hours.
We use a scientifically-proven formula to calculate the number of minutes/hours the average learner needs to complete the assignments. Furthermore, we ask course attendees to report how long it took them so that we have a reality check. The vast majority take somewhere between 80 and 100 hours. True, there are outliers. You could be one of them.
More to the point, though, I think newbies are actually asking how many weeks/months they need to complete the 95 hours. That depends on how much time is available each day. I’d guess that most people could complete my 95-hour course in about 2-3 weeks.
If you’re feeling a little behind, here are my suggestions on how to streamline the time you’ll need to complete the assignments.
Yes, it’s true you need 5 hours of Communication
This is a new requirement for newbies taking the 2021 exam.
The Communication requirement does not necessarily need to be lactation-specific. But since the IBCLC exam hits fairly hard on communication skills, I would suggest you learn communication as it relates to lactation.
If you bought my Lactation Education Course
- before March 2020, you can now buy my 5-hour Communication for Lactation Consultants course and finish before the upcoming application deadline of January 20.
- after March 1, 2020, you’re all set! I gave you my 5-hour communication course for free as part of your Lactation Education Course.
Yes, you must complete the health science courses, but …
All newbies must complete the health science courses. It’s just that people whom IBLCE recognize as a healthcare professional are presumed to have completed these courses as part of their basic education.
The health science courses have no “good-til” date. It doesn’t matter if you took your health science courses 5 days, 5 months, 5 years, or 5 decades ago. They still “count.”
It is my understanding that if you are on that list of Recognized Healthcare Professionals, you will not be asked to provide proof of completing those 14 courses. Yet, since I’m no longer a newbie, I can only rely on what I read on the IBLCE site, and what recent newbies have told me.
You’ve heard me say it before, but I’ll repeat: I’m an independent educator, not a spokesperson for the IBLCE.
If you need more detail on the confusing requirements, get my free short video series, How to Become a Lactation Consultant.
If you’re still stuck after watching the videos, call my office at 703-787-9894 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org — we’d be happy to help!