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Your Big FAQ about the New CERP Requirement

Woman in gray shirt pondering her questions about recertifying with CERPs.

Since IBLCE is now offering new options for renewal, we’ve had several inquiries in our office about the required self-assessment, the PPDP. Here are 16 questions about recertifying by CERPs that we’ve heard from IBCLCs.

Before you get eye strain reading this post about CERP information, remember, taking the exam is still an option. See my earlier post that outlines your options for recertifying.

And just a word of caution: I am not an official representative of IBLCE. (But I have been a long-term provider of CERPs for more than two decades.) ALWAYS go to IBLCE’s website to check information for yourself for confirmation, and for potential updates.

1. What is the Self-Assessment I’m hearing about?

The self-assessment is a free, computer-based assessment administered by IBLCE. Anyone who is recertifying by CERPs is now required to take a self-assessment before submitting CERPs.

If you decide to renew by CERPs, here’s the basic sequence of what you need to do:

  1. In the fall prior to your recertification year, look for an email from IBLCE that gives you a link to your self-assessment. (If you have not received it by December, contact IBLCE.) You may also be able to access the link from your account.
  2. Complete your assessment according to IBLCE’s instructions.
  3. Look for another email from IBLCE that will provide your Personalized Professional Development Plan (PPDP).

2. What is the PPDP?

The PPDP is based on your responses to the questions on the assessment. The PPDP will prescribe specific topic areas (disciplines) for which the IBCLC must complete CERPs.

3. How many CERPs will be “prescribed” for me this year?

The “prescribed” question seems to be one of the biggest questions about recertifying by CERPs. This is a totally new thing.

As this new requirement is being phased in, this number will increase in the next few years. Keep an eye on the IBLCE website if you are recertifying in 2023 and beyond.

4. Will all those prescribed CERPs be in one topic?

From IBLCE, “If a candidate scores less than 75% in any topic on the Detailed Content Outline, they will need to complete CERPs in that topic.”

If you scored at least 75% in each topic, you may earn CERPs in the topics you choose. I suggest you look at your own strengths and weaknesses when deciding what to take.

No doubt, you’ll still have questions about recertifying by CERPs. I encourage you to watch the video on IBLCE’s Recertification page that shows several examples. It’s quite helpful.

6. What are the topic areas?

The topic areas identified on your PPDP come directly from the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline where they are called “disciplines” They are:

  1. Development and Nutrition
  2. Physiology and Endocrinology
  3. Pathology
  4. Pharmacology and Toxicology
  5. Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology
  6. Techniques
  7. Clinical Skills

7. I’m completely confused about “Clinical Skills”

Yep, I know, I agree, it’s not exactly straightforward. “Clinical Skills” breaks down into 5 different areas:

  1. Equipment and Technology
  2. Education and Communication
  3. Ethical and Legal Issues
  4. Research
  5. Public Health and Advocacy

8. What about L-CERPs?  What does that mean?

Remember, there are different types of CERPs, so if you’ve got questions about recertifying by CERPs be sure to get straight on what’s what.

L-CERPs are CERPs that are specific to human lactation and breastfeeding. You can earn L-CERPs for any topic covered by the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline.

E-CERPs are specific to Ethics topics. More on that in a moment.

R-CERPs are “related” to lactation.

Hence, all of the “prescribed” PPDP CERPs will be in one of the topic areas on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline.

As in years past, you’ll need a total of 50 L-CERPs.

9. Where do the E-CERPs come in?

All recertifying IBCLCs must earn 5 E-CERPs. If you haven’t yet earned yours, all of our CERP Bundles include the 5 E-CERPs. We also have a separate package that offers only the 5 E-CERPs.

It is important to note that these 5 E-CERPs are separate from the 7 CERPs required per your PPDP.

10. I’m still confused about earning those prescribed CERPs. Can you give an example?

Sure. And don’t feel silly for asking, because the new requirement has generated many questions about recertifying by CERPs from currently-certified IBCLCs who have approached me. To make it easier, here’s an example:

Let’s say that you are required to earn 7 CERPs in these topic areas because you scored below 75%:

  • Clinical Skills
  • Pathology

IBLCE is requiring you to complete a total of 7 CERPs in those two topic areas and you must complete at least 1 CERP for each topic area. So, you could earn:

  • 3 CERPs in Clinical Skills and 4 in Pathology, or
  • 1 in Pathology and 6 in Clinical Skills

As you’ve heard me say many times, I am not an official representative for IBLCE. I’m an independent educator. I have access to only the information that you have access to, plus some input from other IBCLCs. (And I am not due to recertify this year, so I do not have personal experience with the PPDP!)

11. So, must I earn 75 CERPs plus additional prescribed CERPs?

No, it’s a total of 75, and the prescibed amount must come from the topic areas you scored less than 75% on.

Here’s what you’d need to do if you recertify by CERPs in 2022:

75 CERPs, consisting of:

  • 5 E-CERPs (required for all re-certifiers)
  • 3 R-CERPs which will be counted from the required Basic Life Support (required for all re-certifiers), and
  • 67 CERPs (which must include at least 50 L-CERPs, and MAY include up to 17 E- or R-CERPs) MUST include 7 CERPs in the topic areas determined by your Personalized Professional Development Plan

If you’re still confused have questions about recertifying by CERPs, see the infographic on the IBLCE website for a visual representation (See Option 2, click “Learn more here” and scroll down to see the breakdown.)

Be sure to check the IBLCE website for updates. This new requirement is a rolling requirement, meaning the number of prescribed CERPs is dependent on the year of recertification.

12. When could I or should I take the Self-Assessment?

I suppose you could take it any time you wanted to. But that might not be a good strategy.

IBLCE will allow you to take the self-assessment only once every 5 years. Here’s how it will work:

  1. You successfully certify or re-certify
  2. IBLCE will send you a link when you are eligible to take the self-assessment for your next certification

Please note: IBLCE does say that you can count CERPs earned prior to the self-assessment to your required topic areas per your PPDP.

13. Will the requirement be different in the coming years?


The year 2022 is a transition year, meaning that the number of required prescribed CERPs will change in 2023 and 2024.

14. How can I fulfill my requirements for CERPs?

We recognize that many people have had questions about recertifying by CERPs, so we’ve made it easy for you to earn the CERPs you need without getting a headache!

Our CERP Bundles are designed to fulfill your requirements for this year. Certainly, if you need help determining the best bundle for your situation, reach out to our office at

15. How will IBLCE verify that I did the “right” CERPs

Good question! We did not find a specific directive about that, and we did not get a direct answer to that when we raised the question with IBLCE.

Therefore, we have carefully created CERP certificates that specify which discipline has been completed by the person who has earned the CERPs in our 15-, 30-, 45-, and 75-CERP Bundles or individual learning programs. Our certificates will leave no doubt in your mind ― or in IBLCE’s mind ― in which topic area (discipline) that you have earned CERPs.

16. What if I mess up, or took the wrong stuff?

If you buy our 75-CERP Bundle, we’ve gotcha covered! Our 75-CERP Bundle is guaranteed to cover any PPDP requirements.

We also have programs that offer as little as 1 CERP. So, if you have earned nearly all of your CERPs and you just need to fill in some gaps, we probably have just what you need. If you still have questions about recertifying by CERPs, contact IBLCE.

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  1. Monica Klingensmith

    I need to recertify by Jan. 2023. What is the best way to get started? This all sounds so confusing. I would like to get started as soon as possible.If I decide to recertify by just completing the 75 -cerp bundle would that be all I have to do.

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Monica, we’ve heard this “so confusing” refrain so many times that I’m offering a free live (via Zoom) webinar to help anyone else who wants untangle all of this. I’ve already done a few, and have another one planned soon. It’s free, so take advantage of the opportunity! Here’s how you can get notified, and join.
      1) Set up an account on if you haven’t done that already. You’ll be able to get the details in our newsletter at the beginning of the month, and you may see another notification thereafter. (Be sure that the confirmation doesn’t land in your spam/junk folder, you might have to do a search if it’s not completely evident.) We are working to establish a date in early September.
      2) Join the webinar. It’s free, but you do need to register. You’ll receive a personal link to join.
      3) Make sure you have Zoom installed on your computer. Have your questions ready!

      Thank you for asking, we’re here to help!

      • Betty Dicker

        Hi Marie – I came to one of the info sessions but a question just popped in my head- if my 5-yr is up in 2023 does this apply or can instill just do the straight 75 cerps- or is the self assessment now for even the 5 yr junction as well?

        • Marie Biancuzzo

          Betty, I’m not sure I fully understand your question. I think you’re saying your certification expires in 2023. Anyone, from here forward, needs to complete a self-assessment before they do the “prescribed” CERPs for their recertification.

          You must wait until IBLCE sends you the link for your self assessment in order to know the “prescribed” CERPs. But you certainly could get started on your 75 CERPs now. Remember, even in 2025, only about half of the 75 will be “prescribed” and half will be whatever you like. Our 75-CERP Bundle is guaranteed to cover any PPDP requirements. I’m not sure if I’ve answered your question or not, but let me know if not.

          IBLCE has recently posted this information, which may help you. IBLCE posted this update:

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