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What is the Time Frame for the Five Years Recertifiers Have to Earn CERPs?

Brunette wearing glasses holding a calendar with circled dates.

I’ve helped thousands of individuals become IBCLCs and I’ve been a long-term provider of CERPs for more than 20 years. Hence, I’ve heard questions from many different people, but most of the questions are similar. When it comes to recertifying, one of the most frequently asked questions is about the time frame for the five years recertifiers have to earn their CERPs.

What is a CERP?

First, let’s address what a CERP is. CERP is an acronym that stands for Continuing Education Recognition Point. Each CERP unit is 60 minutes of professional education as determined by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE®). IBLCE is a nonprofit certification board that gives certification and recertification for practice as a lactation consultant.

CERPS are specific to IBLCE recertification. Those IBCLCs who want to recertify by CERPs must earn CERPs, not some other type of continuing education credit.

What are “certificants”?

Certificants are those individuals who are currently certified as an IBCLC. Certificants are required to recertify every 5 years.

What the Recertification Guide says

Recertifiers should take on two main tasks:

1. Check the IBLCE website to stay aware of any changing requirements.

2. Download Recertification Guide. and recognize what it means for you.

From the Recertification Guide,

“In order to recertify by CERPs, IBCLC certificants must obtain at least 75 CERPs in the intervening five years since they last passed the examination or their last renewal by CERPs.”

When does the five years start?

You might ask: When does the timeline for the five years recertifiers have to earn their CERPs actually begin?

For initial recertifiers, the answer is dependent on when the exam was taken for. From IBLCE’s FAQs for Recertification:

“For initial candidates who pass the April examination: education can be earned toward recertification starting July 1 of that year through application for recertification five years later … For initial candidates who pass the September examination: education can be earned toward recertification staring January 1 of the following year through application for recertification five years later.”

For those who last recertified using CERPs, “education may count toward recertification at any point after the date on which your previous recertification by CERPs was approved,” according to IBLCE’s FAQs for Recertification.

May I recertify early?

You may choose to recertify one year early, if you choose to recertify by exam.

But, if you choose to recertify by CERPs, no. You must recertify during the year your recertification is due. The deadline to recertify by CERPs each year is traditionally September 30.

Why five years?

You might question the requirement, and the rationale.

IBLCE requires “all certificants to recertify every five years. Within a five-year period, significant development in available information and management options will have occurred, and it is considered that the certificant’s knowledge base will not remain current if further educational opportunities are not undertaken. The five-year interval for recertification was chosen given the rate of change in the field.”

What you need to know

Feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information related to the five years recertifiers have to earn their CERPs? Ask yourself the one most important question:

When did you last take your exam or certify by CERPs? 

When you know that answer, all the other information will start to make more sense.

IBLCE made some changes to recertification requirements last year, which now includes a self-assessment and prescribed CERPs in your weak areas.

Here’s what the new requirements mean to you. To help break it down even further, I’ve created an eight-step process for recertifying by CERPs in this blog post.

Don’t let your certification lapse!

Still confused? We can help!

If you’re still uncertain about your own situation as it relates to the five years recertifiers have to earn their CERPs, send us an email at for individualized help.

Not sure how to go about completing the new CERP requirements? Grab our handy Recertify by CERPs Checklist to keep track of your requirements in one place.

Still confused about the five years recertifiers have to earn their CERPs for recertification? Let me know in the comments below!

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