Step 1: Prepare for IBCLC Certification

To sit the IBCLC certification examination, you are to meet eligibility criteria in the three areas below, as well as adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs.

To be eligible to sit the IBCLC examination, you may pursue one of three pathways (Pathway 1, Pathway 2, or Pathway 3) to meet the key eligibility components. You must meet the criteria through one of these pathways to be eligible to sit for the IBCLC examination. The pathways are designed to ensure that all applicants have a health sciences background, a minimum of 95 hours lactation specific education (including 5 hours of communications skills) as well as relevant clinical experience and adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs. These three eligibility pathways permit individuals from a variety of diverse backgrounds to gain the knowledge and skills relevant to practise as an IBCLC.

Please visit this page to help determine which pathway may be right for you.

The IBCLC examination tests the application of knowledge in the disciplines listed on the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline.

The IBCLC examination consists of 175 multiple choice questions. The examination is given in two parts, and once you have completed Part One, you may not go back to that part. Most questions in Part Two are associated with an image. The standard IBCLC examination is of four hours duration.

British English is the foundation for all translations of the IBCLC examination. With respect to measurement, the IBCLC examination includes both metric weights and measures as well as US weights and measures, with the more prevalent metric measurement noted first, and with the US measurement noted second in a parenthetical, e.g,., 30 mL (1 oz).

The skills in the Clinical Competencies for the Practice of IBCLCs and Scope of Practice for IBCLCs are representative of the ways in which IBCLCs apply this knowledge to clinical situations.

Please note: There are a few changes to certification eligibility starting with examination applications for the April 2021 examination administration. Find more details below and in the Candidate Information Guide.

For the 95 hours of lactation specific education, five (5) hours of this education must be focused on communication skills. Preferably, these five hours will be directly related to lactation and breastfeeding care, but this is not a requirement. This change was recommended as communication is a key area in the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline and in practise, as IBCLCs must understand the client and provide the most appropriate plan of care, engage in active listening and emotional support, and assist the client in making informed decisions.

The IBCLC Commission does not offer, approve, or accredit lactation education designed to prepare candidates for the certification examination. Nor does the IBCLC Commission recommend or endorse any particular programme or course in lactation education.

For more detailed information, review the Candidate Information Guide.*

*Please read in conjunction with the June 2022 Updated Interim Guidance on the Use of Technology to Meet Pathways 1, 2, and 3 Clinical Practice Requirements (Reissued on June 30, 2022).

Ready to proceed to Step 2: Certification Fees & Key Dates? Click here!
Ready to proceed to Step 3: Apply for the IBCLC Exam? Click here!