How to Become a Lactation Consultant

Congratulations on your interest in becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC!

What Are the Three Pathways for Becoming an IBCLC?

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, which administers the exam for IBCLC certification, offers three pathways toward the exam.

For detailed information on how lactation specific clinical experiences differ for the different pathways, click here.

A woman holding a baby in her arms.

All pathways require the following:

14 Health Science subjects see more information here

95 hrs of lactation specific education

A list of approved lactation education courses

After completing the education and clinical hours, you will be required to sit for the certifying exam. More information here.

FAQs on Becoming an IBCLC

Consider the practice setting you would like to work in (home, hospital, clinic, peer support etc.) and in what capacity you would like to support families. Reach out to local IBCLCs to find out about their work, and to help you determine whether working as a lactation consultant will meet your goals. Once you know you want to work toward certification as an IBCLC, your first steps will be to complete the general education and lactation specific education.

Clinical Internships

The following locations may have clinical internships in lactation available. You may contact the lactation consultant listed and find out more information about their program and opportunities; the information listed here is subject to change. Internships require completion of lactation-specific and general education prior to starting and will require payment (fees are listed here for some facilities, but are subject to change; you should contact the facility to confirm the fees). To work as a lactation consultant intern, you will need to have professional liability insurance, which is available through several insurers; the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) has arranged for low-cost liability insurance for student lactation consultants as well as practicing IBCLCs.

The Breastfeeding Resource Center

Contact Person Name: Colette Acker

Phone Number and/or Email Address: [email protected]

Description: The BRC has a fantastic mentorship program. Qualified candidates get experience in both hospital and outpatient settings. Our experience also offers you a diverse community to allow you to get experience working with families from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Fill out this form to apply: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MentorshipBRC
Website: www.BreastfeedingResourceCenter.org



All information can be found here: https://www.chop.edu/pages/lactation-clinical-internship


Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital

Contact Person Name: Robin Frees, BA, CHt, HBCE, IBCLC

Phone Number and/or Email Address: (610) 738-2582 [email protected]

Description: Currently we are reorganizing our program and are not taking interns at this time (call above or check back on this website for updates)

Website (if applicable): N/A


Via Lactea

Contact Person Name: Kara Thornton, BA, IBCLC

Phone Number and/or Email Address: (856) 248-0205 

[email protected]

Description: Private Practice. Office, Home and Virtual Visits

Website: vialacteanj.com

IBCLCs are hired at hospitals, pediatric practices, WIC offices, health clinics, and breastfeeding centers, and some IBCLCs have their own private practices. Some facilities may require IBCLCs to also be RNs.

Become a member of PRO-LC, and come to our meetings. You can meet and talk to IBCLCs, ask about their work, and start learning from our speakers.

It is also valuable to join these national and international lactation consultant organizations: 

The United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA)

The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)

Both offer low-cost student memberships and access to continuing education credits and much more.

PRO-LC is committed to supporting local individuals in their pursuit to become an IBCLC, especially those from under-represented groups in the Lactation field.  

Through the Equity Scholarship, PRO-LC encourages and supports candidates of diverse ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds in the Greater Philadelphia Region who aspire to become certified as IBCLCs by reimbursing the selected candidate for their IBLCE-examination fee.  

The selected candidate will have completed all the requirements to sit for the IBLCE examination, including application for the exam. Once this Equity Scholarship application is complete, please submit to the PRO-LC treasurer ([email protected]).  When the candidate has been selected, they will be notified and receive the scholarship in the form of reimbursement of the examination fee. Application.

 Here is a list of other scholarships available.

Find a Lactation Consultant

PRO-LC members who can see a mother once she is home from the hospital.

What is an IBCLC?

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC): are allied health care providers.


TWO Scholarships available to become an IBCLC

  • The Monetary Investment in Lactation Consultant Certification (MILCC) http://www.milcc.org/ is an international non-profit organization that provides scholarships for exam candidates.
  • PRO-LC will pay the cost of the exam for a qualifying candidate from an underrepresented group. Please complete the application here and return it to Ashley Feeley, IBCLC, PRO-LC treasurer ([email protected]).