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California Lactation Consultant Schools - CA

Lactation consultants, or LCs, educate new and expectant mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding or pumping breast milk. They also teach women proper breastfeeding or pumping techniques, which also includes diagnosing and correcting challenges. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, lactation consultants may be internationally board certified -- a process that requires formal training.

Lactation consultant training in California

Lactation consultant schools in California train some future LCs and should help prepare them for eventual certification through the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). Lactation consultant training in California can and does vary, but may include the following types of classes:

  • Lactation consultant education
  • Medical terminology
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Introduction to nutrition science
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Lactation medical documentation

Note that applicants may need to meet certain education requirements before being admitted to lactation consultant schools in California. At the University of California San Diego Extension, for example, students must meet IBLCE certification requirements which include either already being registered, licensed or otherwise recognized health professionals, or completing at least 14 postsecondary courses, including at least eight general education courses.

Lactation consultant certification requirements

The IBLCE is perhaps the most widely recognized lactation consultant certification organization. Lactation consultant training in California should prepare students to complete IBLCE certification requirements, which usually includes a combination of classroom and clinical hours. According to UCSD, students must also have at least 1,000 clinical hours accrued within the last five years, or 300 clinical hours during the course of their studies. The California Department of Public Health reports that candidates must meet certain education requirements (noted above) before being admitted to IBLCE certification programs, and will need to successfully pass a national exam before being certified. LCs will need to take continuing education courses in order to periodically renew their licenses.

Career and salary trends for California lactation consultants

Though the BLS does not maintain salary information for lactation specialists specifically, UCSD reports that they are typically paid an hourly rate that can parallel that of registered nurses, or RNs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports that California RNs earned a median hourly wage of $45.34 in May 2013, which is considerably more than the national median hourly wage for RNs of $31.84 that same year. UCSD notes that though not all lactation consultants are required to first become RNs, many hospitals prefer to hire candidates that are both certified LCs and RNs.

It can be difficult to project future demand for graduates of lactation consultant schools in California since neither the BLS nor the California Employment Development Department maintain such records for LCs specifically. According to UCSD, LCs can be employed by hospitals, birthing centers and other health care facilities; can work in private practice or breastfeeding support groups; and may even be employed by government programs like the Women, Infant, and Children, or WIC, program. Lactation consultants in California are generally employed part-time, though full-time positions may be becoming increasingly available.

Sources:

"Breastfeeding and Health Living: Courses for Professionals," Caifornia Department of Public Health, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/healthyliving/childfamily/Pages/ExamplesofCoursesOfferedThroughouttheUS.aspx

"Certify," International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, http://iblce.org/certify

"Lactation Consultant Certificate," University of California San Diego Extension, http://extension.ucsd.edu/programs/index.cfm?vAction=certdetail&vcertificateID=104&vstudyareaid=12

"Lactation Consultant," University of California San Diego Extension, http://breastfeeding-education.com/lactation-consultant/

Registered Nurses: California, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm

Registered Nurses, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm

"What is a Lactation Consultant?" Breastfeeding and Lactation, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, http://www.chop.edu/service/breastfeeding-and-lactation/lactation-consultant.html

Lactation Consultant Schools