Lactation Consultant Training
What type of degree or training is necessary to become a lactation consultant?
Many people are unaware that there are a number of different levels of credentials for lactation professionals, and many states do not regulate these levels. It is important to know the difference between someone who is board certified and someone who isn’t. It is also essential that breastfeeding moms receive an appropriate level of care from a skilled professional. Learn more about lactation consultant certification.
There are a couple of viable avenues by which to pursue a career as a lactation consultant. Most aspiring lactation consultants choose to earn a bachelor’s degree while gaining their registered nurse status. However, those who chose not to pursue a career in nursing as either an LPN or RN, can earn a bachelor’s degree in another health related field that would be well suited to this career. Earning LPN or RN status is the path most frequently chosen because it is a convenient way to obtain the number of contact hours required to qualify for the International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam.
Aspiring lactation consultants who have earned a bachelor’s degree in something other than nursing will still have an opportunity to acquire the necessary contact hours. The La Leche League Leaders organization facilitates the acquisition of contact hours by allowing aspiring lactation consultants the opportunity to work as WIC peer counselors. There are also ample opportunities for field experience and exposure to the daily duties involved in lactation consultation by simply job shadowing another IBCLC.
Learn more about lactation consultant salary.
Where can I receive my training to become a lactation consultant?
Depending on the pathway chosen (RN or another health related degree), there are various options for where to receive the training. For those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree, that can be done at traditional or online universities. For those who are interested in a nursing degree, that can typically be done at most state universities, some private colleges, and nursing schools. There are courses at some local community colleges to become a Certified Breastfeeding Consultant (CBC). There are also courses offered for "preparation for the IBCLC exam," but no specific course that provides the IBCLC accreditation upon completion. The applicant must qualify for and pass the exam in order to receive the credentials.