Can I become an IBCLC if I'm not an RN? - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding > Can I become an IBCLC if I'm not an RN?
Ophelia's Avatar Ophelia 03:02 PM 05-04-2010
I have been looking at a much needed career change for a while now and just got laid off my previous job. I was checking on becoming an IBCLC, but kept running into dead ends:

-the hospital/BF center I called said they only hire RN's internally
-the IBCLC I had called (she helped with DS) said business for her has been very slow and she hasn't worked for months

I don't even have a 4 yr college degree, or an associate's degree. Only a 2 yr computer technical degree.

Of all the jobs I'm considering, lactation consultant is very high on the list, but w/o getting an RN degree, it seems undo-able which is extremely disappointing. I do understand that technically you do not need to be an RN in order to be certified.

Anyone here an IBCLC w/o being an RN? And if so, how would i even get my 'hours' of training in in order to become certified?

Also, I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD/inattentive and i always had trouble in school with the tough science and math subjects. Would this make studying to become an IBCLC more difficult? I just don't know if I could hack it I nearly failed chemistry in H.S.

Thanks!

Peony's Avatar Peony 08:31 PM 05-04-2010
The short answer is yes, but it is becoming very difficult to be an IBCLC without being an RN. Hospitals prefer RNs for many reasons, and some, like your local hospital, will not hire non-nurse IBCLC. The biggest issue now is that the IBCLC is changing it's requirements for the exam in 2012. The new requirements obviously prefer a medical background. http://americas.iblce.org/announcing...e-requirements There are a couple of IBCLC programs that you can go through, but they are on-site programs, I am sure that they will be beefing up their programs to these new requirements, and they do not require being an RN. If a non-RN is meeting these new requirements on their own, then it will involve piecing together everything, which will not be an easy task. Getting the clinical hours is tough, being a LLL leader or a WIC Peer Counselor are ways that non-nurses get the hours.
MountainMamaGC's Avatar MountainMamaGC 12:15 AM 05-05-2010
I am planning to be an LC someday. I am currently training to be an LLL leader so I can get my hours as there is no hospital here to get my hours. I plan to do the rest through correspondance. I dont want to work at a hospital, I just want to be a freelance LC that people hire to come to their home. I live in a small town and I would be the only LC here.
Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 12:28 AM 05-05-2010
I think it would be really hard to find a job as a lactation consultant without a nursing degree. I guess it depends on what your career goals are - if you want to make a decent living, and have continuous work (either full or part-time with new moms), I would become an RN first.
GoGoGirl's Avatar GoGoGirl 01:33 AM 05-05-2010
My mom is an IBCLC who isn't an RN. She's an RD, a registered dietitian. I don't think she ever technically worked as an RD though...she graduated and then was a SAHM and a LLL leader. She got her hours with her LLL work.
boobs4milk's Avatar boobs4milk 02:08 AM 05-05-2010
the hours you have to get in to be certified without the rn degree are insane! i'm going for rn because i have most of the pre-rec's (just need an anatomy class). i was a bio. major anyway. i have had to take algebra, trig, intro to bio for majors, chem I, II, III and IV, microbiology, zoology and botany for that, i'm not sure what else i'll need for the rn.
Heba's Avatar Heba 03:18 AM 05-05-2010
I'm a breastfeeding counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers in the UK - similar to an LLL leader. I was planning on working towards IBCLC certification, and before 2012 it is very doable. Yes, you do need to study quite a lot (fair enough) - most of it lactation specific but also a little bit of general medical/nutritional stuff. HOWEVER after that (as per pp) a LOT more studying will become necessary as you will need more studying in the medical stuff in addition to the lactation-specific stuff.
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 09:54 AM 05-05-2010
LLL is probably the way to go but you need to have been a LLL Leader for (I think) 5 years before having enough 'experience' to do the IBCLC stuff - without the huge fees that would be incurred otherwise.
goodygumdrops's Avatar goodygumdrops 02:41 PM 05-05-2010
I am currently working towards becoming an IBCLC. I am getting my master's degree in lactation consulting through Union Institute and University, in collaboration with Healthy Children Center for Breastfeeding. Through this program, you compete a master's thesis on a topic of your interest. My thesis is going to explore issues related breastfeeding guilt. You complete clinical hours working as intern with an IBCLC in your area.

I would recommend becoming a CLC, Certified Lactation Counselor. Healthy Children offers classes around the country. You could work with WIC and accrue hours easily this way.

However, while some hospitals are allowing IBCLC's to work on staff without nursing degrees, it really is few a far between. It may be a regional issue. I certainly am not expecting to get hired in a hospital in South Florida. I will likely move to another area of the country once I graduate. I do intend to further my studies and enter a nursing program; I have looking into pediatric nurse practitioner programs.

Oh, and the IBLCE exam requirements just changed and they added a educational component. The IBLCE program is based on a medical model and therefore, many candidates that were working as lay lactation professionals were not prepared for some portions of the exam. These include anatomy, physiology, endocrinology, immunology, pathology, and the list goes on. I believe that the first-time candidates actually need to complete college coursework beginning in 2012.

I hope that helps. I think I may have overdone it...but the more info the better, right?
Mary-Beth's Avatar Mary-Beth 04:39 PM 05-09-2010
I want to be a lactation consultant too...and not go to nursing school. I was thinking of going for a master's in public health- infant and maternal focus.
Ophelia's Avatar Ophelia 03:11 PM 05-10-2010
Wow, that doesn't sound very promising for me I have absolutely NO desire to get an RN degree, but I know I would love being an LC. That's really too bad that most hospitals only seem to hire RN's, because it seems like that is where most LC's work, if not independantly self employed. I could get a 2 yr nutrition associate degree and possibly work for WIC, but I hear about so much burnout with that job.

And 5 years is kind of a long time too (LLL leader), I'll be in my mid 40's by that time
Peony's Avatar Peony 03:22 PM 05-10-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ophelia View Post
Wow, that doesn't sound very promising for me I have absolutely NO desire to get an RN degree, but I know I would love being an LC. That's really too bad that most hospitals only seem to hire RN's, because it seems like that is where most LC's work, if not independantly self employed. I could get a 2 yr nutrition associate degree and possibly work for WIC, but I hear about so much burnout with that job.
I know. They still can be picky at WIC, at least some offices. I do work for WIC, I supervise the Peer Counselor Bfing Program. It is mandated that my position can only be held by an RN or a RD (dietician) with certain credentials, this came from the state when I started the program up at this clinic. I am not a IBCLC yet, I am sitting this July, they can not pay for me to take the exam, yet I hear in other states that they can. So it seems that everything differs vastly.
MindfulBirth's Avatar MindfulBirth 03:47 PM 05-10-2010
YES! It can be done. I'm in the process of doing it right now.

I got my initial Certified Lactation Counselor certification through Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding (they hold classes all over). That is a week-long class with an exam.

Now I'm taking pathway three towards becoming and IBCLC. I'm getting my book learning done online through Lactation Education Resources Online (http://leron-line.com/index.htm). They are approved by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. I'm taking the 84 CERPS and Nursing Contact Hours course. It is pretty thorough and easy to do at home. You will need to buy some extra books for study as well. You will be awarded the title of Breastfeeding Specialist for completing the courses.

I have talked to some IBCLCs in my area and have a couple of them lined up to mentor me for the 500 hours that I will need. I started my coursework in February 2010 and I plan to sit for the IBCLC exam in July 2011.

The private-practice IBCLCs in my area are very busy. There is only so much a hospital-based LC can do. Once mom is discharged, the hospital LCs don't have much contact with them. That is where a private practice LC can be invaluable. You can travel to the mom's home where she is most comfortable. You can followup on issues that the hospital LCs can't follow up on. I have LCs at my home town hospital rooting for me to hurry up and get certified so that they can refer moms to me after discharge.

The truth of the matter is that 25% of infants born today have some kind of feeding issue (!!!). Maybe you just need to be the better IBCLC at getting the word out that your services are available? Once you get certified, try to team up with some local pediatricians? Offer a free breastfeeding support group which can lead to paid jobs and referrals?

You can do it!

PS.. I am also quite sucky at math and almost failed H.S. chem. None of that is necessary for the classes I am taking and for what you want to do.
Taryn237's Avatar Taryn237 10:00 PM 05-12-2010
I am not an RN and am planning to start working towards becoming an IBCLC. Does anyone know anything about becomming a WIC breastfeeding counselor? My local LLL group doesn't need leaders right now and I don't know how else I could get the 1000 hours required.

Since I will be falling under the new requirements it going to take me a few years to take all the required classes. Also how much money do lactation consultants actually make? Right now I'm a SAHM and am looking to just work privately. I want to do this for 'me' but I'd like to be sure I'll atleast make back what I'm going to have to spend on the classes I need.
Peony's Avatar Peony 12:04 AM 05-13-2010
You would have to contact your local WIC office about the Peer Counselor program. Some have a requirement that Peer Counselors can only be moms who have been on WIC. Salary is widely different. In private practice you can see what a IBCLC in your area are charging, mine charge $125.00 for the first visit and then between $90.00 and 75.00 depending it is a home or a office visit. Which sounds like a lot, but our local IBCLC struggles to make ends meet, in other areas they can do very well. Equipment, insurance, office space, continuing education, etc... can be costly.
Mary-Beth's Avatar Mary-Beth 10:41 AM 05-13-2010
I'm in the same situation...
there are places to do the course work both locally and on-line but getting the clinical hours is tough. I'm trying to get into the WIC peer counselor program- haven't gotten a call back yet.
Don't want to be an RN but want to make sure I can get hired....so that's why I'm thinking of getting a degree along with the IBCLC. However, that may require just too much time away from my own family. ???
Ophelia's Avatar Ophelia 12:52 PM 06-16-2010
Can someone please talk to me about the Pathway requirement? There is nothing accredited in my state. I just don't know how that would work for me, we absolutely cannot move out of state!! I read some are online, but does that mean I would still have to travel?
doulaloriwade's Avatar doulaloriwade 06:07 PM 02-01-2011

This is specifically for Mindful Birth and her post which is below. I am new here and am also interested in becoming an IBCLC. I have no former college or medical knowledge, except what I have learned through being a doula. I also want to take the CLC course through Healthy Children's Center. I am a bit confused about the other classes I need to take. Obviously, I would have to take option 3 on the IBCLC site, but are you saying that I can take the courses you list instead of the ones that are listed on IBCLC's site? Could you possibly e-mail me privately as I probably have more questions and really want to  get started working on the requirements. 

 

Thank you for all the inputs and comments. They are really helpful.

 

Lori Wade

[email protected]

 

YES! It can be done. I'm in the process of doing it right now. 


I got my initial Certified Lactation Counselor certification through Healthy Children's Center for Breastfeeding (they hold classes all over). That is a week-long class with an exam.

Now I'm taking pathway three towards becoming and IBCLC. I'm getting my book learning done online through Lactation Education Resources Online (http://leron-line.com/index.htm). They are approved by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. I'm taking the 84 CERPS and Nursing Contact Hours course. It is pretty thorough and easy to do at home. You will need to buy some extra books for study as well. You will be awarded the title of Breastfeeding Specialist for completing the courses.

I have talked to some IBCLCs in my area and have a couple of them lined up to mentor me for the 500 hours that I will need. I started my coursework in February 2010 and I plan to sit for the IBCLC exam in July 2011.

The private-practice IBCLCs in my area are very busy. There is only so much a hospital-based LC can do. Once mom is discharged, the hospital LCs don't have much contact with them. That is where a private practice LC can be invaluable. You can travel to the mom's home where she is most comfortable. You can followup on issues that the hospital LCs can't follow up on. I have LCs at my home town hospital rooting for me to hurry up and get certified so that they can refer moms to me after discharge.

The truth of the matter is that 25% of infants born today have some kind of feeding issue (!!!). Maybe you just need to be the better IBCLC at getting the word out that your services are available? Once you get certified, try to team up with some local pediatricians? Offer a free breastfeeding support group which can lead to paid jobs and referrals?

You can do it!

PS.. I am also quite sucky at math and almost failed H.S. chem. None of that is necessary for the classes I am taking and for what you want to do.


JacquelineMasloff 05:51 PM 10-17-2014
I'm an LVN and want to be IBLCE certified. I have looked into the pathway they provided on IBLCE site. Is it smart to take the Lactation Training Program Course? Also, I need clinical hours to satisfy requirement. I will look into WIC and other Lactation Org. Are there any other ways of gaining clinical experience. I am 5 months pregnant and not working at this time. But, I want to at least get some training done while the bun is the oven!


Please give any advice for those were or are in my situation. Thanks! Jacqueline
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