CLCs provide breastfeeding
counseling and lactation management in:

  • Maternity units in hospitals and birth centers
  • Neonatal intensive care units and special care nurseries
  • Outpatient lactation clinics
  • WIC programs
  • Visiting nurse programs
  • Maternal and child health services at the state, county, and local level
  • Parenting centers including military family support centers
  • Physician and midwife offices

The CLC - Certified Lactation Counselor

The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC®) certification identifies a professional in lactation counseling who has demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to provide breastfeeding counseling and management support to families who are thinking about breastfeeding or who have questions or problems during the course of breastfeeding/lactation.

CLCs are dedicated to the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding and human lactation in their work to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems. They understand that breastfeeding works best when it is the cultural norm and when the provider of lactation support and services is culturally competent.

CLCs come from a variety of different educational and employment backgrounds, including mothers, peer counselors, educators, nurses, childbirth educators, doulas, nutritionists, dieticians, midwives, physicians, social workers, public health workers, public administrators, and many others. CLCs work in obstetric and pediatric practice settings, hospitals, public health programs, and independent practices.

CLCs work within a counseling model, understanding that breastfeeding decisions are made by the mother, who may have values and goals different from the counselor. CLCs work as part of the health care team, ensuring appropriate referrals and recommendations.

In order to be eligible for certification, candidates must:

  • meet ALPP's standards of competence in the field of lactation counseling;
  • pass the CLC Examination, a comprehensive examination based upon identified work-place competencies derived from job task analysis studies, and;
  • agree to comply with CLC Program requirements, including compliance with the Code of Ethics for ALPP CLCs (available by clicking here).

The CLC Program requirements, as well as other information regarding eligibility for certification as a CLC is available in the Candidate Handbook. The latest job task analysis is available here.

Pathways to Sit for the Certified Lactation Counselor Examination Offered by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice

Scholastic Pathway

This Pathway is designed for the experienced health care professional who is looking to master the skills and competencies necessary for breastfeeding counseling and human lactation, or for those who are new to the lactation field. Individuals who complete this Pathway must:

  • successfully complete 45 hours of training based upon the footprint of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course, and;
  • demonstrate the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding women.

More information on the pre-requisites to sit for the CLC exam can be found here.

Aggregate Pathway

If you are an experienced lactation care provider, you may take the ALPP Lactation Counselor certification exam if you:

  1. Are a licensed health professional (RN, APRN, physician) or hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  2. Have completed a minimum of 45 hours of continuing education within the past three years that relates directly to the WHO/UNICEF (World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund) competency areas for breastfeeding (lactation) counselors, as well as the Certified Lactation Counselor competencies, including:
    • Teaching
    • Counseling
    • Breastfeeding difficulties
  3. Have completed 150 hours of directly supervised lactation care within the past three years.

If you meet the above criteria, you may submit a completed Validation of Experience Application Form to the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. All required documentation must be submitted with the application in order for it to be considered. Click here for more information.

ALPP does not sponsor, accredit, or endorse educational or training courses for the CLC certification examination.


Become a Certified Lactation Counselor


Become an Advanced
Lactation Consultant


Become an Advanced
Nurse Lactation Consultant


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