Certifications

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

There are three pathways to qualify to sit for the ALPP Certified Lactation Counselor Exam:

Comprehensive Course Pathway

This Pathway is designed for the person looking to take a single, comprehensive, course that covers all the skills and competencies necessary for breastfeeding counseling and human lactation. Individuals who complete this Pathway must successfully complete a lactation course that is taught by one of our approved training partners. These courses meet the following requirements:

  • A minimum 3 college credit course
  • 45 hours of training based on the WHO/UNICEF (World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund) Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course
  • Demonstrate the competencies and skills required to provide safe, evidence-based counseling for pregnant, lactating, and breastfeeding women, within the context of the course

Course completion documents must include verification of competencies. For this pathway, candidates do not need to submit an application or any other forms to sit for the CLC exam; the application will be submitted directly from the training partner. For a list of training partners that can fulfill the requirements for the comprehensive course pathway click here.

The Aggregate Pathway

You may take the ALPP Lactation Counselor Certification Exam if you provide documentation of the following:

  1. Proof that you are a currently licensed health professional (RN, APRN, physician, etc.) or hold a bachelor's degree or higher.
  2. Proof of completion of a minimum of 45 hours of education within the past year that relates directly to the WHO/UNICEF (World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund) Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course; may be collected from different courses (must submit the completed Academic Content Checklist).kill
  3. Proof of mastery of the skills and competencies necessary for breastfeeding counseling through directly supervised lactation care (submit the completed Counseling Skills Attestation).

If you meet the above criteria, you may submit the following to the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice:

  1. Application for CLC exam (alternate pathways)
  2. Certificate(s) or transcripts for educational course(s)
  3. Academic Content Checklist
  4. Counseling skills attestation
  5. Applicant resume
  6. Resume(s) of Counseling Skills Attestation supervisor(s)
  7. License type and number or transcript (proof you are a licensed health professional or hold a Bachelor's degree or higher)
  8. Signed candidate application statement

Certificates submitted must indicate the name of program(s), date(s) completed, relevant hours, and sponsoring agency. Education sponsored by manufacturers or distributors of infant formula, baby food, bottles, nipples, pacifiers, including pump companies that violate the scope of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, or continuing education that does not meet ALPP eligibility criteria will not be accepted.

All required documentation must be submitted with the application in order for it to be considered.

The Alternate Pathway

To qualify to sit for the ALPP Certified Lactation Counsellor (CLC) exam in the alternate pathway, candidates must be a graduate of a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) approved, post secondary, lactation consultant program.

If you meet the above criteria, you may submit the following to the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice:

  1. Application for CLC exam (alternate pathways)
  2. Transcript indicating completion of a CAAHEP approved, post secondary, lactation consultant program
  3. Counseling skills attestation
  4. Applicant resume
  5. Resume(s) of counseling skills attestation supervisor(s)
  6. Signed candidate application statement

All required documentation must be submitted with the application in order for it to be considered.

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Become a Certified Lactation Counselor

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Become an Advanced
Lactation Consultant

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Become an Advanced
Nurse Lactation Consultant

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