Frequently Asked Questions - CLC
I am interested in becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and want to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Is there an online exam option?
Yes. Due to the pandemic, the ALPP CLC Exam is now available online and is remotely proctored. If you complete one of the three pathways to sit for the CLC exam, you will be eligible to take the test online. If you are retaking the CLC exam, you may complete the retake exam form sent to you with your original test results and write in “online” next to the location information. Please contact ALPP at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
How long is the certification valid?
The CLC certification is valid for three years. At the beginning of your third year of certification, you will receive a courtesy postcard to remind you that your certification will soon expire. You may renew your CLC certification with 18 hours of continuing education in evidence-based breastfeeding education.
How long is the CLC exam?
The CLC final exam lasts for 2 hours. However, there are competencies during the CLC training course that must be passed as well.
I have a disability (as defined by Title III of the American with Disabilities Act) or have appropriate documentation to request special testing arrangements for the CLC exam. How can I set up accommodations?
Visit the ‘Forms’ tab on this website and download the Special Testing Accommodations form. This form must be submitted to ALPP four weeks prior to your scheduled CLC exam date in order to make arrangements. If you are not sure if you qualify for special testing accommodations, please call our office at 508-833-1500 to discuss the potential for accommodations.
English is not my primary language. What accommodations are available to me for the CLC certification exam?
CLC candidates who do not speak English as a primary language may bring a translation dictionary to the CLC examination, but they must show the dictionary to the ALPP proctors before testing begins. If candidates anticipate needing extended testing time to translate portions of the multiple-choice exam, they may request extended testing time using the Special Testing Accomodations Form without any additional note from a medical provider. These requests must be submitted to ALPP, at minimum, 4 weeks prior to your CLC exam date.
I need to retake one or both portions of the CLC examination. When can I retake it and how much does it cost?
The CLC examination is a challenging certification test. Many people retake one or both portions of the exam for a variety of reasons, including if they are making up time from a previous exam location. CLC candidates who are on the Comprehensive Course Pathway can retake the test up to three times within one year of the date they completed the Lactation Counselor Training Course. CLC candidates who are on the Alternate or Aggregate Pathways may retake the test up to three times within one year of the date of their application approval. The retake exam fee is $100 each time.
Can I appeal a decision I receive from ALPP?
If your application to sit for the CLC examination through the Aggregate Pathway or Alternative Pathway is denied, you may appeal the decision as outlined in the CLC Candidate Handbook. A candidate may also appeal to a decision made on their examination as outlined in the CLC Candidate Handbook.
Where can I get my continuing education hours necessary for recertification?
Approved continuing education offerings are ones that focus on evidence based breastfeeding research, updated management training, advocacy, practice, counseling, promotion, protection and/or support. There are many options for your continuing education. We recommend breastfeeding home study modules available at https://store.healthed.com/?action=store&category=modules
I am trying to organize a conference, workshop, or course on breastfeeding for Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs). How can I make it qualify for recertification purposes with ALPP?
ALPP is NOT an approved provider of nursing contact hours, continuing education units, or CERPs. However, we are able to review your course, workshop, or conference and determine how many hours it counts for only for the purpose of CLC recertification. Please contact our office at: email@example.com and include all relevant information, such as the description, agenda, and any accompanying materials.
As a CLC where can I work? What is my job description?
Many CLCs work in hospitals, birthing centers, WIC offices, doctor’s offices, health departments, and in private practices as well. Every CLC must work within their Scope of Practice. This document can be viewed as a “job description.”
As a CLC, do I need to be insured? What types of insurances do you recommend?
Every CLC should obtain advice regarding liability insurance. Two types may be needed: a) professional liability (malpractice) insurance; b) general liability (if you are self-employed – this covers business exposures such as clients being injured by a slip and fall on the premises, etc.)
If you already carry liability insurance in the context of other licensure/certification (e.g., RN, doula, etc.), we recommend checking with your current liability insurance carrier to see if lactation can be added to any existing policy. Make sure you find out about any limitations of insurance - for example, if your insurance covers your work in a hospital it may cover you only on hospital grounds, but not for phone calls made from home, home visits, etc.
CM&F Liability Insurance for Certified Lactation Counselors, Advanced Lactation Counsultants, Advanced Nurse Lactation Consultants
What about insurance reimbursement?
The credentialing process for insurance companies is separate from professional credentialing. It refers to the insurance company accepting care providers whom they will reimburse. Insurers establish their own rules about whom they credential, which is challenging for individual providers who have to deal with each insurer separately.
Regarding the superbill, while insurance billing and reimbursement are always complex topics, it is currently in a state of near chaos given the status of discussions in Washington. As a result, we are not comfortable offering advice. It would be best to go to a billing expert in your state who knows the ins and outs of your insurance market.
What is the WHO Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and what are its implications for me as a CLC?
The CLC Code of Ethics requires that certificants behave in accordance with the World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. See section 7 of the Who Code for further information.
The CLC Code of Ethics is accessible here.
The WHO Code is accessible here.
Here is some guidance from the International Baby Food Action Group on the role of health workers (including LCs) vis-a-vis education and the companies addressed by the Code: http://ibfan.org/upload/files/Sponsorship-and-conflicts-of-interest.pdf
Can I attend workshops offered by non-WHO Code compliant companies in order to earn continuing education credits to recertify my CLC?
The role of formula, breast pump, and bottle manufacturing companies should be only to educate health workers about their own products, not about peripheral subjects such as breastfeeding. Workshops offered by non-compliant WHO Code companies may not be used toward the 18 hours of continuing breastfeeding education necessary to recertify your CLC every three years.
Can I retake the CLC course to get my contact hours for recertification?
Yes. The course content changes as research is published in the field, so re-taking the course is a great learning opportunity! You do not have to take the CLC exam again. If you choose to retake the exam, you forfeit your current status as a CLC and your certification then depends on your most recent test results. If you do not pass, you will lose the right to the CLC credential.
Is there a fee for missing your online examination session?
Yes. If you do not show up/log in to ProctorU on the scheduled time and date of your CLC examination, you will forfeit your examination fee to ALPP and this attempt will count towards your total number of attempts to take the CLC examination. You will receive an email from ALPP notifying you of your missed examination session with instructions on how to sign up and pay for a retake attempt.