My own experience earning the CLC certification & Lactation Counselor Training Course

Posted : 04/18/19 in In the News

My own experience earning the CLC certification & Lactation Counselor Training Course
Ellie MacGregor

Posted 1 year ago

When I was fortunate enough to be sent to the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC) to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), I truly did not know what to expect. I have always worked within the field of public health and community health promotion but was never focused on maternal or newborn health. I had briefly read about the benefits of breastfeeding, but never knew the, somewhat incomprehensible, benefits of breastfeeding.


Upon my arrival at the training course in Dorchester, Massachusetts, I was excited and ready to learn. The room was full of other women who were all itching to get started. After settling down at a table and meeting the other women who chose to sit in the same section, the faculty members from Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding began. From that point forward, the week progressed quickly and efficiently. All of the students had great questions for the expert faculty and the break-out competency verification sessions left me feeling confident in my abilities to counsel and give support.


Each night when I returned to my hotel room after a quick workout in the hotel gym, I sat down with my training manual, my pocket guide for lactation management, and my assigned homework sheets and got to work! I have always been a fan of learning and love being a student, so this routine of learning all day in class and refreshing and studying in the evenings was quite enjoyable. It was great to know that the hours I was putting in would lead to me feeling prepared for the certification exam later that week.


Even with that feeling of preparedness, I was still nervous on Friday afternoon when the proctors from the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice arrived. We were instructed to leave the room for our lunch break and told that we could start coming back in to sign in in half an hour. I grabbed a quick lunch and sat outside with another group of prospective candidates to review our notes, put our heads together, and bounce questions off of one another. And just like that – it was time to head in for the test. As a creature of habit, I signed in and found my way to the same seat that I was using all week (call it superstition, perhaps), but it allowed me to feel less anxious.


While the certification exam was challenging – as it should be for a nationally accredited certification – I felt confident in my answers based on the amazing teachers and content covered during the LCTC. I knew some questions immediately and others I had to take an educated guess, just like every other exam I’ve taken in the past. The video-portion of the exam was also challenging, but it truly made me feel like I was a practicing CLC assessing the feeding of a baby. It was a true test of my abilities as a CLC candidate.


Leaving the testing site, I felt a mixture of emotions. I was thrilled to be heading home to Cape Cod on a summer weekend…I was nervous about how I did…and I was excited about all I had learned over the past 5 days. When I received my passing results 6 weeks later, I was ecstatic! I felt so accomplished and proud of myself and the time I had put in. Even though I am not currently practicing as a CLC, I use the knowledge from the LCTC frequently. Additionally, sitting through the training course (available through the Comprehensive Course Pathway) and CLC examination has allowed me to answer questions for prospective candidates more effectively. I understand the worries, frustrations, and nerves of CLC candidates who call our national office for advice and suggestions. I think, overall, that my status as a CLC has allowed me to do my job as the Director of ALPP better, and I will always be grateful for the experience of taking the LCTC. I cannot recommend this certification enough!