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This Lactation Consultant Pathway 1 professional certificate program expands the clinical knowledge of the breastfeeding professional who interfaces with the breastfeeding client by understanding problems of clinical management.

Certification as a lactation consultant is approved preparation for healthcare providers who interact and triage infant nutrition problems and concerns. The course of study is based on objectives, guidelines and competencies established by Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee (LEAARC).

Although UC San Diego does not issue the credential of Lactation Consultant, they support the IBLCE.

Program Benefits

Students who complete this certificate will:
  • Expand their clinical knowledge as a breastfeeding professional who interfaces with the breastfeeding clients by understanding problems of clinical management
  • Receive a professional certificate of completion in lactation consultant education, which is approved preparation for healthcare providers who interact and triage infant nutrition problems and concerns
  • Study objectives, guidelines and competencies established and approved by LEAARC
Pathway 1 Qualifications

Pathway 1 candidates are defined as having both of these requirements:
  • Have an IBLCE approved license, be a registered or recognized health professional or have completion of all 14 IBLCE Educational Requirements. (IBLCE Approved Health Professions: Dentist, Degreed Nutritionist, Dietician, Midwife, Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Pharmacist, Physical Therapist or Physiotherapist, Physician or Medical Doctor, Speech Pathologist or Therapist).
  • Ability to complete1000 clinical hours directly with breastfeeding dyads within a 5 year period prior to sitting for the exam (verifiable by employer).

Demand and Job Prospects
  • Lactation Consultants typically interact with patients in a role similar to nurse practitioners, as advanced practice clinicians. They generally work independently to triage and manage a clinical lactation concern for mother, baby, and family unit. In most areas, they are paid an hourly rate that seems to parallel the RN salary range which is from $20-$45 per hour.
  • Lactation consultants do not have to be RN’s to function in their role, although some hospitals may have an additional requirement that the IBCLC be an RN.
  • May be employed in hospitals and manage hospital breastfeeding centers and boutiques. In this role they may facilitate other lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups, triage phone calls and warm lines, and manage breastfeeding stores that rent breast pumps and sell breastfeeding clothing and products.
  • Frequently hired by WIC, the federally funded Women, Infant, and Children program. These lactation consultants are usually also dieticians, although that is not a requirement.
  • Some UC San Diego Extension Lactation Consultant graduates have chosen to establish private practices. In this role they do lactation consultations with patients and their families either in a business setting or in the patient’s home. The fees are set by the individual lactation consultant. The business may also include retail products, breast pump rentals, support groups and classes.
  • Lactation Consultants are generally employed part time although more full time positions are becoming available.  Currently, UC San Diego Extension does not offer job placement assistance, however most graduating students who have sought employment as Lactation Consultants have secured positions.
Industry Certification

UC San Diego Extension supports IBLCE as the credential and certification board for practicing Lactation Consultants. The IBLCE Exam is given twice a year in September and April. Students must complete the IBLCE requirements as currently defined at

Students may meet the certification exam requirements by any Pathway, however, UC San Diego only supports Pathway 1 and Pathway 2. All UC San Diego Extension students who successfully complete the training program and its requirements are eligible to sit for the IBLCE exam.

The Program
  • Number of courses: 1 class
  • Total units: 12
  • Estimated cost: $1095
  • Time to Complete: 6 months
  • Delivery: Online
Military spouses are eligible to use My CAA $4000 scholarship. Apply at MyCAA.

Note: If you would like this Professional Certificate of Completion, there is a $95 fee. However, this physical certificate is not required by the IBLCE to sit for the exam.

Applications are accepted quarterly.


There will be a $95 fee upon acceptance into the program

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There will be a $95 fee upon
acceptance into the program