Because lactation consultant training is a fairly new discipline with lots of potential forward looking growth, but it's important to understand its definition before you explore lactation consultant training.
Lactation consultants are considered experts in the field of breastfeeding and human lactation. These professionals can work in a doctor's office, at a hospital or even be private consultants not affliated at all with a hospital. These consultants primarily assist with lactating mothers and their breastfeeding babies and providing excellent healthcare for the baby and his/her mother.
Though it's typical for these professionals to have previous backgrounds in nursing or some other related health field, some enter this field without the standard career path of a nurse or other licensed healthcare professional. As you continue to read you will find that points of entry into lactation consultant training have various "pathways" which allow those with various backgrounds to become licensed consultant and succeed in the new profession as well.
The primary governing body which develops requirements, exams and manages the codes and ethics of a lactation consultant is the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners or IBLCE for short. Below we will explore the requirements of lactation consultant training.
Lactation Consultant Training Pathways:
There are three pathways you can enter in order to become a lactation consultant, each pathway has various requirements which must be met, with the first pathway having the lowest barrier to entry with no general course requirement hours in 2011, this however will change in 2012. With Pathway 3 having 14 subjects course requirements with 500 directly supervised hours. Let's take a look at each pathway in detail:
1. Pathway 1 allows those who volunteer or are a part of paid staff working with breastfeeding mothers to become a certified lactation consultant. Appropriate supervision is however required.
2. Pathway 2 and 3 require direct supervision (not just observation-as common with pathway 1.
All pathway entrants are required to take the lactation consultant training exam. It's important to note that as of the 2011, exam one is not required to complete the general education requirement. However for 2012 and beyond a general education requirement is needed.
Besides the previously mentioned exam, there are training requirements for the 2011 exam, one must complete 45 hours of lactation specific education between January 2006 and the time in which you apply for the exam. For the 2012 exam the requirements are 90 hours of lactation specific education completed between January 2007 and the time in which you apply for the exam. Important to note is that lactation consultant training can be completed in various ways some of which include: in person seminars, online courses, specific lactation consultant seminars and online training.
How Do You Keep Track Of and Prove Lactation Consultant Training
The IBLCE requires you keep a training log of your lactation specific training it tracks the name of the course, the instructor or presenter and hours completed. This training log should be kept in a safe place and must be furnished upon request form the IBLCE. Again this training is a requirement in sitting for the lactation consultant exam. Your courses and other training must be approved by the IBLCE and can certified instructors and training can be found at the IBLCE.
Lactation Counselor Salary
Lactation counselors earn very good money. The average national salary for 2012-2013 is $79,141.