How to Become a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor
Are you interested in babies and how they could get quality breast milk from their mothers? If your passion revolves in this area then you can turn it into a career by becoming a certified breastfeeding counselor.
This post will help you with the necessary information to successfully become a counselor on breastfeeding, including the training and certification programs you will need to complete.
Please, read on ….
Who is a Breastfeeding Counselor?
A breastfeeding counselor is professional who guides and provides advice to mothers on the best way to breastfeed their babies.
Before breastfeeding counselors can become certified, they need to complete an approved certification program, and successfully complete it by passing an examination.
Educational Requirements and Career Pathway to Become a Breastfeeding Counselor
Breastfeeding counseling requires study and completion of an education program in health science, which involves subjects like biology, psychology, nutrition, and anatomy. They are about 14 subjects in number that need to be completed.
Enrolling in a nursing program to obtain education as a breastfeeding counselor will be the best option for non-health professionals. However, if you didn’t take a nursing program, you may be required to complete certain college and continuing education courses like biology, nutrition, sociology, psychology, anatomy, and medical terminology.
Certification and Training for Breastfeeding Counselors
Certification and training help equip you with breastfeeding knowledge and skills. Most employers look for counselors who went through a certification and training program.
Therefore, to advance in this career, you need to find a nice breastfeeding counseling certification and training program of your choice to enroll in.
These two programs can get you along with your dream career as a certified breastfeeding counselor.
Details of the two certification programs have been stated below:
Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC)
CLC is a certification program accredited by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) based on the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard.
ANSI is an accreditation with national and international recognition, and it bears the hallmark of a quality certification program.
The CLC credential affirms that the holder has shown the required knowledge and skills to assist in breastfeeding counseling and management care rendered to families who need breastfeeding counseling and support. Such a service might be highly needed among women who want to get answers to their questions, or who have issues during the course of breastfeeding or lactation.
You display your skills and knowledge in lactation management, when you obtain the CLC credential.
Getting certified with CLC entails successfully completing a 45-hour easy-to-understand lactation course. For you to get certified you must pass the comprehensive examination.
Those who can enroll in the CLC Certification Program include mothers, nurses, educators, midwives, nutritionists, dietitians, physicians, and more.
Some places where CLC provides breastfeeding and lactation management include:
- Maternity wards in hospitals and maternity homes
- Maternal and child health services
- Midwife and physician offices
- Military family support centers and other parenting centers
- Outpatient lactation clinics
- WIC programs
- Neonatal care units
- Nursing programs
Sitting for the CLC Examination:
To sit for the Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) examination offered by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, there are some criteria to meet.
If you are new to the breastfeeding care field, you must successfully complete 45-hour training.
The training is based on World Health Organization/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counseling Training Course.
Lastly, you must prove your knowledge, competencies, and skills through providing counseling to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
You must have completed a minimum of 45 hours of Continuing Education within the past 3 years, and it must relate to the WHO/UNICEF (World Health Organization/United Nations Children fund).
Also required for experienced breastfeeding care providers are competencies in breastfeeding counseling and certified lactation counseling, such as counseling, teaching, and breastfeeding difficulties, in addition to compulsory completion of 150 hours of supervised lactation care within the past 3 years.
The IBLCE Certification
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) is an organization that examines and certifies breastfeeding counselors.
Successful candidates of this program have the opportunity of working in hospitals and health clinics upon completion.
Your approval to take the program follows after completion of application forms and submission of required documents.
It takes IBLCE two weeks to review your application forms to check if all required documents are complete.
Payment for IBLCE certification program is by credit card and prepaid credit card. Acceptable credit cards include Mastercard, VISA, American Express and Discover cards. The only acceptable currency is US dollars.
Breastfeeding Counselor Duties and Responsibilities
There are many duties performed by breastfeeding counselors, here are the major ones:
- Provide advice and support to new mothers on the best breastfeeding approach
- Pass information about the benefits of breastfeeding and help mothers to get over common breastfeeding impediments
- Counsel pregnant and breastfeeding mothers using telephone calls, text messages, home visits, and hospital visits
- Keep each mother’s personal information secret and confidential
- Keep records of all contacts made with every mother
- Attend staff meetings and breastfeeding conferences
- Use special projects to promote breastfeeding counseling
- Conduct research through reading of books and other helpful materials.
Where Breastfeeding Counselors can Find Employment Opportunities
Breastfeeding counselors can look for jobs at hospitals, obstetric and pediatric facilities, independent practice, public health programs, and at WIC centers.
Breastfeeding Counselor Salary
Payscale.com reported the median wage of a breastfeeding counselor to be $57,375 per annum and $27.00 per hour. The average annual salary of breastfeeding counselors according to CBSalary is $79,141.
According to Indeed.com, the average salary of a breastfeeding counselor in the United States amounts to $30,000.
The earning in breastfeeding counseling career is also measured by experience. Counselors with 1 to 4 years of experience earn between $13.00 and $35.00 per hour, while the ones with 5 to 9 years of experience make around $15.00 to $34.00 per hour.
Breastfeeding counselors with longer years of experience from 10 to 19 years earn between $20.00 and $36.00 per hour, while those with up to 20 years of experience make from $27.00 to $49.00 per hour.
Becoming a breastfeeding counselor might be an exciting career to get into if you like the idea of helping mothers and babies get the benefits of breast feeding.
The tips provided in this post can make it easy for you to realize your dream of becoming a certified breastfeeding counselor in the shortest possible time.