Lactation Program Review:
Union Institute & University’s
MA in Health & Wellness with a Concentration in Lactation Studies
November 20, 2015
What year did you enroll in the program? 2012
How long did it take you to complete the program? 2.5 years
Degree, Certification or Certificate Offered – Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Health & Wellness with a Concentration in Lactation Studies. Union Institute & University (UI & I) also offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Maternal & Child Health with a major in Human Lactation.
Delivery of Program – Online
Books & Materials Required – Via partnership with The Healthy Children Project, Inc. (HCP), the program requires you to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) in order to do your clinical hours.
Cost of Program (Including books, materials, application fees, etc.) – $40,000+
Do this program’s hours meet partial or full requirements for the IBCLC exam’s lactation specific training requirement? Yes. This program fulfills the entire lactation education requirement needed to sit for the IBCLC exam.
What did you like about the program?
I liked having classmates who were also working in lactation that I could bounce ideas off of. It was nice to not have to explain what a “lactation consultant” is over and over again. I still keep in touch with many of these students and consider them to be trusted colleagues.
What did you dislike about the program?
Overall, there were quite a few things I disliked about the UI&U program.
- The Lactation faculty consisted of two professors who seemed to play “good cop/bad cop” with the students.
- The program offered no help whatsoever in finding a placement for internship hours, and I was told at one point that I couldn’t complete my hours in the state where I live – when I was already halfway through the program!
- I felt that we received very little instruction as to how to complete assignments.
- In our final semesters, many of us scrambled to answer others’ questions on the online message board as the instructors very rarely checked in.
- I was often confused and lost, and when I spoke with faculty I was told that I was doing things wrong.
What would you change about the program?
- I strongly feel that this program should help their students to gain internship placements. So many of my classmates had their schooling delayed by a semester or more because they couldn’t find anywhere to earn their internship hours.
- This program sorely needs more involved faculty members and a better designed curriculum.
How rigorous/time consuming did you find the program?
I finished my degree in 2.5 years while usually being enrolled 3/4 or full-time, working part-time, and taking care of my 3 kids including one who was born during my program. At times the program was very time consuming (mostly dealing with internship hours and when writing my thesis) but for the most part, I was able to complete it during nap times and during one full day of school a week.
Would you recommend this program to others?
For the most part no, I would not recommend this program. If you are looking solely for a program to meet Pathway 2 requirements and give you the knowledge to pass the IBLCE exam, look elsewhere. If you are already an IBCLC, if you would like to specialize in breastfeeding research, or if you have a deep interest in gaining your graduate degree within the lactation field and you are highly self-directed and self-motivated, then yes, I’d recommend this program.
Knowing what you know now, would you take this program again?
No, I would not take this program again. It’s very hard to admit that you feel you made a mistake that cost your family almost $50,000. There have to be better ways to get meet IBLCE requirements, which was my main purpose in joining this program. I am left with huge student loans and a bad taste in my mouth.
Do you feel the course and/or certification helped you obtain your goals?
I know that the course helped me, on paper, to meet IBLCE’s requirements before sitting for the exam. I’m not convinced that the education I received really fit the bill of IBLCE’s intentions when setting those requirements.
Does your program/credential require you to recertify? No. My Master’s degree never expires!
**Disclaimer – The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Galactablog. It’s also important to note that these views are not the only source of information about this particular lactation training program. See here for similar Lactation Training Programs that also offer clinical practice components and here for general Lactation Training and/Certification Programs without the clinical component.