“Clinical” Lactation Training Programs

This page will provide detailed directory of of the most widely recognized lactation programs that provide the education and clinical practice experience component required to qualify for Pathway 2 for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners’ (IBLCE) annual International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credentialing exam. It’s important to emphasize that of the some programs listed below provide clinical hours on-site or facilitate clinical opportunities locally (and at State level) whereas other programs require distance learners to facilitate their own preceptorship. This list is by no means exhaustive and for now, is limited to programs in America. I hope to expand to include international options in the future. If any programs you feel fit into this category are missing from list this, please let me know so I can add them.

Birthingway College of Midwifery ♦

California Advanced Lactation Institute (CALI) offers the Comprehensive Lactation Internship Program (CLIP) & Clinical Hours in its Baby Cafe 

  • If you are in need of clinical hours, CALI will provide you one in its Baby Cafe – a drop-in center that provides parents with professional lactation care in Bakersfield, CA
  • There is no charge for completing your clinical hours at CALI’s Baby Cafe as you are volunteering your time.
  • See here for program brochure: includes pricing, dates of instruction, application process and additional program details
  • In order to officially intern at Baby Cafe, volunteers must have completed a minimum of a 45-hour lactation program. Other volunteers who have not completed a lactation program are welcome to observe and assist with general tasks. If you would like to complete 45 or 90 lactation hours through CALI, see here
  • All interns and volunteers must go through an interview with CALI faculty and undergo a few training pieces set forth by Baby Cafe USA
  • All interns and volunteers must acknowledge certain tenets of the care and information CALI provides, which is consistent with the IBCLC Scope of Practice  and IBCLC Code of Professional Conduct
  • If you cannot complete your clinical hours at CALI’s Baby Cafe but are still in need of clinical hours, if you are a CLIP Intern, CALI will help in assisting you to find a clinical site that meets your needs
  • The instructors at CALI are very much willing to work with your individual case and needs, so don’t hesitate to contact CALI with your questions: CALactationInstitute@yahoo.com
  • See here for CALI faculty bios

Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute ♦

  • Provides comprehensive Training for Lactation Consulting
  • Program FAQs

Georgia Northwestern Technical College 

  • Offers Lactation Consultant (LC31) Certificate
  • To be admitted into this program, “prospective students must provide proof of current certification or licensure in a related medical field”

Union Institute and University ♦ ♣

University of California San Diego Extension ♦ ♣



♦ Program provides the education and clinical practice required for IBCLC Pathway 2 applicants.

♣ Program has online or distance learning instruction.

Disclaimer: I’ve worked tirelessly to compile and fact check all of this information, but please confirm any pertinent details with the actual program yourself, particularly if it relates to qualifying for the IBCLC exam as requirements, course offerings, etc. can change.

ILCA has also compiled a spread sheet of global Directory of Lactation Management courses as well, it’s a great resource to check out. The programs that offer clinical hours are marked as such. FYI: not all programs listed are still running.


4 thoughts on ““Clinical” Lactation Training Programs

  1. hello ,
    I have a bachelor degree in public health and looking for resource to achieve my master degree in lactation , I have finish my training on CLC last year leave in Houston Texas


    • Hi,

      I don’t live in the USA so am unfamiliar of any Master’s level lactation programs in the States other than Union Institute and University, which offers lactation degrees at both the undergrad and graduate level: https://myunion.edu/academics/masters/ma-human-lactation-studies

      However, to be honest, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on this program and it’s quite expensive. You can search Galactablog for reviews on Union. I’d also suggest joining professional lactation groups on Facebook – there are a lot and folks there can give you names of more programs.

      If I were you, I’d be asking myself HOW a graduate degree in Lactation would help you? You’re already a CLC and have a public health degree. You don’t need a graduate degree in Lactation to become an IBCLC (if that’s your ultimate goal). Another option is to consider another less specialized field at the graduate level that could open more doors for you (speech therapy, public health, nursing, occupational therapy, nutrition, etc.). Employment positions I’ve seen for JUST IBCLCs are very limited, most want another specialty (nutrition, nursing, etc), especially if you want to work in a hospital or WIC setting for example. That’s just my two cents. Of course, job opportunities and requirements will differ from county to county, state to state, region to region and country to country.

      I’d definitely recommend joining lactation-related Facebook groups and asking your question there. Say where you’re from or where you’re planning on practicing/working at so you get local advice more tailored to your region as it drastically differs as to where you are. I’d also recommend asking if other lactation professionals have completed a graduate degree in lactation and if they feel it was helpful or not, if they’d do it again, if they’d recommend THEIR program or another, pros/cons and other potential paths.

      Good luck! xx


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