​Should I become a CLC or IBCLC? 12 Differences

Pregnancy and Postpartum Care for Everyone

Deciding between becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) depends on your career goals, interests, and the level of involvement you wish to have in supporting breastfeeding mothers and infants. Here's a detailed comparison table.
AspectCertified Lactation Counselor (CLC)International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
TrainingTypically around 45 hours of educationMore extensive training, including specific educational requirements and clinical practice hours
ScopeProvides basic breastfeeding support and education to mothers and infantsConsidered experts in lactation and breastfeeding management, handle complex breastfeeding issues, and provide advanced lactation support
SettingsOften work in hospitals, clinics, or community settingsWork in various settings including hospitals, private practice, public health agencies, and lactation clinics
IndependenceMay work under supervision or as part of a teamCan work independently and may have own private practice
ResponsibilitiesPrimarily offers breastfeeding counseling and supportProvide comprehensive lactation support, manage complex cases, and offer advanced lactation management
Career OpportunitiesLimited compared to IBCLCsMore diverse career opportunities, including potential for private practice and consulting
Certification RequirementsCompletion of CLC training program and passing the CLC examCompletion of specific educational requirements, clinical practice hours, and passing the IBCLC exam
Time and Effort RequiredLess time and effort compared to IBCLCRequires a significant investment of time and effort
CostGenerally lower cost for training and certificationHigher cost due to more extensive training and certification requirements
ExpertiseProvides basic breastfeeding supportConsidered experts in lactation and breastfeeding management
Handling Complex CasesLimited capacity to handle complex casesCapable of managing complex breastfeeding issues
AutonomyMay work under supervisionCan work independently and autonomously
Continuing Education RequirementsVaries depending on organizationMandatory continuing education requirements to maintain certification
This table provides a comprehensive overview of the key differences between becoming a CLC and an IBCLC, covering aspects such as training, scope of practice, career opportunities, certification requirements, and more.