Can I Use My Health Science Degree to Work as a Lactation Consultant?

Can I Use My Health Science Degree to Work as a Lactation Consultant?You may be wondering if earning your health science degree will qualify you to become a lactation consultant. If you truly believe in the benefits of breastfeeding, becoming a consultant could be a fulfilling career path where you will enjoy every moment of what you do for a living. Lactation consultants are a major part of the team in hospitals and help struggling mothers learn how to get their newborns to latch or how to increase their milk production in community settings. There are many paths that you can take to become a trained consultant, but here are the steps that you will need to take to get certified.

Why is a Certification Important?

If you want to compete for open positions with hospitals or well-known organizations like Woman Infants and Children (WIC), you will need to earn your certification through a body like the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE). It is important to hold a certification through a body like this because it is a worldwide credentialing agency that sets the highest standards in breastfeeding care and support. No matter where you go with your certification, a peace of mind would exist in knowing your international certification will be recognized.

What Are the Education Requirements to Become Certified?

The IBLCE has very strict education requirements for prospects that are not already recognized health professionals. While it is very popular for health professionals in nursing and other areas of medicine to make the switch to becoming a consultant, it is possible for you, too, to become a consultant without prior healthcare experience. In order to qualify to take a certification exam, you will need to complete 14 different health sciences courses in different areas of the field. The subjects that you are required to study include:

  • Biology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Psychology or Communications
  • Infant and Child Growth
  • Intro to Clinical Research
  • Nutrition
  • Sociology or Cultural Anthropology
  • Life Support
  • Medical documentation
  • Medical Terminology
  • Occupational Safety
  • Professional Health Ethics
  • Infection Control

All of these courses are part of the general requirements for health professionals. This is why the best route to becoming a health professional working in lactation consulting is to earn your health sciences degree from an accredited institution.

How to Find an Accredited Health Sciences Program

If you have met the educational pathway and you get classroom and clinical training, you can then take the certification exam. You must be sure that you are completing your coursework at an accredited facility that has been reviewed and approved by a council like the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. By verifying the program’s accreditation status, you can be sure that all of the courses that you take to get certified will count.

There is a growing need for skilled lactation consultants. If you would love to help new mothers build their confidence so that they can successfully breastfeed, you will need to complete the appropriate coursework. Getting a degree in health sciences will help you learn all of the skills you need to apply and get hired as a consultant. Be sure that you schedule a date to test for your certification. Once you have your health science degree and you pass the international certification examination, you will officially be considered a certified lactation consultant.

Please also see: Top 20 Most Affordable Health Science Degree Programs.