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Lactation Education

Lactation Education 


Time Sensitive Announcement:

Students pursing lactation education are eligible to apply for the Marilyn and Dick Whetsell Scholarship, a scholarship that is intended to support aspiring International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. 

Eligibility: 2.5 GPA or higher, admission to the 2017-18 Lactation Education courses or the Pathway 2 Lactation Practicum. 

Preference will be given to students who demonstrate cultural experience and language skills that will allow them to work with populations who do not speak English.

To read more about this opportunity, and apply online, visit:

Applications due: May 19th, 2 letters of recommendation required. (See application for additional instructions.)


2017-18 Lactation Practicum applications now available!  


You are eligible to apply for the practicum if you have completed all pre-reqs including 90 hours of Lactation Education from a Pathway 2 program.  Applications must be submitted via email by June 2nd by 5pm.   For more information, please attend our Information Session: April 18th 7pm-8:30pm via live webinar.  

**to join our mailing list and get reminders about and access to our free Info sessions, email:  


The Lactation Education of the Health Sciences Major offers comprehensive lactation training for: 

Completion of the Lactation requirements enables students to sit for the International Board  Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam. IBCLC designation enables students to provide advanced practice clinical lactation care for families in a variety of settings.

Course requirements: 

Students seeking IBCLC certification must first determine the Pathway to Certification that they are following.  Below is a list of Pre-reqs and Courses needed to sit for the IBLCE exam.  Please complete our Advising Worksheet to help you determine your Pathway and which courses you will need to register for.   Students pursing a Bachelors Degree must be sure to also complete the PHE Core Courses listed below.

    Lactation Pre-requisites: these Health Sciences Education courses are required for IBCLC certification unless you are a Recognized Health Professional. For interested students in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, we recommend that Lactation Education 1- PHE 410 is taken in your Junior or Senior year.  It is offered in the Fall term each year.

    1 course of each taken FOR CREDIT with a passing grade of C or better required in order to register for Lactation Education 1,2, and 3

    Additional course pre-reqs (these can be taken as Continuing Education Courses) **these courses can be taken concurrently with Lactation 1,2 and 3

    Biology- BI 207

    Basic Life Support

    Human Anatomy and Physiology- BI 301, BI 302, BI 303*

    Medical Terminology

    Infant and Child Growth and Development – CFS 101, CFS 312U, PSY 311, SW 350

    Medical Documentation

    Introduction to Clinical Research – STAT 243, PSY 321

    Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals

    Nutrition – CH 250, PHE 325

    Professional Ehtics for Health Professionals

    Psychology or Counseling or Communication Skills -  COMM 100, COMM200, PSY 204, PSY 350

    Universal Safety and Infection Control

    Sociology or Cultural Sensitivity or Cultural Anthropology -  ANTH 103, SOC 200, SOC 204, COMM 215 
















    *Minimum of one course needed to register fo Lactation Education courses, full sequence (301-303) required for Bachelors Degree.

    **these courses may be accessed on-line as a package (with the exception of Basic Life Support) through Lactation Education Resources or Breastfeeding Outlook. These are a cost and time effective approach to completing these requirements. These courses are not PSU courses and as such you cannot use Financial Aid to pay for them. Note, these are not PSU courses, and you cannot use your Financial Aid for them. 


    Student can transfer in credits from other academic institutions.  For example, here are PCC courses that meet the Lactation Education Pre-reqs: 
    • Biology - BI 101, BI 112, BI 211
    • Human Anatomy and Human Physiology – BI 231
    • Infant and Child Growth and Development - ECE 120, PSY 215
    • Introduction to Clinical Research – MTH 243
    • Nutrition - FN 225 
    • Psychology or Counseling or Communication Skills - PSY 101, PSY 201A, PSY 215, PSY 222, COMM 101, COMM 214
    • Sociology or Cultural Sensitivity or Cultural Anthropology - SOC 204, SOC 205, SOC 213, ATH 103, ATH 207

      PLEASE NOTE: For students wishing to apply to a nursing program and pursue an RN IBCLC, please be sure to complete all pre-reqs required by nursing schools. A complete list can be found at: Pre-Nursing



      Lactation Education courses (meets 90 hours of Lactation education to sit for the IBCLC exam) **to register, students must provide documentation of completion of pre-reqs or that they are a Recognized Health Professional
      • PHE 410: Lactation Education 1 (4 credits)
      • PHE 410: Lactation Education 2 (4 credits)
      • PHE 410: Lactation Education 3 (2 credits)

      Practicum experience (13 credits: meets 300+ hours of supervised practicum required for Pathway 2 and to sit for the IBCLC exam). 2016-17 Lactation Practicum Application for Pathway 2 students now closed.  Applicantions for the 2017-2018 Lacatation Practicum will be due June 2nd, 2017. The application will be posted on this web site in Spring 2017. 


      • PHE 409 (10 credits): must first apply and demonstrate completion of pre-requisites and Lactation Specific Education from a Pathway 2 academic program.  Spaces limited, application required.
      • Lactation Seminar - PHE 407 (3 Credits) taken concurrently with practicum

      Core Courses for students seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences (students are additionally eligible to sit for the IBLCE exam):

      • Stat 243 NB or LS
      • PHE 250 Our Community, Our Health PHE 350 Health and Human Systems
      • PHE 363 Communicable and Chronic Disease 
      • PHE 450 Epidemiology (pre-req Stat 243) 
      • PHE 452 Race, Class and Gender
      Required Courses for students seeking a Health Science degree:
      • Bio 301 - Anatomy & Physiology 1
      • Bio 302 - Anatomy & Physiology 2
      • Bio 303 - Anatomy & Physiology 3
      Related course offerings:
      • Lactation Preceptor training (CE credits offered)
      • Breastfeeding Politics and Culture (4 credits)
      • Maternal and Infant Health (4 credits)
      • Senior Capstone: Current Issues in Pregnancy and Birth (6 credits)


      Advising Hours

      During each term we offer Advising sessions for prospective students who have questions about the prerequisites/courses and would like to meet with faculty in person.  Prior to attending an Advising session, please review the information on this web site, and complete the Advising Worksheet.  This will make your Advising session more productive. 

      Advising Hours are scheduled in the Urban Center on the following dates.  No appointment needed.

      Wed, April 5th, from 1-3pm, Rm 450 - Ask for Lactation Advising
      Tues, April 18th, from 1-3pm, Rm 410
      Tues, May 2nd, from 1-3pm, Rm 410
      Wed - May 17th, from 1-3pm, Rm 450 - Ask for Lactation Advising
      Wed - May 31st, from 1-3pm, Rm 450 - Ask for Lactation Advising
      There is a faculty member available for phone advising most weeks during the term.  If you cannot come in for in-person Advising, you can request a phone appointment, and the faculty member will arrange an appointment time with you.

      How are Lactation courses offered?

      Lactation Education Courses are offered as hybrid courses: students will meet in person one weekend of each term (Friday night-Sunday) and the remaining courses are held on-line. Students must be present for at least 75% of the in-person time, and must attend at least 4 out of 7 webinars live to fulfill Pathway 2 requirements to sit for the IBLCE exam.

      To see a layout of course offerings from 2015-2017, click here

      Please note dates/times are tentative and subject to change.

      Dates for the upcoming academic year:


      Lactation Education 1 Fall 2016 - Next course offering

      First day of class: Sept 26th (students able to access readings and assignments on D2L)

      In-person weekend: Friday Oct 14th 5:30-9pm, Sat. Oct 15th 9-5:30pm and Sunday Oct 16th 9-1:30pm

      Live webinars: Mondays 10:00-1:15  Oct. 17th and 24th, Nov 7th, 14th, 21st, 25th, and Dec. 5th. No Webinar on Oct. 31st.

      To qualify for enrollment, students must be IBLCE Recognized Health Professionals or have completed the 7 college credit courses included in the IBLCE Health Sciences Education requirements.  See more information at the beginning of this web page.


      Lactation Education 2  Winter 2017 - Next course offering

      First day of class:  Jan 9th (students able to access readings and assignments on D2L)

      In-person weekend: Friday, Jan 27th 5:30-9pm, Sat. Jan 28th 9-5:30 and Sunday, Jan 29th 9-1:30

      Live webinars: Mondays 10:00-1:15  Jan 30th-Mar 13th


      Lactation Education 3 Spring 2017

      First day of term: April 3rd, 2017 (students able to access readings and assignments on D2L)

      Final in-person weekend and end of course: April 21st-23rd only - Friday April 21st, 5:30-9pm, Sat, April 22nd 9-5:30pm and Sunday April 23rd, 9-1:30pm.


      Important Dates for students wishing to register for Lactation Practicum (Pathway 2 students):

      Lactation Internship Applications Due:  June 2nd, 2017

      Acceptance to the practicum by: July 14th, 2017

      Internship begins Fall term 2017 Internship ends May 2018


      For students that intend to sit for IBCLC exam: Application due mid-May 2018   IBLCE exam Oct. 2018

      Free Info Sessions

      We offer 1.5 hr free info webinars a few times each year so that prospective students can learn more about the lactation courses and meet the faculty.  Click here to view a recording of our most recent Free Info Session.  Our next Free Info session will be held during Fall 2017 term. **to join our mailing list and get reminders about our Free Info sessions, email:  


      HAVE QUESTIONS? Please contact us!




      Does PSU’s Lactation Education Practicum select its students by lottery?

      No. The PSU Lactation Education courses are open to all students who meet the prerequisites. The PSU Pathway 2 Practicum is a limited entry practicum, and the selection process is based on a competitive points system involving prerequisite GPA, lactation education experience, and other criteria.  Please contact us at for more information.  See the current Pathway 2 application for more information.  

      How many students do you admit to the PSU Pathway 2 Practicum each year?

      The number of students we admit is dependent on the number of clinical sites and preceptors that are available. It is a competitive process, and only the students who have completed all the application requirements will be considered. Each application is then evaluated and scored before the top-scoring applicants are invited for a personal interview.

      How can I obtain breastfeeding education, and experience helping breastfeeding families before applying to the PSU Lactation concentration?

      We highly recommend students who plan to become IBCLCs first obtain experience working with breastfeeding families in a paid or volunteer role. If you have at least 6 months of personal breastfeeding experience, you could consider becoming a breastfeeding peer counselor. Here are links to two local volunteer breastfeeding peer counselor organizations: and

      Some of the county WIC Programs also hire breastfeeding peer counselors. Consider contacting your local WIC office.  Some other options include:

      1) Consider becoming an active member of one of the local breastfeeding coalitions in your community.

      2) Consider volunteering for Northwest Mothers Milk Bank.

      3) If you live in the Portland metro area, consider becoming a member of the Oregon Washington Lactation Association and attending their meetings where you will meet the local lactation community, learn more about breastfeeding, and hear about possible opportunities to volunteer. If you live elsewhere consider contacting a local lactation consultant, or use the following on-line directories to find lactation support organizations in your own area:

      US Lactation Consultant Association – directory of state and regional chapters La Leche League International – directory of LLL groups by state in the US or in other countries

      Does PSU assist in job placement once students complete the Lactation Education courses and practicum?

      No, however PSU has an employment office which can assist students in sharpening their job hunting skills.

      Once I complete the degree will I be certified?

      No. The final step in IBLCE certification is applying for and passing the IBLCE Exam. All students who successfully complete the PSU Pathway 2 courses (Lactation Education 1,2 and 3 and the Lactation Practicum) will be eligible to apply for and take the IBCLE exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). More details can be found on the IBCLE website

      Do I get paid for my clinical experience in the program?

      No.  In the PSU Pathway 2 Practicum your clinical hours are unpaid.

      How much is an IBCLC paid, and what are their typical work hours and work settings?

      The pay range for IBCLCs varies based on their work setting and other job requirements.  Estimated wages are $30-$60 per hours.  Hours of work could be less than 8 hrs or may be 8-12 hr shifts.  There are both part-time and full-time job opportunities.  IBCLCs work in hospitals, clinics, WIC programs, public health programs, parenting programs, private practice, donor milk banks, and educational settings.    


      Courses and Prerequisites

      How do I know which classes to take to meet the prerequisites?

      Here is a summary of the courses that IBLCE requires. The prerequisite courses are defined by IBLCE, and more detailed information is provided in the IBLCE Health Sciences Education Guidelines. We have listed the courses that PSU and PCC offer that meet these guidelines on our web site. If you have questions about whether specific courses offered elsewhere meet the IBLCE guidelines, you need to contact IBLCE.

      How do I know which lactation courses I should take?

      First, you need to determine which pathway you plan to use to become an IBCLC.  On our web site we have provided information about which courses would be appropriate for each pathway.

      The Lactation Education Courses are appropriate for students who plan to provide bedside breastfeeding help, and for all those who are seeking IBLCE certification since all three pathways require 90-hours of Lactation Education.

      The PSU Pathway 2 Practicum provides lactation specific clinical experience for a limited number of students. It includes all the Lactation Practicum and Lactation Seminar courses. It is a limited entry internship, and students will need to complete all the IBLCE Health Science Education requirements and Lactation Education 1, 2, and 3 before they are eligible to apply. This practicum is appropriate for students who are NOT able to obtain clinical experience through their work or volunteer experience; or prefer clinical experience supervised by IBCLCs. Applications are accepted once each year during the Summer term. See the Calendar for the specific application dates.

      I’m still confused about prerequisites and/or which pathway to use for certification.

      You can complete the Advising Worksheet to help you determine your next steps.  

      Additionally, we will review all the basics about the courses and practicum during our free info sessions, which are offered twice a year. We encourage you to attend one of these sessions. Be sure to review the information on our website and complete the worksheet we provide. In addition, the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health also offers undergraduate student advising. Follow-up questions can be emailed to We respond to questions via email within one week.

      2017 Free Info webinars: Our next Free Info session is scheduled for Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 from 7-8:30pm. **to join our mailing list and get reminders about our Free Info webinars, email:   

      Why does PSU require that students complete the eight college credit courses that are part of the IBLCE Health Sciences Education Requirements before they take the Lactation Education courses?

      Students who have already completed these health sciences courses will get more from their lactation education courses, and then be able to apply that knowledge during their lactation internship and practicum courses.  They will be able to cover the breadth of material that must be covered in the 100 hrs of lactation education, and will feel comfortable in classes that will include health professionals.  This is the same course progression that other health professional training programs use.

      Taking the time needed to create a good foundation of knowledge allows students to delve deeper into the lactation topics they will encounter in the lactation education and clinical experience courses.  Our goal is for students to have an educational experience that prepares them well for the IBLCE exam, and the work they will be asked to do as IBCLCs.

      If a student needs to take more than 4 credits per term, remember, there are other lactation related courses, and public health courses offered at PSU.  In addition, we would highly recommend taking the second and third A&P courses in the basic three course series.  

      Does PSU offer ALL of the required prerequisites?

      No. While PSU and PCC offer most of the prerequisite courses they do not offer all of them. We have listed the courses that PSU and PCC offer that meet the IBLCE requirements on our web site. We have listed also listed organizations that offer the prerequisites that are not available at PSU. If you have questions about whether specific courses offered elsewhere meet the IBLCE guidelines, you need to contact IBLCE.


      Program Schedule

      What will my schedule look like for this program, including my clinical practicum?

      The Lactation Education courses are hybrid courses that include some in- person class time and some distance learning class time. See the Calendar for specific dates and times for each term.

      If you accepted into the Pathway 2 Practicum, during Fall, Winter, and Spring term your clinical experience schedule will be determined by your clinical site. Usually you will be at the clinical site 2-3 days each week, with the shift determined by the site. All students accepted into the practicum will be given their clinical assignments and schedules before their clinical experience courses begin.