Recertifying by CERPs Made Simple
We, Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA and Barbara Robertson, MA, IBCLC, have been busy bees again! Our goal is to try to provide effective, easy solutions to your lactation education needs by offering special IBCLC recertification courses.
Lately, a lot has changed for recertifying IBCLCs. Do you find these changes confusing and even overwhelming? We did at first, too, but no worries! We’re here to help. Please visit https://lactalearning.com/courses/recertification/ or watch this short video to learn more about our solutions.
Let’s break this down.
What Hasn’t Changed
Let’s start with what’s simple.
- To keep our IBCLC credential, we still need to recertify every five years.
- Any time we choose, we can still recertify by exam.
Retaking the IBLCE Exam Is No Longer Required
This may be the biggest change of all. For the first time in the history of our profession, after passing the IBLCE exam once, we never have to take it again. We have the option every five years of recertifying by CERPs.
Options are always good, right? Yes, but…we now need to understand the recent changes in how we recertify by CERPs. That’s why we’ve compiled what follows to include everything you need to know.
Number of CERPs Required
Recertifying by CERPs requires at least 75 total CERPs awarded during the 5 years before recertifying. Here are the minimum requirements in different categories:
- 50 L-CERPs (human lactation and breastfeeding)
- 5 E-CERPs (ethics and professional conduct)
- 3 CERPs, which are automatically awarded by IBLCE for any length Basic Life Support in-person or online course, such as CPR or neonatal resuscitation
- 17 CERPs in any category: L, E, or R (topics related to our work with lactating families)
But heads up: To meet the new requirements, some IBCLCs will need L-CERPs in specific topic areas. More on that in a minute.
The IBCLC Detailed Content Outline (DCO) and Why It’s Important
Some years ago, the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline (or DCO) replaced IBLCE’s Exam Blueprint. The DCO’s seven sections (topic areas) determine the content covered in the IBLCE exam and may play a role when we recertify by CERPs. These are its seven DCO topic areas:
- Section I: Development and Nutrition
- Section II: Physiology and Endocrinology
- Section III: Pathology
- Section IV: Pharmacology and Toxicology
- Section V: Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology
- Section VI: Techniques
- Section VII: Clinical Skills
How to Know If You Need L-CERPs in Specific Topic Areas
Knowing what you need involves a new tool IBLCE requires we use when we recertify by CERPs.
The CE Self-Assessment. All IBCLCs recertifying by CERPs must complete and submit to IBLCE its free, online Continuing Education (CE) Self-Assessment. This required assessment consists of 70 multiple-choice questions. Its topics directly correspond to the seven section of the IBCLC Detailed Content Outline (DCO) on which the IBLCE exam is based. (FYI, to keep recertifying by CERPs simple for you, all of LactaLearning’s recertification courses align exactly to the 2023 DCO.)
Where can you find the CE Self-Assessment? IBLCE sends all recertifying IBCLCs online access to its CE Self-Assessment Dashboard 18 months after certifying or recertifying. This timeline gives you 3 years to earn CERPs before your next recertification. We suggest taking this CE Self-Assessment as early as possible to give you more planning time to meet your needs.
How to Determine the Number of L-CERPs Needed Per DCO Topic Area
This calculation is based on your CE Self-Assessment scores and the year you recertify. It also involves another new tool from IBLCE.
Personalized Professional Development Plan. When you submit your CE Self-Assessment online, this automatically generates from IBLCE your Personalized Professional Development Plan, which lists your scores in each of the DCO topic areas.
A combination of the year you need to recertify and the number of DCO topic-area scores below 75% determines how many L-CERPs you need in each area. Here’s how it works:
- In 2023, you need 3 L-CERPs from any DCO topic area with a score below 75%.
- In 2024 and after, you need 5 L-CERPs from any DCO topic area with a score below 75%.
If you score above 75% in all seven DCO topic areas, your 50 L-CERPs can come from any topic areas you choose.
How to Know What DCO Topic Areas a Course or Event Covers
For many courses and events (both online and in person), you need to contact the course providers to find out.
At LactaLearning, we make it simple. All of our recertification courses clearly list this information on our website, so you know even before you enroll exactly how many L-CERPs you’ll receive from each DCO topic area. Please go here for more information; https://lactalearning.com/courses/recertification/
Unlike other course providers, we also structure our 95-Hour CCLS Self-Study course for aspiring IBCLCs and our 75-Hour Comprehensive Recertification Course to correspond exactly to the DCO. https://lactalearning.com/courses/recertification/comprehensive-75-cerps-course/
Each of our individual recertification courses cover one specific DCO topic area, so you can get exactly what you need without spending extra time and money on topics you don’t need. https://lactalearning.com/courses/recertification/individual-sections/
We also provide a complete CERPs breakdown for LactaLerning’s Book Groups https://lactalearning.com/courses/recertification/book-groups/ and other courses as part of our Recertifying by CERPs Made Simple initiative.
You Also Need at Least 250 Hours of Lactation Clinical Practice Hours
Next, to recertify by CERPs, you need 75 CERPs, and you also need at least 250 hours of full- or part-time lactation clinical practice hours during the previous five years. These hours may be in education, administration, research, clinical practice, and/or advocacy.
Both volunteer and paid hours qualify toward this total. IBLCE created a Lactation Specific Clinical Practice Calculator as a tool to help you count and keep track of these hours for submission in the event you are audited.
Finally, of course, IBLCE is the ultimate information source on recertification, and you can contact its staff directly. But sometimes it’s just nicer to chat with a knowledgeable colleague.
If this sounds good, you are welcome to contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a one-on-one consult. Barbara is offering this new service to provide clarity and guidance for the recertication process.
At this advising session, Barbara can go over the requirements and discuss them in light of your own individual situation. The sessions are 30-60 minutes and the fee for this is $150. Let Barbara know if you are interested at least six months before you need to recertify! Again, we suggest taking your IBLCE CE Self-Assessment as early as possible so you can make a solid plan.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end. Let us know if we can help in any way.