Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Portland State University (PSU) School of Public Health

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Undergraduate Certificate in Human Lactation

The undergraduate certificate in Human Lactation offers comprehensive lactation training for:

  • Students who want to improve their lactation skills,
  • Non-health professionals who want to become certified as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC),
  • Health professionals want to become certified as International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC),
  • Students wishing to seek a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences,
  • Students interested in politics, policy and research from the perspective of improving maternal and infant health outcomes.

Completion of the Lactation Pathway 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.

For students completing Lactation Education at OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, please see a list of pre-requisites.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in lactation, please complete our Lactation Education Advising Worksheet to determine which pathway is right for you.

If you have questions please email lactation@pdx.edu

Pathway 1

Pathway 2

Pathway 3

Who uses this pathway?
Health professionals and breastfeeding peer counselors who are already working with breastfeeding families, and can obtain their clinical experience hours through their paid or volunteer work. This pathway allows you to obtain clinical experience hours through a number of different sites.

Hours required
1,000 hours of clinical experience

What supervision is required?
You must have a supervisor at each site who can confirm that you obtained the clinical experience, but the supervisor does not have to be an IBCLC.

Who uses this pathway?
Students admitted to the School of Public Health Pathway 2 program or any other IBLCE Pathway 2 program would obtain their clinical experience through that academic training program. Pathway 2 programs are required to provide a variety of clinical experiences for their students under IBCLC supervision.

School of Public Health Pathway 2 program is a limited entry program, and students must apply and be accepted. Students are eligible to apply:

  • Once they have completed the IBLCE Health Education Requirements, or are a Recognized Health Professional
  • They have completed the Lactation Education 1, 2, 3 courses offered at PSU.

Once admitted, students in the School of Public Health Pathway 2 program will need to complete Lactation Practicum 1, 2, 3 and Lactation Seminar 1, 2, 3 to meet the clinical hours requirement.

Hours required
300 hours of clinical experience

What supervision is required?
Pathway 2 clinical experience programs must be overseen by recertified IBCLCs (IBCLCs who have been certified for more than 5 years), and all preceptors who provide direct supervision must be IBCLCs

Who uses this pathway?
Students who can make a mentorship agreement with an IBCLC mentor to provide supervision and clinical experience. The student and IBCLC mentor must complete a mentorship contract and have it approved by IBLCE before any clinical experience begins. Many mentor IBCLCs will require payment of some form for the contracted clinical experience hours. PSU does not provide mentor IBCLCs for Pathway 3.

Hours required
500 hours of clinical experience

What supervision is required?
The IBCLC mentor provides direct supervision for the student.

Lactation Advising

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 complete the Lactation Education Advising Worksheet.

If you have any questions please email lactation@pdx.edu

Advising Calendar

Winter Advising – Lactation faculty will be offering in-person advising hours on the following date/times. You can also request advising via email, phone or virtual advising via Collaborate.

All in-person Advising is done in the PSU Urban Center, 4th floor, Room 410.

Wed, January 10 – 1-3pm
Tues, January 23 – 11-1pm
Tues, February 6 – 10-12pm
Tues, February 20 – 1-3pm
Wed, March 7 – 1-3pm

Information Sessions

Free Info Sessions

We offer 1.5 hr free info webinars in Fall and Spring 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 November 2017 Free Info Session. To join our mailing list and get reminders about our Free Info sessions, email: lactation@pdx.edu

Tuition and Fees

Tuition follows the PSU undergraduate tuition rate 

  • Lactation Education 1, 2, 3 – 10 credits total
  • Pathway 2 Lactation Practicum – 13 credits total

There are additional fees for the Pathway 2 practicum and those who choose to sit for the IBLCE Exam. 

  • Practicum fees – The practicum has fees beyond that for the course itself. The approximate cost is between $100-$200.
  • Exam Fees – The final step in IBLCE certification is applying for and passing the IBCLE Exam. All students who successfully complete the SPH 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).
  • Licensure fees may apply. Please check your state laws.

Lactation Scholarship Application