BC Guide - Requirements: Continuing Education

Breastfeeding USA requires that Breastfeeding Counselors demonstrate that they are keeping up-to-date on breastfeeding information and research by reporting their participation in continuing education programs. Continuing education requirements ensure that Breastfeeding Counselors are refreshing their knowledge on a regular basis.

Continuing Education Requirements

To be accredited as Breastfeeding Counselors, individuals must demonstrate their knowledge about basic breastfeeding care and management. Breastfeeding Counselors are required to regularly participate in continuing education programs to remain current in their breastfeeding knowledge, and must meet specified continuing education requirements to maintain accreditation. Breastfeeding Counselors must demonstrate completion of the the required 20 units of continuing education over a three-year time period or may lose their accreditation per the BC Continuing Education Requirements Policy.

Continuing Education Options

For the purpose of meeting the Continuing Education Requirements, Breastfeeding USA recognizes continuing education programs that offer IBLCE Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) Each CERP or CEU is awarded one unit towards the required 20 units of continuing education. BCs may earn CEUs in different categories: lactation-specific; ethics-related ; and related learning that is not lactation- or breastfeeding-specific. To keep the focus on evidence-based breastfeeding information and meet the requirements in the three-year time frame, BCs may only count up to five (5) units of related CEUs or CERPs towards the total 20 units required; at least 15 of the 20 units must be lactation related.

The Continuing Education Workgroup regularly announces various continuing education programs on the BC email group to assist BCs in selecting appropriate continuing education opportunities. Breastfeeding Counselors who are aware of programs not publicized on the list may share them with the Continuing Education Workgroup. Continuing Education should not be financial burden for volunteers, therefore the organization will provide opportunities for quality in-house CEs through various media. Efforts will be made to acquire recognition of CERPs by IBCLC.

Reporting Continuing Education

The Volunteer Services Committee collects information about Continuing Education activities via the Community Contact Activity Report (CCAR). Each month, any Continuing Education Recognition Points (CERPs) entered for a Breastfeeding Counselor are forwarded to the Continuing Education Workgroup in the Education Committee, which monitors the information for each Breastfeeding Counselor. (Please note that while the CCAR statistics are compiled on a fiscal-year basis, the monthly CERPs are collected on a calendar-year basis for tracking compliance with the Continuing Education requirements.) Breastfeeding Counselors who are uncertain about their CE status can contact the Continuing Education Workgroup for the information.

Breastfeeding Counselors can use the text entry box on the CCAR to provide information about the program at which CERPs were earned. The title, location, provider name, and any feedback Breastfeeding Counselors can report about a continuing education program helps the Continuing Education Workgroup to both monitor the accumulation of CERPs and make informed recommendations about programs to other BCs.

Constraints in CE Participation

Breastfeeding USA established the three-year time frame for continuing education participation to provide flexibility for Breastfeeding Counselors to schedule educational programs around their other commitments. However, if there is a time constraint or other situation that may prevent a Breastfeeding Counselor from participating in programs to earn the required units, the Breastfeeding Counselor should contact the Continuing Education Workgroup well in advance of the end of the three-year time frame. The Continuing Education Committee can suggest alternatives to avoid any consequences of not meeting the continuing education requirement, and help prepare individual education plans to ensure that all Breastfeeding Counselors remain up-to-date in breastfeeding knowledge and continue to represent Breastfeeding USA as accredited Breastfeeding Counselors.