Certified Lactation Educator™ (CLE®)

CAPPA is an international certification organization for Doulas, Childbirth Educators and Lactation Educators. Since our foundation in 1998, we have certified thousands of perinatal professionals. As one of the first and most comprehensive perinatal organizations in the world, CAPPA is respected for its longevity and its commitment to excellence in both education and unsurpassed student and member support. Choosing an organization for your education is an important decision. CAPPA offers stability that you can be confident in as you invest in your education and career.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded CAPPA ownership of the federally registered trademark of CLE® and Certified Lactation Educator™ in 2004. The CLE® Program provides candidates with complete evidenced-based training for offering private and public breastfeeding classes, advocacy, and support. This international program has been developed to provide the highest quality educators in the lactation field.

CAPPA prohibits the use of any of its registered symbols, insignia, or other identifying marks without express written approval. Unauthorized use of the marks is trademark infringement and is strictly prohibited by law.

Training Options

Scope of Practice

The CAPPA Certified Lactation Educator™, CLE®

CAPPA Lactation Educators fill an important role in educating, counseling, and supporting families and the community by providing evidence based information about lactation and breastfeeding.

How CAPPA Lactation Educators work with families

Lactation Educators work with families from preconception through the stage of weaning offering education, encouragement, counseling, an experienced point of view, and fostering confidence, and a commitment to breastfeeding. Lactation Educators can be found working in a variety of settings to offer their services to families. Families can find them working as public health educators, WIC peer counselors, hospital/community educators, pediatric support professionals, and in private practice as educators.

How CAPPA Lactation Educators work within the healthcare system

Lactation educators are educators and counselors, not clinicians. Therefore Lactation Educators work within the healthcare system by offering appropriate referrals when their observance or counseling uncovers situations that require health care attention or support.

Clinical Limitations of CAPPA Lactation Educators

CAPPA does not issue Certified Lactation Consultant status, nor does the Lactation Educator course qualify one to dispense medical advice, diagnose, or prescribe medication. Lactation Educators do not offer information that directs families to act against medical advice.

CAPPA Standards

CAPPA Lactation Educators work within CAPPA’s standards of practice to uphold the following (available to read as individual documents): code of conduct, a grievance policy, mission statement, vision statement, organization philosophy, and social media policy. CAPPA Lactation educators use current evidence based information in their practice. They maintain their knowledge and skills through continuing education. They work within the legal framework of their individual community and region.

CAPPA Certified Lactation Educators™:

  • Offer non-biased focused information, support, encouragement, guidance, referrals, and education to their communities, which includes families and professionals
  • Provide culturally sensitive and adult based education
  • Refer to healthcare professionals when support requires clinical assessment, need for prescription, or medical diagnosis
  • Help families understand their rights according to current healthcare policy and legal statues
  • Advise parents on how to maintain lactation when they are separated from their infant, which includes information on hand expression and the usage of breast pumps
  • Offer continual support for families during the weaning process and beyond as it pertains to breastfeeding
  • Educate, support and offer referrals to mothers who need to supplement or find that breastfeeding must be halted due to medical and/or personal reasons

The CAPPA Lactation Educator is not a clinician and therefore does not:

  • Take a medical history or take medical notes on their clients.
  • Provide clinical written histories to healthcare workers (as they do not take clinical notes)
  • Give clinical assessment of the mother’s breasts, the baby’s mouth, or the dyad’s dysfunctional latch
  • Use pre and post lacteal weight checks for assessment
  • Prescribe the use of medical devices including but not limited to nipple shields, supplemental nursing systems, and topical ointments

The CAPPA Community Lactation Educator, LE(C)

CAPPA Community Lactation Educators fill an important function in educating and supporting families interested in learning about feeding and parenting methods. This education may take place in the public, hospital, clinical or private setting. Community Lactation Educators provide informational, emotional and practical support of breastfeeding. They may provide this service exclusively as Lactation Educators, or may use their training to augment their support in other professions, in the cases of doulas, childbirth educators, nurses, dieticians, and postnatal or parenting educators. In addition to providing breastfeeding information, Lactation Educators offer encouragement, companionship, an experienced point of view, and foster confidence and a commitment to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding education is not restricted to new families, but applies to the general public and medical staff as well. Due to the limited breastfeeding information given in standard medical and nursing training, and the rampant misinformation about breastfeeding that is so prevalent today, the CAPPA Certified Community Lactation Educator serves as a resource for accurate, evidence-based information to the public and health care providers, as well as to childbearing families.

This program is distinct and separate form the CLE® program. While both the LE(C) and the CLE® provide families with support and education, the LE(C) is not qualified to lead group classes or facilitate a breastfeeding class. They are trained breastfeeding professionals that offer one on one breastfeeding support and education. The LE(C) can however facilitate a breastfeeding support group for mothers.  The LE(C) also does not offer medical advice or provide lactation consulting or breastfeeding assessment. The LE(C) does receive extensive training in proper referral for families needing breastfeeding intervention. This program does not issue Lactation Consultant status, and does not qualify one to issue medical advice, diagnose medical conditions for mother or baby, or to prescribe treatment or medication. Currently, CAPPA LE(C)s can work in many fields providing support and advocacy for families across the United States and internationally. CAPPA LE(C)s can be found as WIC peer counselors, as educators on hospital postpartum floors, working as breast pump rental technicians and in breastfeeding support stores, and working in public health departments - just to name a few. Many of our CAPPA LE(C)s also use this certification to round out their labor and postpartum doula services and knowledge to ensure they are providing the highest quality services for breastfeeding support.

Traditional (in-person) Course

This course is designed for students who choose to take the in-person training class.

Course Requirements

  • 2 years to complete your course from the date of your CAPPA in-person training class.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age. No person under 18 years of age may attend CAPPA training classes.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in the Lactation Educator Traditional Course in CAPPA Academy.
  • Attend a 20-hour CAPPA Lactation Educator training class.
  • Read the CAPPA Lactation Educator training manual and the required books from the CAPPA required reading list.
  • Document attendance of two La Leche League, Nursing Mother's Council or local breastfeeding support meetings.
  • Attend a breastfeeding consultation as an observer/volunteer with an IBCLC or CLC for a minimum of 4 hours. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Order, read, and complete all online content, including videos, from the Understanding Breastfeeding Book, available in the CAPPA shop. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Review three current research studies. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Create a resource list with information on local support for parents. A guide for creating this list is included within CAPPA Academy.
  • Submit a one-hour video of yourself teaching. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach / Philosophy Statement, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays in CAPPA Academy. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest.  A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.

Online Distance Learning Course

This course is designed for students who are unable to take the in-person training class.

Course Requirements

  • 2 years to complete your course once you enroll.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in the Online Distance Learning Course.
  • Read the CAPPA Lactation Educator training manual and the required books from the CAPPA required reading list.
  • Document attendance of two La Leche League, Nursing Mother's Council or local breastfeeding support meetings.
  • Submit class outline and curriculum, including all handouts.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • Attend a breastfeeding consultation as an observer/volunteer with an IBCLC or CLC for a minimum of 4 hours. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Order, read, and complete all online content, including videos, from the Understanding Breastfeeding Book, available in the CAPPA shop. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Review two current research studies. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Create a resource list with information on local support for parents. A guide for creating this list is included within CAPPA Academy.
  • Submit a one-hour video of yourself teaching. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach / Philosophy Statement, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays in CAPPA Academy. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest.  A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.

Accelerated Course

This course is designed for students that meet one of the following criterion: are currently licensed RN with at least 1 year lactation experience; are a La Leche League leader with at least 2 years of experience; are a certified Childbirth Educator with CAPPA, ICEA, or Lamaze who has taught a minimum of 12 breastfeeding classes; or are a WIC peer counselor or registered dietician with at least 2 years breastfeeding support experience. CAPPA members may apply for the Accelerated Course by sending proof of qualifications to info@cappa.net.

  • Membership fee: $75.00
  • CAPPA Academy: $175.00
  • Training class: $400.00 and up
  • Total cost: $650.00 and up, plus cost of books

Course Requirements

  • 2 years to complete your course from the date of your CAPPA in-person training class.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age. No person under 18 years of age may attend CAPPA training classes.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in the Lactation Educator Accelerated Course in CAPPA Academy.
  • Attend a 20-hour CAPPA Lactation Educator training class.
  • Read the CAPPA Lactation Educator training manual and the required books from the CAPPA required reading list.
  • Submit a 15 minute video of yourself teaching or student teach with an approved mentor for a 15 minute class. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Create a local breastfeeding resource guide.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach /Philosophy Statement, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays in CAPPA Academy. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest.  A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.

LE(C) Community Lactation Educator

The purpose of the CAPPA community lactation educator program is to provide childbirth professionals comprehensive training in breastfeeding education. When a candidate completes the certification program they will be qualified to teach, support, and educate the public on breastfeeding and related issues. When all requirements have been satisfactorily completed, candidates will be issued the CAPPA credential, Certified Community Lactation Educator, LE(C).

This program is distinct and separate from the CLE® program. While both the LE(C) and the CLE® provide families with support and education, the LE(C) is not qualified to lead group classes or facilitate a breastfeeding class. They are trained breastfeeding professionals that offer breastfeeding support and education. The LE(C) also does not offer medical advice or provide lactation consulting or breastfeeding assessment. The LE(C) does receive extensive training in proper referral for families needing breastfeeding intervention.

Traditional Course

This course is designed for students who choose to take the in-person training class.

Course Requirements

  • 2 years to complete your course from the date of your CAPPA in-person training class.
  • CAPPA certification candidates must be at least 18 years of age. No person under 18 years of age may attend CAPPA training classes.
  • Be a member of CAPPA.
  • Enroll in the Community Lactation Educator Traditional Course in CAPPA Academy.
  • Attend a 2 Day CAPPA Community Lactation Educator training class or a 20 Hour CAPPA Lactation Educator training class.
  • Read the CAPPA Community Lactation Educator training manual and the required books from the CAPPA required reading list.
  • Order, read, and complete all online content, including videos, from the Understanding Breastfeeding Book, available in the CAPPA shop. Details/forms are provided within CAPPA Academy.
  • Document attendance of two La Leche League, Nursing Mother's Council or local breastfeeding support meetings.
  • Create a resource list with information on local support for parents. A guide for creating this list is included within CAPPA Academy.
  • Write a one-page personal essay on why you want to be a Certified Community Lactation Educator.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • In order for candidates to be eligible for CAPPA certification they must sign and agree to the following forms: Code of Conduct and Social Media Policy, Grievance Policy, Mission Statement, CAPPA Approach / Philosophy Statement, Vision Statement, and Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the multiple choice exam and essays in CAPPA Academy. An 85% passing grade is required.
  • Pass the Scope of Practice Pretest. A 100% passing grade is required.
  • Please view all of CAPPA’s Policies and Procedures.

HOSPITAL/WIC ADMINISTRATORS

Is your hospital, WIC department, or governmental agency in need of CAPPA Certified Lactation Educators™? CAPPA faculty can come to your location and train your staff or community members to become CAPPA Certified Lactation Educators™.

The 20-hour CLE® training program is designed to train and certify professionals to work with families from preconception through the stage of weaning offering education, encouragement, counseling, an experienced point of view, and fostering confidence, and a commitment to breastfeeding. Lactation Educators can be found working in a variety of settings to offer their services to families. Families can find them working as public health educators, WIC peer counselors, hospital/community educators, pediatric support professionals, and in private practice as educators.

CAPPA is an international certification organization for Doulas, Childbirth Educators and Lactation Educators. Since our foundation in 1998, we have certified thousands of perinatal professionals. As one of the first and most comprehensive perinatal organizations in the world, CAPPA is respected for its longevity and its commitment to excellence in both education and unsurpassed student and member support. Choosing an organization for your education is an important decision. CAPPA offers stability that you can be confident in as you invest in your education and career.

For more information, email info@cappa.net or call 770-965-9777.

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