Complete Lymphedema Certification Course | ACOLS

Complete Lymphedema Certification

The Complete Lymphedema Certification Course is an intensive course training medical professionals to successfully treat and manage Lymphedema affecting different parts of the body. Participants will also be trained to treat related conditions as listed below.

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Lymphedema is an accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the superficial tissues and is a very common and serious condition worldwide. It has important pathological and clinical consequences for the patient if left untreated.

Secondary lymphedema is often caused by trauma to the lymphatic system, such as surgery, injury, scarring, infection and radiation therapy. Post-mastectomy lymphedema of the upper extremity caused by breast cancer treatment is very common in the United States.

Another cause for lymphedema is malformations of the lymphatic system (primary lymphedema). In such cases the swelling may appear after simple accidents such as sports injuries, which can suddenly overload the lymphatic system.

Course Objective

Each course participant will be trained in the four components of Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)* and the management of lymphedema affecting a variety of peripheral body parts - upper and lower extremities, head and neck, exterior genitalia, trunkal swelling, pediatric lymphedema, post-surgical and post-traumatic swelling, lymphedema caused by chronic venous insufficiencies and other pathologies, lipedema and more. Upon completion of this course participants will be able to differentiate between a variety of peripheral edemas and understand the medical indications and contraindications of CDT. Furthermore the therapist will be able to establish a treatment plan for individuals with chronic extremity lymphedema and other conditions and perform the treatment accordingly.

Class Topics

  • Anatomy, physiology and pathology of the lymphatic system
  • Basic and advanced techniques of MLD and CDT
  • Treatment of primary and secondary lymphedema as well as related conditions
  • Introduction to the treatment of pediatric lymphedema, head/neck and genital lymphedema
  • Lymphedema bandaging techniques for upper and lower extremities
  • Decongestive exercises for lymphedema patients
  • Measuring techniques for edema (volumetric and circumferential)
  • Measuring techniques for compression garments (with certification) - JUZO, Solaris
  • Home maintenance and self-treatment for lymphedema patients
  • Hygienic skin and nail care for lymphedema
  • Indications and contraindications for MLD and CDT
  • Billing issues for lymphedema therapy

Also included:

  • ACOLS provides free support of graduates (consulting services, therapist resource listing and more)
  • ACOLS periodically offers advanced and review classes

Course Format

The Academy of Lymphatic Studies pioneered research-based Lymphedema training in the United States in the early 90’s, using our traditional program that required students to spend two full weeks in off-site, classroom training. The Academy is now providing a more dynamic, accelerated course format which meticulously blends the optimal mix of online and classroom hours to provide our students with unparalleled quality of instruction.

Accelerated Hybrid Online Program

Due to overwhelming student demand, we have changed our traditional two week certification course format to the Accelerated Hybrid Online Program (AHOP). The Accelerated Hybrid Online Program (AHOP) allows students to become fully certified in Complete Decongestive Therapy using a dynamic combination of Home Study/Online lessons and student-centered classroom sessions.

The Complete Lymphedema Certification Course consists of 135 hours. Students will first complete a 45-hour Home Study Program, followed by the 90-hour class for their live lecture and hands-on instruction. The classroom time is taught over 9 consecutive days. It requires only 5 working days and 2 weekends to complete. Participants can also split the course, attending the first 5 days, then returning within 6 months to finish the last 4 days of the course.


To attend our Complete Lymphedema Certification Course, as per the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA®) requirements, participants must have the following:

  • Current, unrestricted licensure as an RN, OT, COTA, PT, PTA, MD, DO, ATC, DC or Massage Therapists who have completed 500 massage school hours* and/or National Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Certification.

Registration Process

1. Select the course date and location of your choice from our Schedule of Courses and register. Students MUST register for the course at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the course. This is to ensure the student has adequate time to complete the Home Study Program prior to attending the course.

2. Once the registration is received and processed, we will ship the necessary home study materials, along with the online portal access information to complete the 45-hour Home Study portion of the course.

3. Students prepare for the theoretical portion of the program using our Home Study/Online Portal. Our online portal contains 7 learning modules with exams. Students study each module and complete the exam at the end of each module. Students must pass each exam with a grade of 90% or better to proceed to the next module and must have the entire home study completed no later than 2 days before the course begins.

4. Prior to attending the 90-hour live portion of the course, each student must complete and submit a Student Application, along with a copy of their professional license. These documents can be faxed to us at (772) 589-0306.

5. Three additional exams are administered during the 9 days of classroom time. If the student successfully completes the 135 hours of study and passes all of the exams, the student will be a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT). Congratulations!


The tuition for the Complete Lymphedema Certification course is $3150.00. A minimum deposit of $900.00 is required at the time of registration and will secure your spot in the course. The balance of the tuition is due thirty (30) days prior to the first day of class.

We offer an early registration discount of $250 if registered 60 days or more in advance. Financing options and payment plans are available if needed.

Included in Tuition:

  • Complete and Comprehensive Certification (135 hours)
  • Textbook for Comprehensive Lymphedema Management
  • Comprehensive Course Manual
  • Set of three posters on the "Lymphatic System"
  • CD for Limb Volume Calculation
  • Complete Compression Bandage Set for the Upper and Lower Extremity
  • Certification for Compression Garment Fitting (JUZO)
  • All Academy graduates who successfully pass the 135-hour certification course are fully certified and may sit for the LANA National Exam for Lymphedema Therapists. For more information visit
  • All Academy certified therapists qualify for a free lifetime listing as a preferred lymphedema therapist for patient referral on our website.


To register for this class, simply click here. This will take you to our Schedule of Courses where you will be able to select the course of your choice and register. If you register online, a confirmation email will be sent to you within 24 business hours after registration.

If you would prefer to register via telephone, simply call our Admissions Representative at:

(800) 863-5935 x2 / (772) 589-3355 x2

We are available Monday-Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm EST.

Class Preparation

Upon receiving your deposit, a confirmation package containing the course book and home study materials will be sent to you. The confirmation package will also contain information regarding the location of the course and any relevant travel and hotel information.

In preparation for the class you must complete the 45-hour home study and take all of the exams. The home study must be completed at least 2 days prior to the start of the course.

Dates and Locations

The Academy of Lymphatic Studies now offers more classes in more locations, allowing the student to choose which location best serves their needs. Click here to view our current schedule of courses.


Our courses normally begin on a Saturday and will end 9 days later on the following Sunday. However, we do have one course per year that begins on a Monday and will end 10 days later on a Wednesday. This course has the Saturday in between off as a day of rest for the students. This one course is 8 business days and 1 weekend day (Sunday).

The classroom hours are 8am – 7pm daily. The last day of class is testing day, so class will start at 8am, but the ending times can vary depending on the number of students to be tested. Please be prepared to stay up to 9pm on the last day and plan return flights accordingly. There will be approximately one hour for lunch every day.

Certificate of Attendance

Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate of attendance stating they are certified to perform Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Technique) and Complete Decongestive Therapy.

Continuing Education Credits (CEU's)

CEU's are available. Each state and profession is different, so please contact our Admissions Department for more detailed information regarding CEU approvals.

The Accelerated Hybrid Online Program (AHOP) meets the educational pre-requisites to complete the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA®) certification (for more information visit Academy of Lymphatic Studies is an approved provider for AOTA and NCBTMB.

What to Bring

  • Bring your manual and textbook with you to class.
  • Two sheets to cover the treatment tables and draping.
  • Pen/Pencil/Highlighters, as these may be useful for highlighting your manual.

All other class materials will be given to you on the first day of class.

What to Wear

Certain techniques that are practiced during classtime require direct contact with the skin. Please have the following items available for class labs:

  • Ladies: Bathing suits, halter-tops, sports bras, shorts
  • Gentlemen: shorts, or bathing suit.

It is recommended you wear these items under comfortable clothing. The days can be long, so we want you to be as comfortable as possible. You may also want to bring a light jacket with you to class. Classroom temperatures can be difficult to regulate.

Where to Go

The location/hotel information will be provided to you upon registrations. This will have detailed information on the location and accommodations of the course, including directions, special rates, etc.

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