I wrote a couple of months ago about why I did my training in Lamaze, before I had completed my requirements. Because I had to wait from my training course in October to my exam in April (the exam is only offered twice a year), the process took me exactly that length of time (plus waiting for exam results)! I was able to teach a childbirth education course to be "signed" off on and register and take the exam in the time in between. If you are interested in becoming an LCCE and are already in the birth world, I think you could also do it in this time frame. I will point out, however, that if you do not "keep up" with at least the last couple of years' worth of birth/breastfeeding research and recommendations, you might have trouble.
To prepare for the exam I read the enormous study guide, which I did not think was a very user-friendly review source. It spends much of the time referring you to outside sources. This is great as far as providing resources goes, but when I want to sit down and study for something, I don't want to have to go searching all around. I appreciated that each section had a "Review Questions" page, which I think actually helped me understand the Lamaze thought-process better than reading the study guide. I like the articles that were actually included in the study guide document, but skipped most of them unless they were Lamaze-specific and I wanted to get an idea for what their angle was. This turned out to be a good idea, because most of the questions on the exam asked extremely vague questions (e.g. "choose the best answer") rather than clear-cut fact-based questions. It is a good idea to get a feel for how Lamaze would like you to answer.
One of the up-sides, or down-sides, of Lamaze is that I get to create my own curriculum. I do not have to follow a particular work book or a set of rules. I am encouraged to base the curriculum on the 6 healthy birth practices, which I would do anyway (because they are great!), but other than that, I can choose my own books, worksheets, posters, and other teaching tools/resources. This is a pro because I am not limited, but a con because that means I have to come up with what I want to use! I am still experimenting, and haven't fully decided on what tools I think most essential. I am doing it on the cheap, at the moment, before I decide to invest in expensive DVDs, posters, pelvises, dolls, etc. Any recommendations or product reviews would be greatly appreciated!
Lamaze does offer the purchase of a pre-made slide set, but I don't see myself teaching with slides, and I know that it is a product I could probably make on my own (minus some shiny photos). For someone who is starting from scratch, though, I bet this would be a really useful tool.
I am excited to join the a community that I feel is respected, focused on evidence-based medicine, and well-known.