I did pathway 1 as I'm an RN in L&D. I had all my hours from work.
I'm not working as an IBCLC. I was going to start a private practice but I need some start up money for supplies and such that I just don't have at the moment. I don't regret getting my IBCLC. I wanted it for personal gratification and to be a better nurse and a better PNP (when I'm finished my degree).
I took pathway 1, as a La Leche League Leader, and then as an OB nurse (I got my last 500 hours through my job). When I sat for the exam, they required 4000 hours (if you had an Associate's degree, or 2500 if you had a bachelor's), not the 1000 they're requiring now. I was a LLL Leader for 10 years, and when I sat for the exam, I had about 7 years under my belt (3500 hours' worth) plus 500 hours through my work as an OB nurse.
Like the previous poster, I don't currently work as an IBCLC, and haven't for about three years. Even when I did utilize my IBCLC, it was VERY part-time, helping out with our hospital's breastfeeding class and occasionally seeing outpatient couplets who would come back to the hospital with problems. I didn't get paid any extra for this, as I scheduled these visits during my regular working hours in L&D.
You may want to check out the week long Healthy Children Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) program which would provide education and certification with less initial expense and hours than IBCLC. The hospital I work at pays lactation less than nurses, but that is not always an issue for everyone. Good luck on your career, we need good nurses and good lactation support!