The decision to become a midwife is an important one. Many people believe that a midwife’s only function is to help deliver babies. It is important to realize that there is much more to this important vocation. Midwives advise on contraception, may order laboratory tests, implement physical examinations, arrange prenatal counseling and care, and educate women and girls concerning health issues.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives is an association for the two types of midwife professionals. There are certified midwives as well as certified nurse-midwives. Both roles require a certain degree of education, schooling and knowledge. Most midwifery education programs require a Bachelor’s Degree for admission. There are some exceptions for those who are already Registered Nurses.
To obtain certification as a Certified Nurse-Midwife, a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing is generally preferred but all types of Bachelor’s Degrees are accepted. Those without the specific nursing degree usually receive an accelerated nursing training curriculum before beginning the specific midwifery program. Certified Midwives also need a Bachelor’s Degree with additional prerequisite classes in science and health required.
There are also Certified Professional Midwives whose professional organization is the North American Registry of Midwives. There are various methods of completing education and gaining experience for these midwives. Some of these methods are currently possessing required knowledge, entering an accredited midwife program offering degrees and participating in an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships must meet specific requirements and the professional being shadowed must have the correct credentials and experience to adequately provide an acceptable apprenticeship experience. For those claiming to currently possess requisite midwifery knowledge, the North American Registry of Midwives requires satisfactorily completing their Portfolio Evaluation Process.
Beyond the typical certification, there are graduate degree programs to further develop midwifery skills. These graduate programs are typically two years in length. There are both Master’s and Doctorate degrees available in graduate programs for midwifery. Continuing education credits are required for all levels of midwifery.