Being a midwife can be one of the most stressful jobs. Still, at the same time, it’s one of the most rewarding job paths that you can take. We believe that’s exactly why so many people feel the need and wish to try themselves out in this career. Still, becoming a midwife is not an easy path to take, especially if you don’t have a college or relevant degree.
That shouldn’t discourage you from becoming one, however. There are many re-qualification and conversion courses and educations that you can take to become a midwife. That being said, if you studied at some other school and graduated, it’s still more than possible to become a midwife.
However, different rules apply in different countries and your licensing and certification path may be different than that in other countries. In most countries, it is required to complete the education for RN and then takes certificates and additional courses that will allow you to officially start working as a midwife.
And while the path is nowhere near easy, it’s more than possible. That being said, if you’re looking to learn all the necessary conditions and requirements of becoming a midwife, we compiled this guide just for you, that will allow you to prepare for midwife education even if you completed some other degree.
That being said, continue reading through this article to get first-hand information on where to go to get admitted to midwife courses and education, and see what other requirements you’ll need to complete to become a midwife.
A midwife is a healthcare worker that is specialized in aiding women during their pregnancy, before, during, and after they give birth. They adopt different settings which help women deliver babies in both home settings and hospitals. Their key responsibility is to deliver a baby while also keeping track of their overall health, convenience, safety, and emotional state during childbirth.
Another important aspect of being a midwife is to provide education for pregnant women on how to act and behave during childbirth in inconvenient settings and how to access appropriate medical help if they are not in the hospital or any location suitable for giving birth, such as childbirth centers.
A summarized list of midwife responsibilities at work includes:
- Educating women about prenatal care
- Assist in providing gynecological checkups
- They assist doctors and help deliver a baby during the labor
- In case there is a medical emergency, they are responsible for providing info about alternatives women have during the labor
- Providing postnatal care for women and the baby
Can You Become a Midwife Without a Degree?
Yes and no. While it’s more a yes than no, it’s not possible in every country, and depending on where you will, you’ll have to conduct your research and ask the right questions to know if there are alternatives to becoming a midwife without a degree.
There are two most common roadmaps within healthcare education for women who want to become a midwife. One is to complete a nurse degree and go through an 18-month-long conversion apprenticeship or complete a midwife degree.
Some lay midwives were educated through different programs and then either took bridge courses or short certifications. However, they are not allowed in some states.
For you to become a midwife, you’ll either have to complete whatever healthcare-related degree you can get and then either go to a nursing master’s or some other healthcare master’s degree with bridge courses from science, math, and humanities or opt for a 4-year apprenticeship that will later lead to certification.
Apprenticeships for nurses will take about 18 months, like a master’s degree, while women who want to become midwives will have to take 3 to 4 years of apprenticeship to qualify for certifications and licensure.
Either way, it’s not an easy path and there are no shortcuts, even if you completed some other degree, the education to become a midwife is 4 to 6 years, with or without accompanying bridge courses that may help your case.
How to Become a Midwife Without a Nursing Degree
Now that we introduced you to the education of midwives and what it is exactly that they do, let’s take a look at what you need to do to become one. Of course, it’s always more than welcome to hold a nursing degree as an RN and then qualify as a midwife, but there are alternative paths that are taken differently depending on where you’re from.
Complete Necessary Education
If you already completed a bachelor’s degree in some field slightly related to or unrelated to the midwife profession, you may skip this part. It’s worth noting that it’s a plus if your degree was related to a nursing degree or if you completed BSc studies that involved a lot of biology, maths, physics, and chemistry.
For proceeding with the midwifery education, you’ll usually be asked to obtain five GCSEs with grades of A+ to C. Important subjects for this qualification include maths, science, English, as well as a level 3 diploma. You should also be qualified to continue your higher education in health or science.
If you still didn’t start your university education, it’d be best to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but you’re not restricted from taking that path whatsoever. You can focus on some other healthcare degree, but it’d be best if it’s a Bachelor of Science.
If you already have a degree, preferably a Bachelor of Science, you will have to go through numerous education programs, preferably a midwifery education program, and get the necessary certification.
Complete The Certification Exams & Apprenticeship
If you already have a degree that is related to midwifery in some way, you’ll have to apply to one of the necessary certification programs that will allow you to take exams and receive the qualifications that grant you to work as a midwife in hospitals and baby delivery centers.
Instead of taking apprenticeships which can take 3 to 4 years, you can use bridge courses from your university, preferably if your degree holds a Bachelor of Science and bridge to a master’s degree from midwifery with 2 to 3 years more to go. Those who have a nursing degree already would take an 18-month apprenticeship or midwifery master’s degree.
Once you complete those qualifications, you’ll get the necessary license. If you don’t have a midwifery degree or nursing degree, one of the options is to take a midwifery degree apprenticeship. Still, that apprenticeship needs to be approved for delivery.
It’s also worth noting that some healthcare centers and educational institutions provide apprenticeships for healthcare workers who want to become a midwife. You can either register or pre-register to continue your education and get the necessary certificates that would allow you to become a midwife.
Editor’s notes: Keep in mind that every state has different requirements regarding midwife certifications and licensure. Make sure to read what’s the policy on midwife licensure in your state so that you can have first-hand information and not miss any important conditions.
Get Working Experience
Given that there’s a shortage of midwives both in the United States and in the rest of the world, many healthcare organizations organize apprenticeships as well as internships and trial work opportunities for novel midwives.
You can’t start delivering a baby independently if you don’t get the necessary work experience working as one. After all, the midwife is a serious job position, which carries a huge level of responsibility for both the woman and a midwife.
Taking an internship will more than anything prepare you to think and work in crises and help you with handling stress and risks. That being said, as soon as you’re done with certification, you need to search for internships or assistant work to get hands-on experience and develop your problem-solving and risk-management skills.
Editor’s notes: At midwifecenter.org you can find some useful internships and early job positions that will help you get the necessary experience.
Start Working as a Midwife
Now that you gained some work experience through internships and assisting, alongside the formal education, it’s time to put all that portfolio on paper (CV or resume in particular) and start applying for full-time midwife positions.
Make sure to fill your resume with concise and relevant information, with special emphasis on your education and early work or internship information. Preferably, it’d be great if your internship turned into a full-time position. But, if not, having your boss or internship leaders provide good feedback and positive credentials would be a great asset that would help you find a job.
Skills Every Midwife Should Have
We hope that the explanation for higher education for midwives was concise and easy to understand. It’s visible that the education path for a midwife is not easy no matter what path you take. For some people completing a nursing or midwifery degree is easier than dealing with all the apprenticeship courses and certifications, while for others it’s vice versa.
Given there’s a shortage of midwives around the world, there’s no age restriction in becoming one. You can become a midwife at any time of your life and no one is going to discriminate against you based on your age.
What are some skills a midwife should have? Check below:
- Communication skills: A midwife should have good communication skills because you’ll be talking and listening to women in labor all the time. You have to understand their needs and assist them if they’re struggling or going through a risky situation.
- Language skills: Needless to say, you’ll work with English-talking pregnant women more often than not, but you should prepare to have a tourist or a migrant need help with labor. In that case, having alternative language skills they may recognize and understand is more than welcome.
- Risk-management: There are different labor settings and situations. Every pregnancy is different and for some women, childbirth may be more complicated. You will need to know to react quickly and make important decisions for the benefit of the mother and the baby.
- Empathy: This may be among the most important feelings, as well as soft skills you may have. Pregnancy is a body- and mind-altering state a woman goes through, understanding and resonating with her struggles is of utmost importance.
- Problem-solving: Almost no labor is without a problem or some inconvenience that may occur. You have to be ready to take onto that problem and tackle it.
Frequently Asked Questions
We compiled a list of questions that are commonly asked about becoming a midwife. Make sure to check them out.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Midwife?
Usually, it takes 4 to 6 years to become a midwife. Taking undergraduate studies into consideration, as well as apprenticeships and a master’s degree, it should take you about 6 years to become a midwife starting from zero. Some RNs with associate degrees are taken into consideration for midwifery master’s and apprenticeship programs which can last from 18 months to 2 years and can take up to 4 years in total.
How Much Does a Midwife Earn?
According to indeed.com, Midwives earn about $101,445 annually. However, this average salary depends on the state you’re in. Navigating to the website, you can see what’s the average salary of a midwife working in the USA based on the state they’re in.
In some states, midwives are more in demand than in others, which also affects the salary they receive.
Where Can You Work as a Midwife?
Midwives work at different healthcare institutions including but not limited to hospitals, private homes, GP practices, birth centers, special private facilities, and others.
Can You Take a Midwife Apprenticeship Instead of Full University Degree?
There are standard apprenticeships for midwives, which are approved by various countries. This is the best alternative to becoming a midwife, especially if you already have a nursing degree. You will have to study under the standard as if you’re already studying at a university, but you’ll still get hands-on experience through internships.