What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Midwife?

The field of midwifery is not as clearly regulated as other medical professions, so determining what requirements you need to meet can be tricky. While most nurse-midwives hold a master's degree, some midwives have considerably less formal training. To learn more, read on. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Requirements for Midwives

In medical professions, education requirements are usually dictated by the legal requirements for the field. Midwives are not regulated in many states, and they aren't held to the same requirements as nurse-midwives, who are advanced practice nurses typically holding master's degrees. Some states have mandatory licensing for midwives, while, in other states, licensing is voluntary or does not exist at all. Among states that do require or offer voluntary licensing or certification, education requirements vary.

Important Facts About Midwives

Programs Multiple professional designations available
Degree Levels Associate's and master's degree
Prerequisites Registered nurse license and Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) required for graduate degrees
Online Availability Blended

Unregulated States

In states with no laws governing midwifery, you might consider getting educated in another medical profession so you can earn a professional license in that field. In states including Ohio, if you practice medicine, which includes acting as a midwife, without a medical license, you can be prosecuted. According to the Ohio Midwives Alliance, there were no laws as of January 2016 pertaining to midwives (www.ohiomidwives.org).

If you live in a state without laws regarding midwifery, you may consider becoming a nurse-midwife. This would allow you to work as a midwife under a nursing license.

States with Voluntary Licensing

States that have voluntary licensing regulations, including Oregon, may allow you to practice without being licensed. According to the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery, the option of licensing is due to restrictions on insurance coverage for services rendered by only midwives who are licensed (www.oregon.gov). In Oregon, if you are licensed, you can administer some drugs and use certain devices, such as oxygen and intravenous drips.

To become licensed in Oregon, you need to hold professional certification, meet clinical experience requirements, have documented education in legend drugs and devices, provide proof of CPR certification, and submit a written emergency transport plan.

States with Required Licensing

In states with mandatory licensing requirements, including Arizona, you must obtain a license or face legal action for practicing midwifery without one. In Arizona, according to the Arizona Office of Specialty Licensing, you must pass a state exam to earn a midwife license (www.azdhs.gov). Other requirements for licensing include being at least 21 years old and having a high school diploma. You must obtain American Heart Association adult CPR certification and American Academy of Pediatrics neonatal resuscitation. You also must be certified through the North American Registry of Midwives. There are no education requirements to get a license in this state.

Education Options

While formal training is not always required, you may choose to complete a midwife certificate or degree program to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to work as a midwife. In a midwifery program, you may take courses including nutrition; midwife science; pharmacology; antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum care; and gynecology. Most certificate and degree programs also include clinical practice.

Many midwives learn by assisting another midwife. You can work alongside a midwife to learn the techniques, procedures, and technical details of the job.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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