Many women ask us what it takes to become a Midwife. “How do I become a midwife?” is a very common question followed by, “I mean a home-birth assisting midwife?”

A woman searching to fulfill her dream of becoming a midwife might feel overwhelmed because there are two areas of such tremendous ambiguity that it is hard to find the path.

For starters, there are various kinds of midwives.  While a Certified Nurse Midwife can practice in any of the fifty states, most of the women in this community seem most interested in becoming a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and that’s not legal in many states still.

Certified Professional Midwife

Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a professional, independent midwifery practitioner.  A CPM has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings. This applies, in our community, to those of you interested in becoming a certified professional “homebirth” midwife.

Hopefully, narrowing down the tremendous lists of resources you may find online will help streamline your path towards becoming a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM):

State Laws & Licenses

CPMs are regulated by licensure, certification, registration, voluntary licensure, or permit. Licenses are generally handled by Departments of Health, Boards of Medicine,or  Boards of Midwifery. Here are two outstanding resources for staying up to date on the laws in your state:

MAP: Legal Status of CPMs by State

CHART: Legal Status of CPMs by State

If your state does not allow midwives to deliver babies, your dream is not over though. Laws are changing rapidly. This is in part because the safety of midwifery is more understood and also because of the cost savings to insurance companies and state funded insurances.

Certification

The National Commission For Certifying Agencies accredits agencies for certifying professionals. North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) can give you more information on what it takes to be a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).

This link gives a very specific step by step guide to how to accomplish your goal of becoming a CPM as an entry level applicant.  In summary in order to apply to be certified through NARM an aspiring CPM can either:

Apprentice with a qualified midwife and complete an Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP)

  • Apprenticeship must be under the supervision of a nationally certified, legally recognized midwife who has practiced for at least 3 years, and attended at least 50 out-of-hospital births.

OR

Attend a midwifery program or school.

Remember, as laws change and start to embrace CPM in practice, the educational process is not illegal. You can get a head start on your dream of being a CPM by going through the certification process. While you build your foundation, you can also help bring about change in your state. Learn more about encouraging legal status for CPMs here.