What to look for when selecting a midwifery program

August 12, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A Gap Medics student holding twin newborns in the obstetrics and gynaecology unit. If you are considering becoming a midwife, one of the first things you will have to decide is what school to attend. Picking a program that is right for you will help you have the most positive experience possible. There are many factors to consider when selecting a midwifery program. 

One of the first things to think about is what state you want to work in. Programs vary by the type of certification or degree offered. Requirements to practice as a midwife also vary by state. For instance, some states allow midwives to work if they are certified professional midwives. In other states, midwives must also be registered nurses and earn the title certified nurse midwife. Make sure the program you select will provide you with the education and certification to meet the minimum requirements in the state in which you want to work.  

It is also important to consider the program’s philosophy and decide if it fits with yours. Some midwifery programs place a strong emphasis on holistic practices and alternative medicine, such as using breathing techniques and massage through labor. Other midwifery programs may place a stronger emphasis on traditional medical modalities. Some programs may teach a combination of both of the above. Think about the type of practice you want to have and determine if the program matches your goals.

Accreditation status should also be considered when determining what midwife program to attend. Accreditation is important when it comes to becoming licensed as a midwife. Your state requirements may include graduation from an accredited program.

There are two organizations in the United States that provide national accreditation for midwifery programs including the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council and the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. It should be easy to find out what accreditations a school has. Most of the time, accreditation information can be found on the school’s website or by calling their office.

You should also consider what the pass rate for the school is on the national certification exam. A program with a high pass rate shows the curriculum and teachers are doing a good job of preparing students. You may be able to find information on the school’s website or by asking an admissions counselor. If the school does not have this information or does not want to share it, that may be a red flag to find another program.

Look for a program that also meets your personal needs. For example, you may want to consider what type of learner you are. Some programs may include classes taught online or in a traditional classroom. Some students may not do well with online classes and need to take that into consideration.

Also, you may want to determine typical class sizes. Certain students learn better in small classes. If you are someone who learns better with fewer students, look for a smaller midwifery program that can provide students with individual attention.  For other students, class size may not be a concern.

Consider what type of clinical assignments are offered through a midwifery program. Clinical experience will be a critical part of your education as a midwife. You want a program that provides you with enough clinical hours to learn the skills you will need.