You can begin preparing for a career in midwifery as early as your freshman year. Here are smart steps to take in college if your ultimate goal is to become a midwife:
1. Choose courses that include a solid science background
Science courses like biology, microbiology, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology are typical prerequisites to most midwifery programs. Courses in nutrition, algebra and statistics, lifespan development, English composition, sociology, and psychology are also helpful and often required.
2. Consider a degree in nursing
A bachelor?s degree in nursing sets you up for a smooth transition into a graduate midwifery program. In fact, most midwifery programs are in schools of nursing, and some programs require applicants to be registered nurses (RNs) prior to entry into midwifery school.
The skills, knowledge, and expertise acquired in a professional nursing degree also provide a solid foundation for a career in nurse-midwifery, which is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
3. Consider alternative majors
A degree in women's studies, anthropology, sociology, or psychology may be useful in your future work as a midwife. Most midwifery programs for non-nurses will provide a basic nursing education prior to midwifery training. This path involves an extra year of school, but can result in a more diverse and well-rounded education.
If you wish to bypass nursing entirely, there are currently two accredited education programs for Certified Midwives (CMs). Graduates are eligible to take the same certification exam that nurse-midwifery graduates take. CMs are legally recognized in 5 states (NY, NJ, RI, MO, DE).
Participate in extra-curricular activities that are related to health care, such as volunteering at local health clinics or women's health centers.
Read books that describe the lives of present day American midwives. (Click here for ACNM?s selected reading list.)
Talk with practicing midwives, women's health nurse practitioners, doulas, and childbirth educators in your local community. You can also network with ACNM on Facebook at www.facebook.com/acnmmidwives.