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FAQ for Students

What is accreditation?
Why choose a MEAC-accredited school?
If I enroll in a school that is seeking MEAC accreditation, will I be a graduate of a MEAC accredited school?
What if I was trained as a midwife in another country?
• In a nutshell, what does a midwife do?
• Are there different kinds of midwives?
How can one find out information about a specific midwife or practice?
• How does one become a midwife? What education is required?
• What licensing or certification is required?
• What is the average starting salary of a midwife?
• Where do midwives practice?
Do midwives carry professional liability insurance?
• Does insurance cover midwives' services?
• What personal qualities does one need to be an excellent midwife?
How does one make a complaint about a MEAC accredited school?


What is accreditation?

Accreditation is the status of public recognition that an accrediting agency grants to an educational program or institution that meets the agency's established standards and requirements.

To watch an informative video on the benefits of attending an accredited school, please click here.

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Why choose a MEAC-accredited school?

There are many benefits to choosing a MEAC-accredited school. The following is a list of some of the benefits:

*Accreditation by MEAC reassures students that they will be eligible for NARM certification to become Certified Professional Midwives.

*Accreditation is a requirement for institutions that wish to participate in federally-funded financial aid programs.

*Accreditation is a quality-improvement process that includes both self-evaluation and feedback from peers, including other midwifery educators and school administrators.

*Accreditation is a measure of quality and means of accountability that is meaningful to students, their families, state and federal agencies and the public.

*Accreditation by MEAC can be very helpful to midwifery programs located within larger institutions that need support to maintin the necessary courses, qualified faculty, and adequate administrative and financial support.

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If I enroll in a school that is seeking MEAC accreditation, will I be a graduate of a MEAC accredited school?

Accreditation is a status that a school earns after demonstrating that it has met MEAC standards and criteria. The accreditation process can take over two years and is not guaranteed. Someone who graduates from a school that is not accredited, but is in process, does not qualify as a MEAC graduate.

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What if I was trained as a midwife in another country?

If you are a practicing midwife in another country, there are some resources you will need to consult in order to practice in the United States of America. We have two agencies which govern the certification of midwives: NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) for CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) certification; and ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives) for CNM (Certified Nurse-Midwife) certification.

NARM has information specific to foreign trained midwives at http://www.narm.org/htb.htm#PEP - please see the 'PEP Categories'. If you are interested in learning about the national examination and certification process to become a CPM, please consult NARM's homepage at http://www.narm.org/, or contact NARM at (888) 842-4784, by email at info@narm.org, or by mail at:

NARM
5257 Rosestone Dr.
Lilburn, GA 30047

The ACNM has an excellent resource for foreign trained midwives which can be seen at http://www.midwife.org/edu/fenm.cfm. For more information about the ACNM and their certification process (CNM), please consult their homepage at http://www.acnm.org, or call them at 240-485-1800, or by mail at:

ACNM
8403 Colesville Rd; Ste 1550
Silver Spring, MD 20910-6374

For nursing information, please see the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) at http://www.cgfns.org/cgfns/index.html.

Another great web site to consult is the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) at http://www.mana.org, their regional representatives may have information on practicing in your state. Citizens for Midwifery (http://www.cfmidwifery.org) is also a good place to check as they have a lot of excellent information on the specifics of midwifery in each state. These can answer many of your questions and provide links to other midwifery organizations.

If you are interested in getting a midwifery education in the United States, please see our list of accredited midwifery schools (those that provide distance education are marked). If you choose distance education, you will need to find a licensed or certified midwife to act as your preceptor as part of the clinical experience in these programs. For financial aid information, you need to consult the individual school or institution with whom you wish to study.

Another great resource on becoming a midwife is a book called 'Paths To Becoming A Midwife: Getting An Education'. This book contains a lot of good information from various sources and can help you determine your own path to becoming a midwife Please go to http://www.midwiferytoday.com/books/paths.asp for more information.

Good luck to you on your journey to midwifery in the USA!

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• In a nutshell, what does a midwife do?

Midwives provide comprehensive care and education for women and their newborns. This model of care encompasses women's physical and emotional needs and fosters self-determination throughout the childbearing cycle. Midwives specialize in normal birth and generally refer high-risk women to obstetricians or other medical specialists.

Midwives are educated to care for women during pregnancy, labor, and the post-birth period; to conduct deliveries on their own responsibility; and to care for the newly born infant. They must be able to recognize the warning signs of abnormal conditions requiring referral to a doctor and to carry out emergency measures when no additional help is available. They may practice in homes, birth centers, or in the case of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM's), in hospitals as well.

The well-being of the mother, the baby and the family is the midwife's primary concern. She provides comprehensive prenatal care that includes nutritional counseling and discussion of lifestyle issues, with plenty of time to answer any questions and discuss any concerns the family may have. The time spent prenatally establishes a trusting and intimate relationship with the woman and her family.

A midwife also attends the woman in labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period, and provides care to the mother and her newborn up to 6 weeks postpartum. Some midwives offer family planning and well-woman gynecology services as well.

Midwives consult with or refer to other health care providers when appropriate. They are responsible for keeping accurate records, informing clients of current medical practice in obstetrical care and state laws relating to childbirth, and filing birth certificates.

Midwives view their relationship with each client as a partnership. The best way to have a healthy baby is to be a healthy mother. Midwife and mother work together to achieve this-- it is a shared responsibility.

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• Are there different kinds of midwives?

Yes, there are different types of midwives in the United States. The two main categories of midwives are:
1. Direct-entry midwives (those who enter directly into midwifery education programs without a prior professional credential), and
2. Certified nurse-midwives (CNM's must be registered nurses before entering midwifery training).

There are more CNM's than direct-entry midwives practicing in the United States, although direct-entry midwives attend the majority of normal births in hospitals and other settings in many western European countries. Direct-entry midwives are also utilized in the Canadian healthcare system.

Direct entry midwives are usually credentialed as Certified Professional Midwives (CPM's) by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). CPM's are graduates of accredited midwifery education programs or demonstrate that they have met all NARM certification requirements through equivalency, called the Portfolio Evaluation Process. CPM's have also passed the NARM national certification examination. Every three years, CPM's must renew their certification. Most CPM's are self-employed and practice in home or birth center settings. Go to NARM.org or NACPM.org for more information on the CPM.

Some direct-entry midwives are state-licensed and in some states, national certification is optional. They are legally allowed to practice without being a CPM or CM, as long as they are licensed or regulated by the state.

There is a direct-entry midwifery credential offered by the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) called the Certified Midwife (CM). Certified midwives have graduated from a midwifery education program accredited by the ACNM Division of Accreditation and have passed a national certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). They can practice legally throughout the United States. Go to ACNM.org for more information on this option.

Some direct-entry midwives choose not to pursue any credential and complete their training through apprenticeship and self-study.


Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM'S) are registered nurses who have graduated from a midwifery education program accredited by the ACNM Division of Accreditation, and have passed a national certification exam administered by the AMCB. Many CNM's have received their midwifery education as part of a Master's Degree program. Most CNM's work in hospitals, although some attend home births and practice in birth centers. Go to ACNM.org for more information on CNM's.

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How can one find out information about a specific midwife or practice?

Some places to find a midwife include:

http://www.cfmidwifery.org/find/

http://www.childbirtheducation.net/services.html

http://www.birthscene.com

http://www.midwifeinfo.com

http://www.childbirth.org

http://www.maternitywise.org/mw/topics/caregiver/resources.html

We recommend that you check with the Department of Health in your state (or the appropriate licensing authority, or national certification agency, such as NARM) to find licensed or certified midwives. Local La Leche League meetings, parent groups, health food stores, county health departments, or complementary medicine/alternative health practitioners may have information about midwives in your area. Once you find a midwife, ask for references from their former clients and other health care professionals.

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• How does one become a midwife? What education is required?

There are many different paths to becoming a midwife.

(see http://www.midwiferytoday.com/books/paths.asp)

You can:

*attend a direct-entry midwifery program or school

*apprentice with a qualified midwife, completing a Portfolio Evalution Process through NARM.

*complete your coursework through a distance educational program and/or at a local college while completing your clinical requirements with a midwife who is a qualified faculty member of your school.

*become a registered nurse and then attend graduate school to become a CNM (certified nurse-midwife)

*receive your education in another country and then try to transfer your credentials. You may have to attend continuing education in the United States. (Contact NARM or ACNM about foreign-trained midwives.)

Most direct-entry midwifery education programs are approximately 3 years in length, although the time period may be shorter or longer depending on the clinical opportunities available and the time a person has to devote to their education. The educational requirements may vary from state to state, so research the requirements in the state(s) in which you plan to practice.

For information on accredited direct-entry midwifery programs click on the link below for

MEAC Accredited Schools

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• What licensing or certification is required?

Licensing requirements for direct-entry midwives vary from state to state. Some states require licensing, some have voluntary licensing, some states do not regulate direct-entry midwives, and others have laws prohibiting the practice of direct-entry midwifery. Certified nurse-midwives practice in all 50 states.

* You can also look at http://www.narm.org/stateinfo.htm and http://www.cfmidwifery.org/PDF/legality.pdf.

For state by state information click here

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• What is the average starting salary of a midwife?

Generally, direct-entry midwives do not receive a 'salary' that is predictable and dependable.

Most direct-entry midwives have private practices, so their income depends on the volume of births that they do. A busy homebirth solo practice (one midwife practice) would attend 2-4 births per month. Midwives charge anywhere from $2,000-4,000 per birth, depending on their location. How busy your practice is depends on your location, how established you are in your community, and how well you promote your services.

Most CNM's are employees of practices and therefore receive a salary similar to that of a nurse-practitioner.

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• Where do midwives practice?

Direct-entry midwives usually work in clinics or have offices in their homes and attend births at the client's home or in a birth center. They work in both urban areas (many home birth clients are well-educated, young professionals living in the city) and in rural areas. Some rural communities, such as the Amish, prefer midwives and home birth. Certified nurse-midwives usually work in hospitals, although a few have home birth or birth center practices.

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Do midwives carry professional liability insurance?

Most direct-entry midwives are not covered by professional liability insurance, unless it is required for practice in their state or for participation in healthcare plans. Some midwives cannot afford or choose not to purchase professional liability insurance, and at times it has been unavailable to purchase. Instead, most midwives rely on the personal relationships they have with their clients, conscientious practice, and the informed consent and shared responsibility with women and families that they encourage in their practices.

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• Does insurance cover midwives' services?

Some health care plans and private insurance companies cover all or part of a midwife's services if the patient has maternity care coverage; other plans do not. Some plans may only cover lab work and/or complications. In some states, midwifery care is covered by Medicaid healthcare plans and direct-entry midwives save those states millions of dollars. Midwifery services are generally much less expensive than hospital births and obstetrician care. Some midwives are participants in health care plans and bill insurance companies, but others do not.

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• What personal qualities does one need to be an excellent midwife?

Midwives require a diverse set of skills and qualities for their practices. Not only do they need excellent interpersonal skills in order to give care in a nurturing way, but they also need to be able to think critically and respond quickly to situations that need immediate action.

A short list of ideal midwife qualities would include the following:

* Good interpersonal and counseling skills
* Confidence
* Has good hands-on skills
* High ethical standards
* Is not squeamish
* Has a passion for natural birth
* Has physical and emotional stamina
* Is a quick learner
* Handles stressful situations well
* Self motivated and resourceful
* Has a supportive partner and/or family
* Models a healthy lifestyle

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How does one make a complaint about a MEAC accredited school?

Institutions accredited by MEAC are recognized as meeting and maintaining certain standards of quality. It is the mutual goal of MEAC and the institution to ensure that these standards are maintained. When problems arise, students should make every attempt through the formal complaint procedure within the institution to find a fair and reasonable solution.

However, in the event that a student has exercised the channels available within the institution to resolve the problem(s) by way of the institution's formal complaint procedure, and the problem(s) have not been resolved, the student has the right and is encouraged to take the following steps:

1.Complaints should be in writing and mailed, faxed or emailed to the MEAC office. Complaints received by phone will be documented, and the complainant will be requested to submit the complaint in writing.

2.The letter of complaint must contain the following:

a. A detailed description of the problem(s);
b. The approximate date(s) that the problem(s) occurred;
c. The full name(s) and title(s) or position(s) of the individual(s) involved in the problem(s), including both institutional staff and/or other students who were involved;
d. Evidence demonstrating that the institution's complaint procedure was followed prior to contacting MEAC;
e. The name and mailing address of the complainant.

3.The complainant should be aware that other relevant supporting documentation may be requested (if not already included) in order to adequately investigate the complaint (e.g., the student's enrollment agreement, the syllabus or course outline, correspondence between the student and the institution).

4.Send to:
MEAC
PO Box 984
La Conner, WA 98257
Telephone 360-466-2080
Fax 480-907-2936
Email info@meacschools.org

Note: Complainants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt within 15 days.



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Contact MEAC Midwifery Education Accreditation Council
1935 Pauline Blvd., Ste. 100B
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Phone: (360) 466-2080
Fax: (480) 907-2936
info@meacschools.org
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