There are several ways to become a midwife in the United States. Choosing the path that best fits your personal philosophy and professional goals will require you to decide what you want to do as a midwife and which avenue of preparation will best get you where you want to go.
A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) has earned national certification through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). NARM conducts examinations and issues certification to CPMs. Client continuity of care and clinical birth experiences in out-of-hospital settings (birth center or home) are required for certification. Education can be obtained through a MEAC-accredited or non-accredited school or program, or through apprenticeship. Midwifery practice guidelines, an informed consent document, and an emergency care plan are required. Graduates of a MEAC-accredited program must pass the NARM national written certification examination. Graduates of other educational programs or routes must complete the NARM Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) and pass a skills practical examination in addition to the written examination.
As NARM puts it:
“The main purpose of a certification program is to establish entry-level knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to practice competently. A Certified Professional Midwife’s (CPM) competency is established through training, education and supervised clinical experience, followed by successful completion of a skills assessment and written exam. The goal is to increase public safety by setting standards for midwives who practice The Midwives Model of Care predominately in out-of-hospital settings.”
MEAC standards incorporate the nationally recognized core competencies and guiding principles set by the Midwives Alliance of North America and the requirements for national certification of the North American Registry of Midwives.
MEAC-accredited schools prepare students to sit for the NARM examination. Students who graduate from MEAC-accredited schools are eligible for certain benefits from NARM, such as a simplified application process and the option for early certification testing.
Graduates from MEAC-accredited schools have the highest rate of passing the NARM examination of all midwifery students.