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FAQ – Aspiring Midwives

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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:

  1. Good interpersonal and counseling skills;
  2. Confidence;
  3. Has good hands-on skills;
  4. High ethical standards;
  5. Is not squeamish;
  6. Has a passion for natural birth;
  7. Has physical and emotional stamina;
  8. Is a quick learner;
  9. Handles stressful situations well;
  10. Self-motivated and resourceful;
  11. Has a supportive partner and/or family;
  12. Models a healthy lifestyle.

There are many different paths to becoming a midwife. You will want to learn about the requirements for practicing as a midwife in the state where you would like to work because each state makes its own laws. Depending on the local requirements, you may:

  1. Attend a direct-entry midwifery program or school;
  2. Apprentice with a qualified midwife, completing the Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) through NARM;
  3. 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;
  4. Become a registered nurse and then attend graduate school to become a Certified NurseMidwife (CNM);
  5. 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.)
  6. Comparison Chart of different types of 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.

To learn more about the importance of accreditation to midwifery students, please watch this helpful video:


For students, accreditation—

  1. Serves a consumer protection purpose by providing assurance that the school or program has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by and with the profession.
  2. Assists prospective students in identifying acceptable programs or institutions.
  3. Assures students that the school does what it promises on its website and promotional materials.
  4. Ensures that the education the student receives is well-rounded and comprehensive for entrylevel midwifery practice.
  5. Determines that a midwifery education program has set objectives for students who enroll, has provided services that enable these students to meet those objectives, and can in fact show that students have benefited from the learning experiences provided.
  6. Facilitates the process of becoming a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) through the North American Registry of Midwives. Allows students to participate in federally-funded financial aid programs at participating schools.
  7. Assures students that the school continually undergoes quality-improvement process that includes both self-evaluation and feedback from peers, including other midwifery educators and school administrators.
  8. Improves the chance that a graduate will be able to transfer credits or degrees to another institution for further education or graduate education.
  9. Enhances employment opportunities for graduates in states that base eligibility for licensure upon graduation from an accredited school or program or within midwifery practices that want to see the MEAC “seal of approval.”


MEAC accredits many models of midwifery education. From living on site at an intensive immersionstyle school to a self-paced, distance education done in your hometown, there are many pathways to becoming an excellent midwife graduate from a MEAC school. You can get a feel for student life by watching this video:


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.

MEAC accreditation is a process for midwifery education programs or institutions, not for individual midwives. Certification, licensure, or registration are the processes which credential individual midwives.

In order for students to have access to educational grants and loans from the federal government, the program or institution they attend must be approved in two steps:

  1. The program/institution must be accredited by a federally recognized accrediting agency and,
  2. The program must submit an application directly to the U.S. Department of Education to be approved to participate in Title IV student financial aid programs.

After both of these steps have been successfully completed by the institution or program, its students can then apply for financial aid.
Several MEAC schools are approved to participate in Title IV student financial aid programs.

Every country has its own form of midwifery education but 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 noted). 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 which you wish to study.

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. Information can be found on their websites. Additional information about midwifery practice in the USA can be obtained from Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) and Citizens for Midwifery (CFM).

MEAC encourages parties to pursue informal grievance mediation attempts with each other, or with MEAC staff or Board members, to attempt to resolve grievances informally before commencing a formal written complaint process with MEAC. If those attempts fail, MEAC will review complaints received against an institution or program if it is in writing and complies with the guidelines set forth in the Accreditation Handbook, Section G III(P).