In a midwifery school, students learn how to care for women during pregnancy and how to deliver babies so that they can work as midwives in a variety of settings, including hospitals, birthing centers, and private homes. There are a number of things to think about when choosing a midwifery school, because there are different levels of certification for midwives, and different types of working environments available to people with midwifery training. Because training and certification requirements are highly variable, it can help to talk to several working midwives in the area where one plans to practice to learn more about the options.
Depending on the level of training, a midwife can be a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), a Licensed or Registered Midwife (LM or RM), a lay midwife, a direct entry midwife, or a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). Before attending a midwifery school, candidates should find out about the kind of certification a school prepares them for. For example, someone who wants to become a CNM should go through a professional organization of Certified Nurse Midwives to find a list of accredited programs.
People may also think about where they want to practice. Some midwifery schools focus on preparing midwives to practice in the hospital or in a birthing center, while others provide an opportunity to learn about home birth. A midwifery school should also offer ample clinic hours, and the opportunity to train with a practicing midwife. Restrictions on medical practice in certain areas should be taken into consideration as well; for example, home birth may not be allowed, or a certifying organization may decline certification to people who provide home birth options to their clients.
Staffing is another important consideration when evaluating a midwifery school. The staff members should be fully qualified, well trained, and highly experienced. Ideally, they should have publishing credits, and the school itself should have an overall good reputation which promotes confidence. People planning on midwifery school may also want to ask for performance statistics on the school's graduates, to see how many graduates are working as midwives.
Location can be a key consideration. Some schools offer distance learning or low residency midwifery training, while others require students to attend sessions on a campus, which may require students to relocate. Students may also want to think about cost and financial aid options to ensure that they will be able to afford a full course of training at a midwifery school. They should also ask if the school offers assistance with job placement and preparing for licensure exams.