Information on the Doula Profession
Doulas offer physical and emotional support to help expectant mothers mitigate pain and discomfort in the birthing process, assisting during the time leading up to and after birth, as well. There are different requirements that must be met for certification and to meet possible employer expectations. Many of these requirements may be fulfilled with the help of online resources; however, with certification requiring some in-person work, preparing for this career online is not without some challenges.
|Required Skills||Communication skills, physical stamina, empathy, decision-making|
|Job Growth||10% for 2018-2028 (healthcare practitioners and technical workers, all other)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$36,046 (all doulas)**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Payscale.com**
Online Steps for Becoming a Doula
Working as a certified doula can mean additional requirements beyond standard training. Those wishing to become certified as a doula can complete part of the following steps with the aid of online resources.
Step 1: Research Doula Certifications and Providers Online
Doula certifications may be earned through widely accepted organizations, such as DONA (Doulas of North America) and CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association). There are generally two main types of doula certifications: birth doula certification and postpartum doula certification, which also involves working with lactation/breastfeeding. You might choose one area or work toward earning both certifications.
Step 2: Register Online for Doula Certification Training
Those interested in certification can sign up for membership with a chosen organization, such as DONA or CAPPA. You would then register for the online workshops and training toward your chosen certification area. This distance training still requires in-person experiences which must be organized, such as attending a required number of labors and births or working with a certain number of families after birth. Although these may be scheduled online, your in-person attendance is required.
Step 3: Complete Doula Training and Certification Requirements
The certification process often includes online training/workshops, coursework, evaluations, and hands-on experience. Many of the requirements for both types of certification can be completed with at-home study and through online resources, including webinars, online classes, and completion of reading materials. The length of this training and certification process depends mostly on your rate of study and the amount of time you can devote to the various processes. That said, the maximum amount of time you are typically allowed to work on certification after purchasing your original certification packet is two years, with another six months possibly added as a one-time extension. Additional requirements may include the writing of an essay, gathering letters of recommendation, and earning CPR certification.
Step 4: Consider Earning an Optional Degree in a Related Field
Some employers and clients may want you to have earned a 2-year associate's degree or a 4-year bachelor's degree in a related field. Degrees in psychology, health science, or social services are commonly preferred by employers, clients, and organizations. These programs can equip you with a wide knowledge base with relevancy to the doula profession.