Frequently Asked Questions


When is the next Certificate in Holistic Midwifery or Study Abroad course?

Please download the Birth Institute course catalog for a complete course calendar.

What is the format for online courses?

Online courses are flexible, engaging and user-friendly, allowing students to participate from anywhere, anytime – without compromising the quality of education and learning. Weekly lessons are overseen by a course instructor and include video lectures, written assignments, group discussions and quizzes.

I want to become a midwife. Where do I begin?

Birth Institute’s 3-year Certificate in Holistic Midwifery program teaches the Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice as outlined by the International Confederation of Midwives and prepares graduates to become entry-level midwives. Neither a bachelor’s degree nor a background in nursing is required to begin the program. Local governments regulate midwifery and therefore becoming a legally recognized midwife requires different training and credentials depending on where you live.

Before applying to the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery, students should inquire about training and credentialing with their local governments. While our curriculum meets internationally recognized standards for midwifery practice, it is important to note that Birth Institute is an educational organization, not a government agency, and therefore is not able to guarantee a legally recognized credential in any country. Please see the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery section below for more details on licensure and regulation.

Who creates and administers the Birth Institute curricula?

The Dean and Director of Education, Jacky Bloemraad-de Boer, CPM, Lic.Ac, NUTr oversees course curriculum, with input from the Curriculum Adviser and assistant teachers. Learning outcomes, activities and assessment are designed and evaluated on a quarterly basis using the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Essential Competencies, North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) Knowledge and Skills List, and Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) Core Competencies.

Is Birth Institute accredited?

Birth Institute adheres to standards for education set forth by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). We are approved/regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education Division of Private and Occupational Schools and are in the process of applying for national accreditation within the US. Regulation by the Department of Higher Education and adherence to ICM standards ensures that our school meets the highest possible administrative, curriculum, faculty and clinical qualifications for higher education and midwifery.

Why is regulation and standardization important?

Does Birth Institute offer financial aid or scholarships?

Certificate in Holistic Midwifery students may request a Deferred Tuition Payment Plan that is similar to government financial aid packages. Students are required to pay a $1,500 deposit to secure placement in the 3 –year program and begin making tuition payments ONE YEAR after graduation. A 5% annual fee is assessed. This option is only available to full-time, matriculating students.

Study Abroad students may apply for partial scholarship. Scholarships are intended to promote diversity and to support single women earning less then $30,000 per year, or less then $50,000 per year for married women and those who have dependents. Details and instructions for Study Abroad scholarships can be found on the scholarships page of our website.

I am already a practicing midwife, but I want to continue my education. Which courses are for me?

Birth Institute offers excellent opportunities for continuing your education through our Study Abroad programs in Guatemala (Women’s Reproductive Health), Bali (Gentle Birth) and South Africa (Nutrition for Maternal and Newborn Health). You participation in one of these programs will broaden your skillset and expand your perspective on global health and serving diverse community needs, taking your career to the next level! If you are a credentialed midwife who has more than 3 years of experience in out-of-hospital settings please email for opportunities to facilitate a Study Abroad program.

What language(s) do I need to speak to participate in Birth Institute courses?

Birth Institute online coursework is administered in English. Study Abroad students may be expected to live and/or volunteer in non-English speaking environments without a translator or formal language instruction. Please see individual course descriptions for further details.

Is Birth Institute affiliated with any religion?

No. Birth Institute is a secular organization and welcomes applicants of all backgrounds.

How long has Birth Institute been around?

Birth Institute, founded in January 2014, is a private occupational school owned by Rhythm of Life LLC and is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education Private Occupational School Board as of July 2014. Birth Institute study abroad courses are conducted in partnership with independent clinics that are supported (not operated) by Midwife International, a US-based 501c3 charitable organization founded in May 2011.


What is the difference between “out-of-hospital” and “in-hospital” midwifery?

The Holistic Midwifery program prepares students to become independent midwives who have the skills, knowledge and tools to work in out-of-hospital settings where physicians are not present. If a pre-determining factor or complication arises, you will refer your client to a physician or transport to a hospital and hand-off care. In-hospital midwives are trained as nurses with a specialty in obstetric care and work under the ongoing supervision of a physician. If you are interested in working in hospitals, the nurse midwifery route may be more appropriate for you

Do I need to be in Colorado to participate in the Certificate for Holistic Midwifery program?

No. The Certificate in Holistic Midwifery program is hosted online. Students can participate from anywhere in the world using our Internet-based virtual classroom technology. As long as you have a reliable Internet connection and the possibility of working with a preceptor in your area to gain clinical experience, you can become a graduate of the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery program.

Is the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery accepted in Canada?

The Certificate in Holistic Midwifery is not accepted in Canada. Students planning to practice in Canada should read the Midwifery Education page on the Canadian Association of Midwives website.

Is the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery accepted across the US?

In the United States, there are three types of credentialed midwives: Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Midwives (CMs.) The Certificate in Holistic Midwifery program is designed to meet North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) requirements for CPM licensure.

Certificate in Holistic Midwifery students who pass the NARM Exam will be accepted for licensure, certification, documentation or registration in the following states: AK, AR, AZ, CO, DE, ID, IN, LA, MN, MO, MT, NH, NJ, NM, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY

Certificate in Holistic Midwifery graduates will have rights but are not formally regulated in the following states: CT, KS, MA, ME, MI, MS, NE, NV, ND, OH, OK, WV

Out of hospital midwifery is not regulated in these states, there is no licensure available for direct-entry midwives: AL, DC, GA, HI, IA, IL, KY, MD, NC, PA, RI, SD

To learn more about these three types of midwives recognized in the United States and their respective routes of entry, please read the Become a Midwife page on the Midwives Alliance of North America’s website.

What if I live in California, Florida or New York?

Students from California, Florida and New York may only apply for the Study Abroad courses. We do NOT currently accept Certificate in Holistic Midwifery applicants from these States. Students wishing to complete a full midwifery training course must apply to a state-approved program.

I have earned credits from a different midwifery school and would like to transfer to Birth Institute. Is this possible?

Transfer students are welcome. Credit transfer and graduation requirements will be assessed as part of the application process for a fee of $400 USD.

Would any courses that I took for nursing school qualify as transfer credits or count towards the required Certificate in Holistic Midwifery courses?

Nursing courses will give you a strong foundation for midwifery science courses, however the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery program does not require “general courses” and therefore nursing courses do not transfer.

I would like to gain clinical experience for the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery through a Study Abroad course, is this possible?

No. Study abroad experience does not qualify as part of the 2000-hour clinical experience requirement.  However, Study Abroad students will be awarded 10 academic credits toward the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery, reducing the number of online course requirements for graduation?

Will you help me find a preceptor/ apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships begin 6-months into the Holistic Midwifery program. Birth Institute will help you to research and contact prospective preceptors and will provide ongoing training and support to your preceptor, but students are ultimately responsible for securing and maintaining a relationship with a preceptor who meets the preceptor requirements (see course catalog) for a minimum of 2-years. Before applying, be sure to read local regulations and talk with the midwives in your community to learn more about the likelihood of finding a preceptor who is willing to take-on student apprentices. Remember that you will need to work in out-of-hospital settings — birth clinic or homes — under the supervision of an autonomous midwife.

Is it realistic to work part-time while studying Holistic Midwifery?

Full-time students who wish to complete the program in 3-years will not be able to work while in the program. Online coursework will require approximately 30 hours of student work each week and clinical experience will require an 20 hours per week plus on-call rotations for births. If you wish to work, you may enroll as a part-time student and complete the program in 5-7 years at a slower pace.

Does doula work count as clinical experience for the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery?

No. Working as a doula does not count toward your two-year clinical experience requirement because doula work and midwifery work are very different in practice. However, experience as doula is regarded highly in the application process and will prepare you to be a competent apprentice.

Once I’m enrolled in the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery program how long do I have to complete it?

Birth Institute is committed to making programs accessible for everyone, which for some students, may mean taking a part-time approach. Students who choose to become part-time/non-matriculating students of the CHM program are allowed a maximum of seven years to complete both the theoretical and clinical aspects of the training. Students who choose to take this route must pay the non-matriculating cost ($160 per credit) and are not eligible for deferred payment plans


How many applicants will be accepted to each program?

We place a maximum of 4 students at each site. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and students are placed on a first -come, first-served basis, so apply now to be placed at your preferred site.

Does the Placement Fee include room and board?

The Placement ensures that your basic needs are met on site, however the inclusion of amenities varies from site to site. Please review individual course descriptions for more details. At some sites students will be required to purchase and prepare their own food.

May I arrange my own accommodations near the clinic?

We strongly suggest that you live on-site as provided. If you choose alternative accommodations, you will still be require to pay the full Placement Fee. Birth Institute is not able to help with arranging off-site housing for students.

What will a typical week look like for me at my site?

Your schedule will vary according to your host site, and you should be prepared to be flexible. With that said, you should expect to spend approximately 40-hours per week engaged in various aspects of the course, including online coursework, plus additional hours on-call. Please see individual course descriptions for further details.

What will my living accommodations be like?

Accommodations vary from one course to another. Please see individual course descriptions for further details.

What if I have food restrictions or allergies?

Food preparation varies by country. In some countries, you may purchase and prepare your own food to accommodate food preferences or allergies. In others, you may request that the cook avoid specific ingredients, within reason. Please inform the Birth Institute staff of serious food restrictions or allergies before you depart for your Study Abroad experience.

Will I be safe?

Safety is a top concern to us. Students are hosted in areas that are considered to be reasonably safe for foreign travelers. All students are expected to follow the general safety precautions and guidelines.

What is a visa and how do I find out if I need one for my program?

A visa is a document that is placed inside of your passport and is often required to enter or stay for a certain amount of time in some countries. Every country has its own unique policy regarding visas, and is often based on the country of which you are a passport holder. Students and preceptors are responsible for obtaining the appropriate visa for their assigned site. Birth Institute and our clinical partners will provide students with necessary documentation to support the application process but cannot guarantee that a visa will be awarded. If a visa application is denied, students may request a tuition refund but the clinic fee will not be refunded.

Can I or should I bring my own equipment?

You should bring your own communication and study devices, such as a smart phone, tablet and/or laptop. The clinical partner provides all medical equipment for students.

I’d like to bring donations to the clinic. What should I bring?

Your generous spirit is so appreciated, however, we do not allow donations, gift giving or other exchanges among students, instructors, facilitators, clinical partners, community members or other participants in our network. All donations and gifts must be routed through Midwife International, a 501c3 charitable organization (EIN 45-­‐2443208), or the 501c3 charitable organization of your choice.

What is the dress code in the clinics?

You will be asked to wear comfortable, clean and modest clothing (covering your shoulders and knees) in the clinic at all times. Please bring a pair of slip on/off shoes that can be easily washed for use in the clinic (crocs are a great option).

Are Birth Institute students covered by insurance?

All students are responsible for their own health and travel insurance, and any additional insurance they wish to carry. Before departing for your site, you will be required to show proof of basic medical and travel coverage. Birth Institute does not recommend any particular travel or international medical insurance because desired coverage is unique to each individual. A great site to search for and compare insurance options is: During orientation at the site, you will review protocol and safety measures for the specific site and you will be expected to follow all protocols for your own safety and the safety of the mothers and babies you serve

Can I bring my family? What kind of living situation is available for families?

Birth Institute will consider applicants who wish to bring spouses or other family-members on a case-by-case basis. Family-members, including all relatives, children and spouses, are NOT allowed to live on-site at any time during the course. Students may live off-site with family members but are responsible for paying the full Placement Fee in addition to fees associated with alternative living arrangements. In addition to alternative housing, students who wish to bring children must demonstrate that they have the means to provide 24-hour childcare for the duration of the program, at their own expense. Birth Institute is not able to help with arranging off-site housing or childcare for students.

After I’m accepted, what will be the next steps?

Once accepted to your Study Abroad program you will receive a full packet of orientation and preparation materials. It is good to note that during this preparation time you will be expected to arrange your own transportation to your site (flights arriving one day before the start of your program), get any suggested immunizations, apply for a visa (Indonesia) and take care of any business you need to at home. Birth Institute will arrange ground transportation from the airport or bus station to the host site at your expense. Please be aware that you will be expected to participate in a 5 hour orientation during the 2-weeks before you depart for your on-site experience. Please plan on this!

Do Study Abroad credits transfer to the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery?

Study abroad experience does not qualify as part of the 2000-hour clinical experience requirement.  However, Study Abroad students will be awarded 10 academic credits toward the Certificate in Holistic Midwifery, reducing the number of online course requirements for graduation.