Is certification necessary?

You’ve decided you want to be a birth worker and now you’re looking at ways to learn how. One thing you will notice, especially when considering doula or breastfeeding work, is that the various educational systems tout their certification program.

First off, let’s make sure we all understand what being certified means.

Definition of the word certify.
To be certified or to have earned certification means that you are officially recognized by someone or something as possessing certain qualifications or meeting certain standards. An example is being “a certified scuba instructor”. Some other words that mean the generally same thing that you may run across while looking at different educational programs are: accredited, recognized, licensed, authorized, approved, and warranted.

As of this writing and to the best of my knowledge there is no requirement by any hospital or birth center in the United States that requires an independent doula be certified, or even formally educated.

What that means in respect to the claims of different educational programs touting their certification is that the only body recognizing that magic Wizard of Oz document is them. It is meaningless.

However, some organizations and employers may require certification, and to be a lactation consultant you may need to be formally recognized. Before signing up for a program or course of study, find out what you will need to be able to do what you want to do.  Learn how to go to your state’s online Revised Statutes and search for information.  Knowing what the laws really say is vital in birth work.

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