List of Doula Training and Certification Organizations

As more people recognize the value of having a doula by their side during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum periods, various organizations have emerged to train, certify, and connect doulas with families.

The role of doulas in providing emotional, physical, and educational support to expectant mothers and families has gained significant traction in recent years. In this article, we will explore the top doula organizations around the world, discussing their history, origins, mission, vision, training, certifications, services, and unique perspectives on prenatal and postnatal support.

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doula training and certification

1. DONA International

Founded in 1992, DONA International is the oldest and largest doula organization in the world. With its roots in the United States, DONA has since expanded globally, offering training and certification to doulas worldwide. Their mission is to promote high-quality birth and postpartum support by training and certifying professional doulas.

DONA offers comprehensive workshops for birth and postpartum doulas, providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to support expectant mothers and families. Their certifications are recognized internationally, making DONA-certified doulas highly sought after.

2. Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)

Established in 1998, CAPPA is a US-based international organization that offers training and certification for childbirth educators, lactation educators, labor doulas, and postpartum doulas.

CAPPA’s mission is to offer evidence-based, comprehensive education, certification, and professional membership to those who provide care and support during the perinatal period. The organization focuses on fostering collaboration between professionals and promoting a holistic approach to maternal and newborn care.

3. Birth Arts International

Birth Arts International, founded in 2000 by Demetria Clark, is a global organization that provides holistic doula training and certification. Their mission is to offer accessible, affordable, and comprehensive education for birth professionals while emphasizing the importance of cultural competency, compassionate support, and evidence-based practices.

Birth Arts International offers in-person and online courses for birth and postpartum doulas, as well as childbirth educators and breastfeeding specialists.

4. Doula UK

Doula UK, established in 2001, is the leading doula organization in the United Kingdom. It aims to promote the benefits of doula support and improve access to doulas for all families.

Doula UK provides a comprehensive mentoring and assessment process for aspiring doulas, ensuring they are equipped to provide knowledgeable and empathetic support. The organization also connects families with qualified doulas through its online directory.

5. Australian Doula College

The Australian Doula College, founded in 2003, is a leading provider of doula training and education in Australia. Their mission is to promote the role of doulas in improving maternal and infant health outcomes by offering high-quality training, ongoing professional development, and support for doulas.

The college offers a range of courses, including birth and postpartum doula training, childbirth education, and breastfeeding support.

6. ProDoula

ProDoula, founded in 2012 by Randy Patterson and Debbie Aglietti, is a US-based organization that offers professional training and certification programs for birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and childbirth educators.

ProDoula’s mission is to elevate the role of doulas by providing comprehensive education, business support, and networking opportunities. The organization focuses on fostering professionalism, collaboration, and growth within the doula community.

7. Birth Works International

Birth Works International, established in 1989, is a non-profit organization that offers holistic childbirth education and doula training programs. Their mission is to help expectant mothers and families experience a more empowered and positive birth by providing comprehensive, evidence-based education and support.

Birth Works International emphasizes the importance of integrating mind, body, and spirit throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods.

8. Birth Bliss Academy

Founded by Kicki Hansard, Birth Bliss Academy is a UK-based organization that provides doula training, mentorship, and ongoing support for aspiring and experienced doulas. The academy offers various courses, including birth and postpartum doula training, advanced doula training, and workshops on specific topics related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care.

Birth Bliss Academy focuses on nurturing compassionate, knowledgeable, and confident doulas who can provide exceptional support to expectant families.

9. International Doula Institute

The International Doula Institute, based in the United States, offers online doula training and certification programs for birth and postpartum doulas, as well as continuing education courses for experienced professionals.

Their mission is to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality education for doulas worldwide. The institute’s comprehensive curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum care, breastfeeding support, and newborn care.

10. Bebo Mia

Bebo Mia, founded in 2008 by Bianca Sprague and Natasha Marchand, is a Canadian organization that offers online training and certification programs for doulas, childbirth educators, and fertility professionals. Bebo Mia’s mission is to provide accessible, inclusive, and comprehensive education for birth professionals, with a focus on supporting marginalized communities.

The organization offers various courses, including birth and postpartum doula training, fertility support, and prenatal education.

11. Childbirth International

Childbirth International, founded in 1999, is a global organization that offers online training and certification programs for birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, and breastfeeding counselors. Their mission is to provide high-quality, evidence-based education and support to birth professionals worldwide.

This organization emphasizes the importance of understanding different cultural perspectives and providing individualized, respectful care to expectant families from diverse backgrounds. By incorporating a flexible, self-paced learning approach, Childbirth International allows students to complete their training at their own convenience.

12. The Doula Academy

The Doula Academy, founded by Susan Martensen, is a Canadian organization that provides comprehensive training and certification programs for birth and postpartum doulas. The academy offers in-person workshops and online courses designed to equip aspiring doulas with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to support expectant families effectively.

The Doula Academy focuses on fostering professionalism, empathy, and evidence-based practices among its students.

13. The Matrona

The Matrona, founded by Whapio Diane Bartlett, is a US-based organization that offers holistic doula training and education. Their unique approach combines traditional midwifery wisdom, contemporary birth practices, and intuitive skills development.

The Matrona offers various courses, including the Quantum Birth and Postpartum Doula Training, which focuses on empowering doulas to provide compassionate, knowledgeable, and individualized care to expectant families.

14. Doula Training Canada

Doula Training Canada (DTC) is a Canadian organization that offers online and in-person training and certification programs for birth and postpartum doulas, as well as childbirth educators. DTC’s mission is to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality education to aspiring doulas across Canada.

15. International Childbirth Education Assistance (ICEA)

ICEA is a global organization located in the United States that provides training and certification programs for birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, and breastfeeding counselors.

Their mission is to provide high-quality, evidence-based education and support to birth professionals worldwide. Additionally, they emphasize understanding different cultural perspectives and providing individualized, respectful care to expectant families from diverse backgrounds.

How to Pick the Doula Organization for Your Training

Choosing the right doula organization for your training is a crucial decision that can shape your career and impact the lives of the families you support. It is essential to consider various factors to determine which organization aligns best with your goals, values, and learning preferences.

Let’s look into these key factors to consider when selecting a doula organization for your training.

1. Accreditation and Reputation

One of the first things to consider is whether the organization is reputable and well-established in the field. Research the organization’s history, mission, and vision to ensure that they align with your professional goals and values.

Look for organizations that have been accredited or recognized by relevant professional bodies, as this can provide assurance that their training programs meet high-quality standards.

2. Curriculum and Educational Approach

Examine the organization’s curriculum and educational approach to ensure that it covers essential topics related to pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum care, and breastfeeding support. Determine if the organization emphasizes evidence-based practices, cultural competency, and holistic care.

Consider whether their teaching methods and materials resonate with your preferred learning style, such as hands-on workshops, online courses, or a combination of both.

3. Certification and Continuing Education Opportunities

Check if the organization offers certification upon completion of their training program. Being certified can enhance your credibility and employability as a doula. Additionally, consider whether the organization provides opportunities for continuing education and professional development, as this can help you stay updated with the latest research and best practices in the field.

4. Flexibility and Accessibility

Consider the flexibility and accessibility of the organization’s training programs. If you have a busy schedule or live far from in-person training locations, online courses or self-paced programs may be more suitable for you.

Ensure that the organization offers support and resources to help you succeed in your training, regardless of the format you choose.

5. Networking and Community Support

A strong network and community support can be invaluable as you begin your doula career. Look for organizations that offer networking opportunities, mentorship programs, or access to a community of professionals who share your passion and values.

This can help you build connections, learn from experienced doulas, and find potential clients or job opportunities.

6. Affordability and Financial Assistance

Compare the costs of various doula training programs and consider whether they fit within your budget. Some organizations may offer scholarships, payment plans, or other financial assistance options to make their courses more accessible.

It’s essential to invest in high-quality education, but also consider the return on investment in terms of your career growth and potential earnings as a doula.

7. Personal Values and Philosophy

Finally, reflect on your personal values and philosophy about birth and postpartum care. Each doula organization may have a unique approach, so it’s crucial to find one that resonates with your beliefs and aspirations as a doula. This will ensure that you feel confident and passionate about the support you provide to expectant families.

How to Get Doula Training and Certification in Your Area

If you do not live close to the area where the doula organizations are located, there are other options to get doula training and certification. Below are other options for you to consider.

1. Online Doula Training Courses

Many doula organizations offer online training programs that allow you to complete your education remotely. These courses typically provide access to learning materials, videos, webinars, and interactive platforms where you can engage with instructors and fellow students.

Online courses offer the flexibility to study at your own pace and on your schedule, making them an ideal option if you don’t live near a training location.

2. Distance Learning and Self-Paced Programs

Some organizations provide distance learning or self-paced programs, which combine online resources with independent study. These programs may include reading materials, assignments, and assessments that you can complete at your convenience.

Some may also require you to attend virtual workshops, webinars, or video conferences to supplement your learning.

3. Traveling Workshops or Intensive Training Programs

Occasionally, doula organizations may offer traveling workshops or intensive training programs in different locations. These events usually take place over a few days or weeks and provide an opportunity for aspiring doulas to receive hands-on instruction, network with other professionals, and gain practical experience.

Keep an eye on the organization’s website or social media channels for information about upcoming workshops or events near you.

4. Partnering with Local Organizations or Trainers

Some doula organizations collaborate with local trainers or organizations to offer their training programs in various locations. Research whether any such partnerships exist in your area or consider reaching out to the organization directly to inquire about potential opportunities.

You can also look into local doula meetups or support groups to connect with experienced doulas who may be able to provide mentorship and guidance through your doula training.

5. Relocating Temporarily for Training

While it may not be feasible for everyone, you could consider temporarily relocating to a city where a top doula organization offers in-person training. This option allows you to fully immerse yourself in the learning experience, gain hands-on practice, and network with other professionals in the field.

Tips for Hiring a Doula: How to Verify The Doula’s Certification

As an expecting parent, it’s important to ensure that your doula is certified and qualified to provide the best support throughout your pregnancy and postpartum journey. Here are some tips on how to verify the doula’s certification.

1. Request a copy of their certification

Ask the doula to provide a copy of their certification, which should include their name, the name of the certifying organization, and the date of certification. This document serves as proof that they have completed the necessary training and met the requirements set by the organization.

2. Check the certifying organization’s website

Many doula organizations maintain an online directory or database of certified doulas. By visiting the organization’s website, you can search for the doula’s name and verify their certification status. Some websites may also provide additional information about the doula’s training, experience, and areas of expertise.

3. Contact the certifying organization directly

If you’re unable to find the doula’s name on the organization’s website or want to confirm the authenticity of the certification, contact the organization directly. Provide them with the doula’s name and any relevant certification details, and they should be able to confirm whether the individual is indeed certified through their program.

4. Ask for references

Request references from the doula, such as previous clients or healthcare professionals they have worked with. This will not only help you confirm the doula’s certification but also provide valuable insights into their skills, demeanor, and ability to support families during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

5. Conduct an interview

Schedule an in-person or virtual interview with the doula to discuss their training, certification, and experience. This conversation will allow you to gauge their professionalism, knowledge, and compatibility with your family’s needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I get different certifications from different organizations?

Yes, you can get certification from different doula organizations. Each organization has its own training programs, requirements, and certification process. If you choose to pursue multiple certifications, you will need to complete the specific training and requirements for each organization separately.

Having multiple certifications from different organizations may offer some advantages, such as increased credibility, a broader range of skills and knowledge, and access to various resources and support networks.

2. How do I choose the right doula organization for my training?

Consider factors such as accreditation, curriculum, certification, flexibility, networking opportunities, affordability, and alignment with your personal values when selecting a doula organization for training.

3. How long does it take to complete doula training and become certified?

The duration of doula training varies depending on the organization and program you choose. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to complete training and become certified.

4. Can I complete doula training online?

Many doula organizations offer online training options, allowing you to complete your coursework at your own pace from anywhere in the world. These online programs typically include reading materials, videos, quizzes, and assignments that cover all aspects of doula practice.

However, it is important to note that some organizations may require you to attend a certain number of births or complete hands-on components such as workshops or practical experience. In such cases, you may need to find local opportunities to fulfill these requirements, even if the majority of your training is completed online.

5. What is the cost of doula training and certification?

The cost of doula training and certification varies depending on the organization and the specific program you choose. Prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

6. How can birthing families confirm a doula’s certification?

To confirm a doula’s certification, you can ask the doula for their certification credentials or contact the certifying organization directly. Most organizations have a database of certified doulas that can be searched by name or location.

8. How do I maintain my doula certification?

Most doula organizations require ongoing professional development and continuing education to maintain your certification. This may include attending workshops, conferences, or completing additional training courses. Check with your certifying organization for specific requirements.

8. Can I work as a doula without being certified?

While it is possible to work as a doula without certification, being certified provides credibility and demonstrates your commitment to professional standards. Many clients and healthcare providers prefer working with certified doulas, and some organizations or hospitals may require certification.

9. What are the benefits of becoming a certified doula?

Benefits of becoming a certified doula include increased credibility, access to professional networks, and potential job opportunities. Certification also ensures you are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide high-quality support to birthing families.

Do you need a doula contract? Don’t just rely on handshakes or verbal agreement. A doula contract will avoid any misunderstandings in the future. Click here to view a template of Birth Doula Contract or a Postpartum Doula Contract.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a certified doula requires time, effort, dedication, and financial investment. It is important to research different doula organizations and training programs to ensure that you find the right fit for your needs and goals. Having certification from a reputable organization can help to establish your credentials as a professional doula, allowing you to better serve birthing families in your community.

For more information on doula training and certification, visit the websites of certifying organizations directly. You can also check out local doula resources in your area to learn more about available opportunities. Good luck on your journey!

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