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Explore: How to Become a Certified Professional Midwife

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In the diverse landscape of integrative medicine, a variety of roles contribute to the holistic well-being of our communities. Each of these roles adds value and richness to the field. One such role is that of a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), an essential conduit in the delivery of health and support. 

The unique path of a CPM is one of commitment and intense learning. It melds tradition with the newest scientific advancements to ensure the best care at one of life's most significant moments, both for birthing people and for their children.

What is a Certified Professional Midwife? 

A CPM is a healthcare professional with specialized training in the perinatal care cycle. CPMs provide comprehensive care for people with low-risk, healthy pregnancies throughout the prenatal period, labor and birth, and the postpartum period. These learned skills are often obtained through rigorous apprenticeships or in formal academic programs credentialed by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC). These programs embody a blend of time-tested wisdom and contemporary advances in the field of midwifery.

Why Does a CPM Credential Matter?

Holding a CPM credential is distinct and prestigious. It's the only certification that requires the recipient to demonstrate not just theoretical knowledge but practical experience in home and freestanding birth center settings. This allows CPMs to operate beyond the traditional sphere of hospitals, offering their services in a more comfortable and personal setting.

How to Become a CPM 

The journey toward becoming a CPM requires dedication, resilience, and a deep motivation to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a CPM?

Securing a CPM certification does not an academic degree, but possessing a related degree can certainly be advantageous. All CPM programs are direct-entry. This allows prospective students to delve into midwife training without the prerequisite of becoming a nurse. 

Courses in CPM programs can range from essential subjects such as preconception care, prenatal care, birth and labor, newborn care, and postpartum care, and more specific courses, including statistics, microbiology, and anatomy. To enter such programs, one must have at least a high school diploma, in alignment with the requirements of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM), and some programs have additional requirements.

What Internships or Experience Do You Need to Become a CPM?

Gaining field experience is crucial for an aspiring CPM. Internships under the supervision of approved preceptors form a key part of this journey. NARM mandates that prospective midwives have at least two years of hands-on clinical training and oversee at least 55 births, encompassing three distinct categories: observing, assisting, and primary births under supervision.

Student midwives in MEAC-accredited programs may receive assistance with being placed in approved clinical training sites. Students going through the apprenticeship route typically find their own preceptors who are willing to train them.

Understanding the Paths to Becoming a CPM

Here are five ways to pursue a CPM certification

Graduate from a MEAC-accredited school 

This is the MEAC route, and it means the individual completed a program accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council. Bastyr University offers this path, and the connections you make along the way in your degree journey can help your professional life. After graduating from a MEAC-accredited program, you can apply to take the comprehensive NARM written exam to become a CPM.

Complete the Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) 

Aspiring midwives gain the necessary knowledge and skills for the NARM PEP through structured apprenticeship learning, hands-on clinical experience, skill development, supervised practice under experienced midwives, and meticulous documentation of their cases. These components collectively prepare them to apply for the Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP), which includes a comprehensive skills verification and the written exam.

State Licensed Midwife 

Practicing midwives who have already been licensed by their state may apply to become a CPM. Taking this route still requires midwives to take the written exam from NARM, and they must meet specific education credentials. 


Certified Nurse Midwives and Certified Midwives with a certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) can apply to become Certified Professional Midwives. Midwives from these other routes must attend at least 10 home births as part of the eligibility to apply to become a CPM.

UK Registered Midwife

If you’ve been practicing as a registered midwife in the UK and want to transfer your certification, you can apply to take the NARM written exam in order to become a Certified Professional Midwife in the United States. 

Choose a Midwifery Program for Your Goals: Bastyr's Master of Science in Midwifery

Bastyr's Master of Science in Midwifery program is a reflection of our commitment to producing future leaders in integrative health. The program harmonizes the finest aspects of science-based education, tradition, and innovation, assisting students in their quest to become holistic healthcare providers.

Our dedication to transforming healthcare through a blend of education and empowerment is evident in our carefully designed course material, supportive community, and innovative approach to learning. By joining our program, you’ll be part of a community that's fiercely committed to improving healthcare through integrative approaches, bound by a strong commitment to education, collaboration, and understanding.

Start the process of pursuing your master's degree in midwifery today by downloading our comprehensive eBook, requesting a meeting with one of our dedicated advisors, or applying to join our program



Written by Bastyr

Bastyr University's academic and research programs have received international recognition for pioneering work in science-based natural medicine. We offer a learning environment that fosters serious inquiry, professional dedication and lifelong relationships. Your career begins here, where comprehensive training makes the difference.