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Doula Certification Question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
First, I've never been on this particular board so I apologize if this gets asked a lot....
I'm considering becoming a birth and postpartum doula and don't really know where to start regarding certification.
I know the 'biggest' certification program is probably DONA International - what are some other reputable doula certification programs? How important do you think it is to have certification from a well-known program (like DONA)? (If I wanted to be a 'private-practice' doula)
Thanks!!
post #2 of 14
In my practice I find it extremely important to have certified with dona, and would not pick a lesser known org. They are helpful, well reguarded and well known, all for a reason.
post #3 of 14
Lots of reputable and large programs are available, but some are international.
www.birtharts.org
alace.org
childbirthinternational.com

I run a training program and have attended over 800 births and let me tell you, no wanted to know who trained me.
I though have trained with many organizations, which in a lot of ways is good too. Having two trainings can really balance a practitioner at times. Just the exposure to other ideas and perspectives.
Good Luck
post #4 of 14
I have never had anyone question where I did my training through or have a problem with it because it wasn't DONA. I now do some doula training through Birth Arts International and I really like their program.
post #5 of 14
I agree, I've never been asked who I did my training with. There are quite a few good certifiying organizations, ALACE, CAPPA, DONA, come to mind, and there are others. I think Birthing from Within offers one.

I think the best thing to do is see which one seems like a good fit for you, as they do vary. I've been happy with DONA, but quite a few have some gripes with it. Also, don't know if others do this, but I really like that DONA has a list on their website of certified doulas, which is a good source for clients.
post #6 of 14
http://www.childbirthinternational.com/birth_doula/compare/usa.htm

You can compare programs on this link.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamr3211 View Post
http://www.childbirthinternational.com/birth_doula/compare/usa.htm

You can compare programs on this link.
That link has a significant amount of incorrect information, and was created to make CBI look good. They've been notified numerous times about the inaccuracies, but have chosen not to correct them. Boo hiss!

To the OP, I chose DONA in part because of the name recognition -- among providers, the public, etc. I also wanted a large, well-known professional organization to network in, including annual conferences with renowned speakers. Now that I am finishing the requirements to be a doula trainer, I'm appreciating the name recognition on a new sense.

How important is it? That's such a big question, it depends on your goals and desires for your career. There are certainly doulas who have thriving practices with little-known certifications, or even no certification at all.
post #8 of 14
I trained with CBI and think that the info that they give you in your manual is great & distance learning worked good with having a little one at home! CBI as a organization... not so much.
post #9 of 14
I trained with BAI and love it!

go to alldoulas.com and check it out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by demetria View Post
Lots of reputable and large programs are available, but some are international.
www.birtharts.org
alace.org
childbirthinternational.com

I run a training program and have attended over 800 births and let me tell you, no wanted to know who trained me.
I though have trained with many organizations, which in a lot of ways is good too. Having two trainings can really balance a practitioner at times. Just the exposure to other ideas and perspectives.
Good Luck
post #10 of 14

Comparison tables of training organizations

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaE View Post
That link has a significant amount of incorrect information, and was created to make CBI look good. They've been notified numerous times about the inaccuracies, but have chosen not to correct them. Boo hiss!
Just came across this thread and thought I would respond as a CBI rep. We have had contact from a couple of organizations about information on the comparison charts that was out of date. In each case we have requested the organization to tell us what was incorrect and where on the organization's website we can confirm the correct information. We do require the information to be confirmed either by an official representative of the organization or by viewing the information on the organization's website to ensure that it is accurate. In those cases where we have received a reply we have corrected the information.

If you have details of which information is inaccurate we are more than happy to change it if it is confirmed by an official of the organization or with a link to the webpage showing the details. The comparison page states this:

"All of the information provided on the tables has come from the organizations themselves through their website. If the website does not contain all the information on our tables we specify that it is not stated [on the website]. If you work for one of the organizations and would like to update the information, please let us know the website page where we can find the correct information and we will change it."

I am sorry you feel we have inaccurate information - please help us to bring this up to date if there are details that are wrong to ensure that those interested in comparing organizations have accurate details that will help them.

Regarding the comment that the page "was created to make CBI look good", we are a professional organization providing training of birth professionals. We offer the comparison pages with the intention that those looking for training organizations could see the main options available to them and make a decision that worked for them. Other organizations could provide a similar comparison and could focus on their strengths in those pages. We have selected criteria that we believe are important when making a decision about which training organization to choose, not simply to make us look good.

Please, if anyone believes the information about other organizations to be incorrect, contact me and let me know what is incorrect so that we can improve these comparison tables to the benefit of those looking for training. You can check the comparison tables at http://www.childbirthinternational.c...la/compare.htm.

Nikki Macfarlane
Childbirth International
post #11 of 14
I got my doula training through Childbirth International and couldn't be happier. Very in depth program, all online (other than attending births, of course) and at my pace which worked so well with a nursing baby and toddler at home, great customer service, very active message boards, and a personal trainer to ask questions to and bounce ideas off of. I've never had a client as who I was certified through, and midwives who have asked usually hadn't heard of CBI, but wanted to know more about it and it didn't make any difference in our professional relationship.

I say compare the companies, their philosophies, and their training styles, and see which ones matches up with your goals the best.
post #12 of 14
I took DONAs training, but didn't ultimately complete their certifying process. I also found their philophy of doula work more restricted than what I thought was effective and wanted to practice. I haven't even really been asked about it by clients and when I've explained my criteria in terms of experience and education, I don't think its been an issue. I'd suggest you get a training experience under your belt, and then just start practicing. Your experience, independent research, and proffessional childbirth connections will make you the most effective doula. Once you've gotten a few births under your belt, which come a lot more easily if you start out really cheap, people will hear that you've attended such and such amounts of birth and not care about certification. I'd advise you to do various forms of continuing education ie, taking a workshop or attending a conference from time to time.
post #13 of 14

Certification options

Certification is optional - there are no legal requirements anywhere in the world for a doula (birth or postpartum) to be formally trained and certified. You can choose to train and certify, work without any formal training, or opt for mentorship.

Mentorship involves finding an experienced doula who is prepared to have you attend the prenatal appointments and births of the clients she is working with for a period of time. It can be helpful to your confidence to see another doula working. However, it can be difficult to find women who are happy to another doula at their births who is just there to learn. Also, the presence of a less experienced doula can make it difficult for the mentor doula to focus solely on the needs of the birthing family.

Working without formal training and certification is an option that many doulas choose. You start promoting your services by word of mouth, advertising locally or on the internet, and begin working with pregnant women. If this is the option you choose it is helpful to begin networking within your local community to find out the options available to women and to build networks with local midwives, yoga teachers and clinics - wherever pregnant women may be going.

Certification and training can be beneficial in many ways. The first decision to make is what sort of training do you want to have. A weekend workshop will give you some hands on skills that you can practice in a group of other trainee doulas and a chance to get to know other doulas. The disadvantages is the limitations of how much can be covered in a weekend workshop, the need to wait for a workshop to run in your area, and the additional costs of travel, accommodation, meals and childcare. The other option is to choose a flexible learning or distance learning program. A flexible learning program gives you the opportunity to cover significantly more in your training and the time to absorb it and reflect on what you are learning. It may seem that this type of learning requires you to be more self motivated to finish your course, however most doula programs, regardless of whether they have a face to face component or not, require work to be done in your own time and therefore all require some degree of self motivation to complete the work.

When looking for a certification option these are some questions that you can ask yourself to see which organization is the right one for you.

What is the reputation of the organization? Ask on message boards and yahoo groups to see what others thought of the group they trained with.

How responsive is the organization? Write to them or call to see whether or not they are offering good customer service. If they respond quickly and are helpful this is a good indication of how much importance they put on customer service.

What does the training cover? Is there a component that specifically looks at communication (between doula and client, between health professionals etc)? Do they include a comprehensive section on physiology (the normal process of birth) and pathophysiology (when there are aspects of birth that are not normal)? Do they give you information on how to set up and establish your business?

Besides supporting women, what other requirements are there to complete certification? Most groups require some reading of books and will usually have a list of books to choose from. They may also require tests, essays or assignments, observation of childbirth classes or evaluations to be compelted by clients and caregivers.

Is there a time limit? Some groups have strict time limits when births and other certification requirements must be completed while others have no time limits. Can you start right away or are there specific dates when training takes place?

What sort of support do they have for their students? Is there a way of contacting other students for support? Does the trainer work with you only at the workshop, while you are completing the whole training process or continue to offer support even after you have finished your training?

Do they have a way for clients to find you through their website? Some organizations offer places where you can list your services and women can search for and contact you.

What additional costs are involved? Most organizations require you to be a member and recertify at regular intervals in order to maintain your certification. Alternatively you can choose an organization that does not require membership or recertification.

What is the philosophy of the organization? Make sure the philosophy of the training organization is one that you feel comfortable with. Do they have restrictions that you feel would not work for you? Do they have a philosophy that specifically supports evidence based care? What do they see as the roles and responsibilities of a doula and do these fit with your philosophy?

Good luck with your decision Mrsstice and congratulations on your pregnancy!

Nikki Macfarlane
Childbirth International
post #14 of 14
Random Clients never ask what company you are certified with, but the real reason to get certified by DONA is that you will get the most client referrals from DONA.
They are the most well known to the general public.

BTW, Certification is not a requirement to be a doula! But If you really care about getting certified go with an organization that you need to
re-certify every few years.

It is a very good thing that a Certifying organization requires that people with certifications does not have it in name only, that you maintain your education and stay current with continuing education.
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