There are some good threads on these boards regarding the CNM-CPM question. And about specific midwifery programs, too.
Here's are some about NCM:
How did I make the choice? Trial and error. And trial and error. And trial and trial and trial. I've been going back and forth on this CPM-CNM question for well over a decade.
I have experience working and apprenticing with CPMs. I was a student with NCM. Prior to that I was firmly in the CNM camp... but then I changed my mind. But now after doula work and midwife work and being on call 24/7/365, I'm back on the CNM path.
I wouldn't trade what I learned from my OOH birth experiences. And I hope someday in the future to be able to work in a midwifery practice in an OOH setting. But right now I'm committed to nurse-midwifery. If CNM programs had more access to OOH practices for students' clinical experiences (nearly an impossibility!) I think this route would be much better.
Where to start? Learn what you can, when you can.
Go to birth conferences and midwifery conferences.
Medical assistant training, CNA training, EMT training.
Lactation counseling training.
CPR, NRP training.
All those things form a good foundation - and will help in any midwifery program you pursue. Also, having some of these certifications/skills are a good way to get your foot in the door with a HB midwife.