What are the Certification Requirements?
Our certification program has 5 components: Social Learning; Mentored Group Support; Providing Labor Support; Affirmation of Doula’s Skills; and Reflective Practice.
We have shorter programs for Health Care Provider Doula Certification and Experienced Doula Certification. See below.
Attend the Childbirth for Professionals Course*
Attend the Birth Doula Training Workshop*
Attend the online Postpartum for Professionals Course
Take our infant feeding class OR Obtain a lactation credential OR attend a lactation workshop on our Recommended List. You can also ask if another training would meet the criteria.
*After completion of these two courses, the certification candidate can complete the rest of the criteria in any order they wish.
Mentored Group Support:
Participate in Certification Group Meetings online with your cohort. The first month is “Foundations of Practice”, which helps you to focus on your target clients; set up your paperwork; decide on a media/marketing strategy; your vision for your doula life; and preparation for client meetings. Foundations of Practice meets once a week for four weeks.
Two weeks after the last Foundations meeting, Book Club begins. Book Club meets six times and meetings are every two weeks. The first hour will cover book group discussion, and the second hour focuses on listening to your birth and client stories. You are responsible for making sure that the facilitator can tell that you read the book and thought about it during your discussion.
In Book Club, you’ll complete the Recommended Reading List, choosing a book from each group to discuss. Not everyone will have read the same book but the topic for the meeting will be the same.
Two weeks after your last Book Club, the Accountability and Growth phase begins. While each meeting has a structured topic, it is primarily designed to assist you, the new doula, to acclimate to your new doula life, and share birth stories in a confidential setting.
Provide Birth Doula Support:
Attend six births, at least four of them in person. If you do virtual support, we prefer at least one of them to be lengthy periods of time where you and the client in communication. That’s all. (We have no requirements about when to arrive, where to meet, what kind of birth outcome, etc. If you’re providing labor support and centering your client’s needs, that’s the criteria that matters to us. Our hope is that by requiring six births, you will have a variety of experiences.)
Write up a timeline or birth story that is no longer than two, single spaced, typed pages in 12 point readable font.
Affirmation of Doula Skills:
Share the Feedback Form from four parents who you served as their doula. (Whatever feedback questions you are asking parents, we want to read what they wrote to you.)
Submit four Nurse/Midwife Feedback Sheets from nurses or midwives who had the opportunity to observe you.
Observation or Interview: At any birth, you can be observed for two hours by a DTD certified doula and have them fill out the Observation Form. Observation can be in-person or virtual. If virtual, observations need to be in chunks of at least thirty minutes at a time where doula and client can be seen.) We included this for doulas who might want to bring along another doula. Alternately, you can choose to do a interview with one of our Certification staff members to talk about the births you’ve attended.
For each birth, submit a one to two page Reflection Sheet, answering six questions.
Accommodations to Accomplish Certification
If writing the six birth stories and Reflection sheets would be a barrier for you, you can submit a video or audio tape with your organized thoughts. Keep the total length of your tape to around sixty minutes, please no more than 75 minutes. We want to provide this service for people who have dyslexia or another disability, or do not communicate well in writing English. These should not be barriers to birth doula certification. If you need other accommodations that we haven’t anticipated, please call or email us.
What does your program cost? Do you have a payment plan?
When am I done with certification? When all the meetings are attended or all the paperwork has been received?
Great question! Let’s say you sign up for entire 13 meeting program. You attend all six meetings for Book Club and your Certification Coach is satisfied you read and thought about the book. You attend six births in the first five months and submit all the required information and paperwork. Once we have reviewed your submission, we will certify you as of that date. You do not have to wait until you are done with your Accountability group. The only required meetings are Book Club.
What if I’m not done with all my births when my group meetings are over? What happens then?
Everyone has an additional year after your last group meeting to complete the certification process. Let’s look at what might cause a delay. The only required meetings are the six Book Club meetings. If you miss one, you have plenty of options to make up that topic at another time with your own or another group leader. So, that requirement should not delay your certification. Neither should the infant feeding class requirement. So that means the delay would be because you aren’t attending births for some reason. If you got to the end of the second year and still were not done, you need to contact us and let us help you figure out a completion plan before the end of the third year.
Do I need to recertify? How long is my certification good for?
Yes. Certification is good for two years. After renewing twice, you are eligible for Lifetime Birth Doula Certification. Go to this page for Recertification details.
Is there a chance I might not get certified? What are my options?
If your birth story descriptions and reflection sheets are minimal or less detailed than we want, we’ll tell you what needs to change and give you the opportunity to resubmit it.
Only Book Club is required attendance; Foundations of Practice and Accountability and Growth are not mandatory attendance. If you miss a required Book Club, you can attend another Coach’s meeting on that book; wait and attend your coach’s meeting on that book with another group; use your bonus hour with your coach as a make up session; or pay your Coach’s fee for one on one time if you’ve used your bonus hour.
If we did not feel ready to stand by you as a doula, we would give you a specific reason or reasons. If the reason is that you are not demonstrating a reliable doula skill set, we would give you specific items to work on at your next several births. Those items might relate to emotional support, physical support, or communication skills. You can then submit additional birth stories, reflection papers, and observation forms.
If the reason has to do with questioning your ability to abide by our ethical standards, we will be clear with you about what our concerns are. Our goal is to give you the benefit of the doubt and nurture you. We need to balance that by maintaining the integrity of what we stand for and the quality of doula we want DTD to represent. It is possible that there might be an ethical conflict that we cannot agree on. However, I (Amy) think it would be unusual not to have a conflict like that surface much earlier in your training period.
Health Care Provider or Established Doula Certification: $300.00
Attend the Childbirth for Professionals Course*, the Birth Doula Training Workshop* and the Postpartum for Professionals Course.
Obtain a lactation credential, provide evidence of lactation training at your work site or attend an infant feeding or lactation workshop on our Recommended List.
Mentored Group Support consists of six weeks of Book Club only
Provide Birth Doula Support by attend six births. Write up a timeline or birth story that is no longer than two, single spaced, typed pages. Note: If you possess clinical skills and want to use them with clients (i.e. monitrice support), we ask that at least half of the births use “doula only” strategies. We want you to compare the two types of support experiences.
Reflection: For each birth, submit a one to two page Reflection sheet, answering 6 questions. See “Reflection After A Birth”.
Affirmation of Doula Skills:
Share your Feedback Form from four parents who you served as their doula.
Submit four Feedback Sheets from nurses or midwives who had the opportunity to observe you.
At any birth, be observed for two hours by a DTD certified doula and have them fill out the Observation Form (observation can be virtual or in-person) OR do an interview with Dr. Amy Gilliland to talk about the births you’ve attended.
Group Learning: Complete the Recommended Reading List, choosing a book from each of the six groups to discuss in your Certification Group Meeting.