Doulaing the DoulaBirth Doula Training and Certification


Welcome to our Certification Process!

Our goal is to provide you with a process that is PERSONAL, MEANINGFUL, and ACHIEVABLE as well as setting a standard for the profession. We believe that attendance at births, working with clients, interaction with peers and mentors, and reflecting on each experience are the best strategies for doula learning and growth after the workshop phase.

What are we looking for when Doulaing The Doula offers certification?  What do we mean by certification?

We are certifying that you have shown us through observation or interaction that you possess the appropriate emotional and physical support skill set as a doula; you understand and will abide by the DTD description of a doula’s standards of practice and code of ethics; you are showing signs of predictable growth as a doula; and we know you as a person and an aspiring doula.

We identify you as one of our alumni by a branded photo ID badge and photo directory on this web site; and we will listen and explore with you any complaint a client or health care professional has about your behavior in the future.

What do I have to do in order to be a Doulaing The Doula certified birth doula?

Our certification program has 5 components: Social Learning; Mentored Group Support; Providing Labor Support; Affirmation of Doula’s Skills; and Reflective Practice.  [PDF of Graphic]

Summary of Requirements to complete Birth Doula Certification:

  • Attend the Childbirth for Professionals*; Birth Doula Training*; and Postpartum for Professionals courses
  • Attend a four hour or longer infant feeding class by a lactation professional OR obtain a lactation credential
  • Sign and agree to follow our Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
  • Attend six births where you provide labor support; write/video a birth story summarizing what happened
  • Provide positive parent feedback forms and nurse/midwife Observation Sheets from four of the six births
  • Reflect on what you learned at the births by filling out six Reflection Sheets
    Be observed for two hours by a DTD Certified doula or discuss your births for one hour with a Certification Coach
  • Attend six bi-monthly small group meetings to discuss a book read on a particular topic (choice of books for each topic)
  • Attend four weekly small group meetings to set up your doula practice and nine monthly meetings to support your growth (optional for Health Care Providers and Experienced Doulas)
  • If you need accommodations in order to complete the written requirements, you can complete them by submitting video or audio files. We are disability friendly, “neurodivergent” friendly, immigrant friendly, and more. We want to work with you to validate your doula skills.

*After attending these two courses, the certification candidate can begin to attend births. The rest of the requirements can be completed in any order.  Yes, you can attend births before signing up for our certification program and still have them count. Our Experienced Doula and Health Care Provider certification does not require group interaction beyond the six meetings for Book Club.  Your certification benefits are the same and the cost is less because it does not include the intensive mentoring components.

What do I receive when I sign up for the process? When I complete the process?

Doula doing knee press and eye contact with client

When you sign up for certification, you will receive:

  • A copy of the Doula Business Guide Workbook by Patty Brennan
  • Thirteen months of mentoring from a qualified Certification Coach (four “Foundation” weekly sessions to set up your practice; six bi-monthly sessions to discuss books and births “Book Club”; nine monthly sessions to discuss topics relevant to doula work and receive support)
  • Debriefing and support sessions to discuss the births you attend (part of your group mentoring sessions)
  • One hour of one on one time with your Certification Coach to be spent how you wish
  • Observation sheets for births
  • Identify yourself as a Doulaing The Doula “trainee” , “doula in training” or “certification candidate” in your media and self description
  • One year’s free listing with photo and “trainee” Certification status in our online, searchable, doula directory (provides identification for hospital entry)[1]
  • Discounts on online and in person courses offered by Amy Gilliland or Doulaing The Doula
  • Twice monthly discounts for a Doulaing the Doula t-shirt or favorite item on TeePublic
  • Doulaing The Doula unscented bath salts for self care
  • Fun and useful Doulaing The Doula swag

When you complete initial certification, you will receive:

  • A frameable certificate recognizing your achievement
  • An electronic copy of your certificate
  • The credential of Certified Birth Doula, or CBD to use after your name
  • A laminated photo ID badge and lanyard for secure identification
  • One year’s free listing with photo and Certification status in our online, searchable, doula directory (provides additional identification for hospital entry)[1]
  • The privilege to observe other doulas who are in the process of certifying with DTD (either virtually or in person) and affirm and nurture their skills by filling out the Observation Form
  • Our continued support and possible mediation if there is a parent/doula or facility/doula conflict that requires discussion or mediation
  • Fun and useful Doulaing The Doula swag

[1] After one year, the listing will have a nominal fee.

Where Can I Read All The Details?  What Happens If I Don’t Finish?

Sounds like you are ready and want to explore Doulaing The Doula certification in detail. Here’s ALL the details.

How much does your certification program cost?

We have two prices for the exact same program: a support our mission price and an affordable price. If you can pay $1000.00 for our program, that’s wonderful. It’s what we feel it is worth and $1000 fully supports our mission. We wish everyone could pay that price. But not everyone can. So we have an affordable price of $500.00 and a payment plan to break that down into two or four payments.  Cost details are available on this page.

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.

How Do You Justify Your Certification Process? What makes it a legitimate way to certify doulas?

  1. I know YOU. My assistants and I spend time with you during your training period.  By the time we are done, we’ve spent almost forty hours together.  We can build on that relationship to continue to nurture you through your first clients, structuring your practice, and developing your doula skill set.   
  2. Our process is research based, grounded in the sixty plus doula interviews I’ve (Dr. Gilliland) conducted. We want you to exhibit the skills you were taught in your training when you are supporting clients. We are asking your clients, some nurses, and another DTD certified doula to affirm for us that you do possess these skills. 
  3. My published research also shows that birth doulas grow in skill level by attending births and reflecting on what they learned at each birth. Our certification steps align naturally with this process of doula development. When we read your reflection papers or other’s observations, or talk with you about doula work, we are looking for specific themes. These themes are consistently present in interviews with doulas. The presence of these ideas or questions means that you are on the correct trajectory on your growth as a doula. 
  4. Another pattern was that newer doulas got through the predictable challenges of the novice and advanced beginner stages when they had support from others and felt a sense of community. Our model is designed to help you to connect with others and build your own birth support system.
  5. We know humans like social learning, storytelling, and connection. People get more done when they are accountable to other people. Doulas need supportive relationships with other doulas to thrive. So our certification process spends several months in interactive groups, covering the required reading and structuring what you need to get started.