Training to become a midwife takes both time and commitment. Whether you need to study before your midwifery degree, it will take between three and four years to qualify.
But before you give up, consider this:
No matter how old you are now, in four years’ time you’ll be four years older. Whether you studied to be a midwife or not.
If midwifery is something you really want to do then the only thing stopping you, is you.
Midwifery is so much more than a job. You will support families throughout the pregnancy as well as potentially being involved in the birth.
It is a role that can have some tough days and some anti-social hours. But you also get to play a part in helping people become parents and create families. Which is pretty special.
There’s also a shortage of midwives within the NHS at present so it’s a good time to join the profession.
Is Midwifery right for me?
While age isn’t a factor, you need to make sure the role is right for you as it’s one that requires considerable commitment.
It also requires no small amount of studying to become qualified too.
Of all the qualities a midwife must possess, possibly the most important is the capacity for empathy and to show they care about their patients.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be an anxious – even scary – experience so putting the patients in your care at ease is so important. Essential when trying to deliver a baby safely. New mothers in particular will require a lot of advice and support from you as their midwife.
Midwives are required to work with people from all walks of life, and with different needs and challenges. The ability to relate and get on well with all people is essential to doing your job effectively.
You will also need be aware and respectful of the social and cultural context in which each birth is taking place.
To be a midwife you must also be able to cope with challenging days as well as the good ones. Unfortunately, some days will be distressing and upsetting and you need to be able to cope with that, both in the moment and later, once the adrenaline has worn off.
You need the emotional strength to deal with that and turn up to work the next day ready and capable to do your best all over again.
It also helps if you have a strong stomach. Blood and other bodily fluids are part of the job so if the thought of that makes you squeamish, then perhaps midwifery isn’t right for you.
If, however, you feel you can cope with all of the above – and more – then you’ve found your true calling.
How to become a Midwife
Depending on your skills, experience and qualification the route to midwifery can vary.
If you worked as a midwife in the past then you can enrol on to a Return to Practice programme. This is designed to assess your knowledge and skill level and get you up to speed.
How long the course takes will be dictated by the knowledge gap. However, once you’ve passed you can re-join the NMC and get a job.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to study an approved degree in midwifery at university, or a midwifery degree apprenticeship. Like any other apprenticeship you combine studying and working.
To get on to a midwifery degree you will need three A Levels as well as supporting GCSEs (including grade C(4) in maths and English.
The A Levels you’ll need vary from one university to the next as they are allowed to set their own entry requirements.
However, most common A Levels include biology, chemistry, sociology, and psychology in one combination or another. Competition to get on to midwifery courses is quite fierce, so the higher the grades you have the better.
Depending on your existing qualifications you have a few options:
- The first is if you don’t have GCSEs in maths or English you can either take those courses – which can take up to two years. Alternatively, you can study Functional Skills qualifications.
These focus on the practical applications of both subjects and can be completed in a few months.
- Secondly, if you don’t have the required A Levels – or the grades – then you can either study those A Levels or take an Access to Higher Education Diploma in midwifery.
Both approaches to gaining the relevant qualifications are valid and both will get you on to your chosen midwifery course.
However, the approaches are different. A Levels are courses dedicated to their chosen subjects. So, while you will learn about human biology as part of A Level Biology, you will learn about other elements of biology that may not be pertinent to your career choice.
An Access to Higher Education Diploma in Midwifery is focused solely on giving you all the information you need to start studying midwifery at degree level.
Arguably the downside is you don’t get that wider education. However, in terms of getting the knowledge and qualification you need to start your training, it really can’t be beaten.
Especially as you can gain your qualification in 9 months if you can commit the time.
Starting your career as a Midwife
Whether you choose to study A Levels or an Access to HE Diploma, you can do so from home thanks to online learning providers.
This allows you to study at your own pace and complete the course as quickly as you want. Furthermore, because you can enrol and start studying right away, you don’t need to wait for term to start.
The only thing you do need to consider is when exams are held however you can check that and plan your studies once you’ve enrolled.
Once you are enrolled you can access all of your learning material via the student portal. You can then work through it when it fits in with you. The only timetable you need to worry about is your own.
You will also get dedicated tutor support. They will be available to answer questions as well as mark and provide feedback on your assignments.
All you need to do is enrol.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is one of the UK’s leading distance learning providers. To learn more about our Access to Higher Education Diploma in Midwifery, click the link below. Alternatively, get in touch with a member of the sales team.
For helpful study tips and to learn more about distance learning, check out our blog.