Choosing to become a midwife is a decision that will lead you into a career like no other. Yes, it will be challenging and yes it will take considerable determination and commitment. Though once qualified, you will perform duties that will see new mothers and families adapt and embrace life as parents as you help them bring new babies into the world.
It’s undeniably a career that positions you to witness some of life’s most incredible and joyous moments, but to care for mothers in such a drastic transformation period, and deliver their babies safely, you will need a high level of training.
If you’ve just started looking into how to become a midwife in the UK, one thing you absolutely need is a degree in midwifery. Though the route to study midwifery courses, UK residents, can look different for everyone. This is because there are a number of ways to meet university entry requirements or transfer into midwifery if you’ve studied something similar.
You will also need a specific set of skills and personal traits to succeed as a UK midwife. To help, we’ve made a comprehensive list of all that is required for this highly rewarding career.
There are many personal qualities and skills needed to be a midwife. Without these, you may struggle to handle the emotional and physical aspects of the job or be in tune with the needs of the expectant mothers in your care.
Desirable skills and character traits for midwifery include:
Midwives need to be well educated to be able to perform the medical checkups and observations needed to monitor the health of the baby and mother, as well as help during the birth as required.
To qualify as a midwife in the UK, you need to study midwifery university courses, but there are a number of qualifications you will need to reach this level of education. There are also various ways you can complete your midwifery degree, depending on how you prefer to learn and the qualifications you currently hold.
When applying for midwifery university courses, the university won’t just be taking college-level qualifications into consideration, they will want to make sure you gained a solid foundation knowledge at school too.
GCSEs are the traditional way to demonstrate this knowledge. Most midwifery degree courses will want to see you have at least a grade C/4 in Maths and English, perhaps even a Science.
If you don’t have the GCSEs for midwifery courses, you can opt to study their qualification equivalent by taking a Functional Skills course. Available for Maths and English, they can be completed in a matter of weeks or months, so are a quick way of ticking this box on the entry requirements list.
The next thing midwifery university courses will want to see is a Level 3 qualification or equivalent. This traditionally is in the form of A Levels, but there are other alternatives if you don’t have them.
The A Levels midwifery degree courses typically want you to have include Biology, Chemistry, Sociology or Psychology, though each university can stipulate the qualifications they want you to have.
If you don’t have the A Levels for midwifery, you can complete an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery) or opt to take a Foundation Year in a midwifery degree. Both options focus on giving you the scientific grounding needed to prepare for midwifery study at the university level, and both can be completed in one year.
Once you are ready to apply to university, you will have the option of studying a regular degree that encompasses mostly study with mandatory work placements, or you can complete a midwifery degree apprenticeship which is mostly workplace learning.
The choice is yours depending on how you prefer to learn, however, both degree types must be accredited by the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).
Upon completion, you will be able to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council and pursue a role as a midwife.
If you’ve already studied a degree, you could potentially be eligible to study postgraduate midwifery courses. These are offered at various levels, either a postgraduate certificate (PGCert), postgraduate diploma (PGDip) or Masters (MSc).
You need to have studied a degree relevant to midwifery, if you have, you can complete an intensive postgraduate midwifery conversion course that will qualify you for a role as a midwife.
If you’re an NMC-registered nurse, this is an even shorter process, with conversion courses taking less than two years to complete.
You may be a qualified midwife who, for whatever reason, has taken a break from work that was long enough to lapse your professional registration. If this is you, you can get back to work with new and expectant mothers by completing a Return to Practice (RtP) midwifery course.
These return to midwifery courses help to update your skills and knowledge, so you can get back to work and perform your duties in line with current best practice. How long you have been out of work as a midwife will determine the gap in your knowledge and the length of the course you will need to complete.
Besides personal qualities, skills and qualifications, there are certain other requirements you need to have to work as a midwife in the UK.
To be allowed to practise as a midwife in the UK, midwives have to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The NMC is the professional regulator of nurses and midwives in the UK, and nursing associates in England. This is to ensure the health and wellbeing of the public is protected and standards are set for education, training, conduct and performance.
You will also need to undergo the strongest type of criminal record check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). All healthcare professionals in the UK must go through this process, this is because your role in healthcare commands such a great deal of trust from the public.
Once you get qualified and are registered with the NMC, you need to complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to maintain your license and registration. Professional midwives must complete 35 hours of CPD relevant to their work as a midwife within three years of their registration last being renewed, or when they joined the register to be eligible for revalidation.
Of these 35 hours, 20 must be participatory training. The type of training besides this isn’t specified, nor does it have to take place in a classroom. As such, there are many convenient online courses that can help you meet your CPD requirements.
If you’re ready to start working towards becoming a midwife, Stonebridge Associated Colleges can help you take the next step. Our online Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery) will help you get on the fast track to working as a midwife.
As this course is studied completely online, you are able to progress through the course faster than would be possible in other forms of education. In fact, the majority of Stonebridge students finish their Access to HE Diploma in 9-12 months, so are ready to apply to university within a year!
Find out more by talking with our Course Executives today. They can run you through the modules of the course and help you get enrolled.