Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get from prospective students. Is your question not answered here? Contact us at [email protected].
What makes Birthwise Midwifery School different?
At Birthwise Midwifery School we honor the rich history of midwifery tradition and blend it with new evidence and current research to ensure our graduates are up to date in their practice. We offer:
Hands-on instruction and skill building. Students take several Skills courses to practice the hands-on art of midwifery with our Birthwise faculty. Our extensive testing will prepare you for the skills proficiency section of the NARM certification exam. Preceptors often tell us how well-prepared our students are compared to students from other schools.
Flexible education options. You can choose our Campus Option, taking classes on our campus in Bridgton, Maine, for 4.5 semesters, then doing a preceptorship for 1.5 semesters in a location you choose. Or you can choose our low-residency Community Option, coming to our campus for a two-week academic intensive two to three times per semester, and starting your preceptorship where you live starting in semester 1 or 2.
Research for and by midwives. Research helps improve our practice as midwives. You will conduct a large research project on a topic you choose in your senior year. We publish a biannual journal, Midwifery Matters (link), that highlights research conducted by direct-entry midwives on topics relevant to the practice. You can submit your senior research project for consideration.
Breaking down academic barriers. Formal higher education isn’t right for everyone. It can also be hard for people to access. We know having a degree doesn’t impact your ability to be an excellent midwife. That’s why we require only a high school degree or equivalent for admission to our school. Our students earn a Certificate of Traditional Midwifery, not a formal degree. If you’re interested in obtaining a degree, we’ve partnered with Goddard College (link) to apply your Birthwise coursework toward an undergraduate or graduate degree.
MEAC accreditation and leadership. Our accreditation by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council helps our students gain licensure from states that require graduation from a MEAC program. Our staff and leadership have served on the MEAC board of directors and volunteered as reviewers almost since the organization started. In 2020, our executive director helped design and implement a comprehensive review of equity and justice standards at MEAC schools as co-chair of the MEAC Equity and Diversity committee. We have helped shape and improve standards that elevate direct-entry midwifery education.
Improved access for students. We accept federal financial aid (link), the GI Bill and Americorps funding. All of this allows more people to access a Birthwise education. We also accept international students under the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), with many students from Canada and other countries graduating from Birthwise. All of this allows more people to access a Birthwise education.
What qualities are you looking for in a student?
Highly engaged and motivated. Birthwise students are self directed and independent. Our faculty engage students in the integration, application and discussion of the materials students encounter in their reading and assignments.
Determined and resilient. Midwifery is hard work — physically, mentally and emotionally. Direct-entry midwives operate in a medical system that historically discredits and marginalizes their work. They often engage in local and national politics to fight for their right to practice and their clients’ rights to access the care they provide. Direct-entry midwives also often own their own practices. They must develop business acumen in addition to their midwifery skills.
Compassionate advocates. Midwives are uniquely poised to serve vulnerable communities within a medical system that is rife with discrimination and racism, which have real impacts on the health and lives of birthing people and their families. They must push the field to address this discrimination and racism. They must have immense compassion for their clients and colleagues to ensure all pregnant people receive compassionate and skillful midwifery care.
What prerequisites are required to enroll at Birthwise?
You can find a list of prerequisites on our Midwifery Program page.
What is the application deadline?
Applications open in early fall for the Campus Option mid-winter for the Community Option. You’ll find specific dates on our Admissions page.
What are the differences between the Campus and Community options?
The Campus and Community Options are two different paths through the same program. The difference between these two options is where students live and how much time they spend on campus. Compare our programs.
What are Birthwise’s graduation requirements?
To graduate, you must complete academic credits and pass final class exams with a grade of 80 percent or higher. You must also complete clinical requirements through a preceptorship — hands on training with a midwife where you put your academic and clinical knowledge into practice. Read about our graduation requirements.
What is a preceptorship?
The preceptorship integrates the theoretical and hands-on learning you do in the classroom at Birthwise, and prepares you to begin your practice as a midwife.
How much does it cost to attend Birthwise?
Tuition for the entire program — for both the Campus and Community options — is $42,000. Learn more about tuition and fees
You will also incur costs for housing, food, travel, books and personal expenses. If you choose to sit for the Certified Professional Midwife exam, you will also need to pay those costs. Read about tuition and fees.
Does Birthwise offer Financial Aid?
Yes. Birthwise is a Title IV fund receiving school. To determine if you are eligible to receive Federal Student Aid you will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Please contact our Financial Aid Officer, Sarah Paul, [email protected] if you have questions.
Does Birthwise offer scholarships?
Yes. We have two scholarships: The Midwives of Color Scholarship, and the Underserved Communities Scholarship. Both include a tuition reduction and a books/materials stipend. Tuition reductions are based on student need. More information is coming about this program.
Does Birthwise provide housing?
No. You are responsible for arranging your own housing whether you are in the Campus Option or Community Option. Get Housing Information at Birthwise
What is Bridgton, Maine like?
Bridgton is a small, rural town in the Lakes Region of Western Maine. The Birthwise campus is a short walk to Highland lake, a 10 minute drive to Shawnee Peak ski resort, a 30 minute drive to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and a one hour drive to Maine’s largest city, Portland. More about Bridgton.
Can I practice as a CPM in my state?
How and where CPMs decide to practice is a very personal decision. Please consider where you would like to practice and investigate the statutes regulating midwifery in that state. Midwives Alliance of North America has a list of the legal status of direct-entry midwives in each state on their website.
Can I apply previous education or experience to my Birthwise graduation requirements?
Yes. Students can apply previous education or midwifery experience to graduation requirements. We call this advanced status. Learn more about Advanced Status