How to Become a Midwife in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding midwives. You must have a nursing degree to be licensed to practice midwifery in the state. Midwives without a nursing degree, known as direct-entry midwives, are not recognized in Pennsylvania. Although the state cannot prohibit midwives at home births, direct-entry midwives could face prosecution if something goes wrong.

Things You'll Need

  • Nursing degree
  • Graduate education in midwifery
  • Become a licensed, registered nurse. You can become a registered nurse with a baccalaureate in nursing or through a diploma or associate degree program. If you don't have a nursing degree, Pennsylvania requires you to complete your nursing education before you enroll in a midwifery education program. After successfully finishing a nursing program, follow the requirements of the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine to become a licensed nurse.

  • Apply to a nurse-midwifery education program. Pennsylvania has nurse-midwifery programs available at Philadelphia University and the University of Pennsylvania. You can also take an online course through the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. All three schools are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education and offer a Master's of Science in Midwifery. You must be a licensed registered nurse and hold a bachelor's degree for admission with a 3.0 grade point average. The programs are generally two years.

  • Pass a licensure examination given by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Apply to take the exam and pay an exam fee. You must have a graduate degree to qualify for the exam. The certificate is valid for eight years. To be recertified, you must take continuing education classes and keep up with all license maintenance requirements.

  • Submit an application for a nurse-midwife license, along with the required fee, to the Pennsylvania Medical Board. The state license allows you to legally practice as a midwife in Pennsylvania. You can also apply for a prescriptive authority certificate which gives you permission to prescribe medicines as a nurse-midwife in Pennsylvania. To qualify for this certificate, you need a master's degree plus 45 hours of coursework in advanced pharmacology.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you decide to practice midwifery in Pennsylvania without a license, be aware that you can be charged with the felony of practicing midwifery without a license. A conviction could carry a prison sentence of approximately two years.

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