How Long Does It Take To Become A Doula

Last Updated on January 17, 2023

Doulas are incredibly skilled at helping expectant women achieve a healthy pregnancy. Becoming an expecting woman’s support system requires certifications, mandatory trainings, and experience that takes several years to accumulate. To learn more about how long it takes to become a doula, keep reading.

Our team is passionate about the work that doulas do in the childbirth world. We understand just how difficult childbirth can be, especially when birthing with no one to support you through it. This infographic breaks down for you a quick breakdown of how long it generally takes to become a Doula. I wanted to become a doula because after five deliveries and many years in the secondary labor market as a journalist, I was searching for a more meaningful way to help pregnant people’s families. And I found it. The good news is that becoming a doula is easy and fun. Nine months of preparation should be enough time to fit it into your life.

At the moment, we have been doing this for a number of years, but it isn’t just a day’s thing. It takes hours and hours to read any book, more than most people commit to reading it. The same goes for coaching and safety classes, workbook testing, continuing education, and everything really. While we understand that you want to become a doula as fast as possible, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve your goal, we ask that you take it one step at a time.

Average Length of Doula Study Typically, a birth doula needs to finish 7 to 12 hours of childbirth education, 16 hours of birth doula training, and attend at two to five births. A postpartum doula usually attends about 27 hours of postpartum doula education and assists two or more women with postpartum support.

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How Long Does It Take To Become A Doula

Here's How to Become a Doula

A doula provides information, physical and emotional support, and advocacy for women and their partners during and after the birth process. Unlike other practitioners such as obstetricians, nurses, and midwives, those with doula training do not give medical advice or have clinical duties. However, they provide critical support and assistance during labor and birth, making the process easier for the midwife and the mother-to-be.

how much do doulas make, cheapest way to become a certified doula, should I do a doula quiz, doula training international, and so much more. Endeavour you take out time to surf through our catalog for ample information on the aforementioned topics and related ones as well.

There are many different certifications and levels of education that you can accomplish as a doula. The job market is becoming more selective and requiring doulas to have at least some level of certification. Some research has shown this may help clients have better outcomes. In addition, training enables you to continue learning about various birth and postpartum issues as your career progresses. This can be beneficial as technology advances and women have more options for their care.

Online Doula Training

How Long It Takes to Become a Doula

Becoming a doula takes dedication, determination, and self-motivation.  The time it takes to become a doula depends on whether you choose to be a certified or non-certified doula.  A certified doula takes longer to train because she has to meet the requirements of the certification organization.

Becoming a certified doula is not required to practice as a doula.  However, getting a certification adds to your credentials and gives you an edge in the job market.  Because it takes more time to become a certified doula than a non-certified doula, take into consideration how much time you have available to train before making your decision.

steps to becoming a doula

To become a certified birth doula, she needs to complete the requirements of the certification granting program.  These requirements involve reading training literature, attending multiple births, attending training workshops and classes, and writing essays.

As an example, let’s look at the time it takes to fulfill the requirements from DONA International:

  • Attending a Breastfeeding class takes 1 day.
  • Attending an Introduction to Childbirth class takes 1 day.
  • Attending a DONA approved birth doula workshop takes 2 to 3 days for 8 or 9 hours each day.
  • Providing birth labor services to 3 clients can take a few weeks to several months depending on how quickly you can find and schedule your clients to support them during birth
  • Reading 7 doula training books typically takes an hour a day.
  • Viewing an online seminar takes a few hours.
  • Writing an essay on birth doulas takes a few hours.
  • Compiling a list of prenatal resources available locally in your area takes 1 to 2 days.
  • Obtaining written references from healthcare professional takes can take a few days depending on how quickly your references respond.

As you can see, the process of becoming a certified doula can take up to several months to a year to complete, especially if you have a family to take care of during your training. It takes work and effort, but the rewards are well worth it when a mother thanks you for helping her through her labor and birth.

The Complete Doula Training Program, whether you’re looking to become a birth doula or postpartum doula, is a comprehensive education for empowering women to birth and raise their babies naturally. Join Kelly for this condensed training program that prepares you with the core knowledge, skills, and confidence to empower women during one of life’s most transformative experiences. It is not a technical program where you sit and listen to lectures on birth but instead it gives you the information you need while at the same time giving you the necessary practical training experience.

Is It Hard to Become a Doula

How Long is Doula Training to Become a Non-Certified Doula?

It takes much less time to be a non-certified doula because there are no formal requirements to fulfill. Typically, she reads training literature and attends births in order to gain experience.  This takes a few weeks to complete.  The career path to a non-certified doula is much more flexible and allows you to train at your own pace.

How long it takes to get your doula certification

All doula training programs have a similar structure and can range in how long you have to complete them. Some have a 12 month maximum, and some have no time limit for completion.

Most doula training consists of a one or two day training course, and then a list of requirements for the final certification. Depending on the doula’s motivation and availability, it could take as little as one month, or as long as a couple of years.

I am breaking down the requirements for 5 major doula certification organizations below, but here is the general idea how long it will take to get your doula certification. 

Doula training program

To start the path of being a certified labor doula, you need an initial training program. Doula training is available online and self-paced, through in-person workshops, or a mix of the two.

This training will teach you all about what a doula does, and how to support your clients. You’ll learn comfort measures, how to provide physical and emotional support, labor and birth physiology, the basics to get a doula business up and running, and a few other topics, depending on which organization you choose. 

Attend and evaluate 2 or 3 births

Technically, there are no training requirements to be a doula. The doula industry is not medical, and therefore, it is not regulated. Anyone can say “Hey, I am a doula,” and they are a doula. 

We definitely do NOT suggest doing that. Getting trained and certified as a doula benefits your clients and your business. However, after you complete a comprehensive training program, you can start attending births. 

All organizations require you to attend 2 or 3 births as the primary doula. You will either submit your self-reflections, or ask your client to fill out an evaluation of their experience with you. 

Required reading, quizzes, assignments, etc.

Each organization differs on the additional requirements for certification, which will affect how long it takes you to complete. You can expect to be assigned a fair amount of reading, writing, studying, creating documents, and even practical applications of your skills.

How Long It Takes To Become A Doula Is Up To You

It takes however long you want it to take! There are training and certification programs to suit every need, lifestyle, and method of delivery.

Let’s take a look at each one below.

Comparison of Doula Training Organizations

100% Online?YesNoYesNoYes
Birth RequirementsAttend 2 births as primary doula; Provide prenatal & postpartum support for at least 1Attend 2 birthsAttend 3 birthsAttend 3 births within 12 monthsAttend 2 births as primary doula within 12 months of registering
Client EvaluationsNot required (self-reflection only)3333
Childbirth CourseAudit one course seriesAudit one course seriesNot requiredNot requiredAudit one course series
Lactation CourseNot requiredAudit one course seriesNot requiredNot requiredNot required
Resource ListYesYesYesNot requiredYes
Assignments2 communication reflections; 1 physiology module evaluation1 essay and a business webinarOnline content to be completedNot required2 essays
ExamsBirth physiology examsNot requiredOpen book examsNot requiredNot required
ReadingsCritique 2 podcasts, videos, or articlesPosition papers and 7 books2 booklets and 5 booksVariesVaries
Letter of RecommendationNot requiredProfessional references from a client and a health professional Not required3 references, one must be video interviewedNot required
Time LimitNone4 years from workshop2 years from workshop18 months from workshop12 months to complete required participation in online forums
OtherNoneWebinar on businessNonePersonal video interviews; First Aid courseInfant/Child CPR certification; business strategy
Becoming a Doula—Expert advice at doula training & certification

Doula Training Near Me

Continuing Education for Doulas

Being a doula, it is important to keep up your education and training. There are many options for additional doula training and specialization, all of which can contribute to a higher doula salary.

The two I would ABSOLUTELY recommend taking as a career doula are:

Advanced VBAC Doula Training

Many of your clients are going to have had a prior Cesarean and the reality is, basic doula training does not cover VBAC facts and essential information at nearly enough depth. 

To get a full understanding of what you and your clients are up against, and become 100% confident supporting VBAC parents, consider taking our Advanced VBAC Doula Certification.

Stillbirthday Birth & Bereavement Doula Training

Stillbirthday training is essential. You never know when you are going to have a client that has a pregnancy loss. Knowing how to support that need is critical for both yourself and your client. 

Be prepared for it ahead of time because learning while pregnancy loss is happening is one of the hardest things you might have to do as a doula. 

There are also many less intensive training courses that can teach you about using a rebozo during labor, how essential oils can help with common pregnancy ailments, how to use a TENS unit as a labor tool, and everything you can imagine. 

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