how to become a postpartum doula

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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how to become a postpartum doula

Doula Education and Careers

Learn how to become a doula with the right education program.

doula practices massage on expectant mother

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.

Career Overview

“Doula” is a word coined from ancient Greek, meaning “a woman who serves.” And whether a doula is male or female, that is what a professional with doula training does—helps the mother and her family during birth or the postpartum period.

A birth doula provides emotional support during labor and assists with breathing, positioning and relaxation. A postpartum doula supports the entire family during the transition of caring for a new baby, providing education and information as well as newborn care and household assistance. Doulas may be hired directly by clients, they may work for a clinic or hospital, or they may be volunteers.

Education for Doulas

What You’ll Study in Doula School

If you’re wondering how to become a doula, the answer is easy: certification and doula training. A birth doula must attend childbirth education, breastfeeding and birth doula classes, as well as observe a specified number of births. A postpartum doula also studies principles of home visitation and how to care for infants and mothers. Both types of doula will learn about cultural diversity, ethics and business practices.

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. Some distance learning programs are available.

Average Doula School Tuition

Childbirth education and doula training courses generally cost between $300 and $500 total. There may also be additional expenses associated with breastfeeding classes, reading materials, organization membership, and certification fees.

Doula Certification

Doula certification is available from doula training programs and childbirth education organizations, such as DONA International or Birth Arts International. Though it’s not always required, certification can open up a wider range of job opportunities and instill confidence in your clients. In particular, if you are looking for work with a hospital or birth center, you will need to hold appropriate professional credentials.

Career Outlook

The career forecast is positive for those with doula training. Midwives and nurse-midwives are in increasing demand, with the practice of nurse-midwifery legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The American College of Nurse-Midwives reports that their goal was to have 20% of non-Cesarean births attended by nurse-midwives by 2020. DONA International, which is just one of several professional doula organizations, has more than 6,000 members from around the world.

Doula Salary

A doula’s salary varies greatly depending on geographic location, how much training and experience you have, and how many hours of work you do per week. However, fees for birth doulas generally run between $250 and $1000. You can search for nurse midwife salaries by state here:Nurse Midwives

National data

Median Salary: $111,130

Bottom 10%: $67,710

Top 10%: $179,770

Projected job growth: 11.3%

State data

StateMedian SalaryBottom 10%Top 10%
District of Columbia$83,010$58,350$125,170
New Hampshire$114,350$88,820$153,860
New Jersey$117,320$89,680$153,330
New Mexico$109,140$78,370$135,700
New York$119,250$88,760$169,010
North Carolina$103,340$72,300$132,510
Rhode Island$108,840$72,880$144,770
West Virginia$128,170$60,630$180,820

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

how long does it take to become a postpartum doula

CAPPA Certified Postpartum Doula Training
The two day (18 hour) training course is the first step to becoming a certified postpartum doula. 


The Postpartum Doula is a trained professional that offers physical, emotional and spiritual support to a new family after the birth of their baby. Postpartum Doulas also offer breastfeeding support, household maintenance, family nurturing and instruction to mom and/or other family members in the care of a newborn. The Postpartum Doula’s job is to make the transition to parenthood easier for new parents, to help mom during her recovery period, and to ascertain what the family needs help with and provide the instruction. 
The main objective of the Postpartum Doula’s role is not to take over complete care of the newborn, but to educate and support the family so that they will feel empowered to care for their newborn themselves.

The training will cover:

  • Scope of Practice for Postpartum Doula
  • Informed consent
  • Interventions impact on the postpartum period
  • Supporting parents in the immediate postpartum period
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Baby care techniques
  • Calming and soothing techniques
  • Postpartum Mood Disorders and support available
  • SIDS/Back to Sleep Campaign
  • Grief/Loss Support
  • Incorporating family members into the care of the newborn
  • Listening and communication skills
  • Record keeping and contracts
  • Creating and marketing your business
  • Networking solutions
  • Much, much more!!​

Registration is now open for 2022! All Labour and Postpartum Doula Trainings are currently
​taking place virtually through our online platform. 

Ready to take a leap into a new and exciting career?
Register today for any of our training sessions.

Once you are registered in your chosen training via the links above, please send payment. Training fee is $572.25 ( includes manual, GST and one year CAPPA membership)  Late Registration ( less than 10 days prior to training date) is $603.75 ​Payment can be sent to [email protected], no password is required. At this time, we cannot accept credit card.​What is your refund policy?

If the workshop is cancelled due to low registrants, you will be given the option to transfer your payment to the next session offered. If you must cancel your registration prior to the training seminar, you may apply your payment to another training workshop offered by the same CAPPA faculty member within a 12 month period. Other than stated above, the training is non-refundable. 

Please note, cancelling your registration will only be permitted one time. If you do not attend another session within the 12 month grace period, all fees will be forfeited. No-shows are not eligible for this registration transfer. Unless you have received confirmation from your CAPPA Doula Trainer that the session is confirmed, we do not recommend you make any non-refundable travel arrangements for in person trainings. 

Educational Scholarships are open to qualified participants from communities where access to Doula Service is limited. Applicants must show a passion for advocacy and an enthusiasm for Doula work. They must also demonstrate a willingness and ability to provide Doula Services to undeserved communities. 

You may be eligible for an educational scholarship if:you are an immigrant, new to Canadayou are a POC or part of the LGBTQ+communityyou work with or are a part of the community of incarcerated womenyou work with or a part of the homeless community
There is one designated full scholarship spot in the Labour doula and Postpartum Doula training program and one partial scholarship available in each session. Applications are evaluated based on the population they are planning to work with and the level of need in the community population and the ability and dedication to becoming certified doulas. If not immediately awarded, scholarship applications will be held for one year based on the date of receipt. The student will have to re-apply after one year to continue to be considered for the scholarship. 

​Being a Postpartum Doula is a rewarding career that makes a difference in the lives of others. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose the CAPPA organization?
​CAPPA trainings are designed to educate and equip the contemporary perinatal professional for a successful career in a fun, supportive, and collaborative environment.  Trainings are evidence based and comprehensive, and are designed to appeal to all learning styles.  Students will enjoy engaging and interactive instruction, with practical and real-world scenarios.  CAPPA instructors have in depth knowledge and follow standardized curriculums to ensure the highest quality training and most comprehensive perinatal education for CAPPA Certification programs.          

 CAPPA is respected for its longevity, stability, and its commitment to excellence in both education and unsurpassed student and member support. Visit CAPPA to learn more about this great organization and what it has to offer you as a member. 

​What can I expect at my doula training?
Our two day workshop is cram packed with great information and plenty of room for group discussion and review. You will learn about CAPPA, the Postpartum doula’s role, your scope of practice and how it applies to the care and support a doula offers through various scenarios and discussions. There is plenty of time to explore and discuss ideas, ask questions and provide hands-on practice though instruction and guidance.  We review common newborn appearances and support for the new parents, household management, lactation support and postpartum mood disorders. Discover various ways to support your clients and help them make informed educated decisions, while assisting them through the transitions of breastfeeding, the postpartum and parenthood. The later part of our training covers aspects of developing your own doula business and how to apply what you’ve learnt in client care and services within your community. This includes how to market and promote yourself and your business, how to build a client case load along with additional business aspects to help you succeed!

Can I bring my baby to the workshop?
Unfortunately due to the intense nature of this course we ask that you arrange childcare while you are in the workshop. If you are breastfeeding you may choose to bring a support person to care for your baby at our location in a separate room or come at anytime the baby needs to be fed. If you are attending this training online, we do ask for another caregiver to be present to assist with children and babies present in the home, to allow you to fully concentrate in the training. 

What is your refund policy?
This training is non-refundable, however you will be given the option to transfer your payment to the next session offered. If you must cancel your registration prior to the training seminar, you may apply your payment to another training workshop offered by the same CAPPA faculty member within a 12 month period. Please note, cancelling your registration will only be permitted transfering one time. If you do not attend another session within the 12 month grace period, all fees will be forfeited. No-shows are not eligible for this registration transfer. Unless you have received confirmation from your CAPPA Doula Trainer that the session is confirmed, we do not recommend you make any non-refundable travel arrangements.

Once I’ve completed my CAPPA Labour Doula training workshop, what is my next step?
To become a certified doula with CAPPA, you will need to become a member of CAPPA and sign up for your online CAPPA Academy, which is a one of kind, state of the art virtual classroom experience.

Once you’re connected to CAPPA’s Academy you will receive:
Downloadable forms of which you will need to submit to CAPPA after completion
Online exams with immediate results
Video instruction from faculty members
Step by step instruction to help guide you as you complete the course
Links to important online resources
*There is a $175.00 USD fee for your certification package, which is purchased through CAPPA’s website. Prices are subject to change without notice
After the training workshop, to become certified, you will need to complete these: which will be part of your CAPPA certification package. ​

How long do I have to complete my certification?
You have two years to complete your certification requirements from the date of your workshop training. This provides plenty of time to complete the steps. Most of our students typically finish within six months to a year’s time.

When can I see a return on my investment with this training?
The beauty of this training is that as soonas you establish your first paying client, your doula training fees will most likely be paid back to you.

When can I begin taking clients?
Immediately following your training, you may accept clients into your care. If you are hoping to use that client for your certification requirements you will need to be signed up with CAPPA Academy first, in order to receive your certification and client evaluation forms, which are required to verify your attendance at the birth.

What are the chances of obtaining a job after my training?
Doulas are independent and are hired by the families who wish to use their services. At this time, there are no job postings for paid doulas. In the future it may be possible to work within midwifery clinics, OB clinics, birth centres or progressive hospitals. As a doula you will be running your own business, which means that your success is determined by your level of commitment to market, advertise and network with others in the field. In recognizing the positive effect of hiring a labour doula, many women are seeking doulas for support. More health professionals are also acknowledging the impact that a doula can have on the outcome of labour, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding.

Is the required reading list due before taking this training? 
The required reading list is part of the requirement for certification. It is NOT required to be completed before our training session. To review the required reading list for certification, review it here

Once I complete my training with you, how long do I have before getting my certification? 
Once you have completed the training session, you can begin to accept clients and begin offering your services. To become certified, you must sign up on the CAPPA website for the certification program through CAPPA Academy. This online program can be completed at your own pace, however all steps MUST be complete by TWO YEARS of the date of the doula training. At first this may seem like a long time, however we highly recommend that you don’t delay and recommend dedicating the time each week to work on your certification requirements or those years can slip by quickly. This investment in your education and career will be well worth it. CAPPA may offer a time extention in unique situations, for a small fee by calling CAPPA headquarters to discuss this with them.

Due to Covid restrictions, will this training be online?
At this current time all of our sessions will be online using ZOOM. Be sure to download and test your video and speaker before our training sessions. Once the restrictions have been lifted and we can gather as a group together safely we will begin conducting in person trainings again. We will provide a hands on component to review the hands on techniques portion of the training to ensure that our participants feel comfortable with these techniques. 

What if I have never given birth or have experience with babies, can I still take this training? 
Of course! Your personal experiences with pregnancy and birth, newborn babies and parents (or lack thereof) do not determine your ability to enrol in this training. 

Are there any prerequisites for this training?
​Can I take both the Labour Doula and Postpartum Doula training at the same time?

There are no formal prerequisites required for participation in this program. You are free to sign up for both Labour Doula and Postpartum Doula trainings, there is no specific order in which these trainings must be completed. You are not required to take both trainings.

What is the investment in this training? 
The fee for this training is $572.25 ( $545.00 plus $27.25 GST) which is paid to your instructor. This covers your instruction time, manual and other handouts given at the training session AND a one year membership to CAPPA. To learn what is included in your CAPPA membership, visit here. 

Can I register for the class at the last minute ?
Yes, you can, however you will still be required to submit the pre-training requirements. Be sure to contact our instructor to ensure that there is space available, before submitting registration. You can send a text message to your instructor, Sonya Duffee at  780-708-0615 or email. If you are registering for this training less than 10 days prior to the training date, the training fee for late registration is $603.75. 

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