Childbirth educators provide information and training to expectant parents in preparing for labor, birth and the postpartum period. They may work independently, for a private organization, or for a hospital or maternity care provider.
Childbirth education classes typically include information on late pregnancy, labor, breastfeeding, postpartum, and newborn care. Childbirth educators also guide expectant parents in the practice of relaxation, breathing techniques, and comfort measures for labor
The Simkin Center has prepared nearly 400 childbirth educators since 1997, many of whom are now leaders in the profession.
The Childbirth Educator Training (CET) is a comprehensive blended educational experience that prepares excellent prenatal educators with content and teaching skills ready for the classroom or community setting. The newly-revised curriculum is blended, which means we combine our virtual classroom, Simkin Online Learning, with three intensive on-site classroom days (22.5 clock hours) on the Bastyr campus.
Simkin Online Learning activities include a syllabus with video introduction by faculty, presentations, reading assignments, videos and supplementary resources, moderated discussions, case studies, interactive exercises, quizzes, and self-assessments.
On-site, the focus is on gaining valuable teaching skills. Learning includes teaching demonstration and student teach-backs, practice teaching observed by experienced educators. Guidance and support is provided throughout in both classrooms by highly experienced Instructors.
Completion of Simkin Online Learning activities, including all assessment activities, is required one week before the on-site classroom days. Depending on your current knowledge and experience, this will take at least 40+ hours to complete.
If this is your first distance or online educational endeavor, here is what you need to know. To do well and be eligible to attend the on-site days, it's necessary to motivate yourself and spend a minimum of 40 hours in the online modules. The number of hours with the online modules is greater than on-site interactions with classmates and instructors. Manage your time and keep on top of your assignments. In this blended curriculum more is expected of you.
Completion of the Childbirth Educator Training (CET) is the first step toward becoming a certified childbirth educator prepared to teach childbirth education, breastfeeding and newborn care classes in the hospital or the community. The CET fulfills the requirements for
The CET also fulfills the childbirth educator training prerequisite for the Bastyr University Department of Midwifery.
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No, however, for students without prior experience in the field, it will be helpful to attend the Simkin Center DONA-approved Birth Doula Skills Workshop or observe a childbirth education series as preparation for the class. It is also helpful if you have attended at least one labor and birth, either as a birthing woman or as a support person or birth doula.
The Childbirth Educator Training is primarily designed for people who would like to teach structured childbirth preparation classes, for a hospital or the community. We cover instruction of childbirth preparation, breastfeeding and newborn care. The course is also appropriate for anyone who works with expectant parents and would like to incorporate client education into their work. Birth and postpartum doulas, midwives, nurses, prenatal exercise instructors, massage therapists and social workers, among others, have completed the training.
On completion, you will be well qualified to provide formal and informal education to expectant parents, as a supplement to other services that you provide (birth or postpartum doula support, pre- and perinatal massage therapy, prenatal yoga instruction, mental health and nutrition counseling, integrative care, etc.).
If you want to teach a formal childbirth preparation class, you will want to become a certified childbirth educator. Hospitals and other employers often require certification to teach. To teach childbirth education classes in the community, there is no legal requirement to be certified. However, most professionals in the childbirth field consider certification essential to ensure that all expectant parents are well served.
The Childbirth Educator Training prepares you for certification with the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) and is approved for 16 ICEA contact hours. In the Puget Sound area certification is available through Great Starts Birth and Family Education, click here. If you live in the Puget Sound region, this is a good organization to choose. There are other certifying organizations that require you to attend their specific training program, and this course does not prepare you for their certification. These include Bradley, Lamaze International and Birthing from Within, among others.
Different programs have different steps to certification. These may include taking a training class such as the Childbirth Educator Training, observing one or more childbirth series, and teaching under supervision. The course applies toward certification with the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). For information on certification through Great Starts, visit their web site.
Hospital education programs hire certified childbirth educators to teach childbirth preparation classes, breastfeeding classes and newborn care classes. Check with hospitals in your area to find out about job opportunities. You can also organize community-based classes. Community classes can be formed in collaboration with midwives or obstetric practices. They could be offered through parks department educational programs, community colleges or other adult education programs. There may also be public sector employment available to you. Some hospital programs require their educators to also be nurses. A few hospitals will only use certified lactation educators to teach their breastfeeding classes.
Most settings pay by the hour. A hospital in the Seattle area may pay $22 to $35 an hour for a beginning childbirth educator. This typically covers class time, plus some time for setting up for class, and for cleaning up after a class. Pay rates increase with experience.
Note that time spent developing curriculum or handouts, or preparing materials for classes, is not paid time. Childbirth education offers a flexible job to bring in some extra money, to contribute to the community, and to combine professional development with other responsibilities such as parenting. Typically, an instructor has flexibility in setting her own schedule. Some instructors teach for only a few hours a week, or only in summer, or only during the school year. Some instructors teach multiple evenings each week. It is generally not possible to work full-time as a childbirth educator, or use this as a primary source of income, because the available working hours are limited. Because of the work schedules of expectant parents, childbirth classes typically are offered between 6 and 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday evenings, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Even if someone taught all these available slots each week, it is not a full-time job.
The majority of technical content childbirth educators need to know is covered in the online modules, at the students own pace. Intensive on-site days allow focus on adult learning, gaining teaching skills and methods and especially practice teaching. During the training, you will have the opportunity to present five different mini-classes (each presentation is 5 to 10 minutes long) to a supportive group of four to six other students. An experienced childbirth educator will observe and provide productive and specific feedback. This opportunity to practice teach in a supportive environment significantly increases your readiness to begin your new career as an educator. The Childbirth Educator Training is taught by some of the most experienced childbirth educators in the community, from a variety of backgrounds. The Childbirth Educator Training offers the best parts of many childbirth education theories rather than sticking solely to one philosophy of childbirth preparation.
No. We expect all of our students to have a basic working knowledge of pregnancy, birth and newborn care. However, the blended curriculum allows students who already have specific knowledge base to spend less time on topics you know and focus on content areas you need to strenghthen. On-site it's all about how to teach this information to a variety of adult learners, to a variety of different learning styles.
The Childbirth Educator Training is a blended curriculum including 35+ modules in online classroom with three intensive on-site classroom days (22.5 clock hours) on the Bastyr campus.
Students learn the basics of how to teach childbirth and newborn care to adults. Instructors model a variety of teaching techniques including lecture, use of audio-visual aids, role-playing, active learning methods and small group activities. Students apply their learning through practice teaching sessions, which offer each student a chance to give a short presentation to peers and receive an experienced childbirth educator's feedback.
Since most expectant parents plan to give birth in a hospital, most opportunities for childbirth educators involve teaching about hospital birth. Therefore, the class focuses primarily on how to teach about hospital birth, although out-of-hospital birth is also addressed.
Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth Edited by Julia Chinyere Oparah and Alicia Bonaparte