Childbirth Educator Training

Conducted through Bastyr University's Simkin Center for Allied Birth Professions, the Childbirth Educator Training is a comprehensive and engaging educational experience that prepares excellent prenatal educators.
Length of course: 3 days.
Campus: Kenmore, Washington


Childbirth Educator Training / Background Photo

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 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.

Certification as a Childbirth Educator

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

  • International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) certification and/or recertification and includes 16 ICEA contact hours
  • Lamaze International, the CET is an accepted formal course fulfilling one of the eligibility requirements for certification preparation
  • Great Starts Birth and Family Education recognizes the CET as one step toward certification as childbirth educator   

The CET also fulfills the childbirth educator training prerequisite for the Bastyr University Department of Midwifery.

Technology Requirements for the CET

Internet connection requirements:

  • Students must have access to DSL or better connection to access course content for an optimal experience

Hardware Requirements:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor; Intel processor or PowerPC (G4 or G5) processor
  • 1GB of system memory/ physical RAM
  • 35 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space

Audio capabilities:

  • Speakers, headphones and a built in or external microphone & webcam.

Software requirements:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Operating System or Mac OS X version 10.3 or later
  • Either Microsoft Office 2008 or higher (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or
  • Microsoft Office Suite X, 2004 or higher (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or
  • The Open Office Productivity Suite 3.2 or higher available here

Web Browser and related software recommendations

  • Use latest version of Mozilla Firefox (10.0 or higher) for the best experience. It is available here. (Do not use CHROME or Safari as they are not compatible with all of the features of Canva). You may use Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • The latest version of Java is available here (pre-installed on Mac OS X).
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader X available here.
  • Please no Chromebooks.


Training Details

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.

Topics include:

  • The History of Childbirth Education
  • Scope of Practice for the Childbirth Educator
  • Art and Science of Learning and Teaching
  • Reproductive anatomy and physiology
  • Fetal Development
  • Physical Changes in Pregnancy
  • Emotional Experience of Pregnancy, Labor and Postpartum
  • Nutrition and Exercise in Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care and Prenatal Testing
  • Complications and Interventions in Pregnancy, Labor and Birth
  • Stages of labor
  • Comfort Measures for Labor
  • Pain Medications
  • Birth-Planning and Informed choice
  • Cesarean Birth
  • Postpartum, Breastfeeding, Newborn Care and Safety
  • Transformation of Birth, Postpartum and Early Parenthood
  • Learning Objectives and Developing a CBE Curriculum
  • Dynamics of Group Learning
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Curriculum Development
  • Understanding Research and Evidence-based Practice
  • Designing Evaluations
  • Certification and Job Opportunities

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.

Required Texts

Recommended Texts

Childbirth Educator Training Cancellation, Transfer and Refund Policy


Cancellation requests made prior to the release of the online modules are eligible for a full refund minus a $100 processing fee.
Once the online modules are open and students are given access, any cancellations made 30 days before the start of class are eligible for a 50% refund.
Once the online modules are open and students are given access, any cancellations made less than 30 days before the start of class are NOT eligible for a refund.



Transfer requests made prior to the release of the online modules are eligible for a transfer with the addition of a $100 processing fee.
Once the modules are open and students are given access, any transfer requests made 30 days BEFORE the start of class are eligible for a transfer with the addition of a $325 fee ($100 processing fee plus $75 per missed day).
Once the modules are open and students are given access, any transfer requests made less than 30 days before the start of class are eligible for a transfer, with the addition of a $425 fee ($200 processing fee plus $75 per missed day).

Upcoming Trainings

Tuesday, 2021
Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations
Achieve proficiency as a Prenatal Educator in a 9-week format from October 26th-December 21st, on Tuesday evenings from 6pm-9:00pm PST taught by ICEA Approved trainer, Joni Parthemer and guest speakers. This course will be taught as a live-remote learning via ZOOM, offering the perfect opportunity to have more time to digest the material and want to learn with a close cohort of students while completing 3-5* hours of flipped content between classes. *Depending on your knowledge and experience, you can expect to complete assignments between classes. REGISTER NOW! Registration Deadline: Friday, October 8th. Full tuition: $959. Please contact us regarding our Zoom Class Assistant position. Phone us at 425-602-3361, in you have any questions about this training.

Frequently Asked Questions - Childbirth Educators

Are there prerequisites for the Simkin Center Childbirth Educator Training?

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.

Who attends the Childbirth Educator Training?

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.

What does the Childbirth Educator Training prepare me to do?

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.

What organizations provide certification in childbirth education?

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.

What is the certification process?

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.

After I am certified, what jobs are available to me?

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.

What is the pay like for childbirth educators? Could I make a living doing this?

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.

What are the advantages of Simkin's childbirth educator training compared to other training programs?

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.

I already have a lot of background and training in the birth field. Is there a way to "test out" of part of the course?

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. 

What Our Students Say

  • "I had been toying with the idea of being involved in birth and new families for a very long time. I was so happy to find a supportive, informative, and inspiring place to learn how to do it. I came with trepidations and left feeling inspired, hopeful, and confident. I’ve found out not just what I want to do with the rest of my life, but how."
  • "The Childbirth Educator Training and the Birth Doula Skills Workshop prepared me to take on the former Soviet government in Georgia to create the first ever childbirth educator certification course in the country. My training taught me the importance of quality classes for new parents, and the strength that these families can gain from taking this first step in the best, most positive way possible. It also taught me how to present the information in a way that reaches and captivates every parent in the class, regardless of previous knowledge or experience."
  • "I passed and am now an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator! Please pass along my sincere thanks to your staff and teaching faculty. Everyone I have come in contact with at [Simkin Center] has been wonderfully professional and knowledgeable. I refer people to your program quite often. Keep up the great work!"
  • [I hope] “that Carrie, Joni and the rest of this teaching team continues to teach, mentor, share, demonstrate and learn! You are all inspirational!”
  • “I enjoy feeling that I have good teaching qualities, abilities, techniques and knowledge. That I too can be an effective educator with practice.”
  • “This is such an amazing community to be involved with and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”
  • “I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and know areas that need practice. I’ve learned so much about myself – I didn’t really expect that!”


Request more Information Now accepting applications  for summer and fall  2020 Now accepting applications for summer and fall 2021