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Education & Certification

The educational training and certification of those who carry the title "midwife" varies tremendously.  Even more importantly, these variances directly impact safety and outcomes.  The educational training of a midwife is one of the most influential factors in achieving a safe, healthy, live birth.  ACOG and AAP recommend that any midwife attending out-of-hospital birth also be AMCB certified and fully integrated into the medcial system for situations that require transfer of care.  AMCB certified midwives (CNMs and CMs) have the highest standard of education available for U.S. midwives. 


Understanding Credentials

Navigating midwife certification titles and the educational training behind them can be confusing.  Below are some of the more common certification titles, their educational training summaries, and other helpful information.  Please also visit our Scope of Practice page to learn more about how each credential and the corresponding scope of practice varies.  


  Acronym AMCB Certified Formal Education Required Minimum Educational Requirement Professional Organization Affiliate
Certified Nurse Midwife CNM Yes Yes Graduate Level College Degree and AMCB Certification ACNM & AMCB

Certified Midwife             

CM Yes Yes Graduate Level College Degree and AMCB Certification ACNM & AMCB
Certified Professional Midwife CPM No No High School Diploma and Apprenticeship NARM

Direct Entry Midwife    

(lay midwife)

DEM No No Apprenticeship/Mentoring None


**AMCB: American Midwifery Certification Board, organization responsible for certifying CNMs and CMs across the country

**ACNM: Amcerican College of Nurse Midwives, professional organization for CNMs

**NARM: North American Registry of Midwives, Leadership organization for CPMs


What is a Licensed Midwife or LM? 

A "Licensed Midwife" refers to a group of midwives whom are licensed by the state in which they practice.  This title can potentially encompass many types of midwives with varying educational training experiences.  In Michigan, the only type of midwife who can carry a state-issued license is a CNM at present.  Other states have laws that lump many types of midwives into a "Licensed Midwife" category. 


Link to Liz's Glossary


For Further Reading...

The Education of Midwives Around the World: Part I

The Education of Midwives Around the World: Part II

The Education of Midwives Around the World: Part III

What We're Seeking: Standards for Education

Educational Standards for American Midwives: A Comparison

Certified Professional Midwife Credential

CPM Education: The Bar is too Low

Certified Midwives: Examining the CM Credential

American Midwife Certification Board

MEAC: How to Make Accredidation Matter in Midwifery