The labour and birth process can be overwhelming and joyful at the same time, especially for first-time mothers. This is where childbirth educators step in. These professionals help pregnant women and their partners to overcome the anxiety that comes with this process, and teach them how to approach the big day.
If you are a competent communicator and passionate about all matters pregnancy and birth, becoming a childbirth educator could be a wise and profitable move.
What do childbirth educators do?
The duties of childbirth educators include:
- Teach expectant parents about the physiological, psychological and social effects of pregnancy, childbirth as well as parenthood
- Developing instructional strategies that can meet the specific needs of participants
- Demonstrating skills that can help expectant parents cope with pregnancy and the challenges that come with it
- Providing well-researched and relevant answers to questions from program participants
- Respecting the privacy of each client
- Advocating for the rights of pregnant women and their partners.
What's the work environment like?
Childbirth educators can work on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time educators work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. On the other hand, part-time educators typically work in the evening and during the weekend.
Regardless of work schedule, childbirth educators spend most of their time in instruction rooms with expectant parents. Although the job is not physically demanding, some tasks – such as demonstrating how to use a birth ball – require a good level of physical fitness.
How much do childbirth educators make?
Lowest earning childbirth educators
$47,850 - $54,075
Highest earning childbirth educators
$69,303 - $76,942
What are the entry requirements?
Like most health educators, childbirth instructors need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant degree to enter the profession. Although there is no specific field required, employers prefer professionals with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing or health education.
With a nursing degree, you can proceed to secure a license and practice as registered nurse for some time. The experience you will gain will definitely make you more desirable to employers.
The next step is to obtain a childbirth certification from any of the following institutions:
- Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators
- International Childbirth Education Association
- Prepared Childbirth Educators, Inc.
At this point, you are a qualified childbirth educator.
What skills and qualities do you need?
To be a well-rounded professional, you must also possess the following skills:
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- A sense of humour and personal charisma
- Excellent communication skills
- The ability to work comfortably with a mixed group or expectant parents, some who maybe same-sex couples
- Be familiar with the childbirth process
- Good problem–solving skills
What career development opportunities are available?
There are a number of career advancement opportunities for childbirth educators with experience and advanced qualifications.
After gaining vast work experience, for example, you could be promoted as a program manager, a position that will enable you to monitor the quality of instruction offered to expectant parents
With a master’s degree in health education, you could secure teaching positions in colleges and universities that offer health education programs.
The Childbirth Education Association, and the International Childbirth Education Association also offer membership opportunities, which you can take to access professional development resources such as training workshops.
Where can I find employment?
The employers of childbirth educators include:
- Providers of community health services
- Hospitals and clinics
- Religious organizations
- Government healthcare departments
You could also establish your own childbirth education center after gaining a significant amount of work experience.
Within the next 8 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of health educators will grow by 19 percent – faster than the average for all jobs. So if your interest is in helping expectant parents welcome their children the right way, you should not worry about finding employment.