Qualifications Needed to Become a Midwife

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Midwife?

In Career by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Midwifery is a very interesting potential profession which will allow you to be involved in the birth and care of many children. You will guide parents throughout pregnancy, deliver babies, and give advice to parents about caring for their baby after it is born.

If a rewarding career like this is something that you are interested in, it is important to know how to get the right qualifications which will enable you to pursue the career that you would like to move into.

The wide range of qualifications which you will need to become a Midwife, as well as subject recommendations for GCSEs and A-Levels, and what you can do with your Midwifery degree, will be discussed in detail in this article so it is well worth a read if Midwifery is a career which interests you.

To practice as a Midwife, you will need qualifications ranging from GCSE to degree-level standard. You will need:

  • At least 5 GCSEs at pass grades and above
  • 2-3 A-Levels (ideally including one Science-based subject)
  • A Midwifery degree which is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Continuing Professional Development

1. What GCSEs Do You Need to Become a Midwife?

In order to become a Midwife, you will need a range of qualifications, and GCSEs are the start of these. Although your subject choices at GCSE are unlikely to have an effect on your career as a whole, there are certain subjects which will help you develop the skills you need to become a Midwife. Overall, you will need 5 GCSEs, which should include Maths, English and Science.

What GCSEs Do You Need to Study Midwifery Related A-Levels at Sixth Form?

To become a Midwife, it is generally recommended that you take Science related A-Levels at Sixth Form, and more about this can be found in the section below. Because of the scientific nature of the profession and the A-Levels that you will find to be useful, you need to make sure you achieve the highest grades that you can in your Science subjects. If you have the opportunity to take Triple Science, this is certainly something that you should consider, although it is not to say that taking combined science will mean you can’t be a Midwife.

Core subjects are really important for general skills, and you should make sure that you do really well in both English and Maths, not only because this is a requirement, and you don’t want to have to re-take them at Sixth Form, but also because they will enable you to show your numeracy and language abilities.

You may also want to consider taking a language GCSE, such as Spanish or French. Communication is important in any career, but where it concerns care, the ability to speak and understand another language is invaluable. If studying a Modern Foreign Language at A-Level is something that you are considering, you will need a GCSE in the specified language – and preferably this will be at a level which is well above the pass grade.

Which GCSEs Will Help You Develop The Skills You Need To Become a Midwife?

Midwifery requires a wide variety of different skills, and it is important that you can start developing these all of the way through your education. It is a profession which values caring, acting on initiative, taking responsibility, and communicating effectively with a range of people from a variety of backgrounds. These are just a few examples of skillsets which you should be trying to develop.

The GCSEs which will enable you to develop these skills all depend on the way that you apply them to the subjects which you choose. Effective communication, for example, can be developed in a number of different ways. Using all opportunities to develop English skills will certainly aid you with this, and subjects like History or Geography (humanities subjects) will be useful for developing your written communication skills.

If you have the opportunity to take Psychology or Sociology GCSE (they are not offered by every school) these may also be useful to you as a potential midwife. Understanding and working with people is key for people going into this profession. You may want to consider a course such as Health and Social Care, which will be related to a Midwifery course. A Health and Social Care qualification will mean that you have a grounding for knowledge related to social services and health care, both of which will be relevant to a Midwife.

What GCSEs Do You Need to Study Midwifery at University?

In order to study Midwifery at University, you will need 5 GCSEs which are at pass grades and above. They will have to include:

  • English Language
  • Maths
  • Science (either Combined or Triple)

However, it is key that you don’t see this to be what you are aiming for. You will have the chance to earn at least 9 GCSEs, and it is vital that you do enough work to achieve the highest grades you can, so that you are in a strong position when applying for both Sixth Form and University. If you are unsure on how to revise for your GCSEs, take a look at this useful article which guides you through several effective revision techniques.

It is really important that you see GCSEs as a stepping stone. They are there to enable you to get on to good A-Level courses, the subject choices of which will have a huge impact on your University application. You also need to remember that they will go directly on to your University application, and your goal should be to achieve as high grades as you can, in order to demonstrate your academic abilities.

So, although technically, the GCSE requirements for Midwifery courses are 5 GCSEs at pass grades and above, you should be aiming so much higher!

What GCSE Grades Do You Need to Pursue a Midwifery Career?

It is really important that you see GCSEs as a stepping stone. They are there to enable you to get on to good A-Level courses, the subject choices of which will have a huge impact on your University application. You also need to remember that they will go directly on to your University application, and your goal should be to achieve as high grades as you can, in order to demonstrate your academic abilities.

So, although technically, the GCSE requirements for Midwifery courses are 5 GCSEs at pass grades and above, you should be aiming so much higher!

2. What A-Levels Do You Need to Become a Midwife?

The A-Levels which you will need in order to become a midwife will vary between Universities, so it is absolutely essential that you do your own research regarding where you would like to go. If you would like to look at a comprehensive list of the Universities which offer Midwifery degrees, take a look at this useful NHS Website, however, it is important to know that there are generally not any A-Levels which you must take.

In order to become a Midwife, the A-Level subjects which I would recommend are:

  • A-Level Biology
  • A-Level Chemistry
  • A-Level Psychology
  • A-Level Sociology

This is not to say that these are the only A-Levels that you are able to take at Sixth Form to become a Midwife, but they are the best-suited to giving you the skills that you need for that particular career. Universities will sometimes require you to have a Science A-Level (they often count Psychology and Sociology) so it is certainly worth considering taking at least one of the Science Subjects listed.

Helpful A-Level: Biology

A-Level Biology is well-suited to someone who wants to study Midwifery at University for a number of different reasons.

Firstly, some of the Universities which you may be interested in applying to require you to have at least 1 Science A-Level. Many of those will prefer Biology over anything else, so at the very least, A-Level Biology is likely to put you in a position where you can apply to most Universities to study Midwifery.

Additionally, Biology is a related subject to Midwifery. Although A-Levels are not designed to be specific to a certain career path, you want to try and choose subjects which can help you with your basic understanding of the subject that you intend to study at University.

Therefore, as Midwives work with people in monitoring their pregnancies, delivering their babies and advising about post-birth care, an understanding of the body is quite important to their career.

In this way, A-Level Biology is useful to prospective Midwives because it gives them an underlying understanding of Human Biology which will aid them in their further, more specific training. If, before you choose A-Level Biology you would like to know more about it, check out this helpful article about how difficult A-Level Biology is.

To reiterate, you want to choose A-Levels which will provide you with a basis for your understanding of the subject which you want to pursue in future, and therefore, A-Level Biology is a great choice for anyone interested in becoming a Midwife.

Helpful A-Level: Chemistry

Chemistry is another subject which has the potential to be useful to you, as a Prospective Midwife. It is another Science subject which is useful to consider and will open many University doors up to you.

In the same way that A-Level Biology is useful to a potential Midwives, A-Level Chemistry will help you build up your Scientific knowledge which will act as a useful basis for your understanding of the things that you will study in your Midwifery course at University.

If you want to think about how difficult Chemistry A-Level is before you choose it as an option at Sixth Form, take a look at this useful article which talks about the difficulty of A-Level Chemistry compared to GCSE. Though you should certainly not be dissuaded from taking any subject because it might be difficult. You need to remember that becoming a Midwife will take plenty of hard work, and it is important that you are prepared to put in the work to get into a competitive field.

Helpful A-Level: Psychology

A-Level Psychology is an example of a Social Science subject. Therefore, some Universities will accept it as your required Science A-Level. Therefore, this a great A-Level to choose if you are not particularly successful in traditional Science subjects. Equally, it is a good subject to accompany A-Level Biology and/or Chemistry, and it can be a good A-level to choose in this sense.

It is important that you achieve quite high grades in the A-Levels that you choose, and so you need to pick subjects where you feel confident you can achieve good grades. So, although Psychology is by no means an easy choice, it may be a better choice for you if you don’t feel comfortable taking a traditional Science A-Level. Take a look at how hard A-Level Psychology is here.

Psychology is a subject which can be applied to many professions, and where you are working with people (as you would be as a Midwife), it is a very useful subject to have a basic understanding of.

A-Level Psychology courses also cover Attachment, which is something that a prospective Midwife may not only find interesting, but also be able to expand their knowledge on in future and use it their work.

Therefore, A-Level Psychology may be a good choice for prospective Midwives who are not particularly interested in taking traditional Science A-Levels, as well as people considering taking A-Level Biology and/or Chemistry who want another subject to complement their other traditional Science subjects.

Helpful A-Level: Sociology

A-Level Sociology is another great choice for students who are interested in Midwifery. Sociology looks at the ways that people interact in groups in society.

Sociology is another subject which is often considered as a Science subject by Universities. It is a Social Science, which accompanies traditional Science A-Levels very well, and can also be counted as a Science by itself if you are making the decision not to go down the traditional Science route into becoming a Midwife (in terms of your A-Levels anyway!).

Thinking about the relationship between Sociology and Midwifery, there are many different ways that Sociology can be applied. For example, Sociologists may look at the inequalities and stigmas which effect people’s healthcare (and therefore their experience of receiving care from Midwives) as well as the relationship between the Midwife and Mother.

In a similar way to Psychology and its relation to Midwifery, at A-Level, there are unlikely to be specific subjects which directly focus on things that interest potential Midwives, but the content of the course will give you the basis of an understanding of Sociology, which you can develop while you continue your further training.

What A-Level Grades Do You Need to Pursue a Midwifery Career?

The A-Level grades which will be required of you so you can get onto a University Midwifery course vary hugely. This means that it is absolutely essential that you make sure that you do your own research about what the requirements are for the University that you are interested in going to are.

The range of UCAS Points needed for University courses for Midwifery varies greatly, between 87 Points for some Universities to 153 for other courses. There are several different ways that you can earn UCAS Points, and these are all listed in this helpful article. Additionally, the UCAS Points which are awarded for each individual A-Level grade can be found here.

As with any subject, you will be in the best position possible if you achieve the highest grades that you can in your A-Level exams. This means that it is incredibly important that you work as hard as you can all the way through your time at Sixth Form.

Can You Become a Midwife Without Particular A-Levels?

Although there are some A-Level courses which will set you up better for becoming a Midwife, there are some University courses which do not have specific subject requirements.

That being said, I would advise that you take at least one Traditional or Social Science subject, as this is the best way to keep your opportunities for University open. A-Level Biology is probably the best Science option to take in an ideal world, and so it is definitely not one to be overlooked.

Basically, you will need at least 2 (but preferably 3) A-Levels at the highest grades which you are capable of achieving, and ideally, one of them should be a Science, from the following list: Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Sociology.

However, this does not mean that you are only limited to the subjects discussed in this article. There are a wide range of subjects which you could study and that would still allow you to progress into a career as a Midwife. Those discussed here are simply the most well-suited to Midwifery as a profession. But, remember that you only really need one subject from this list to satisfy the need that most Universities have for a Science A-Level.

3. What Degree Do You Need to Become a Midwife?

To become a Midwife it is essential that you have a Midwifery degree. This will take 3 years to complete, and will provide you with a wide range of theoretical knowledge, as well as the opportunities to apply it to real practice. The entry requirements vary greatly, and so it is very important that you research the entry requirements of Universities which you would be interested in studying at.

What University Degree Do You Need to Acquire to Become a Midwife?

To become a Midwife, you will need a Midwifery degree. The A-level requirements for these degrees vary greatly, and so it is important that you do your research in terms of which University you would like to study at. Have a look at this helpful website if you don’t know where to start with your research of Universities. You should also make sure that your degree is an approved Midwifery degree (by the Nursing and Midwifery Council).

A Midwifery degree will usually take you 3 years to complete. You will learn about care during pregnancy and birth, as well as after birth care (up to 1 year). You will also cover information about medication management, and also complex births and needs.

There will also be plenty of supervised practical elements incorporated into your degree. It is important that you get this hands-on experience while doing your degree to cement your knowledge.

Can You Get Extra Financial Support to Study A Midwifery Degree?

If you are interested in becoming a Midwife, you should look into the grants that are potentially available to you. Obviously, your eligibility for these grants will depend on certain circumstances, but it is important that you look into them – especially as you don’t have to pay a grant back!

One of the websites which may help you with this is the NHS Website. This talks about a grant that will be available to students studying/starting to study a nursing or midwifery degree, and the different conditions which mean that your grant could be anywhere between £5,000 – £8,000 a year.

Are There Other Degree-Level Courses That You Can Complete to Become a Midwife?

If you would prefer to go down a very practical route of Midwifery training, it may be possible for you to complete a Midwifery apprenticeship alongside a degree. These are not widely available, though some education institutions do provide them, and degree apprenticeships are being encouraged by the Government.

The difference between a Midwifery degree, and a Midwifery degree apprenticeship is basically that during the apprenticeship, you will be working more with NHS Midwifery teams in hospitals, alongside learning the theoretical elements at University. These qualifications will take slightly longer to complete (around 4 years) but are incredibly beneficial for developing your skillset.

However, you must remember that you still need good A-Level or equivalent qualifications, as it will be necessary that you meet the entry requirements for the course at the University which you have started your degree apprenticeship with.

Can You Become a Midwife If You Have a Nursing Degree?

If you are already a qualified nurse, and have decided that you would like to specialise and become a Midwife, shortened courses are available for you to complete. These are available at particular Universities – a list of which can be found on the NHS Website. Some include:

However, if you have not already got a University qualification, and you know you want to become a Midwife, this is not a recommended path, as it will take you significantly longer than if you simply do a Midwifery degree.

4. What Post-University Courses Do You Need to Complete to Become a Midwife?

Once you have completed your approved Midwifery degree, you will be able to go straight into practicing as a Midwife, as long as you have registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). There are many other career paths that a Midwifery degree could lead you to, such as Postgraduate study of Midwifery, or even work outside of the Midwifery field.

Required: Registration With The Nursing and Midwifery Council

In order to work as a Midwife in the UK, as well as other countries around the world, you will need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). It is absolutely essential that your degree is approved by the NMC, otherwise it may not be valid for this registration, and you will have to complete additional, further training after your first degree.

The NMC holds a register of all practicing nurses and midwives, and employers can use it in order to check that you are able to practice Midwifery. Renewal of this is essential, and you must inform the NMC if you want to leave the register, or re-join it (after a break in your career).

Details of how to join the NMC Register can be found here.

What Are Your Other Options After You Have Completed Your Midwifery Degree?

Although the majority of newly graduated Midwives generally go straight into practice, you may feel as though this is not for you. There are a number of different options which you can choose from once you have completed your Midwifery degree.

For example, if you wanted to be a birthing partner or doula, you may want to continue with your studies and complete a master’s degree in Midwifery. This will not be necessarily essential, but often women like to have the most qualified individuals present when they are giving birth.

You can also continue with Postgraduate study in order to become qualified to teach in the field – after all, it is important that new generations of Midwives are able to train! Another option which may interest you in the field of Midwifery is the provision of pregnancy and birthing classes. This could be done through organisations (such as the National Childbirth Trust) or privately. Both of these options give you the opportunity to work with pregnant women, while not following the traditional route.

You could also apply your knowledge to becoming a Health writer, or even to becoming care worker. You may also want to think about working in the public sector or getting involved in politics to make changes on large scales which will support the needs of parents who are expecting.

So, as you can see from the vast range of examples above, studying a Midwifery degree will not necessarily only lead you to one career – you can get rewarding jobs in related areas too.

5. What On-Going Training Are Midwives Required to Complete?

To be able to practice as a Midwife, it is necessary for you to be registered with the NMC, and you must pay a fee annually in order to stay on their register. You also have to revalidate your registration with the NMC every 3 years. Continuing Professional Development is an important part of a career as a Midwife.

Renewal: Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

To practice as a Midwife, you must be registered with the NMC, and part of this registration involves an annual payment. After you have first registered, you will get an email each year, which gives you plenty of notice to pay your fee for the next year. If you do not do so, you will be removed from the register and will have to reapply. This will take time and while you are not registered you will not be permitted to work.

You will also need to revalidate this registration every 3 years, and there are a number of criteria which you must meet. You must record and finish a variety of different tasks in order to complete the revalidation process, and it is important that you are aware of these requirements throughout the 3 year period, as they require constant records of the activities and work that you have done.  They should be detailed, so you must keep it in the back of your mind all the way through the 3-year period before revalidation. More information about the whole revalidation process can be found on the NMC Website.

Training Course: Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a requirement for any professional field. You must also complete it to stay registered with the NMC as a Midwife. CPD is intended to give professionals the opportunity to expand their knowledge of their field in order to provide the best possible care to clients.

As a Midwife, you will be required to do 35 hours of CPD in each period between the renewal of your place on the NMC register. This means you will be required to do 35 hours of CPD every 3 years. In order to be valid, you must record your CPD hours in a structured organised way, and more details of this can be found on the NMC Website.

Your CPD hours must be related to your field, and you can use them to develop your knowledge of areas which interest you, or those which you find daunting. Some of your Continuing Professional Development must be in a structured way which you participate in, though other parts can be individual tasks such as reading recent journals or research papers relating to Midwifery.

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