Becoming a midwife can be one of the most rewarding career changes. Babies are born every day and the NHS actively recruits midwives, as do many private birthing centres and hospitals.
Training and Qualifications
Training to become a midwife takes around five to six years, on average, depending on what relevant qualifications you have to start with. If you have no relevant training or qualifications, but have at least five A-C GCSEs, you can start to train as a midwife by enrolling onto an access course. If you have three A-Levels, you can go straight to applying for a degree in Midwifery.
Not all universities offer degrees in Midwifery, although most that offer medical degrees do. A midwifery degree in the UK takes three years of full-time study, or four years in Scotland, with the majority recommending a 50% placement and 50% theory, which takes considerably longer.
The NHS also offers ‘pre-registration midwifery short courses’ for qualified nurses wishing to specialise in midwifery. These courses offer part-time study alongside practical work – both in your existing area and midwifery – in order to become a midwife.
The UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council delivers a range of approved training and education courses, focused around half practical work and half theory, with a long list of locations and timetables available on its website.
Although large numbers of midwives are employed by the NHS, there are many other employer options for both qualified midwives and those looking to train. Many private hospitals employ midwives, as do birthing centres which are rapidly gaining popularity as a highly personal birthing choice.
Midwifery is a relatively well-paid career, with NHS roles offering a secure career that has regular pay reviews and incremental increases, with the midwifery roles in the private sector often slightly higher paid, but with perhaps less job security. The NHS pay scale for newly qualified midwives starts at around £20,000 per annum, going up to around £27,000 for a midwife with around 3-5 years' experience and £30,000 for a more experienced person. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that this does not include any London weighting, shift allowance or overtime, all of which can considerably increase your take home pay.
Career Choice for Men and Women
It is also important to point out that midwifery is a career choice with no discrimination. Both men and women are encouraged to apply for midwifery training, in both the public and private sector and, while it may still be considered an unusual career choice for men, this misconception is slowly changing. After all, we’re all used to male gynaecologists.
While there are no gender discrimination issues in being a midwife, there are certainly personality types that are more suited to the role. A large part of the midwifery training is focused on promoting health and wellbeing in pregnant women and understanding, promoting and facilitating normal childbirth in accordance with the pregnant woman’s wishes. As such, a ‘good’ midwife needs to be able to communicate well, have empathy and be comfortable dealing with often stressful situations.
There is also what the NHS calls ‘Fitness to Practise’ for medical professionals including midwives that is related to the health and wellbeing of its trainees and employees. As midwifery is a relatively physical job, Fitness to Practise, or FtP requires that midwives are not excessively overweight and are capable of fulfilling the physical demands of the job.
Becoming a Nurse
Find out what qualifications you need for a career in nursing, and how you can get into this invaluable profession in our article Becoming A Nurse.
I'm 26 years old and have studied childcare since I was approaching 16, I completed my level 2 and 3 in childcare both of which are diplomas. I now want a career change, becoming a midwife has always interested me so I have recently been searching on where to start... do I need to do my BSc Hons before going any further with the qualifications I already have, and if so what's the next step from this as I already have all the information for the BSc Hons course.
Anna - 9-May-13 @ 9:11 PM
Hi, I am a 32 year old mum of two. My son has just turned 9 and my daughter is fast approaching 2. I currently work as a part time accounts assistant but would love to know whether midwifery I something I could be considered for as I have always been really interested in a career. I did obtain GCSE passes including English & Maths, and an NVQ level 2 in hairdressing after I left school but did not pursue A levels or degrees. Would I still be able to train to become a midwife?
Nina - 28-Feb-13 @ 1:03 PM
Hi im 26 and am looking to study to become a midwife. I have 3 a levels in animal management and was wandering where to begin on how to start to train to become a midwife and if i could get any funding to help as i am part of a low income family. If you could help me i would be grateful.
becks - 23-Feb-13 @ 11:43 PM
I am registered learning disability nurse, currently working in Social work LD team.I would like to return to nursing, but train as a midwife.Can't really find out exactly howe to do this.would I have to do 3/4 course or do I do some kind of post reg course????Not easy information to find.
Ozzie12 - 22-Jan-13 @ 6:54 PM
I`m 36 and a mum of two andam looking for a rewarding career,and am really interested in becoming a midwife.
Although i left school without good gsce grades,i feel i have a lot to give.
Please can you advise me on how i go about starting training,and also wether there is a basic salary whilst training .
Look forward to hearing from you soon
nicky - 17-Jan-13 @ 1:22 PM
hi am a 44 year old lady currently working as a homecare assistant and wish to
enquire about training for to be a midwife .
moodangel - 28-Oct-12 @ 6:14 PM
Hi there, I am a 44 year old mam of two teenage boys aged 17 and 16, I am really interested in training to become a midwife, I got decent grades at school but have no problem going back to college if I need to. Could you please send me any relevant information that would be helpful to me.
Paula - 22-Oct-12 @ 8:29 PM
hi i am 24 i would love to train as a midwife but i dont have good gcse's grades but i have been working as a carer in a care home and in the community for elderly for 4years and i have a NVQ 2 in health and social care but i would like a change now and how would i go about training to be a midwife thanks
kayla - 28-Sep-12 @ 8:34 PM
Hi i am 40 years of age and a mother of 3. I have recently been made redundant after 24 years working in a busy office environment. I would like a complete career change and have always wanted be a midwive but for various reasons never done anything about it. I did not get good results with my gcse. Is there any training I could do at this late stage and if so is there any pay involved whilst training. Any advice would be appreciated.
Lisa - 27-Sep-12 @ 7:33 PM
Hi am 36,and thinking of becoming a midwife,I got 10 gcse's c-e grades,a city and guilds care in the community and a nvq level 2 in child care.how would I get started?
Jojo - 19-Sep-12 @ 8:14 PM
Hello, My name is Ruqayya andi am 18 years old. i would like to do a midwifery course. but have poor grades . i was wondering f i could still do this course
rick - 2-Sep-12 @ 12:31 AM
i am 28 yrs old and i have 2 children. i would like to train to be a midwife but i dont have many gcse's or anything else. would it be possible to start any courses without anything like this?
gem - 26-Aug-12 @ 12:34 PM
I have 11 GCSE's B-C 2 a levels and a non related BSC (hons) degree, I was due to start an access course a couple of years ago but was told at my interview that I'd only have to do one module and so in the end I decided that I was too old and should stick to what I know :(I had at that time given up my job and started to work in caring to gain experiance.
However the burning desire to be a midwife is still there and can anyone tell me if I can apply straight to the college or do I have to do the access course???? I find it so confusing and I want to know if Ill still be able to pay my mortgage hehe as I have children and am alone.... thank you :)
Olive - 17-Aug-12 @ 6:17 AM
I have 2 children and another on the way in 4 weeks. I have had difficult births/caesareans and a worrying pregnancy this time around and the experience I have had with all medical staff and midwives over the past 7 years has been amazing. The support I have had from these amazing people has increased my interest in pursing my career in midwifery. I have the GCSE requirements, however, no A Levels. But I do have 2 NVQ Level 2 and 3 NVQ Level 3 and a Diploma. Are these satisfactory to enrol straight onto studying for a degree or would I need to pursue the access course first? Any help that you can offer at this stage would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance. Dawn
dawnavon1 - 14-Aug-12 @ 8:45 AM
Hi iam very interested in training to be a midwife but not sure what rotes to go down.
I did not do very well at school did my GCSE but not very well. I really want to train to be a midwife i have two children and i work part time my kids are growing up now and i want to do something worth while and i think midwifes have a very rewarding job and that's what i want to be a part of. Thank you Amanda
mand - 11-Aug-12 @ 1:50 PM
Does anyone know what a trianee midwife earns a month? Take home pay? I am currently on 30K a year but hate my job but need to know how much money I will take home to secure my mortgage
Please help :-/
jellybean - 8-Aug-12 @ 2:07 PM
I would love to be a midwife i have numourous qualifications and i have been to university to do a degree in English but did not complete.This was about 18 years ago . Since then i ive been married and had 3 children. Would i need to go back to college before doing a degree in midwifery as im 38 years old .
mandy - 2-Jul-12 @ 12:46 PM
@Zoe To work in the NHS midwives must hold a "pre-registration" qualification in midwifery at degree level which allows them to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.There are no national minimum entry requirements as each Higher Education Institute sets its own criteria however, these are generally around 5 GCSEs plus 2 A-Levels or equivalent for a degree programme so you certainly meet the minimum criteria.You can apply for the midwifery degree programme online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Sevice (UCAS). Good luck!
TC - 18-Jun-12 @ 3:16 PM
im 24 and want too train to be a midwife i have 10 gcse and 3 a levels and a diploma in primary education. Alot has happened to me in the past few years an i feel its time i sort my life out and do something where i feel what i am doing is helping others and it is somethingi have always wanted to do i just do not know where to start , although i have qualifications i do not know if what i have is relevant or would be enough to get me on to a course x
zoe88 - 18-Jun-12 @ 2:36 PM
Hi there I'm a 38yr old and would love to train to become a midwife but I have no qualifications wots so ever how do I go about finding out if I can train to become a midwife something I've wanted to do for yrs but never got round to doing anything bout it with having kids and would like some sort of qualification before I get any older I stay in Scotland if that helps thanks ananda.
Binnie73 - 19-May-12 @ 9:51 AM
i want to become a midwife, i am currently on a l2 childcare course and have 4 gcse's a-c.... i want to know whether to go on a l3 childare or l3 health and social care which would be best for me to become a midwife?
xkj - 2-May-12 @ 10:32 PM
Hi im 22 and have an NVQ level 3 but its in hairdressing, i also have 11 GCSEs A-C grades. I would love to train to be a midwife but not sure how to go about it as i dont hve the relivent
qualifications to do so. Any advice about the subject would be much welcomed.
Ash06 - 4-Apr-12 @ 9:47 PM
Hello, I am a 37 yr old mother of three, I have a degree but in an unrelated field.A few years ago I left my finance job to persue experience with the idea being I would enrole for a nursing degree, due to other pressures I could not do it.Please could you advise me of how I go about applying? I had an interview for an access course at the time but when it came to enrole it turned out as I have sociology A level I didnt need to do dome modules ... confused ?
Loop - 19-Mar-12 @ 6:16 PM
I am 49 feel if i dont try now never will. Have level 3 i childcare and worked with children for the past 12 years. Prior to that worked in medical clerical. Would love to train to be a midwife not sure how to go about it, or have I left it to late
needachange - 26-Feb-12 @ 10:35 AM
hi i am in college studying childcare and have been in college for 4 years . i am now looking into midwife work but cant seem to get around how i would get the answers i need like what other courses would i need to do erm would i have to go to uni .
or can the hospital offer me the training that i need
princess99 - 16-Feb-12 @ 10:35 PM
im 22 years old and a mother of one i would love to train to become a midwife but i dont have any gcse's how do i go about gaining my qualifications so i can train to become a midwife?
kay - 12-Feb-12 @ 1:34 PM
I want to do midwifery and will be taking an access course starting this septembe. Im 24 now and have 2 childern. I have 11 gcses a*-bs and an a level and 2as levels but need to do access course to refresh evrything. Better late than never! Just wonderin if any1 knows about help with childcarecosts?
naz - 8-Aug-11 @ 8:38 AM
Hey, I'm a 22 year old mother and have wanted to be a midwife ever since I became pregnant and seem what a rewarding career it would be. I've waited until my daughter was in school until I went on with this dream. I didn't do very well at school and I'm finding it hard to find anywhere that can help me with re-doing to something else in there place. Any information would be a great help. I live in coventry. Thanks very much x
Lozy-LuLu - 7-Aug-11 @ 12:45 PM
it's good and i wish to do short courses for midwife in your college.give me more information thanks
didi - 9-Jul-11 @ 10:23 AM
Hi, Am 27 and currently serving in the RAF and i am due out of the services in 10 months. i have always been interested in having a careere working with people and trying to help, but after having my son and seeing the amazing work Midwifes do i have decided this is the route i want to take. i don't have any medical qualifications apart from basic First Aid, but i do have 5 GCSE's grade C inc English and Maths. my questions are, what would be the best route for me and what are the fee's as i have a young family. Many thanks.