Midwifery Schools in Florida - FL

Expectant moms in search of a more personal birth experience -- and fewer medical interventions -- may look to midwives for their care. Florida midwives provide gynecological, obstetric, prenatal and postnatal care to pregnant women and their newborns. Some practice in hospitals or birthing centers; others attend births at home. Midwives' duties vary by title and training, but all begin their journeys in midwifery school.

At a glance: Midwifery schools in Florida

There are primarily two types of midwives in Florida: licensed midwives and certified nurse-midwives. Which path you choose will determine the extent of care you can provide once in the field. Training varies, but both types of midwives must be licensed by the Florida Department of Health to practice. The Council of Licensed Midwifery oversees training and licensing requirements.

Licensed midwives

Licensed midwives, sometimes called a direct-entry midwives, are not required to become nurses, or even work in health care, before enrolling in state-approved midwifery training programs. These schools are designed to provide future midwives with the skills they need to practice in the field. According the professional advocacy group Florida Friends of Midwives, typical courses include, but are not limited to: nursing, pharmacology, obstetric, gynecology, fetology, embryology, genetics and diagnostics.

No two programs are identical, but students can expect to spend a little more than three years in school. They must also complete mandatory clinical training in the field. After successfully completing midwife training, candidates can sit for a national midwifery licensing examination through the North American Registry of Midwives. Once in the field, licensed midwives can work independently -- meaning they do not need to practice under a physician. They can attend births at home, in birthing centers and in hospitals.

Certified nurse-midwives

Certified nurse-midwives are advanced registered nurse practitioners. Though they provide many of the same services as licensed midwives -- including prenatal care, labor and delivery care and newborn care -- CNMs are registered nurses who go on to specialize in midwifery. That means they must complete nursing school before they ever enroll in CNM training programs, which usually result in master's degrees. As a result of this additional training, CNMs can prescribe medication. They can also work independently and in a diversity of settings, but FFM reports that the vast majority of Florida CNMs work in hospitals or in physicians offices. Many CNMs also provide basic, non-childbearing-related gynecologic care in physicians' offices.

Make it official: Florida midwife licensing requirements

As noted above, both LMs and CNMs must be licensed to practice in Florida. The Florida Department of Health requires all licensing candidates must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Complete state-approved midwifery programs
  • Provide proof of passing the NARM written exam
  • Earn at least three college-level credits in math and English. They may alternately pass either the college level academic scholastic test (CLAST), or the College Level Equivalent Proficiency (CLEP) test in communication and computation.
  • Provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 per claim with a $300,000 minimum annual aggregate
  • Pay all applicable fees

Note that the American Midwifery Certification Board also certifies CNMs both in and out of Florida. Candidates must provide copies of their RN licenses and pass an additional national exam before earning the CNM designation.

Florida requires LMs and CNMs to complete continuing education courses, or CECs, throughout the course of their careers in order to maintain licensure.

In the field: Salary and career projections for Florida midwives

Midwives are thriving in Florida. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2013), Florida ranked no. 4 among all states nationally for total employment of midwives in 2013. They are in demand, too: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity projects that demand for Florida midwives will grow by 28.3 percent between 2013 and 2021 -- much faster than the statewide average for all occupations. The BLS credits much of this growth (nationally) to a growing public awareness of and respect for midwives, and laws that broaden the scope of care they can provide.

The BLS reports that CNMs in Florida earned a mean wage of $83,080 in May 2013. While this is short of the $92,230 national average that same year, it was still well above the statewide average for all occupations. Neither the BLS nor the FDEO track earnings for licensed midwives specifically. The American College of Nurse-Midwives notes that several factors can impact earnings, including practice setting, hours worked and the scope of care provided.

Both LMs and CNMs in Florida may be able to improve their earnings and career prospects through additional education. CNMs with master's degrees might return to school to earn Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees, for instance, and LMs could go to nursing school and, eventually, become CNMs. We recommend researching several midwifery schools in Florida before selecting a program that best suits your goals.

Sources:

Employment Projections, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 2014, http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections

Licensure Examination Requirements, Licensing, Midwifery, Florida Department of Health, http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/midwifery/licensing/index.html

Licensed Midwifery, Florida Department of Health, http://www.floridahealth.gov/%5C/licensing-and-regulation/midwifery/index.htm

"Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners," Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm

"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Nurse Midwives," Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/OES/current/oes291161.htm

Types of Midwives, Florida Friends of Midwives, http://63.134.240.27/EvidenceBasedCare/TypesofMidwives/tabid/343/Default.aspx

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