How to Start a Midwifery Career in the UK
If you’re considering a career as a midwife, you’re no doubt looking for a job that brings personal satisfaction and reward for your hard work. This is something you will get in abundance in this role, as midwives are directly involved in bringing new life into the world.
You will also help set new mothers and their families up for success as parents while being by the side of the mother throughout this extreme transformation period.
If you’re an innately caring person and love being around children, this is a job you will no doubt thoroughly enjoy. However, getting the skills and knowledge to birth children safely and assess the health of the mother and unborn child throughout the pregnancy takes time.
So, if you’re looking into becoming a midwife in the UK, you’ve no doubt discovered you need a midwifery degree to qualify. However, the route to studying midwifery university courses can look different for each person. This is because you can meet the entry requirements for midwifery degrees in various ways, and if you’re already degree qualified in a related subject, there are other options for you to transfer your skills.
In addition to this, there are a host of personal characteristics employers of midwives will be looking for. To help you know what all your options are, we’ve detailed all the ways you can get the midwifery qualifications you need, as well as everything you need to become a UK midwife.
Characteristics for Midwifery
Besides being qualified to perform midwifery duties, you also need to be a certain type of person to become a midwife. While it is certainly a rewarding career, it’s not without its challenges. That’s why employers of midwives in the UK will want to make sure you display the right personal traits to handle both the emotional and physical aspects of the job.
To become a midwife, you will need to be:
- Unprejudiced – to support mothers from all walks of life who will experience a range of societal issues and challenges
- Empathetic – to support and reassure expectant mothers through an often anxiety-ridden and frightening experience
- Socially Adept – to work effectively and respectfully with people of all backgrounds and religions
- Resilient – to handle the downside to the job which is often supporting mothers through health complications or the loss of their baby
- Intuitive – to cater to the needs of mothers and their families, even if they aren’t sure what these are
- Professional – to handle situations calmly, especially during chaotic times like the birth
- A clear communicator – to pass on important instructions and guidance to new mothers, families and other healthcare professionals
Qualifications Needed for Midwifery
To make sure you can competently perform medical check-ups and monitor the health of mothers and their babies as a midwife, you need to be educated to a high level.
This is why you need to study midwifery university courses to qualify as a midwife in the UK. Without an approved midwifery degree, you won’t be able to apply for professional registration.
That part of the process is clear, however, there are various ways you can reach this level of education or sidestep into it if you’ve already completed a degree in a related subject.
GCSEs and Equivalent Qualifications
The entry requirements for university midwifery courses don’t just take into account the college level qualifications you hold, they want to make sure you gained a solid education in school as well.
As such, most university midwifery courses look for certain GCSEs, in many cases, this is Maths, English and sometimes a Science at grade C/4 or above.
Should you not have the GCSEs for midwifery courses, there are other options to help you tick this box quickly. Functional Skills provide you with GCSE equivalent qualifications and can be completed in a few short weeks or months, depending on how quickly you can move through the course materials.
A Levels or Equivalents
The other thing midwifery degree courses UK will be looking for is A Levels, to make sure you have the appropriate foundation knowledge to help you succeed in midwifery studies at the university level.
This is why most university midwifery courses want you to have subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Sociology or Psychology. However, each university sets its own requirements, so the subjects required may differ.
Don’t panic if you don’t have A Levels for midwifery, there are other ways to get around this step. Both an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery) and midwifery foundation courses provide you with the scientific grounding needed to prepare for your degree. Both options can be completed in one year and both bypass the need for A Level qualifications.
NMC Approved Midwifery Degree
When you’re at the stage of applying to university, you will need to make sure you complete a midwifery degree that is approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Depending on the way you learn best, this could either be a regular degree that is mostly study with work placements to gain practical skills, or a midwifery degree apprenticeship that is mostly workplace learning.
Midwifery Conversion Course
If you’re a graduate looking to become a midwife, you may be eligible for a midwifery conversion course if your degree complements midwifery.
These postgraduate midwifery courses come in the shape of either a postgraduate certificate (PGCert), a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) or a Masters (MSc).
If you’ve studied nursing at university, this process is even shorter. A nursing to midwifery conversion course, UK, takes under two years to complete!
Return to Midwifery Course
Another option that needs to be covered is how UK qualified midwives who have spent enough time away from work to lapse their registration get back into practice. If you want to return to midwifery, you can take a midwifery short course known in the industry as a Return to Practice (RtP) midwifery course, that will bring you up to speed with changes in the sector.
The length of this course depends on how long you have been away from midwifery work. The longer the duration the bigger the gap in your knowledge will be.
Other Midwifery Career Essentials
In addition to these characteristics and a midwifery degree, there are other boxes you need to tick to work as a midwife in the UK.
Undergo a Police Check
Because healthcare professionals command so much trust from the public to perform their duties, they must undergo a criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). As such, passing this is an essential step to becoming a midwife.
Gain Professional Registration
For you to practice midwifery in the UK, you need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), as they are the sole regulators of professional midwives in the UK. They make sure that standards are set in conduct, education, performance and training, to protect the health and wellbeing of the public.
Complete Midwifery CPD
Once these steps are completed and you become a UK registered midwife, you need to undergo Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to maintain your registration. This makes sure your knowledge and skills are in line with the latest developments in the sector, and that the public receive the best care possible.
Study Midwifery with learndirect!
If you’re committed to the idea of becoming a midwife and working towards a career that is both financially and emotionally rewarding, learndirect can be your ticket to getting qualified faster.
With our online GCSEs and A Levels, you can gain the traditional qualifications universities are looking for. Though, if you want a quicker route to becoming a midwife, our Functional Skills courses and Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery) enable you to tick these academic boxes in a shorter timeframe.
Find out more by talking with our Course Executives today. They will discuss your situation and the current qualifications you hold, to help you determine what you need to progress quickly onto a university midwifery course.