Being a midwife is a demanding and unique role. You’ll be responsible for creating and sustaining a positive relationship with the pregnant woman, to help her to have the best possible birth experience. Many midwives carry their own caseload and work in community settings, while others are based in hospitals. There are lots of opportunities to add to your general midwifery skills by specialising in a particular area such as public health or overseeing teenage pregnancy clinics.
To become a midwife you’ll need a degree in midwifery, which takes three years to complete. If you’re already a registered adult nurse, you can undertake a shorter course instead, which takes 18 months. When you qualify, you’ll be able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), allowing you to practise as a midwife.
You’ll spend around half of your degree on supervised practice placements in community and hospital settings, and you’ll also learn about the physical, emotional, social, political and cultural aspects of maternity care in the UK.
Visit the NHS Careers website to find a university near you offering midwifery degrees in England, or in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Then visit each university's website to learn more about the content of the course. You might want to go along to an open day to talk to lecturers and current students. Once you have decided on a course and university, apply through UCAS.
Generally, you won’t have to pay university fees, as your training is funded by the NHS (subject to screening). There are also bursaries and salaries available to some midwifery students, but this depends on where you’re studying so check the options available to you locally.
Each higher education institution sets its own requirements, so make sure you check before applying. This is usually around five GCSEs plus two A-levels or equivalent. You will also have to: