Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between a direct-entry midwife and a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)?
A: Direct-entry Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives are the two primary categories of midwives in the United States.
Direct-entry Midwives are educated or trained as midwives without having to become nurses first. They include Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs), Licensed Midwives (LM), Registered Midwives (RM) and Certified Midwives (CMs). The legal status and requirements for Direct-entry Midwives varies between states. Florida recognizes the Licensed Midwife credential and practice is governed under F.S. 467 and Admin. Code 64B24. The Midwives Alliance of North America tracks the laws and regulations in each state for direct-entry midwives.
In Florida, Licensed Midwives (LMs) are fully autonomous and provide full-scope maternity care for low-risk people and collaborative care with obstetricians for people with risk factors. They are not required to have any practice agreement with a doctor. Florida licensed midwives meet their communities' needs in a variety of settings: clients' homes, birth centers, clinics, and hospital facilities. In collaboration with a physician they may also provide care for people whose pregnancies require medical supervision.
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are educated and licensed as nurses first and complete additional education in midwifery. CNMs are licensed to practice in all 50 states and provide health care across the lifespan including routine care, sexual health, pregnancy and birth, and birth control. CNMs typically practice in hospitals and private practice medical clinics, but can also work in birth centers and attend at-home births. In most states (including Florida), CNMs are required to practice under the supervision and practice protocols of a doctor.
Q: What credEntials will I be eligible for upon completion of the program?
A: Graduates of the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery meet the requirements for and are eligible to apply for licensure in the state of Florida. They are also eligible to apply for the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential offered by the National Association of Registered Midwives (NARM). CPM credentialing is not required for practice in Florida, but is recognized in some other states.
Q: How long does it take to complete the Direct-Entry Midwifery Program?
A: The direct-entry midwifery program is 3 years. Some students may take additional time to finish up their clinical numbers. The maximum allowable timeframe for program completion is 6 years.
Q: What is the class schedule like?
A: Our students live all over the state of Florida and commute to Gainesville for academic classes. They participate in clinical experience within their home communities, or as close as possible.
In Year One, midwifery students take the "Foundational Courses," such as Anatomy & Physiology I and II, Healthcare Skills I and II, Microbiology, and Pharmacology, to name a few. During the first year of the program, students can expect to be on campus approximately 2 full days each week.
In Year Two, midwifery students take the "Core Midwifery Courses," such as Antepartum, Intrapartum and Postpartum and spend more time at their clinical sites than in Year One. During the second year of the program, students can expect to be on campus approximately 3 full days every other week.
In Year Three, midwifery students take the "Advanced Midwifery Topics," such as Obstetric Complications, Establishing & Maintaining a Practice and NARM Review. Senior students spend most of their time at their clinical sites and are well on their way to becoming autonomous care providers! During the third year of the program, students can expect to be on campus approximately 1-2 full days each month.
Students' clinical schedules will vary depending on the clinical site.
Q: How does the clinical placement process work?
A: In the first semester of clinic, students participate in Clinical Site Rotations. Students commute to a variety of sites around Florida throughout the term and have the chance to observe and experience a range of clinical settings throughout the state. The following semester, students are placed at more permanent sites. FSTM does its best to place students in sites within their own communities. In the event that a student cannot be placed at a site within their community, they may be required to commute or relocate in order to attend clinic. Students and preceptors/mentors have the opportunity to meet and interview with one another to determine if they are a good fit for each other prior to clinical placement. Students work directly with Florida Licensed Midwives, Certified Nurse Midwives, Registered Nurses, or Obstetricians who work in home birth practices, birth centers, women’s health facilities, and hospital settings.
Q: Is there student housing on campus?
A: No, there is no student housing available on campus. Most students who commute to Gainesville for classes stay with friends or family or use short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) or hotel rooms.
Q: Does FSTM accept Financial Aid?
A: Yes, our school accepts most types of Financial Aid including Pell Grants, Florida Prepaid, federal loans and private loans. Please visit our Financial Aid page for more information.
Q: Can I work while attending midwifery school?
A: A lot of people come to us with this question, and the honest answer is that it is extremely difficult to work while in midwifery school. Our program is a lot like a nursing program in that way. This is largely because being on call for clinic is incompatible with most jobs. Some students can manage to work if they have a part-time job with an extremely flexible schedule or a schedule they set themselves (such as a massage therapist or business owner).
Students' clinic/call schedules vary widely based on many factors: the practice volume at their clinical site, the preceptor's schedule, the number of other students at the site, etc. For example, if a student chooses a slow home birth practice for clinic, they might be on call 2-3 days per week and do 1 day of clinic per week. At a busy birth center, a student may be on call for births whenever they are not in class and do several days of clinic per week.
One clinical credit is equivalent to a minimum of 60 clock hours, but students usually end up doing more clinical hours than the minimum in order to meet the required numbers for births, prenatal visits, etc. During the first year students take one clinical credit, and this increases to three clinical credits in year two and four clinical credits in year three.
In addition, the program is academically rigorous and requires ample time to study outside of class, especially during the first two years. Students are on campus two full days per week during the first year. They're two consecutive days, and they're almost always week days. On rare occasions we schedule some classes on the weekend if they are "workshop style" and the instructor requests it. Most of our students commute from around the state for class and attend clinic in or near their home community. Some students travel or even relocate for clinic.
Our school accepts most financial aid (Pell Grants, federal loans, VA, Florida Pre-Paid, Bright Futures, etc.) to pay for tuition, books and other costs. Depending on their particular situations, some students get a little money back to help with living expenses. We advise all aspiring students to take the time to fully prepare for midwifery school in all aspects of their life, including shoring up finances, solidifying plans and backup plans for childcare, etc.