FAQ - Is Midwifery for Me?

FAQ

Click on the questions that are relevant to you below to see the corresponding answers. Come back to the top of the FAQ by clicking on the 'Back to top of FAQ' links on the page.

Before applying – Who can become a midwife in Australia?

Applying – What do I need to know?

Being a student of Midwifery – What does that mean?


Before Applying - Who can become a midwife in Australia?

I am a Registered Nurse and would like to become a midwife – how do I do that?

There are a number of pathways that registered nurses can undertake to register as midwives. These include completing a Bachelor in Midwifery (with some credit for Recognition of Prior Learning) or completing a Graduate Diploma or Masters degree in midwifery. These courses vary in time between 12-24 months. Each university may offer a slightly different approach but all courses that lead to registration as a midwife in Australia must meet the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council Accreditation standards. In some states, nurses can be employed by local hospitals as midwifery students and need to be enrolled at a university at the same time.

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Do I have to be a nurse before I can become a midwife?

It is no longer necessary to be a nurse before becoming a midwife. You can become a midwife by achieving a Bachelor of Midwifery degree, otherwise known as 'direct-entry', which is usually a three-year full time course, although most universities offer part-time opportunities. There are a number of universities that also offer a combined Bachelor of Nursing / Bachelor of Midwifery (dual degree).

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I am male - Can I become a midwife?

Yes, as long as you meet all the requirements of the midwifery program.

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I am qualified internationally. Is my qualification recognised and am I able to practise in Australia?

Please refer to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia for more information on working in Australia.

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I live in rural or remote Australia - Can I work as a midwife if I am not a nurse?

Once you register as a midwife with a Bachelor of Midwifery degree you are legally entitled to work anywhere within your midwifery scope of practice. However, there are some hospitals and facilities, especially in rural and remote areas, that prefer that you have a nursing qualification in addition to a midwifery qualification.

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Applying – What do I need to know?

Where can I go to find out what university offers what course?

The best place to look for accredited midwifery courses is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency website that has a search facility that allows you to look for educational institutions that offer the relevant courses. You can also consult our lists of undergraduate and postgraduate courses available in Australia.

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How do I know which is the best university to apply to?

Each university has its pros and cons which you must investigate and decide which best suits your circumstances.  For example, you might really like to go to University 1 because there is a lecturer that you really respect. However, you decide to go to University 2 because it offers part-time conditions that suit you better with a young family.

If you can, talk to the program coordinator and current students to get a feel for how the program runs. Also, talk to midwives who work with students to find out how they view the midwifery program from their perspective.

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How do I apply to be a Midwifery Student?

The avenue for applying to universities depends on the state or territory where you live and may involve applying through a general admissions centre rather than applying to the individual universities. For information about which is the appropriate state admissions centre, go to the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre. As well as going through the admissions process, you may also be asked to attend an interview. This requirement varies from university to university.

For further information about courses available in Australia, go here.

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How much are the course fees?

Fees vary from university to university, but are roughly about $5,500-$6,500 per year for Commonwealth-supported students, including students accessing HECS-HELP. However, be mindful that fees increase every year.

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What qualifications do I need?

You need to check the course requirements for the institution you are applying to. Places for midwifery education are very competitive so the higher the academic record you have, the greater a chance you will have of being accepted onto the program. At the same time, applying to become a midwife isn’t just about academic performance but also your motivation, understanding and commitment to being a midwife.

You may need a National Criminal History Record Check (NCHRC) and obtain a clearance, and may also need to provide an up-to-date first aid certificate. Some institutions may also require evidence that you have been screened for and vaccinated against specific infectious conditions – you will be informed by the institution what their pre-entry requirements are.

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I live overseas and want to move to Australia to be a midwifery student. How do I do that?

Some universities accept international students into midwifery programs, and some do not. So the first thing you need to do is check with the university where you wish to apply. As well as all the usual requirements, you will also be required to demonstrate you have a high level of English language skills, both verbal and comprehension. You will also need to arrange an appropriate student visa. Finally, check what the international fees for your program will be – they can be extremely expensive for international students.

For more information and support, get in touch with the office for international students at the university that you are interested in applying to.

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I left school years ago without any modern qualification; can I still apply to be a midwifery student?

There are a number of ways you can show you have the ability to become a mature-age midwifery student, including the Special Tertiary Admissions Test. Requirements do vary from university to university and state to state, so check with the university you want to attend for advice on how to apply as a mature-age student.

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Being a student of Midwifery – What does that mean?

What does being a midwifery student involve?

Studying to become a midwife is challenging but rewarding. Not only do you have academic content to learn and assignments to complete, but you also have clinical requirements to meet which include hospital shifts, evening and weekend work, and being on-call for birthing women.

You have to be committed to the program and the women you work with – it is not like studying other academic degrees when you pick and choose what and when you study.  This can impact significantly on your life; from needing very flexible childcare to not being able to drink alcohol when you are on call. Your clinical and academic obligations, especially on call, can also impact on your ability to work part time while you are studying.

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Do I have to be on call as a midwifery student?

One of the clinical requirements you will have to meet is being involved with ‘Continuity of Care’ women (following women through from pregnancy to birth and postnatal). This will include being on call when the women are due to birth their babies. The continuity of care component of your course is a big commitment but it will provide you with invaluable learning that will prepare you to work across the full scope of midwifery practice.

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Can I have paid employment while I am studying?

Yes, you can but you must be careful you do not over-commit yourself, and find that you do not have enough time for your studies or clinical obligations. You also need to check the requirements about paid employment if you receive a scholarship or financial loan.

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