Are you passionate about family centered maternity care? Do you believe in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives? Our childbirth educator certification programs will give you the knowledge and experience you need to make a difference in the lives of pregnant women and their families.
Certification Overview & Curriculum
The ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator (PCBE) Certification Program verifies that childbirth educators have the necessary education and skills to enable them to facilitate expectant parents’ mental and physical preparation for pregnancy, labor, birth and parenthood. The program promotes the concept of the childbirth educator as an advocate of the natural process of childbirth and the right of the expectant parent to make informed decisions based on knowledge of alternatives. Following is the program curriculum:
- Part I – ICEA and Family-centered Maternity Care
- Part II – Informed Decision-making and Evidence-based Teaching
- Part III – Teaching Skills for the Childbirth Educator
- Part IV – Curriculum Development
- Part V – Healthy Lifestyles and Reproduction
- Part VI – The Labor Process
- Part VII – Coping Skills for Labor
- Part VIII – Transition and Birth
- Part IX – Complications, interventions, and Unexpected Outcomes
- Part X – Postpartum and the Newborn Care
We offer three different pathways for certification as a childbirth educator. Each is based upon a different skill level. You may further explore each pathway below.
- TRADITIONAL – This pathway for certification is the right choice for you if:
- You have little or no experience as a childbirth educator.
- You are a lay-person who is committed to helping childbearing families.
- You are a doula, nurse or other birth professional who wants to expand your services to include childbirth classes.
- EXPERIENCED – This pathway for certification is the right choice for you if:
- You have two or more years experience teaching childbirth classes.
- PREVIOUSLY CERTIFIED – This pathway for certification is the right choice for you if:
- You are currently certified with another childbirth educator organization (ie: Lamaze, CAPPA).
- You want to add ICEA credentials to your resume.
This certification program is available to any educator who upholds and practices ICEA’s philosophy of family-centered maternity care and freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in childbirth. The program sets a common standard which improves the quality of teaching by individual childbirth educators, protects the consumer by ensuring minimum qualifications and provides the basis for establishing childbirth education as a recognized profession. This program does not exclude an otherwise qualified person for reason of teaching method or educational or professional background. No qualified, presently certified instructor will be excluded from entering the ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator Certification Program.
Contact Hour Requirements for Certification and Recertification
Each candidate for ICEA certification must obtain a minimum of sixteen ICEA contact hours. ICEA encourages candidates to acquire more than the minimum number of hours. ICEA provides the opportunity to obtain up to one-half of the required contact hours for certification through alternate hours. ICCEs must acquire a minimum of twenty-four ICEA contact hours for recertification. The contact hour requirement for ICEA certification programs is designed to provide exposure to ICEA’s goals and philosophy of “freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives” as presented at approved workshops, conferences and conventions. View the Contact Hour Guidelines for more information.
The ICEA childbirth educator certification examination is designed to test for a thorough knowledge of the basic content in childbirth preparation. The examination is based solely on the objectives outlined in the ten parts of the ICEA PCBE program. The examination consists entirely of 150 multiple choice questions. There are no short answer or essay questions. The examination is “closed book” and will be proctored. Three hours will be given to complete the examination. The score is based on the number of correct answers. There is no penalty for wrong answers. Candidates for whom English is a second language may use a non-medical primary language/English dictionary and five hours to complete the examination. The ICEA Central Office must be notified, in writing, of these special needs at the time the certification examination application and fee are submitted.
Scheduling YOUR Examination
Certification examinations are scheduled at all ICEA conferences and may be taken for a reduced rate. If taking advantage of this discount, the candidate must also register to attend the conference. Candidates may also apply to take the examination in any state, province or country, and are not limited to taking the examination in their local geographic area. An examination can be scheduled by completing and submitting the ICEA childbirth educator certification examination application form. All examinations must be scheduled at least thirty days prior to the examination date. This includes any requested changes in scheduled examinations. Candidates requesting a change in their scheduled certification examination will be assessed a $25 fee. View the Guidelines for Scheduling and Proctoring the Examination for additional information.
Applying to take the Examination
Candidates have up to two years to complete the examination pre-requisites and apply for the examination. The certification examination application must be received by the specified date on the application. When choosing a date for the examination, candidates must choose a date that is at least thirty days after the application is received in the ICEA Main Office. Candidates have up to one year from submitting the application to actually take the examination. If more than a year passes, candidates must re-enter the program and again complete all the pre-requisites. Examination applications will not be accepted unless they are complete. A complete application includes all needed forms and verifications, examination date, location and proctor, and full payment.
Grading of the Examination
It may take up to thirty days to grade the examination and notify the candidate of the score. Each candidate who receives a passing score of a minimum of 70% is considered to be an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator, an ICCE. ICEA will inform each candidate of the score and issue a formal certificate to those who have successfully completed the program. Additionally, ICEA will notify candidates who fail to achieve the minimum passing score. These candidates will have up to one year in which to pass the examination. They may retake the examination as many times as necessary within one year of the first fail date, providing repeat guidelines are followed. Examinations ruled invalid will be treated as failed examinations and the candidate will have one year to retake the examination per guidelines. Candidates who fail the examination and whose time in the program has expired may re-enter the ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator Certification Program.
Upon successful completion of the ICEA Professional Childbirth Educator Certification Program, an instructor will be entitled to use ICCE and the term “ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator” to designate certification status and to indicate that the instructor is “ICEA Certified.” The ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator is expected to further a wider understanding of ICEA’s mission and philosophy among health professionals and the public.