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 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
The ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator is expected to further a wider understanding of ICEA’s mission and philosophy among health professionals and the public.
We offer two different pathways for certification as a Professional Childbirth Educator.
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 layperson 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:
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.
The ICEA Professional 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 curriculum.
The examination consists entirely of 150 multiple choice questions. There are no short answer or essay questions. The examination is “closed book” and must be proctored. Three hours are given to complete the examination.
Candidates for whom English is a second language must contact the office as an examination may be available in their primary language. If an examination is not available in their primary language, then candidates may use a non-medical primary language/English dictionary and will be provided with four hours to complete the examination. The ICEA office must be notified, in writing, of these special needs at the time the certification examination application and fee are submitted.
Applying to Take the Examination
Candidates have up to two years, from the date in which they enrolled in the program, to complete the examination pre-requisites and apply for the examination. If more than two years pass, candidates must re-enroll in 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.
Scheduling Your Examination
All examinations are given online but must be taken with a proctor in person at the testing location chosen by the candidate. Candidates may 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. All examinations must be scheduled at least 30 days prior to the examination date. This includes any requested changes in scheduled examinations. The online link for the candidate’s exam will be emailed to the proctor in advance of the testing date.
Grading of the Examination
All ICEA examinations are taken online, therefore, candidates will immediately know their results upon completion. Each candidate who receives a passing score of 70% or above is considered to be an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator, an ICCE. ICEA will issue a formal certificate via email to those who have successfully completed the program. A three-year ICEA membership will be provided along with the certification.
In the event a candidate fails the exam, ICEA will send the candidate a new examination application via email to retake the test. 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 and ICEA membership is maintained. Examinations ruled invalid will be treated as failed examinations and the candidate will have one year to retake the examination per guidelines. Each subsequent exam will be charged a fee based on geographic location.
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.
ICEA is dedicated to maintaining a rigorous standard of excellence, and thus all ICEA certifications are only valid for three years. At the completion of the three years, all ICEA Certified Childbirth Educators must apply for recertification.
ICEA believes that as teachers, certified childbirth educators are continually educating themselves and learning from their clients. Recertification validates commitment to the profession and ensures the continuation of receiving the benefits of ICEA affiliation. View Recertification for more information.
ICEA reserves the right to change any part of the certification program or recertification process without notice. Notice of such changes will be sent in the newsletter, ICEA Connection.
For answers to all your certification questions, please visit our FAQ page.