A career as a midwife is rewarding and in-demand. Midwives play an instrumental role in helping women and their babies receive continuous skilled care during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the weeks following the birth. Demand for healthcare staff in the UK is growing significantly, and research indicates that over a million more health and care staff will be needed in the next decade. If you are looking to enter this profession, now is the perfect time to learn how to become a midwife.
A midwifery job can offer you a fantastic start to a thriving and rewarding career in healthcare, with plenty of opportunities for professional development. With the right training, you could advance to health visitor, ward manager or midwifery consultant, or specialise in areas such as neonatal care, ultrasound, or antenatal screening.
What Does a Midwife Do?
A midwife is usually the primary contact for a woman during her pregnancy, throughout labour, and the early postnatal stage. In this role, you'll provide care, parenting advice, and health education while supporting women to make informed choices about their care. You'll be responsible for the health and well-being of both mother and child and will only consult with an obstetrician if any medical conditions arise.
As a midwife, you'll have the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, birth centres, GP practices, private homes, and private maternity hospitals. Most midwives practice within the NHS, working as part of a team with other midwives and healthcare professionals such as neonatologists, obstetricians, health visitors, and support staff.
In this role, your daily tasks could include:
- monitoring and examining women during pregnancy
- providing antenatal care, tests, exams, and parenting and health education classes
- identifying high-risk pregnancies and making referrals to health care specialists
- supervising and assisting mothers in labour
- giving support and advice on the care of the baby
- promoting health and well-being to pregnant mothers
- liaising with health and social care professionals to ensure continuity of care
How to Become a Midwife
To practice as a midwife in the UK, you must first register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC.) To register, you'll have to complete an approved pre-registration degree – either a midwifery undergraduate degree or degree apprenticeship.
Earn Your Midwifery Degree
Full-time degrees involve a combination of academic studies and clinical placements so you can gain hands-on experience. You'll have direct contact with women, their babies, and families and will learn how to understand and facilitate normal childbirth and identify complications that may arise. To apply, you'll typically need five GCSEs, including English, maths, and science, and two or three A levels, including science. You can take a postgraduate midwifery course if you already have a degree. If you are a registered nurse, you can take a reduced midwifery training programme for dual registration with the NMC.
Complete a Midwifery Apprenticeship
This is equivalent to an undergraduate degree which involves a mix of workplace learning and academic study at an approved university. You'll learn about midwifery from a licensed midwife or an approved obstetrical practitioner. You can apply for a midwifery apprenticeship through healthcare organisations or the NHS. You'll need some GCSEs and A Levels to apply for a degree apprenticeship.
Register as a Midwife
After completing your midwifery degree or apprenticeship, you need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. As part of the process, you must pass an enhanced background check and health clearance. Once registered, you can start practising as a midwife. You will have to renew your registration every three years by proving that you have updated your skills and training. This includes 450 practice hours and 35 hours of continued professional development.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Midwife?
A full-time midwifery degree takes three years to complete, though if you are already a registered nurse, you could qualify within 18 months to two years. A full-time midwife degree apprenticeship typically takes four years, and part-time courses usually take five to six years.
How Much are Midwives Paid in the UK?
Your salary depends on your experience and credentials and will vary regionally, with wages usually highest in Greater London. Under the Agenda for Change NHS pay scales, midwife salaries start on Band 5 and range from £25,655 to £31,534 per year.
You could progress to a senior level position such as team manager or nurse consultant and achieve a Band 7 to Band 8c salary of between £45,057 and £75,874.
How to Apply for Midwife Jobs
Are you confident about how to become a midwife? If you are, then you can start applying for jobs. First, you'll need to make sure that your CV is updated and that you tailor a cover letter to each job application.
Midwife jobs are in high demand within the NHS, and there are plenty of job vacancies across the UK. Depending on your location, you may want to consider midwife roles in:
Ready to Start a Rewarding Career as a Midwife?
Now that you know how to become a midwife, you can focus on applying for jobs. Get started today by creating a free Monster profile where you'll be able to upload your CV and have recruiters find you online. We'll also send you frequent personalised job alerts to match you with the right employer.