AAMI FAQs

It is extremely important that you obtain practical training with an experienced midwife before you take clients of your own. This course was not designed as a substitute for actual birth experience. An apprenticeship is vital to your education. (See Why Apprentice.) If you have a preceptor currently, you may want to consider our apprenticeship documentation program, Preceptor Evaluation Program. If you do not have a preceptor, we may be able to help you find a midwife willing to take an apprentice. Opportunities often present themselves to dedicated students long before they complete this course.

We are happy to help you in any way we can in this area, and have incorporated assignments specifically designed to help with this process.

There are several training facilities that can offer you intensive experience in a clinic setting but this should not be considered a substitute for an apprenticeship. It is crucial to become a home birth midwife by being a home birth apprentice!

We recommend that you attend workshops and conferences as well. Our Midwifery Skills Labs offer a safe environment for learning new skills and attendance fulfills one of our optional requirements.

In addition to our Midwifery Skills Labs, our Clinical Director is launching a new field opportunity program which provides the opportunity to travel and assist women all over the world.

No, AAMI programs are not MEAC accredited. After careful consideration, we chose not to, since affiliation with MEAC is a political alignment more than a standard of excellence.

Our program will fulfill most of the educational requirements in the NARM Portfolio Evaluation Process application for the CPM. Many students have successfully used AAMI programs to study for the NARM exam and get their CPM credential. It is up to each potential student to check the midwifery laws in their state and determine if pursuing midwifery academic education with AAMI is right for them.

One of the most remarkable features of Advanced Midwifery Studies is that it will work well for students at any level. It’s designed to start where you are and take you where you want to go! Our enrollment seems to be divided pretty evenly in three categories: inexperienced aspiring midwives and apprentices, experienced apprentices or beginning midwives, and very experienced midwives.
We want you to do well, and screen to be sure you would be a good fit for the program. That said, very few applicants have ever been rejected. We may not accept your application if you are younger than 15.
All submissions are examined by an academic adviser, who makes corrections and suggestions, but grades are not given for course assignments. A standard grading system would be inconsistent with our goals. The course is not set up to teach any method or philosophy, but rather, to encourage you to develop your own.

Your work is acknowledged and evaluated – without grades. This is uncomfortable initially for those who are dependent on external approval, and those who learned to make good grades without actually absorbing or comprehending the material.

You will find that our system nurtures your growth in many ways! Once you have adjusted to this departure from our culturally warped measurement of accomplishment, you will begin to learn for the sake of the acquisition of knowledge and love every minute of it!

If you have more questions about our grading philosophy, request a copy of “What? No Grades!”

This has been one of the most frequently asked questions since we started this program. We don’t just give you a list of assignments and leave you to your own devices!

Even before we were “online” we didn’t do that! We are here for you. We want to help you succeed!

We have found that all enrollees do not need or want the same things from us so we let you choose the level of support you want. We encourage you to reach out and let us know how we can best support you.

We are often asked to compare AAMI to other schools. We are just not in a position to do that, but we encourage you to!

We hold many, many distinctions; notably, we were the original distance program for midwives. Although many have patterned their programs after ours to some degree, we are proud that we have never looked at any other curriculum so any comparison we could make would be based on second hand information. We are so proud of our program and devote all our energy into making it better! We really do not give much thought to any of those who have come after us. We don’t usually know what is going on with other programs and do not even visit other schools’ websites; we are just too busy doing what we do.

We would suggest that you talk with current students and graduates of any program. Ask yourself what you hope to gain. If your primary objective is a piece of paper, we can tell you right now that is NOT our focus at all. Our students do not place value on one piece of paper that may, or may not, buy them anything in the future. (Regardless of what any school promises.) Our students place value on the hundreds of pieces of paper they will be able to refer to in their completed work for the rest of their lives.

We’ve been doing this longer than anyone else and we believe we’re still doing it better than anyone else! However, we never ever want anyone to enroll who has any doubts about whether or not this is the best program for her.

The course is not outlined by subject, but virtually every topic remotely related to childbirth or midwifery is covered. In more than 35 years, we have not found any truly pertinent topics to have been neglected. We believe a topical method might be too limiting and doesn’t allow for sufficient comparison of data.

In 1981, Carla had done little research into the dynamics of the adult learner; and just used commonsense. As more research was available, she understood this approach is truly optimal for adult learning. For example, reading textbook glossaries before she attempted to read the text helped her understand what she was reading, so it made sense that the terminology should at least be started first. Humans tend to gloss over topics that are not interesting to them; therefore, the course is designed to delve into some topics gradually until a basic understanding is achieved.

Each section may cover each topic, but from a different approach. Each subject is covered in a variety of ways, with enough repetition to make it stick, and enough variation to make it interesting. Layered learning promotes greater comprehension of individual topics as they relate to other topics within the broader subject.

This program was founded by Carla Hartley in 1981.

It is currently owned and directed by me, Lori Barklage, with the help of an amazing team who is deeply committed to your success. There is a lot at stake in terms of the future of midwifery and home birth. We will be right there beside you every step of the way.

I am honored to support the past, current, and future students of AAMI as we build community and nurture families. I have long shared Carla’s vision for traditional midwifery training that provides support for mothers and babies in both a scientific and heart-connected way. I’m thrilled to continue her amazing program.

My passions and experience supporting mothers birth-rights, family support, trauma healing, and building online training programs are finding the perfect home in AAMI. I’ll be including courses in the midwifery program that were previously add-ons and extras such as mindset and trauma healing content that was previously in my Midwife Mindset and Birthing Peace Within classes. I believe we must make intention and wellness a focus while actively healing everything that gets in the way of our connecting on the deepest levels.

I am going to let our founder introduce herself:
My name is Carla Hartley. I founded this program as Apprentice Academics in 1981 when I lived in Spring, Texas. In late 1980, I started work on a preliminary academic program for women who wanted to apprentice with me. My program included a workbook and six months of weekly classroom intensives. Before I became a midwife, I had really concentrated on the academics and had been teaching childbirth classes for a while so this was a logical thing for me to do for apprentices. There was no academic education available as a complete curriculum and certainly no distance program–we called them correspondence courses then. I was convinced by midwives and others in the childbirth field, notably Dr. Bob Mendelsohn, Peggy O’Mara, and David and Lee Stewart, that I should develop it further so that what I had created could become a correspondence course. It took a LOT of convincing, but what sealed the deal was the idea that I could help women attain an excellent education while they stayed home to mother their own children. Here I am, many decades and counting and even more enthusiastic about birth than ever.

On the personal side, my grandmother was a midwife and caught me in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I witnessed my first home birth 14 months later as my sister was born… but I didn’t know anything about birth until AFTER my first was born in the hospital. That’s a story for another time!

I am the mother of four and grandmother of eight. My grandkids call me Baba. You may notice that many of my former students do as well…

The exact way to become a midwife, or to practice midwifery legally, varies depending on where you live and what program you choose.

In general, you need an apprenticeship with a practicing home birth midwife, a comprehensive academic study program, and any additional classroom or workshop experience you can get.

At AAMI we set you up for success all along the way with online academic education, optional in-person skills labs, phone and video modules, and an online community to support your very best education.

ABSOLUTELY NOT. One of our distinctions is that the course is designed to help students at every level of education and experience. It is set up with your progression as a student in mind. When you enroll in our AAMI Midwifery Studies program, you will start with our Beginning Midwifery Studies program and everything you do there will help you move forward in the very best way possible.

The course is difficult in that there is a lot of work to do. However, it can be accomplished by any student with desire and dedication.

We hold outside requirements to a bare minimum. The original Midwifery Home Study Course was initially designed for women who did not want to leave their families, relocate, or attend college in order to acquire an academic midwifery education.

You will be required to take both a CPR and Neonatal Resuscitation course and to take a proctored test, the MSAT (which may or may not be in your home). A college level Anatomy & Physiology course is one option (not a requirement) in Section 3. You may satisfy that requirement by studying at home and taking a proficiency exam at a local college. Workshop and conference attendance is recommended, but not required. We highly recommend attendance at our Midwifery Skills Labs.

Several students have been funded by their state’s rehab programs or similar agencies. We do everything we can, including avoiding the additional red tape of some affiliations, so that we can continue to keep the tuition low. We offer:

Zero interest payment plans and accept Paypal as a service to our students.
PayPal Bill Me Later
A discount for payment in full.

Research shows that guided study is much more successful than completely independent study. It’s easier to study when you know that you have support and encouragement to bolster your efforts. We can take the guesswork out of the “hit and miss” kind of study most people attempt. We can also save you time by showing you how to organize and study more efficiently. The intrinsic value of your work is more quickly realized using our curriculum. Our program offers standards for comparison, opportunities for recognition, and documentation of your achievements that you wouldn’t have working on your own. Our format and approach to study give you solid direction and assistance toward reaching your goals and continuing independent study.
ABSOLUTELY. Our students and graduates always score very well on the NARM exam and any other related tests. If you are trying to prepare for the NARM test, we can suggest areas of the curriculum you should focus on first. We have also designed a NARM Focus module that can help you prepare for the test as well.
The legalities of midwifery practice vary from state to state. Many of our students do become “certified” or “licensed” at some point during or after enrollment with us but our course alone will not “certify” you in your state. Many become CPMs through NARM.

We never promise that the piece of paper we give our graduates will ever buy them anything of a legal nature. We have no control over that and cannot make promises about something we don’t control.

This course is respected as the standard for academic midwifery education and requires the highest degree of dedication and commitment. Since we were the very first course, several states have examined the curriculum and used it to formulate their own standards for midwifery education requirements. Although we do have “official” approval in several states, we wouldn’t want you to enroll if that was your only motivation. There is always the possibility that by the time you have completed the course, the state may have different requirements. We can make no promises concerning what our certification can buy our graduates in terms of legality or official recognition.

Neither the state nor the medical community may ever recognize your tremendous accomplishment, but they will benefit from it, as will every life you touch as a midwife. We can assure you that your accomplishment will be respected by your peers. We’ve been around a long time and midwives know that completion of this course is an extraordinary achievement.

It just depends on how far you want to go. This education will take you way beyond what you had to know to pass the NARM exam. Many of our best and most grateful students, have been midwives with hundreds of births to their credit. Knowing what we know this course has provided midwives for the last 32 years, we would recommend that you take this course even if are a CNM or CPM. It is incredibly unique. AND the tuition is so low, how could you lose?
Absolutely! You will certainly need a preceptor for your apprenticeship at some point in your midwifery education but one is not required for the academic work in AAMI Midwifery Studies. Many of our students complete the academics before starting an apprenticeship.

Because of our reputation for excellence, enrollment in this course makes you a very attractive candidate for an apprenticeship. In addition, we have incorporated several assignments designed to focus on securing and maintaining an apprenticeship.

We know a lot of midwives and will do all we can to help you secure an apprenticeship if we can, but never make promises about that!

NO!

I believe the more common reasons that any midwifery student decides not to take this course is a fear of failure based on previous experience in high school or college. Unfortunately, that fear will prevent them from discovering just how much they could achieve academically with AAMI. While this coursework is challenging, it is also structured in a way that makes it a good fit for those who did not perform well in a traditional classroom.

Many of our “Honor Roll” academicians were “average” students until they learned how to learn with our program. You have the opportunity to be as academically successful as you choose to be, regardless of your experience with academics in the past!

Most of our graduates have taken more than three years to complete the course, although a few have finished in under two years. We have some students who have been working on the course for many years! There are so many variables that will affect your completion speed: how efficiently you study, your current level of knowledge of birth and related topics, how much time you can devote to the course each week, how organized you are, how many distractions you have, how easily you get side-tracked, and how motivated you are. The keys to finishing are: Start as soon as you receive your acceptance emails!
Set goals, design your time frame, and work consistently on the course each week.

Extensions are very affordable and we would rather that it take you several years to finish than for you to give up!

Included with your enrollment is our incredible Time Tracking system. This very valuable tool will help you structure your time, organize your studies, and help keep you focused.

You will be required to take six exams over the course of your enrollment:

Terminology
Anatomy & Physiology
Prenatal Care
Postpartum
Newborn
Midwifery Scholastic Achievement Test

Our tests are a little different in that we put learning as our primary objective of each test.

If you have researched the available courses, you have found that you could certainly pay a LOT more for other programs. That does not mean that any program is better than ours, though! This is not the discount store version and it is certainly not a knock off. It is the real deal, but at a price that is set to maximize value.

This is another distinction that sets us apart. Not only have we been doing this longer than anyone else, and in our opinion, better than anyone else – no other program offers nearly as much value for your educational dollar.

Our tuition is very affordable. You could spend a little less, but it is more likely that you would spend a great deal more, on a much shorter, easier midwifery course. The real issue is not cost – but value! This course offers far more value than the tuition any student ever pays. Because our goal is to nurture the growth of midwifery, we have deliberately kept our tuition affordable. Because our goal is MORE midwives, we have made a solemn promise to never charge more than the average woman with children can afford. We offer a discount for full payment, payment plans for our full program, or the option to start with our Introduction to Midwifery classes and receive a discount on the Advanced Studies when you are ready to move forward.

This varies widely, but I think that realistically you need to devote a minimum of ten hours a week to the course. After a few weeks, you can adjust your hours up or down according to how well you are meeting your goals. Most active students average 15-40 hours on the course each week, taking only a few weeks off each year.
We have had many nurses and medical professionals, graduates of other midwifery programs, and several CPMs enroll over the years. They are among our most enthusiastic students. And, for the record, “Too Easy” is a term that has never been used to describe this curriculum.
This will vary, depending on what you already own or have access to. Books can be very expensive, so our required texts are chosen carefully. I recommend setting aside $200 for books and study materials to get started, with another $500 budgeted for books and related expenses over the term of your enrollment. You may want to subscribe to one or two midwifery publications, and you can shop at Amazon and Half.com for used books.

It costs less to complete this course than it once did. We now provide a student membership section with a variety of trainings available, from conference recordings to brand new modules.

We realize that the cost of books and supplies is an issue, but it is not a prohibitive expense since we use many standard books which are less pricey than college textbooks. One warning, though: midwives tend to love books and want to own large numbers of them! If you love to have a personal library you are looking at the right career.

I see no disadvantage in knowing “your stuff” AND “theirs”! Today’s midwife is faced with a challenge that didn’t exist in Carla’s grandmother’s midwifery practice! We must maintain a sense of normalcy about childbirth, but be prepared to face the bombardment of technology as well. Since childbirth has been extracted rather forcibly from the natural realm into the medical realm, we must reclaim it, when we can, and work with the medical community when we have to! In order to improve maternity care and safeguard our clients from unnecessary intervention, we have to be knowledgeable about every aspect of pregnancy and birth! Understanding the physiological rationale (or lack of it!) that the medical model is based on, qualifies us to deviate from it. We can formulate our own protocols, confident that we know what we are doing and why! Learning the technical stuff gives you a more concrete foundation for your practice. It sharpens your intuitive skills, too. Learning the technical jargon better equips you to communicate in an intelligent way with the medical community.

It is important to us that there is no misunderstanding about our midwifery philosophy. Our students are not encouraged to adopt the medical model in philosophy or in practice. In fact, the opposite is true. We use medical textbooks, we seek true scientific information, but we promote a practice philosophy based on the midwifery of our grandmothers which was not about actively managing, but allowing.