Midwifery Careers: How to become a midwife in the UK

A midwife visiting a patient

Our online Access to Higher Education Diploma for Midwifery is one of two main routes into midwifery if you don't have the qualifications to start a university course.  To qualify as a midwife you need to complete a 3-year midwifery degree programme at university, BSc. (Hons) Midwifery, which then leads on to your registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The entry requirements for most universities are either 3 A Levels and 5 GCSEs or an Access to Higher Education Diploma and GCSE English & Maths (or equivalent level 2). Not having the GCSEs does not prevent you studying on the Access to He Diploma. For more information on our online Access to HE diploma for Midwifery please click here.

If you are already a Registered Nurse you don't need to start again from scratch, you can apply to take a conversion course which is an 18-month programme of study. 

 

What are the university entry requirements for a midwifery degree?

To apply to universities for midwifery, you should have, or be working towards achieving a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a science area. Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.

With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to Midwifery route, you are normally only required to have GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. (or equivalent level 2)  Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels.  Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college. 

To gain the required level of practical skills and technical competence to become a midwife, your 3 year degree programme will be spent between theory and clinical practice. The theory part is based within the university setting where you have contact with other students, your tutors, attend seminars and lectures.  Clinical practice is where you will undertake supervised midwifery placements within hospitals and out in the community. 

 

University Requirements

A Levels + 5 GCSEs including English and Maths

or

Access to Higher Education Diploma + English and Maths GCSEs (or equivalent)

 

Why should I do an online Access to Higher Education course?

Our online Access to Midwifery course allows you to continue working while you study for the diploma, which means you may be in a better financial position to support yourself before you are able to get a maintenance loan for the midwifery degree course. If you have a busy family life, the flexibility of the online Access to Higher Education course can enable you to pursue a career that would be otherwise out of reach. With Academy Online Learning's online Access diploma you get interactive learning materials and full support from qualified subject specialist tutors. You can book tutorials at convenient times and speak to your tutor over the telephone or through our online videoconferencing system, whichever is most appropriate. We also provide help with your UCAS application and provide academic references.

 

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What personal attributes are required to become a midwife?

One of the main attributes of a midwife is being able to develop high levels of trust and confidence. Therefore you will need excellent communication skills, patience and tact. Being a practising midwife is also about being able to understand the needs of families from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds and being able to respect these differences. Being a team player is essential although being able to work independently in stressful circumstances is also required. You will train and work within a professional Code of Practice based on four areas – ‘prioritise people, practise effectively, preserve safety and promote professionalism and trust’ (NMC, 2015).

 

What does a midwife do?

There are many and varied tasks for the midwife which covers all aspects of post and ante-natal care. 

As a midwife, your role is to care for and support pregnant women, families and their babies, before, during and after delivery. This can include advising women in the early stages of pregnancy about the various birthing options and choices they can make from how and where they can choose to give birth to pain relief options, diet and providing information about ante-natal classes. Throughout a pregnancy, you will monitor the health of both mother and baby at different stages. During labour, you will monitor the baby’s progress and offer advice on pain management. Once the baby arrives you continue your support in advising about feeding methods and the general care of the new-born. The role of the community midwife goes a little further as you would visit the family home to check the health and well-being of the new mother and baby.

 

What career progression opportunities are available?

The majority of qualified midwives work within the NHS but you can also work in the private sector. Some choose to work overseas in both established and developing countries. 

As you gain in experience there are opportunities to undertake training in becoming a health visitor.  You may decide on heightened responsibilities from managing wards, teams of community midwives or more leadership roles, such as Director of Midwifery or consultant. Whichever pathway you choose in midwifery you will find it challenging exciting and a highly rewarding career. 

 

What are the pay and working condition like?

As a guide, the starting salary for a newly qualified midwife working in the NHS starts at over £22,000. As an experienced midwife, this can rise to around £35,000 year. Team managers and higher level midwives can earn between £31,000 and £41,000 a year and, depending on the payment band scale, midwife directors and consultants can earn between £68,000 and up to over £98,000 per year.

Extra allowances can be earned for additional responsibilities, length of service, and geographical location. Midwives can often earn up to 20% more if working in an area where living costs are higher, for example in London. You can also choose to work full or part-time.

 

What annual leave are midwives entitled to?

Within the NHS this is quite generous, the basic annual leave is 27 days, which on average exceeds the amount of paid holidays in private sector companies. On top of this, you’ll get eight general and public holidays.

 

If you would like to complete an online Access to Midwifery course to obtain the qualifications for entry onto a midwifery degree course at university, please choose your payment plan below, or contact us for more information.

 

Access to Midwifery Units