Entry Level Applicants

IMPORTANT: Updates to CPM Eligibility Requirements

NARM is pleased to announce the results of the CPM Eligibility Review Process. Read More >

Life as a CPM

A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and is qualified to provide the Midwives Model of Care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings.

Most CPMs own or work in private home or birth center based practices throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Providing continuous care for women throughout their childbearing cycle, CPMs generally carry a relatively low client load (averaging 3-6 births per month) which allows for more personalized and comprehensive care than typical obstetrical practices. The scope of practice of the CPM is derived from the NARM Job Analysis, state laws and regulations, and individual practice guidelines developed by each midwife according to her skills and knowledge.

Based on the MANA Core Competencies, the guiding principles of the practice of CPMs are to work with women to promote a healthy pregnancy, and provide education to help her make informed decisions about her own care. In partnership with their clients they carefully monitor the progress of the pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum period and recommend appropriate management if complications arise, collaborating with other healthcare providers when necessary. The key elements of this education, monitoring, and decision making process are based on Evidence-Based Practice refers to a thoughtful integration of the best available evidence, coupled with clinical expertise. As such it enables midwives and their clients to address healthcare questions with an evaluative and qualitative approach. Evidence based decisions flow from a process that includes the assessment of current and past research, clinical guidelines, and other information resources in order to determine the best course of care.Evidenced-Based Practice and Informed Consent refers to the rights of healthcare consumers to be fully informed about testing or treatment options so that they can then make an educated “choice” among those options.Informed Consent.


How to Become a CPM — Entry Level

The Certified Professional Midwife was developed to provide competency-based certification for midwives who are primarily apprentice-trained in out of hospital birth. The CPM credential allows multiple routes of entry to the profession in order to encourage innovation in education, adaptability to evolving best practices of the profession, diversity in the pool of credentialed midwives and broad accessibility to the profession.The competency-based model for certification assures well-educated, skilled and competent providers.

Aspiring Midwives can:

  • Apprentice with a qualified midwife, completing an Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP).
  • Attend a midwifery program or school.
  • If the school is accredited by MEAC, graduation qualifies you for the NARM written exam. (See Student or Graduate of a MEAC Accredited Program page for more information)
  • If the school or program is not MEAC accredited, you must complete the Entry-Level Portfolio Evaluation Program.

NARM’s Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) is an educational evaluation process that includes verification of knowledge and skills by qualified preceptors. Completion of this process qualifies applicants to sit for the NARM skills and written examinations.

Candidates applying for certification through NARM’s Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) will undergo a 3-step process:

STEP 1: Verification of Experience and Skills.

  • Fulfill the General Education Requirements (described in the Candidate Information Booklet).
  • Document the fulfillment of these requirements on the appropriate NARM application forms.
    • Phase 1: Births as an Observer
      10 births in any setting, in any capacity (observer, doula, family member, friend, beginning apprentice).
    • Phase 2: Clinicals as Assistant Under Supervision
      20 births, 25 prenatals (including 3 initial exams), 20 newborn exams, 10 postpartum visits as an assistant under the supervision of a qualified preceptor.
    • Phase 3: Clinicals as Primary Under Supervision
      20 births, 75 prenatals (including 20 initial prenatals), 20 newborn exams, and 40 postpartum exams as a primary midwife under supervision. Continuity of Care births are required in this phase. CPR and NRP are submitted with this phase. The verification of Knowledge and Skills (Form 201a) will be submitted with this phase and may have been signed during Phase 2 or 3.
  • Provide verification from the preceptor(s) that you have achieved proficiency on each area listed on the Skills, Knowledge and Abilities Essential for Competent Practice Verification Form.
  • Provide an affidavit from the preceptor(s) asserting that you have developed and utilize:
    • Practice guidelines;
    • An emergency care form;
    • Informed disclosure (given at initiation of care); and
    • An informed consent document used for shared decision making during care.
  • Provide three professional letters of reference.
  • Submit completed Second Verification of Skills form.

Upon fulfillment of the above requirements you will be sent a Letter of Completion of NARM’s Portfolio Evaluation Process, which will qualify you to sit for the NARM Written Examination.

STEP 2: Application for Certification Written Examination.

  • Submit the CPM Application Form (400) and your Letter of Completion of NARM’s PEP Program to register for the exam.

Upon approval of your application materials, you will be receive a letter of intent from the Testing Department to register for the NARM Written Examination.

STEP 3: Phase 4

  • Five Additional Births as Primary Under Supervision

After you pass the NARM Written Examination and have submitted all other required documentation, you will receive your Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) Certificate.

Recertification is required every three years.

State Info:

Certified Professional Midwives are regulated on a state by state basis. To find out the specific information for the states that regulate CPMs, please visit: State by State listing of midwifery laws and resources

See all State information here:

Contact Us:

NARM Phone and
Fax Number

For all Departments

NARM General Information

Debbie Pulley
5257 Rosestone Dr.
Lilburn, GA 30047

NARM Applications and Testing Department

PO Box 420
Summertown, TN 38483

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