Want To Become a Doula?
Having co-created BEST Doula Training, I have thought a lot about what I believe should be included in doula training. If you are considering becoming a doula (and you should, it is the best job in the world!), I encourage you to ask each organization some questions so that you can find the program with the best fit for your career. I have already answered each one with the BEST Doula answer and I encourage you to find out the answer from each organization you are considering.
What are the basics of training? Is it online? In person?
This is a big one. Many people love the idea of online training because it is convenient and that is a big pro to online only training. However, I can tell you from experience that online training can only offer so much over hands-on skills and network building. (If online training is your only option I strongly suggest reaching out to local groups for meetups with other doulas!) BEST is divided into an online portion and an in-person workshop – we think it is the best of both worlds. The online study guide is completed while waiting to attend the workshop. It includes reading a few books, watching an online childbirth class (provided as part of registration) and working through the study guide (read more about the exact requirements). When you register for BEST training, you will be added to the BEST study groups online and will start receiving mentorship as well. Then our doulas receive about 30 hours of hands on training at our workshop. The training is so fun – time flies by! The even better news? After completing the workshop our doulas leave certified. NO certification births are required (read why). We have a whole blog about what to expect at one of our workshops, so if you are considering our training don’t skip this post.
The other great part about in person training is the relationships you build as you develop your doula support network. Amanda and I lead every training with BEST, so no doula that has trained with us is a nameless face in the crowd. We know them, we have jokes with them and we have chatted with them to discuss their goals for becoming a doula and how to reach them. While you may or may not get that one on one time from other trainers – there is no doubt that you will form a bond with the doulas you train with. Consider that time away from your life an investment in yourself, not just your career. My guess is that no matter where you train you will leave your workshop exhausted but full of joy and excitement.
Does your certification include marketing and business skills?
You can have the best hip squeeze in the business, but if no one can find you to hire you – it just won’t matter. And that is sad. A doula these days has to have some business skillz! BEST prepares our doulas to be wonderful doulas and successful business owners. We include client contracts, intake forms and other paperwork as part of the training and we teach interview and marketing skills. New doulas can walk out of the training and sign a client immediately! Every BEST training includes what we call BEST Launch. It is the combination of the business sessions we teach during the workshop and it means that you leave the workshop with your business ready to lift off. LLCs, EPNs, SEO etc…..it’s all in Launch.
Where will my training be and who will do the training?
All training is led by Maria Pokluda (founder of Great Expectations in Dallas, TX) and Amanda Devereux (founder of Nola Nesting in New Orleans, LA). Together they have over 30 years experience running successful doula practices. Having Maria and Amanda lead all training helps to insure that each BEST Doula receives the same info and expertise – and that we have a personal relationship with every doula we train.. Your success is our success and we take our role as our doula mentors very seriously. We know that teaching new doulas how to do a great hip squeeze (and we certainly do that) is important but our comprehensive training also teaches sustainable business practices.
BEST Doula will train anywhere we are wanted (and sometimes places we want to go to). If you want a BEST Doula Training in your town, let us know and let’s do it.
What is the total cost to be certified? Are there other fees besides training?
This question is going to get you a lot of answers because many programs have several fees for certification. Find out all of them as you budget (memebership fee, packet fee, course fee, CBE fee…). If the organization you are looking at also requires free or low cost cert births to finish your training, you will need to count those expenses too (your childcare, gas, parking materials, etc.). Luckily for Amanda and I (and our accountant), the fee for BEST is just one fee and it includes everything. The fee as of 2018 is $595 with early bird registration discount of $100. So basically if you sign up a month in advance you will become a certified doula for $495. This includes the childbirth class, workshop, study materials, a year of membership with BEST and ongoing mentorship. There are no hidden fees or membership costs.
Will your organization make me sign a non-compete or limit my professional development?
Some doula organizations do make each attendee sign a non-compete prior to attending training. As a brand new doula, it may be confusing as to what you are signing as a non-compete states anything from barring you from working as a doula for a period of time if you choose not to recertify with that organization or it could say you cannot train or promote any another organization that also provides doula training. BEST certainly will NEVER do this. We love to hear that doulas are doing professional development and we know that can come from working with other doula organizations. (Remember the T in BEST stands for working together. We love collaboration!) While we feel our training is more than enough to get doulas on their way to a sustainable, ethical and fulfilling career – more training is never a bad thing.
Do not skip asking this question – ain’t no body got time for legal hassles as they become amazing doulas. I am not saying don’t sign a non-compete – but if the organization of your choice does have a non-compete, you might want to spend the extra money to have a lawyer review it before signing. Some organizations may also have you sign a Code of Conduct that limits what you can say and do outside of doula work (like on social media), I would also suggest taking this to a lawyer too.
Does your certification include lactation training and a childbirth education?
Yes, it does. See above. These are included in the registration fee and taken online.
How does your organization see itself advocating for the doula profession as whole?
BEST stands for 4 principles we believe are at the core of great doulas – Business skills, strong Ethics, Sustainability and the ability to work Together with others. We believe doulas are professionals who provide a valuable service to expecting families. We also believe that each doula should be equipped to build a sustainable practice based on her goals and as an certifying body we want to help her meet these goals.When a new doula builds a sustainable practice that can last for the course of a long career, the doula wins, expecting families win and maternity care is improved. We believe doulas change the world!
What does your doula training cover beyond basic skills?
This good question as a follow up. As I mentioned, BEST Doulas receive lactation training with an IBCLC, doula skills taught by experienced doulas, and a marketing class led by marketing experts who specialize in promoting birth businesses. Every doula in the BEST program is provided with the MamaNatural online childbirth series as a part of their certification work. (By the way, you will LOVE this class!).
Can I conveniently find everything about your program on your website?
Websites make research easier. They also tell you a lot about an organization. Does the website look current? Do they do online registrations and payment? Do you like the name and branding? Of course BEST would love to have you check us out on our webstie! You can also join our mailing list for business tips, ideas to keep you excited about doula work and humorous stories about doula life.
How can I get in touch with the organization? Is your customer service prompt?
We are happy to have you contact us at any time about the program and we will reply to you quickly. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can contact us at (833) 752-2682 during normal business hours.
Want to keep chatting about becoming a doula and doula training? BEST runs a Facebook group for new and experienced doulas and we would love to have you join the group: Love What You DOULA