Become a Licensed Midwife

Become A Licensed Midwife


For Students and Experienced Midwives

Welcome to the California Association of Licensed Midwives, “Becoming a California Licensed Midwife” page! 

Welcome the California Association of Licensed Midwives guide to becoming a California Licensed Midwife in California! Whether you are currently enrolled in a midwifery program, moving to California from somewhere else as an experienced midwife or are just starting out on your path to becoming a midwife, we are excited to represent you as your statewide organization.

If you are just starting out, looking for a preceptor (a clinical educator), or starting a midwifery practice, becoming a CALM member is a great way to connect with other midwives and become more involved in your local midwifery community. You can join CALM on our Become a Member page.

For Students

California Licensed Midwives are licensed and regulated by the Medical Board of California. California's midwifery licensing process requires students to enroll in a midwifery school that is approved by the Medical Board of California. Through such an approved program the student will gain academic training, specific clinical experiences, master entry-level midwifery skills, qualify for midwifery board exams and subsequent licensure in California. Here are the basic steps to becoming a midwife in California.

  1. Enroll in a Medical Board Approved midwifery school
    Check the Medical Board Website for a list of current approved schools.
  2. Graduate from midwifery school
    Schools include academic and clinical components. As part of your midwifery education, you’ll have books to read, papers to write, projects to complete, skills to master, and exams to complete. The clinic component will include a midwife clinical educator (preceptor), who will supervise all of your hands-on experience providing care during prenatal visits, labor, birth, and postpartum. Many students will have multiple preceptors in multiple practice settings. Some will complete all their clinic work in one setting. Sometimes the midwifery school will help the student find a preceptor, but more often this is the individual student’s responsibility. Once you’ve completed school work, mastered specific skills and specific clinical experience you’ll take a Board exam (currently the NARM exam, by the North American Registry of Midwives). This all leads to graduating from midwifery school, making you eligible to apply for a California Midwife License.
  3. Apply for your midwifery license:
    Once you’ve completed midwifery school and passed the Board exam, you will apply to the Medical Board of California for a midwifery license. (Licensed Midwife application).

For Experienced Midwives

Challenge Mechanism
As defined in California Business and Professions Code Section 2513(a)-(c), the challenge process offers a midwifery student and prospective applicant the opportunity to obtain credit by examination for previous midwifery education and clinical experience. This opportunity is provided by individuals approved through a “challenge process” program. Maternidad La Luz and National Midwifery Institute are the California Medical Board approved challenge processes. Upon successful completion of the challenge process, the candidate also must successfully complete the comprehensive licensing examination administered by NARM. The candidate then may submit an application for California licensure.  Note:  only MLL students graduating from MLLs 12 & 18 month abbreviated programs qualify for MLLs California Challenge Mechanism.  

Q. I received my midwifery training and experience in another country. How can I qualify for a midwife’s license?

A. California law does not include a provision for recognizing international midwifery education and training.  Contact National Midwifery Institute or Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery to inquire about advanced placement opportunities and/or status of their "California Challenge" opportunity for experienced midwives.

Please visit the Medical Board of California Website for the most current information:

Certified Nurse Midwives are regulated by the California Board of Registered Nurses. Information about becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife is available through the American College of Nurse Midwives

Photo Credit: Kaleem Joy Photography