The Great Starts Professional Childbirth Educator Workshop builds your skills in how to clearly communicate information to expectant couples. You may choose to use these skills to facilitate group learning, or to provide informal education, one-on-one, to expectant parents as a supplement to other services that you provide (e.g. education for hospital patients, doula support, midwifery care, etc.). However, the main emphasis of the workshop is learning to teach structured childbirth preparation classes to a group of adults of expectant parents, in a hospital setting or in the general community.
The majority of childbirth educators work as hospital employees, teaching hospital-based classes. There may also be public sector jobs available. Or, you may also choose to organize community classes, which could be offered in collaboration with local midwives, physicians, health departments, or continuing education programs at a local community college, or faith-based organizations and other cultural centers or groups.
For some employers, all they will require of you is that you have attended the workshop. Some will require that you be a nurse in order to teach. Many will require certification (see below). Completing the workshop does mean that you meet the basic level requirements to accept medical coupons for classes that you teach; note that additional paperwork is required to have a program as a whole approved for Medicaid reimbursement in the State of Washington, if that has not already been done.
In the Seattle area, childbirth educators are typically paid $20 to $38 per hour depending on experience and other training. Settings that require you to be a nurse may pay at a higher rate than this. This pay includes class time, plus some time for setting up and cleaning up. Any time that you spend outside of class (developing lesson plans, preparing materials for classes, updating your knowledge by reading journal articles, etc.) is typically not paid time.
Childbirth education offers a great opportunity for a person who is looking for a flexible job to bring in some extra money, to contribute to the community, and to combine professional development with other responsibilities such as parenting or other care giving. Typically, an instructor will have a lot of flexibility in setting her/his own schedule. Some instructors teach for only a few hours a week, or only in summer, or only during the school year. Some instructors teach multiple classes each week, however, it’s generally not possible to work full-time as a childbirth educator simply because the available working hours are limited. Because of the work schedules of expectant parents, childbirth classes can typically only be offered between 6 and 9 pm on Monday through Thursday evenings, and from 9 – 5 on Saturdays and Sundays. Even if someone taught all these available slots each week, it is not a full-time job. However, it is a job with a high degree of independence and high job satisfaction for most instructors.