Great Starts Childbirth Educator Certification

Formerly known as the Childbirth Education Association of Seattle, our program builds on more than 60 years worth of experience training and certifying high quality childbirth educators. It is a rich history that can't be matched.

Benefits of Great Starts Certification:

  • Credentials that can be trusted as meeting high standards
  • Access to advanced continuing education training not available to the public
  • Access to world-class mentors
  • No annual membership dues
  • Certification is valid for 5 years
  • Potential to work for Great Starts Program (at Parent Trust for Washington Children, a non-profit dedicated to promoting safe, healthy, and strong families since 1978) teaching pregnancy, birth, and parenting classes to expectant families in the greater Seattle area.

The Great Starts Certification Process:


Our certification process is the highest national standard in the profession of Childbirth Educators. By completing the Great Starts Certification, educators know that they are getting a "great start" professionally so that they are, in turn, well equipped to help prepare families on how to have a "great start" as expectant or new parents.

The following list outlines the basic steps for certification. Each step must be evaluated and approved according to standards created by the Great Starts Education Committee.

  • Attend a Childbirth Educator's Training with 20 or more hours of instruction that includes practice teaching sessions
  • Observe two or more births
  • Create a custom resources list for your own reference with a minimum of 10 categories and 25 individual listings (more are highly encouraged) related to perinatal education, research, or services.
  • Observe three different approved certified instructors teaching perinatal classes, for a minimum of 18 hours total instruction time.
  • Pass the Great Starts Exam (fee: $180*, effective Nov 1, 2014; includes the Great Starts Study Guide)
  • Co-teach with an approved certified lead instructor at least one comprehensive series of 12 or more hours (or documenting a minimum of 120 hours previous experience teaching childbirth classes in group settings with a minimum of 50 families total served**)
  • Teach a comprehensive series (12 hours min) as the lead instructor (solo) while being evaluated by an approved certified childbirth instructor.
  • Pay certification processing fees ($300* total: $150 to enroll, and $150 to finalize).
Contact the Great Starts Program Coordinator for more details: greatstarts@parenttrust.org, (206) 233-0156, ext. 233.

*Note: Partial scholarships may be available to select individuals with financial need working directly with underserved communities or populations with special needs.

**Note: Instructors working in rural communities or exclusively with populations with special learning needs may be eligible to have lower minimums required for attendance or instruction time (for example: teaching in counties or parishes with birth rates of less than 500 babies per year, deaf or blind family members, immigrant or ESL populations, and other populations with special learning needs).


Re-Certification Process:

    Effective January 1, 2015, Great Starts Certified Childbirth Educators will be required to recertify every five years from the date of last certification issued. If a person's certification is 4 years old or greater as of January 1, 2015, then that individual will have one year to complete the re-certification process in order to maintain Great Starts Certified status. Additional details will be posted soon.