By Stephanie Tillman, CNM, MSN
specific requirements needed to maintain your midwifery license, including continuing education, is
a numbers game. Here is how I have come to understand the system, and keep
track of seemingly complex requirements in a clear fashion.
Just when I thought I
had all the numbers crunched in my list of certification, licensure,
and maintenance requirements, I learned
the true depths to which the numbers-game of maintenance goes: I
encountered continuing education. Thank goodness the counting doesn’t start
until after graduation! For those in clinical practice, here’s how it works (nota
bene: 10 contact hours = 1.0 CEUs).
First, let’s start with
our certifying body. The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) operates
on a 5-year certification cycle. That means that if you initially pass the
Boards this year (2014), you have until the end of 2019 to fulfill the cycle
requirements, which are:
1. Completion of 20 contact hours (2.0 CEUs),
Testing in 3 certification
maintenance modules; or
certification exam within the same 5 years.
Upload your CEUs to the
AMCB website via your individual profile to ensure completion. Once you have
met the requirements, a green announcement will show up under the “Continuing
Education” section on your profile page that reads “Congratulations. You have met the continuing education
requirement for your current cycle.” Similar red/green announcements will appear under the “Modules”
section to alert you about whether requirements have been met.
There are also annual or
cycle fees associated with maintaining certification. You can track your
fee payments via your individual profile on AMCB’s website, too, as well as map your
progress in modules. Visit
for further details regarding these requirements.
On top of the national
certification requirements, every state holds different requirements for the
number of continuing education hours needed to maintain individual licenses,
including RN and APN or CNM licenses. For example, in Illinois, I am required
to have 50 hours for APN and 20 hours for RN. They are allowed to overlap, but this
is still 30 contact hours within a much shorter time frame than what is
required by AMCB. CEUs by state are typically on an honor system, meaning that
you should keep them filed away so that you’ll be ready in the event that someone
asks for them. Contact your state licensing body, often a Board of Nursing,
if you still have questions.
Trying to figure out how
to track all of this? Me too. Here’s a spreadsheet, including some of my own
example info in italics, to help get you
Where do I get these
There are many methods by which providers earn
CEUs. Conferences, like the ACNM
Annual Meeting & Exhibition, AWHONN’s annual convention, MANA
meetings, Symposia Medicus, or Contemporary
Forums are all good starts.
Even education sessions at regional meetings may offer opportunities to earn
CEUs. Employers may offer reimbursement for time and money spent going to
conferences to cover these requirements, and health care professionals
typically attend 1 to 2 conferences per year specifically for this reason. If
you are scrambling for a few extra hours at the end of your cycle, check out
the suggestions below.
Free online CMEs:
- ACNM: Intrapartum
Sterile Speculum Examination for Registered Nurses. Simply register and take the online exam to
earn ACNM-approved credits for one contact hour (0.1 CEU).
- HRSA: Evidence-Based
CE/CME Activities for Safety Net Providers from ARHQ. HRSA identified 36 training activities
relevant to safety net healthcare providers in medically under-served
communities. Some midwife-related topics include: “Non-surgical Treatments for
Urinary Incontinence in Adult Women,” “Noncyclic Chronic Pelvic Pain Therapies
for Women,” and “Progestogens for Prevention of Preterm Birth.”
(American Association for Reproductive Health Professionals) Clinical Minute: Review a brief case study on a key
reproductive health topic through ARHP’s Clinical Minute. In just 15
minutes, you can earn CE/CME credit while improving your clinical skills.
Webinars with free CMEs offered through the National LGBT Health Education
Center. Topics include “Introduction to LGBT Health,” “Transgender Health,” “Lesbian
and Bisexual Women,” and other primary care information.
and Vomiting of Pregnancy: Nurses and Physicians can earn 1 hour of CME credit by viewing
all 4 presentations.
- Nurse.com: One contact hour on how “Every Nurse is a Risk
Manager” to “reinforce
and strengthen nurses’ understanding of risk management in healthcare and to
suggest risk reduction tools to mitigate exposure to professional liability.”
There are also many for-pay
options online. Members of ACNM can get CEUs at substantial discounts from the Journal
of Midwifery and Women’s Health by taking tests
associated with publications in particular journals. Step-by-step instructions available
here. Another option is ADVANCE Healthcare Network: for advanced practice nurses and physician
assistants, with a variety of primary care topics as well as 3 specific women’s
health topics. Each course is around $10 and offers up to 2 credit hours.
Will I see you at the
Annual Meeting in Denver? This will be my third attendance in a row, and I am
really looking forward to seeing old faces, meeting new ones, and reconnecting
in new ways with the College. Keep an eye out for me - I'll be the one with the Feminist Midwife swag. Hope
that we cross paths!
Stephanie Tillman is a
recently-graduated nurse-midwife now practicing full-scope midwifery in the
urban United States, at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and as a
member of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). With a background in global
health and experience in international clinical care, the impact of public
health and the broader profession of midwifery are present in all her thoughts
and works. Stephanie's blog, Feminist
Midwife, discusses issues related to women, health, and care. Find out
more at www.feministmidwife.com and follow her on Twitter at @feministmidwife.