Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Doula

Q: Do I have to become a member of DONA International and purchase the DONA certification packet prior to the training weekend?

A: No. In fact, there are some cost considerations favoring NOT purchasing the packet now and waiting until you are actually ready to start attending the births (or, for postpartum doulas, completing the required postpartum family support hours). DONA date-stamps the packet with the purchase date and then you will have two years to complete the certification packet without having to buy a new packet. This allows DONA to change or add new certification requirements over time. All of the required hands-on experience to meet certification requirements must be done AFTER the training weekend. We will thoroughly review these requirements during the training weekend. Likewise, once certified, you will have to keep your annual DONA membership active in order to stay certified. By joining now, you are stepping up the renewal deadline. While there are many benefits to DONA membership, you do not HAVE to become a member until you are ready to submit your completed certification packet. The only reason to purchase the certification packets prior to the workshop is if you have a birth lined up that is likely to happen soon after the training. You do need to have the packet IN HAND prior to completing the hands-on experience component of certification.

Q: Do you sell DONA certification packets?

A: No, you must purchase the packet from the DONA website’s Doula Boutique.

Q: Are there any doula training scholarships available?

A: There are no more scholarships available for 2016. In order to make doula training more affordable for low-income women, the Center has provided a limited number of partial fee waivers IF we anticipate having space available in an upcoming training. This opportunity is available to low-income Michigan residents only. We will be posting a notice regarding the process for 2017 later this year.

Q: Do you offer payment plans?

A: Yes. I require a deposit of $150 up front to hold your spot in a class. You need to submit a proposed payment plan, in writing, that will work for your budget. Your plan should include bi-weekly or monthly payments in a specified dollar amount. Payments can start prior to the training and extend beyond completion of the training. I will approve any reasonable plan. After the first payment is made, subsequent payments will be withdrawn from your account on the agreed upon dates. For payment plans that extend beyond the training dates, I will withhold your Certificates of Attendance (necessary for DONA certification purposes) until the final payment has cleared. I will then mail the certificates to you.

Q: Am I too young or too old to be a doula?

A: I have had women (and a couple of men) between the ages of 15 and 65 take doula training. There are no age restrictions on becoming a doula.

Q: How long does it take to complete the certification requirements?

A: It depends on you! A highly motivated doula who is available to fulfill hands-on requirements might complete all requirements within six months of the training. Some requirements can be completed prior to the training. Most folks, however, take from 12 to 18 months (and some take longer), depending upon their availability and access to fulfilling the hands-on experiential component.

Q: I am breastfeeding mother. Can I bring my baby to doula training?

A: You may bring a nursing baby six months of age and younger to the doula training, with the understanding that you may have to step out of the room if your baby becomes fussy or distracting to other class members. For breastfeeding moms of older babies, a one-hour lunch and two 15-minute breaks are scheduled each day. You can make arrangements to have your baby brought to you. You are also free to pump as needed, either in class or in adjacent office space.

Q: Can I make a living as a doula?

A: Most doulas are self-employed. It is unlikely that you would be making a living wage soon after training. Whether or not you are successful depends on so many factors that I cannot answer this question definitively. In some areas, the concept of doulas is not well known and it may take a bit more of a push to build a sense of value for your role. In most of the larger metropolitan areas, doulas are well accepted and may be able to move more quickly into demanding premium prices for their services. Certainly doula work can supplement a regular family income nicely. And ambitious women, with determination and persistence, should be able to grow a successful doula business. At the Center, we have a number of supports in place to help you turn doula work into a business but, in the end, a lot will depend upon your overall skill set and work ethic.

Additional Questions or Concerns?


Email is absolutely the best way to get in touch with me. I will respond to emails within 24 hours on weekdays. If you prefer a friendly voice, you are unlikely to reach me at the phone number listed, but you can leave a message there. Even better, email me to set up a time to talk and I’ll give you a call.