Thinking about becoming a doula?
Working as a doula can be exciting and rewarding, but there's more to getting started than simply taking a training. If you're just getting started, here are some helpful suggestions. If you're interested in working as an independent contractor with Doulas of Memphis, apply below!
1. Take an in-person training
Unlike nurses, massage therapists, or other related professions, there is currently no standard licensing board or organization that regulates doulas, nor is there a standard scope of practice. Learn more about our company's practice standards here. Because there is no standard, training is of utmost importance. There are online options for doula certification, but if you're just starting out, nothing can replace the value of an in-person training. Doulas of Memphis is not a training or certification organization, nor do we endorse a specific certification organization. While we do not endorse a specific certification organization, we recommend researching your options and finding the organization that is in line with your values. If there is not a local training coming up that fits your schedule, you may have to travel to find a training that suits your needs. Once you invest in your training, there are a few more expenses to factor in, such as...
2. Establish yourself as a legal business
If you are planning on working as a doula, it is important to operate as a legal business. You can register your business with the Tennessee Secretary of State, and you will also be responsible for paying a yearly franchise and excise tax. If you live in Shelby County, you can learn more about county-specific requirements here. If these steps feel confusing or overwhelming, consult a lawyer or CPA who specializes in working with small businesses.
3. Consider liability measures
Whenever you are planning on working with vulnerable populations such as pregnant women or babies, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your clients. If you haven't already, take an in-person infant CPR training through the American Red Cross and keep it up-to-date. It is also wise to purchase general liability insurance for your business. Some clients may also request a background check or want to ensure you are up-to-date with immunizations.
4. Understand there is no immediate path to full-time work as a doula
The work of a doula ebbs and flows, and when you are first starting out, there is no immediate and easy path to getting clients and making a living solely from working as a doula. Both birth and postpartum doula work require flexibility, and if you can only work during a standard work week/limited hours or have another job that doesn't offer that flexibility, consider waiting until you have more time to devote to clients.
5. Check your bias
The cornerstone of doula work is nonjudgemental support. While we all come to this work from different backgrounds, it is important to examine your biases and reasons for becoming a doula. If you want to become a doula to save others from an experience you had, or have a bias towards a specific type of birth, we recommend working through those before working with clients.
Are you a doula or someone who has relevant experience working with newborns and families?
Because of the unpredictable nature of doula work, Doulas of Memphis utilizes independent contractors instead of employees.