END-OF-LIFE DOULA CERTIFICATION Professionalize your services with Lifespan Doulas.

What does it mean to be a certified end-of-life doula?

Certification for doulas is optional. Most doulas are self-employed and can decide for themselves whether they choose to certify. There is no government-mandated regulatory entity that oversees doula training and certification programs on a national or international level. Certification simply indicates that one has completed the requirements of a particular doula training and certification program. Certification, at a minimum, guarantees that the person calling her/himself a "doula" has ...

  • Completed a professional training program
  • Demonstrated competency regarding core knowledge in the field
  • Agreed to abide by a defined Scope of Practice
end of life doula certification


Complete the self-paced training modules.

  • Doula Fundamentals & Essential Skills
  • End-of-Life Doula Basics

Attend the live online workshop.

  • End-of-Life Doula Skills

Read four books.

  • Accompanying the Dying, by Deanna Cochran
  • Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
  • Stepping Stones, by Ellie Atherton
  • My Final Wishes, by Threshold Care Circle

+ Two More Steps

  • Sign Agreement to Abide by the Doula Scope of Practice.
  • Pass the online certification exam.

Certification Essentials

  • Credential earned = Certified End-of-Life Doula (CEOLD)
  • Lifetime certification is granted (no renewal required).
  • Certification is included in the training fee (no ongoing fees).
  • Payment plans must be paid in full before Certificate will be issued.

If you trained with Lifespan Doulas prior to August 2020 and wish to become certified, we have a no-cost process for you!

We will accept completion of past end-of-life doula training with Lifespan Doulas as fulfilling current certification requirements. Download the packet and see what's involved with our new, streamlined process.

If you trained with another training organization and wish to become certified with Lifespan Doulas, we have a process for you!

Show proof of completion of a professional end-of-life doula training and complete requirements for a one-time fee of $100 (includes a Directory listing). Learn more about the process.

Community Access to Doulas

I have been a leader in the doula community for many years and have witnessed up close the growth of the doula profession. In the push to professionalize our special brand of support services, doula training organizations have created an ever-increasing number of post-training certification hoops for newly trained doulas. These may include documentation and evaluation of hands-on experience with clients, writing essays, extensive reading requirements, ongoing continuing education requirements, periodic re-certification, and more. Last, but certainly not least, is the additional costs involved for the doula in achieving certification/re-certification and the ongoing revenue stream this creates for the training organizations.

What effect do these requirements have on the greater doula community? The addition of certification fees to the cost of training, along with mandated annual membership fees, continuing education fees, and re-certification fees create barriers for lower-income doulas, many of whom cannot afford to become certified after investing in training.

As newly trained doulas begin to provide services, many discover that certification is not necessary. The reality is a large percentage of trained doulas do not choose to become certified. Of those who do complete certification, an even larger percentage do not choose to re-certify when the time rolls around, as the ongoing value of the certification is uncertain.

What is the difference between "licensure" and "certification"?

In the United States, licensure is overseen at the state level. Licensure involves government mandates, fees, and oversight, and is required for many professions such as hair stylists, daycare providers, home health care agencies, and more. Currently, end-of-life and postpartum doulas are unlicensed and unregulated service providers in all states, while birth doulas are licensed in Oregon and Minnesota only. Legislative efforts to regulate birth doulas are underway in several other states. The motive driving these regulatory efforts is to qualify doulas for Medicaid (and other third-party) insurance reimbursement. It is best to keep in mind that the status of licensing and certification for doulas may change over time in the U.S.