Best Online Doula Training Programs

Doula Training International is the best overall doula training program

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Pregnancy and birth can be a beautiful but overwhelming experience, so having skilled professionals on your birth team can help you feel calm and confident during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. The role of a doula is to support the mother during all stages of pregnancy, be present during delivery, advocate for the mother’s needs, and act as a liaison between the mother and medical professionals. Doulas are an important part of the birth team, and many women choose to hire a doula in addition to working with a midwife or OB-GYN. 

To market yourself as a doula and gain the skills and knowledge needed to start taking clients, it is best to become certified through one of the many programs available. Online programs are either instructor-led or self-paced and provide you with everything you need to get started. The best online doula training programs have a comprehensive curriculum covering all aspects of prenatal and postpartum care and require participants to pass an exam upon completion. Here we rounded up the best online doula training programs to help you start or expand your career as a doula.

Best Online Doula Training Programs in 2023

Best Overall : Doula Training International

Doula Training International

Doula Training International

Why We Chose It: We chose Doula Training International (DTI) as the best overall pick because its doula training focuses on the full spectrum of pregnancy and postpartum support in a streamlined online program.

  • Option to take all courses, or complete individual certifications

  • Virtual calls with DTI educators and classmates

  • No prerequisites required to enroll

  • Expensive

  • You must independently seek out various learning opportunities after completing your coursework to gain certification

Doula Training International offers full-spectrum doula training entirely online. In 12 months, you can earn three certifications, including a birth doula, postpartum doula, and reproductive health doula.

It is easy to get started with no prerequisites required, and you can choose from various monthly start dates. You will spend your first three months completing intensive coursework through virtual learning, with real-time support on live video calls with DTI educators where you can ask questions. Upon finishing the coursework, you must complete 16 hours of postpartum care (virtual or in-person), read the required reading list, complete an infant CPR course, as well as attend a local lactation and childbirth education class. You must also submit numerous written submissions and assignments to complete the course in full. 

The entire doula training program costs roughly $1,550, or if you want to only do only the birth doula or postpartum certificate on its own, it is approximately $850. One benefit of the DTI program is that you will never have to recertify as a doula as long as you are working in the field, and you have the option to purchase a yearly membership to maintain access to the online platform and utilize the DTI resources with your clients. Overall, DTI is a great online option for prenatal and postpartum doula training with a well-rounded and streamlined curriculum.

Best for Postpartum : Madriella



Why We Chose It: We chose Madriella because its postpartum doula certificate has a strong focus on the needs of the mother, baby, and family postpartum.

  • The certificate has a focus on postpartum support

  • Includes topics such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery

  • Economical price point

  • Must take courses in a specified order

  • Cannot pay for courses individually

Madriella offers an online postpartum doula certification as well as several additional certifications that are well-suited for anyone looking to continue their education outside of the standard curriculum.

Certifications offered include postpartum doula, breastfeeding educator, young parent support specialist, and loss and bereavement doula. To take these courses, you must first complete the Madriella birth doula certificate, be over 18 years old, and have a valid CPR/first-aid certificate. To become certified, you need to pass an online certification exam based on the material in the course. 

Madriella is the most cost-effective online training option on this list. Instead of a course fee, it charges a membership fee of roughly $300 that gives you unlimited access to its doula and educator courses online for three years. You can complete as many courses as you choose over the three years, and if you want to renew your membership for an additional three years, you can do so for about $100.

Best for Breastfeeding Training : International Doula Institute

International Doula Institute

International Doula Institute

Why We Chose It: We chose The International Doula Institute (IDI) as best for breastfeeding training as it has breastfeeding courses offered in its full doula program, as well as stand-alone courses to improve your ability to help new moms with lactation concerns.

  • Offers breastfeeding counselor program as a stand-alone program

  • Recognizes prior learning with other doula organizations

  • Expensive

The International Doula Institute has a strong focus on doula training as well as breastfeeding education. All education is completed online at your own pace through the IDI education portal. There are no prerequisites to apply to the program, and you have one year to complete the training. When enrolled, you have access to your doula trainer via phone or email to help at any time. You can take both the breastfeeding counselor or advanced lactation courses, giving you the 90 hours of study time required to pursue your International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant designation.

The International Doula Institute offers courses as either stand-alone courses or as part of a package. If you are just getting started with your doula training, you can purchase the complete program, which covers all aspects of birth and postpartum, as well as the breastfeeding counselor, childbirth educator, and advanced lactation course for about $3,950. If you already have a doula certification elsewhere, you can purchase courses individually and receive about a $150 discount. The breastfeeding counselor certification program and the advanced lactation course cost roughly $790 each, and IDI has several payment plans for anyone needing financial support. 

Of all the options on this list, International Doula Institute has the most robust curriculum for breastfeeding training, with the opportunity to use your education to pursue designation as a lactation consultant to offer help to women with difficulty nursing.

Best for Women of Color : BEST (Business, Ethics, Sustainability, Together) Doula Training

BEST (Business, Ethics, Sustainability, Together) Doula Training

BEST (Business, Ethics, Sustainability, Together) Doula Training

Why We Chose It: BEST is our top choice for women of color because it offers comprehensive doula training with scholarships for BIPOC women.

What We Like
  • Scholarships available for BIPOC and queer women

  • Choose from in-person or virtual training

  • Focus on improving birth outcomes through BIPOC initiatives

What We Don’t Like
  • Must pay for books and reading materials in addition to the registration fee

  • Expensive

BEST recognizes the disparity in birth outcomes and postpartum depression for women of color. By offering scholarships for BIPOC students, BEST strives to improve birth outcomes for vulnerable populations by having greater BIPOC representation in the birth community. A portion of all registration fees supports the BEST doulas scholarships in partnership with The Grand Challenge.

All training is run by Amanda and Maria, who are both successful doulas, have helped thousands of families, and participated in national programs to improve maternal health. You can complete the training either virtually or online, whichever best suits your lifestyle. Once you complete the training, you are fully certified, no need to attend a birth or complete placement hours. BEST only offers one doula training certification at this time. 

BEST costs around $650 for doula training, but there are early-bird discounts and scholarships for women of color. Books and other reading materials are not included in the course fee, but there is the option to set up a payment plan if you prefer to spread out your tuition payments. It costs about $75 to recertify every two years, but you can receive a discount if you refer friends to their program. 

Best for Continuing Education : Childbirth International

Childbirth International

Childbirth International

Why We Chose It: We chose Childbirth International as best for continuing education as it has several courses available to get certified as a doula or learn additional skills to help enhance your services.

What We Like
  • Variety of different courses

  • Courses for starting your own doula business

  • Discount if you purchase multiple courses at a time

What We Don’t Like
  • No refunds on professional development courses

  • Expensive

Childbirth International started in 1998 with its birth doula and childbirth educator courses and since then has grown to offer many additional courses to address current maternal issues.

Core classes offered include; postpartum doula, lactation counselor, business for birth professionals, and trauma-informed care. Professional development courses are shorter in length and focus on more specific topics such as; safety and infection control, understanding amniotic fluid disorders, issues of breech presentation, diabetes in pregnancy, exploring group B Streptococcus, and breastfeeding in special circumstances, among others. All courses are offered online and make studying at your own time convenient and easy. 

The doula classes cost roughly $680 to $750 plus shipping, or you can save $65 if you go green and forgo printed manuals. The lactation counselor course is about $970 plus shipping or $905 for the paperless option. It only offers refunds within 48 hours of purchase, less a $50 administration fee. Childbirth International allows you to pay upfront or in five monthly installments, plus roughly a $10 per month administration fee. Professional development courses range from around $50 to $85, and all of the courses are non-refundable.

Compare Providers

Online doula training program  Cost  Programs offered 
Doula Training International
Best Overall
$1,550 for full program Birth doula, postpartum doula, and reproductive health doula
Best for Postpartum
$300 for 3 years  Postpartum doula, breastfeeding educator, young parent support specialist, loss and bereavement doula, among others 
International Doula Institute
Best for Breastfeeding Training
$3,950 for the full program  Birth and postpartum doula, as well as breastfeeding counselor, childbirth educator, and advanced lactation course
BEST (Business, Ethics, Sustainability, Together) Doula Training
Best for Women of Color
$650 plus cost of books  Certified doula training 
Childbirth International
Best for Continuing Education
$680 to $900 plus shipping Birth doula, birth educator, postpartum doula, lactation counselor, business for birth professionals, trauma-informed care, among others

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can You Become a Certified Doula Online? 

Anyone can become a certified doula online, granted you meet any prerequisites required by each certification. If you are interested in supporting women through birth or postpartum, online doula training can help you receive the education and support you need to become certified and feel prepared to start supporting women in their birth process. 

How Much Do Online Doula Training Programs Cost? 

Online doula training programs cost anywhere from about $300 to more than roughly $1,500 for an entire certification course. Some courses offer discounts if you bundle multiple courses, or you also have the option to purchase additional continuing education programs. 

What Do You Learn in Online Doula Training Programs? 

Online doula training courses cover all topics related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Topics include how to work as a doula, physical needs and care, perinatal wound care, the pelvic floor, the birth process, supporting moms during birth, ways to address emotional needs, and how to best offer prenatal and postpartum care for the mother and child. Many courses provide you with the education and framework to get started before furthering your skills through hands-on care. 

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Doula Training Program?

Many online doula training programs are self-paced and can be completed in as little as a few months. Other programs include virtual training and sessions and can take up to a year to complete. Some courses require the completion of practice hours or additional assignments to receive your certification. 

How We Chose the Best Online Doula Training Programs

We looked at eight different online doula programs to find the best ones to help you obtain your certification or expand your skills as a doula. We looked for programs offered online that can be taken at any time and are taught by skilled doulas with years of real-life experience. We looked for programs with multiple positive reviews and selected companies that are well-recognized in the birthing community. Comprehensive training and continuing education options were also a must to make it onto our list. Since doulas are not licensed, there is no regulatory board, so it is important to research programs independently to determine the right fit for you.

a Young pregnant woman is supported by her Doula before a caesarean section

Petri Oeschger / Getty Images