How to Become a Death Doula: Guide to a Unique Career

Published October 29, 2020
death doula providing support

A death doula provides support to an individual in the process of passing away. If you are curious about how to become a death doula, keep in mind there are several educational pathways you can take.

How to Become a Death Doula

Both medical and non-medical professionals are able to become death doulas with the proper training and certification. The only prerequisite you need to become a death doula is the ability to appropriately handle witnessing and supporting someone through the dying process.

Death Doula Training

There are both online and in person death doula certification trainings available. Training will vary in terms of intensity and hours required. Death doula training usually covers what the dying process looks like, how to provide appropriate support to those in the process of dying, and how to help individuals process their end-of-life wishes. Some training programs will also require:

  • That you take an exam at the end of your training with a minimum passing score dependent on the specific program
  • A certain number of hours with a client verified by a professional medical provider or another professional who is actively caring for the same patient
  • Certification application submitted once you've completed your client hours

Free End of Life Doula Training

Some doula training programs will offer free introductory courses, but in general, if you'd like more in depth training, you will probably have to pay a fee. Training can cost anywhere from $600 to over $3,000 depending on the program you select.

Death Doula Salary

Death doulas are often hired as independent contractors. While you may set your own fee in private practice, if you are hired as an independent contractor, there will likely be a certain budget that they have for this type of role. Per hour, you may make anywhere from $30 to over $100 depending on the setting.

Death Doula Certification

Each program's certification process will vary depending on the intensity of the program you've selected. Death doula certification is not governed by a regulatory entity, so it's really important to look into several programs before selecting the one that seems like the best fit for you. INELDA (International End of Life Doula Association) offers helpful resources for those interested in seeking out death doula certification.

Caring elderly

What to Consider Before You Become a Death Doula

Being a death doula is an incredibly meaningful career, however, some personalities may not be the best fit for this type of work. It's important to be aware that each dying process will look differently. For some, it may be peaceful, but others may experience physical and emotional pain during the dying process. If you are an individual who is easily disturbed, or has a difficult time with intense emotional situations, this may not be the best career choice for you.

Who Can Become a Death Doula?

Anyone can become a death doula if they are interested in doing so. End of life doula training can be helpful for medical professionals, hospice workers, as well as anyone else who currently works with those in the process of passing away. Regardless of your career background, if you feel you have the proper personality traits for this career, you can pursue becoming a death doula.

Are Death Doulas in Demand?

Death doulas are a needed service and are currently in demand. As the shift towards passing away in the home continues to climb, death doulas are able to provide support as a part of the end-of-life care team.

Where Do Death Doulas Work?

Death doulas are able to work in hospitals, compassionate care facilities, hospice care, and work in private doula practices. Death doulas can practice as volunteers, as an aspect of their career, or as their career.

Become an End-of-Life Doula

If you are interested in becoming an end-of-life doula, consider how you'd like to practice and whether you're hoping for this to be your career, or a volunteer opportunity.

How to Become a Death Doula: Guide to a Unique Career