Overview ~ Definition of Terms

The Lifespan Doula Association (LDA) end-of-life doula certification process has been modeled after DONA International birth and postpartum doula certification. DONA International, established in 1992, is the oldest, largest and most prestigious professional doula training and certification organization in the world and has set the standard for doula scope of practice and evidence-based training.

What does “licensure” mean?

Licensure refers to the state of being able to legally practice or work in a profession. In the United States, licensure is governed on a state-by-state basis. Currently, licensure is not available, and therefore not required for end-of-life doulas to practice in any state.

What does “certification” mean?

There is no local, regional or federal authority or regulatory body that oversees the development of doula training and certification agencies. Certification is a voluntary process and is not required to practice as an end-of-life doula.

Certification ensures that the person calling herself/himself a “doula” has:

  • Successfully completed a proscribed training program, including reading requirements;
  • Obtained hands-on experience in the field resulting in positive client evaluations;
  • Demonstrated competency regarding core knowledge and skills in their field;
  • Agreed to abide by the defined Scope of Practice;
  • Met continuing education requirements in order to stay current in the field over time; and
  • Renewed their certification periodically.

Benefits of Certification

  • Proof of having successfully completed a thorough training program and meeting professional standards
  • Featured listing in online Directory of LDA-Certified Doulas
  • Ongoing mentoring support and membership in a community of end-of-life doulas
  • Participation in a monthly interactive instructional webinar
  • Ability to command higher fees than uncertified doulas
  • All the benefits listed below for members

Certification Details

Credential Earned

After successful completion of the end-of-life doula certification process, doulas may use the letters CEOLD after their name.

Length of Certification

Certification applications will be processed within six weeks of submission. The certification period is three years, after which doulas must re-certify to maintain their status.

Cost of Certification

Certification Packet


The Certification Application Packet is required for certification. It comes as a PDF download and contains all of the forms and instructions needed to certify. The packet expires two years from date of purchase.

Certification Application Fee


The Certification Application Fee must be paid once you have completed all the requirements and the packet is submitted for review.



All certified LDA doulas are required to maintain an active LDA Annual Membership. Read about Member Benefits.

End-of-Life Doula Certification Requirements

  • Complete the LDA End-of-Life Doula Training Workshop (21 hours).
  • Purchase an LDA certification packet (includes all instructions and required forms as well as access to the online final exam) ($25).
  • Complete the following requirements:
    • Complete required reading (Download PDF).
    • Pass an open-book online exam.
    • Develop an Intake Assessment Form for your practice and submit a copy.
    • Develop a list of end-of-life resources for your community.
    • Complete the Advance Care Planning process for yourself.
    • Provide services to three families as an end-of-life doula after completion of the doula training workshop and submit required documentation. OR, in place of serving three families, doulas may provide services two families and complete one of the following:
      • Become a hospice volunteer for at least six months, during which time you spend at least 10 hours with at least two families.
      • Shadow another end-of-life doula for a minimum of 10 hours.
      • Prepare a one-hour-long community presentation on end-of-life doulas or a related end-of-life topic and present it at two separate venues with time for Q&A.
      • Complete an approved research project.
      • Take an approved college course related to end-of-life issues.
  • Letter of reference from two professional contacts.
  • Sign Agreement to Abide by the LDA Scope of Practice.
  • Maintain active membership in LDA ($50 annual fee).
  • Pay application processing fee ($150).
  • Submit all paperwork via email or U.S. mail to LDA.

Re-Certification Requirements

  • Maintain continuous active membership in LDA.
  • Provide services to a minimum of three individuals/families during the three-year certification period.
  • Continue to abide by the LDA Scope of Practice for End-of-Life Doulas.
  • Complete 15 hours of approved continuing education relevant to end-of-life topics or skills.
  • Pay the re-certification application fee ($100).

When we send you proof of certification, we will also send along the instructions and forms required for re-certification.

Grievance Policy

Our grievance policy provides the means by which consumers or health care providers can allege misconduct on the part of an LDA-certified doula. LDA will investigate any complaints, in particular violations of our scope of practice and ethical business practices, and take appropriate follow-up action. To report a concern, contact support@lifespandoulas.com.

end-of-life doula certification