11 death doula reviews

11 Death Doula Training Reviews. Uncovering the Mind-blowing Costs and Standards of this Unregulated Profession.

This is an in-depth review of 11 death doula training courses available in 4 countries. Some of what I found is good, some not so good.

Update: There were 12 training reviews, but I had been asked to remove one as they were refining their business model.

Please note: The prices shown may be different to what I have recorded.

Here is what I am covering, I hope you find it helpful.

  • Are end-of-life doula courses a scam?
  • What is a Death Doula Exactly.
  • What I found out about death doula training
  • Quality of the Course
  • Cost of the Course
  • Can it be done online?
  • The Course Provider rating.

I look at the training in 4 countries.

  • USA
  • Canada
  • England,
  • Australia

Obviously, there are more than 12 death doula courses across those 4 countries.

I am sure there are good ones in other parts of the world, maybe I will take a look at those another time.

Click here for a free e-book. Surviving the final Goodbye.

Are Online Death Doula Courses a Scam?

Quite likely there are some. According to statistics, 67% of all online job schemes are fraudulent.

The ones in this review, so far as my research has shown, are very reputable and above board.

BUT- Sometimes it is hard to be sure there are no rats in the cheese factory!

The treatment of people in the last few days of their lives has had intermittent exposure by the media over the years.

Unfortunately, very little of the media exposure has been good.

Society is demanding more transparency and better standards of care for people who are near the end of their life.

An End of life Doula is a less prominent field of health care and is probably not considered a profession in the same light as say, a nurse, engineer, or even perhaps, a shop assistant.

However, it is still, a necessary and vital one.

By and large, it is an unregulated profession or as someone mentioned a “self-regulated” profession.

Let’s take a look at some end-of-life care resources.

The quality of the training may surprise you.

So, what is an End of Life Doula Exactly?  

At its most basic level, a death doula, sometimes called a death midwife or End Of Life Doula, is among a lot of other things, a companion and advocate for the dying, as well as an educator to families, communities, and sometimes the media on the death process.

Related article Here

Some of the courses reviewed here require you to have a police check, and a First aid / CPR certificate, prior to being issued with your certificate.

Even if it is not required, it would make sense, that…

A. You can prove you are of good character

B. Have at the very minimum a first aid qualification.

Here is what I found about End of Life Doula Training.

Some of the costs were eye-watering!

  • It is hard to find independent information to back up the claims about the training involved.
  • Most of the courses with reviews seem quite good.
  • Many death doulas have Reiki or other mindfulness certifications.
  • The certificates offered by some organizations are certificates for course completion only. Additional training/mentoring may be required.
  • The costs varied from around $400.00 to nearly $7,000.00
  • Doulas are not regulated by the governments of the countries in which these training courses are conducted.


Eventually, these courses may lead to more formal recognition, where an individual will be able to accept Insurance / Medicaid/ Medicare or other Insurance payments.

There are insurance companies that will pay out a life policy before death if the customer has been diagnosed as having only a certain amount of time left on this place.

Let’s take a look at death doula courses offered in the USA.

End of Life Doula Training USA

Many end-of-life doula courses offered throughout the USA are state-centric

You need to remember this is theory only.

However, some of the course providers include a module where you do have to provide detailed practical experience in order to receive your certificate.

University of Vermont End of Life Doula Professional Certificate.

Although fully online they recommend using a browser other than Internet Explorer with their online learning system, Blackboard.

Firefox, Google Chrome, or other browsers tend to work more effectively with Blackboard.

It’s important to note that Blackboard will only work with a desktop or laptop computer.

It is not designed to be used with phones or tablets (e.g., iPads), so you need to have access to a desktop and/or laptop computer for the duration of the class.

Also, there is a required reading of these two books:-

  • Final Gifts:- by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. Copies of this book are readily available for purchase online, including cheap used copies. Or feel free to borrow it from your local library/hospice lending library.
  • Cultivating the Doula Heart: Essentials of Compassionate Care, by Francesca Lynn Arnoldy.
  • Copies are available for purchase online, at your local bookshop (by order), and at the Bookstore

At the conclusion of your course, you will not receive a letter grade but instead will receive a
digital badge.

All students who earn 70% or greater, based on the criteria below, will receive a digital badge and be able to download a certificate of completion.

  • Discussions: 50%
  • Assignments: 30%
  • Quizzes: 20%

Program cost and duration:-

  • Various starting dates throughout the year
  • Requires 7 to 10 hours per week.
  • The course duration is 8 weeks.
  • Cost – $800.00 to be paid 2 weeks before the start of the course. Payment plans are not available (yet).
  • Optional: Animal End of life Doula course. $600.00 for the 4-week certificate and $300.00 for the Alumni certificate.
  • Accreditation:- Professional Certificate, also eligible for 8 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
  • Free Bonus Modules: Doula Bag, Visit Ideas/Activities, The Emerging End-of-Life Doula Career (Meetings, Contracts, Business Considerations), Role and Scope Revisited

The course developer is Francesca Arnoldy.

She is also the lead Instructor.

Screenshot of module 3 of the university of Vermont's End of Life Doula program. Used in the article Death Doula Training Reviews
Module 3 sample.

The Curriculum:- will present a wide variety of published information, interviews with industry
professionals, and chances for learners to examine their own experiences, beliefs, hopes, and fears about death and dying.

They intend to create a supportive learning experience with lots of opportunities
to build community, as the subject is intense, challenging, and affecting.

This course is popular, numbers are restricted and sessions book out quickly.

It is unquestionably a quality course.

For the full curriculum go to thislink.

Lifespan Doulas Michigan.

Based in Michigan, this online program also includes birth doulas and postpartum doulas.

The beauty of this one is it is conducted on weekends.

National end of life doula alliance proficiency badge. Blue circle with white lettering, outside a white  circle with multiple colored joined hands and a heart in the center. Used in the article 11 Death Doula reviews.
NEDA badge.

Because doulas are a largely unregulated “profession”, some trainers are making an effort to get recognition, thereby letting others involved in the industry (hospice, palliative care providers, funeral homes, etc.), know that they have met certain standards and are competent professionals

Lifespan Doulas is one business that is recognized as having the ethics and competencies to help guide, end-of-life doula trainers, end-of-life doulas, and their families.

Business InformationQualifications & Experience, contact details.
Founder: Patty Brennan BA40 years of experience as a doula, midwife, educator, author, nonprofit executive, and entrepreneur.
Based in Michigan. USAOffers a phone contact as well as email.
Courses offered1. Birth doulas
2. Postpartum doulas
3. End-of-life doulas.
4. Business development
Course delivery Can be completed totally online.

Program cost and duration:-

  • Available on weekends by Zoom. 10 am to 4 pm. Some weekdays are listed here.
  • Two choices. Self-paced learning 36 hrs. approx.
  • Interactive skills workshop 12 hrs. approx.
  • Cost. $697.00. A payment plan is available.
  • You need an 85% pass to earn your certification.

A quality course that is very popular.

Also please refer to Patty Brennan‘s (founder of Lifespan Doulas) reply in the comments about online courses.

INELDA End of Life Doula Training.

Worldwide Training.

INELDA stands for International End of Life Doula Association.

At its core, this model of care is about open-hearted service. The doula meets with the dying person and their loved ones where they are emotionally and spiritually. The doula assists all involved to find a way to live their dying in the best way possible for them. At the same time, the doula will utilize their experience and expertise to offer expanded view of dying that can bring greater meaning and comfort to this intense process. 


Let’s take a look at it.

Business Information:  2015. As a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Henry Fersko-Weiss, Sue Cohen  Janie Rakow, Meredith Lawida, and Jeri Glatter.
Location Jersey City, N.J. USA.
Course and CostHospice Doula Training. $650.00Discount for Nurses. Refunds are available if you cancel 2 weeks before the course less a $50.00 Admin fee.
Course Duration4 weeks. Wednesday evenings and Saturday online sessions, plus independent work. 40hours for Nurses.
QualificationAfter completion of this training, you can apply to do your certification credential.

Course Details.

This course has some prerequisites:

  • 3 weeks before the start of the course you will be sent a PDF file of the class manual.
  • There are also 10-12 hours of videos and other independent work to complete before the online training begins.

You need to plan your daily activities well if you choose this course, as you are only allowed to miss one (1), online training session.
Miss two (2) or more, and they will have to transfer your training to a future course.

This course has a series of topics based on 3 modalities.

  1. Summing up (the situation) and Planning
  2. The Vigil
  3. Reprocessing and Early Grief.

Overview of the Training.

  • Pre-work—video segments and exercises that take an average of 8 hours
  • Live Zoom or in-person sessions—3 weeks or 3 days totaling 25 hours
  • Two trainers per session—presenting the material and responding to students
  • Small group and pairs exercises—to experience and practice doula skills
  • Q&A sessions—between live sessions during the course
  • A 250-page manual—with fuller written explanations, PowerPoints, and resources 

After completion of this training, you will be monitored and assessed by a qualified doula to achieve your certification.

In-House Hospice Doula Training

INELDA offers customized training services, by providing programs based on the unique aspects of each organization or community.

These services include:-

  • Free initial consultation to discuss your unique situation
  • Creation of a design that fits your needs and budget  
  • Meetings with leadership regarding program goals and concerns 
  • EOL doula training for volunteers/staff, in person or virtually
  • Train-the-Trainer option for staff and ongoing support
  • Monthly follow-up for 6 months to advise on program operations
  • Peer support for doulas and targeted ongoing education 
  • Forms, policies, job descriptions, and program announcements

INELDA has trained people from many countries including, the USA, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom.

Final thoughts

This is a well-established reputable business, with in-depth training.

One of the trainer’s Bio it states:- “Was an educator at John Hopkins School of Nursing, as well as being a level 1 Reiki practitioner.” 

Again you need to fit your schedule around theirs. There are penalties that will turn some people off.

Final thoughts on these USA End of Life Doula courses.

The US courses I have reviewed vary in the scope of their training, but all, I believe, deliver a high-quality outcome.

One thing to keep in mind is that End of Life Care may become eligible for Medicaid benefits in the years ahead, so choosing a quality course that is likely to be acceptable to regulators/insurance providers is going to be of benefit to your business.

The costs vary, the most expensive I have seen is this one which costs $6,970.00.

I don’t have enough information to review it. It might work for you, I don’t know, I am not judging it.

End of Life Doula Training Canada.

Working/learning from home courses seem hard to come by in Canada, considering they had one of the toughest Covid lockdowns in the world.

Granted Canadians can just source a good course from the USA (or vice versa for people in the USA).

But I have found a couple of Canadian courses that offer good training.

Some training providers have only made “temporary” transitions, with the aim of going back to face-to-face classes at some point in the future when covid restrictions ease.

The most dominant site I found in Google searches for Canada, was for birth doulas which included a yoga modality.

Not quite what I was looking for.

Centennial College has been providing Thanatology (Death Studies), by distance education for some years.

I found it a bit hard to believe that they don’t have a dedicated online course.

Nothing wrong with distance learning, (I have done them!).

It just means you have to have to go to some town/city and have a few days (weeks?), of classroom tuition and do some practical work as part of the course.

Centennial College has 5 Modules priced at $395 each (total $1975.00). These are spread out over about a year. Obviously, it is an authority course, but I was looking for dedicated online providers. If you want, you can research more at this link.

Currently, in Canada, End of Life Doula work is not a regulated line of workso no statutory certification is required.

So different from childhood carers.

Although End-of-Life Doulas are not regulated, The End-of-Life Doula Association of Canada is committed to establishing a community of practice for End-of-Life Doulas.

Let’s look at Canadian Colleges.

Click Here for a free e-book Surviving the Final Goodbye.

Institute of Traditional Medicine.

A bit of a surprise here, it is one of only a couple anywhere that offers weekend tuition.

Canada’s first program in Contemplative End of Life Care provides training opportunities and mentorship for hospice staff, palliative care professionals, psychotherapists, health-care practitioners, social workers, spiritual care professionals and laypersons interested in acquiring competencies that would allow them to be of service to their communities within the discipline of end of life care

Institute of Traditional Medicine.
Business Information:A community-based organization that also offers courses in areas of personal development, eastern medicine, etc.
Based and years in business:- Toronto, Canada. 16 years.
Courses offered and Costs:- Contemplative End of Life Care. $1950:00
Course Delivery:- Online. 5 modules spread over 5 months via a part-time weekend schedule. Certificate upon successful completion.
Contact Details.Able to be contacted by email or telephone.
Screen shot of the curriculum description for the Institute of traditional Medicine, used in the article, Death Doula Training Reviews
Screenshot of the curriculum description for the Institute of Traditional Medicine. The complete course requirements can be seen here.

Course Approach and Outcomes.

The EOL Doula course trainers come from a variety of backgrounds.

Some trainers also run clinics for acupuncture, and holistic nutrition, combining traditional indigenous medicine with conventional medicine.

Our training program introduces a contemplative dimension to end of life care through educating and enhancing a trainees’ fluency in the bio-psycho-social-spiritual and legal, ethical and medical dimensions of caring for the dying and preparing them to serve in a variety of environments including private homes, hospices, and community organizations.

Institute of Traditional Medicine.

For some, this course may seem a little esoteric however, it is a fully certified organization with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and your participation is recognized throughout Canada, and possibly other countries.

It also provides students with Internship opportunities.

See more at this link

Douglas College End of Life Doula Course (BREV 1100).

This college offers conventional learning, and many of its courses, once completed are awarded points towards diplomas or degrees.

Normally it is delivered in a classroom environment, however, due to covid, it has been offering courses online only.

Whether or not it stays that way (for this course in particular), remains to be seen.

Business Information:Founded in 1970, Douglas College is the largest degree-granting college in British Columbia, Canada, educating close to 25,000 students per year. It has 2 campuses in metro Vancouver and several smaller training centers throughout Canada.
Course and Cost:- Introduction to End of Life Doula. No formal prerequisites are required, but it is assumed you have passed grade 12 English.
Cost $765.00. Additional costs include the required course books
Course Delivery:- Online, weeknights, and weekends. There is a schedule of times on their website.
Course Duration:- 32 hours. Dates for classes are on their website. Two hours for assignments.
Qualification:- Recognition of Course Completion upon successful completion.

Course Outcomes.

  • Describe end-of-life care and the role of the End of Life Doula;
  • Discuss a range of beliefs and practices surrounding death.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills;
  • Understand the complexity of grief and demonstrate effective responses to expressions of grief;
  • Understand and demonstrate the use of Advance Care Planning tools
  • Understand the legalities of funeral practices in the Province; and
  • Understand the End of Life Doula community of practice.

This course is graded on a Mastery/Non-mastery basis.  Recognition of Course Completion for successful participants of the course is issued digitally by the Department of Continuing Education, Health Sciences.

Disclosure:- This site has an affiliation with IAP and should you purchase something from a link I may receive a small payment at no cost to you. I am not an employee of any company mentioned, and all opinions expressed here are mine and are not representative of any company.

International Association of Professions Career College (IAP) End of Life Doula Certificate Course

This course can be completed totally online in around 12 weeks or less. Some people have completed it in around 4 weeks.

Deborah Toole is the IAP faculty member for this course.

Deborah graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and has been a registered nurse for 30 years. Her specialty is in Hospice, educating the community on end of life.

Deborah has two Doula certifications and teaches LPN students at a local community college.

Related article Here.

Let’s take a closer look.

Business information:Founded 1999. IAP Career College is a division of FabJob Inc. With a team of respected academics, they have created online certificate programs for traditional and “non-traditional careers”
Course and Cost:-The end-of-Life Doula Certificate Course is done completely online. Around $400.00, but depending on the time of year (if they are running deals), you could pay less.
Course Delivery:-Fully online. Additional resources are provided with PDFs (e-books etc;), as well as access to a tutor.
Course Duration:-6 weeks part-time. You can, depending on your other commitments complete it in 4 weeks or extend it out to 12 weeks.
Qualification:- Certificate upon successful completion. IAP-certificated courses have been completed by students from around 20 different countries.
Screenshot of trust pilot rating for International association of professional careers college, showing 5 stars from 494 reviews. Used in the article, Death Doula Training Reviews.
This course is Rated 5 stars on trust pilot. Related articlehere.

What is included in the course?

Briefly:- This course has 6 modalities covering 39 topics.

They include:

  • Specializations required by death doulas
  • The duties of a death doula
  • Pet Doula module.
  • Skill development, plus modules on self-care.
  • Business principles for death doulas wanting to start their own business.
  • How to get clients.

This is one of the few courses anywhere offering a pet doula module.

It is quite an in-depth course and includes a “how to set up a doula business” as well.

More about IAP College

IAP courses and guides can be found in the library collections of many respected colleges and universities. Their guides for courses ranging from Event Planning to Fashion Design have also been used in colleges and universities from California to Colorado to Connecticut.

The University of Texas and Columbia University, Wellesley College, and the Fashion Institute of Technology as well as in numerous public libraries in cities from Vancouver to New York.

They are also in use at academic institutions such as George Mason University and Harper College in Chicago.Plus, when you register with IAP you receive the applicable textbook at no extra cost.

IAP College.

You can read more on the IAP End of Life Doula online Certificate Course Here

Home Hospice Association (HHA).

This is Uniquely Canadian

The word “Hospice” might conjure up some images of bad news reports from the USA.

But from what I can gather HHA has a high level of respect.

On their Who we Serve page, I see the following.

Home Hospice Association believes where someone lives nor the size of their bank account should dictate what hospice care may be available to them. No one should have to leave their home to find compassionate, non-judgemental and dignified hospice care.  Regardless of what or where they define as home. Home Hospice Associations across Canada will mean an environment and a philosophy of hospice care will be available in any community. Because Home Hospice Association defines community, not just as geography, but also as a spiritual, social or cultural environment ultimately every Canadian, regardless of where or what they call home, will receive the care they need and deserve.


However, it is another that transformed into online learning due to covid restrictions.

Still, it is no less intense a course, and you are required to complete assignments implementing what you have learned.

Let’s take a look at what they offer.

Business information: Founded in 2014 by Tracy Robertson, Jeanne O’Kell, and Glen Burkholder. It is a Federally Recognized “Not For Profit” Corporation.  With an Official Charity Status and Number.
Course and Cost:- Death Doula Certificate Program. Access to ongoing monthly workshops. $700.00
Course Delivery:- Online with Independent assignments and weekend training.
Course Duration:- However long it takes, is about the best answer I can give. There are 2.5 days of Virtual learning, plus independent learning and workshops.
Qualification:-Certificate upon successful completion.

This is an NGO and it relies on donations for some of its funding. Its training was initially sourced from the USA.

These days they have their own training, and have also begun a thing called Death cafes.”

I found this an interesting concept because apart from offering training, HHA is also helping build communities not afraid to talk about death.

Again of interest, I see in the bios that at least one trainer is a Reiki practitioner.

A common theme through most of these businesses.

What is included in this course?

Briefly, it covers 4 modalities with

  1. Compassionate Caregiving (Online in Google Classroom), 7 topics.
  2. Independent Studies (Online in Google Classroom).  4 mandatory modules.
  3. In-class Sessions (Virtual in Google Meets). Two and a half days, including topics such as: Grief & Bereavement, Advance Care Planning, Vigils and Living Wakes, Active Dying, and Funeral Services.
  4. Death Doula Projects & Assignments (Online in Google Classroom). 5+ Topics

Love them or not, NGOs do perform a valuable role in serving un-serviced areas, developing best practice learning materials, and also ( for better or worse), getting in the ear of the government.

While most of the other companies in this review have modules on setting up and running a business (particularly IAP above), HHA does not.

You can see more at this link Here.

Final thoughts on Canadian Death Doula Courses

There is a good variety of training on offer in Canada.

IAP stands out as the only really dedicated online course that you can complete at your pace.

You may have to adjust your activities to fit in with the other programs, as they have only recently transitioned to online learning.
Pricing varies of course, as is to be expected. Not everyone has the same overheads.

Overall I find they are all genuine and fair value for what they offer.

End of Life Doula Training UK.

There are 5 on Google’s first page, but I was only interested in the online courses.

There were two I could find that looked to be good options.

Another with the message “they will resume well after covid.”

The others I saw are a hybrid (part online part face-to-face).

One other although looking quite good (lwdtraining. Link below), required 5 days of face-to-face “learning” for the foundation course, cost £675, plus accommodation if you take their “Residency” course.

From the foundation course, you could progress to the Diploma course which takes approximately 12-18 months to complete.

I believe this means that if you advance to the Diploma and succeed, it qualifies you to be a death doula trainer.

To see more:- Click Here.

Soul Companions UK

This company offers full end-of-life doula training involving 14 hours of Virtual training and 120 hours of E-learning.

Looking through this course, it has some similarities to the one above, in that it offers advancement to a diploma.

Again this course has transferred to online learning, but at some point in the future, they will re-instate some face-to-face modules.

Let’s take a look.

  • Soul Companions is a Limited Company, registration number 11485752
  • Website:- http://www.soulcompanions.co.uk
  • It is accredited by the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning.
  • Contact is by email or ‘phone.

The 4 people who are the face of the company are:-

Business Information: Qualifications, Experience.
Jane DepledgeDirector. An RN with over 30 years of experience. She was also a Nurse lecturer and is a Karuna and Usui Reiki master teacher as well as a practitioner
Kathryn TathamAdministrator. Formerly worked with the National Health Service
Amanda WaringSpeaker. She is the UK’s leading speaker, filmmaker, author, and trainer on Dignity and compassionate end-of-life care
Bep DhalwalTrainer. Winning a Nursing Times award in 2015 with the Macmillan Berkshire Wellbeing team – an award that recognized the value of the rehabilitation program for Cancer patients.

There are other trainers, but the above four are the face of Soul Companions.

A brief overview of the Course Modules.

  • Loss, grief, and bereavement
  • What is spirituality
  • Exploring who You are (Thrive 365)
  • Communication skills 1
  • The palliative trajectory
  • Stages of dying
  • Advanced care plans
  • Consent
  • Boundaries and Limitations
  • Exploring Advocacy, Dignity, and Respect, Right to refuse as case studies
  • Cultural and religious practices
  • End-of-life care plan
  • Social health systems – who to work with
  • Basic meditation (mindfulness runs through all 4 modules)
  • What is a Doula?

Course Outcomes.

  1. Know different perspectives on death and dying
  2. Understand how individuals are affected
  3. Understand the dying and grieving trajectory
  4. Outline factors that affect our views on death and dying and the bereavement experience


There is a “Foundation course” which is £500 for 4 days of training.

Looking through their website their focus is on death doula training and mindfulness.

Participants will be introduced to basic communication skills with practice sessions to hone those skills.

As well participants will be invited to produce their own advanced care plan as a classroom exercise.

The foundation course opens with identifying what being a Doula means to you on a personal level.

Looking at the key moments in your life that have shaped who you are today, your strengths and what you uniquely bring to shape this next part of your life.

Soul Companions.

Final thoughts on this course.

So, quite different to the USA and Canadian courses I reviewed.

There is a big focus on the mental side of being a death doula, as well as the physical and administrative role of being a carer.

Looking through the owner’s profiles, they are all highly experienced in Health care and business management.

They comply with all the laws required in the UK and tick all the boxes for quality assurance, including having a complaints procedure.

You can see more by clicking this link.

The Health and Safety Group Ltd.

I was tossing up whether or not to include this one. It seems more medical-related than specifically focused on doulas.

It is a legitimate company that specializes in offering healthcare courses for Nursing staff and Care professionals.

Head Office:-566 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London W4 5YF. Company Reg No. 5250327

It is a “Skills for Care” endorsed provider.

However, not all potential end of life doulas are medical professionals, and not all people nearing the end of their life are in palliative care.

It offers course bundles at discounted rates or single courses.

The prices seem inexpensive, but there will upsells.

The final cost depends on the bundles you order.

The training lessons are designed for the student to come away with the following understandings:-

  • Understand and know how to apply the 6 principles of end of life care
  • Describe the holistic approach to palliative care
  • Understand the pain assessment process
  • Describe the types, symptoms, and treatments of pain
  • Explain the different types of palliative care emergencies
  • Describe effective communication methods and highlight communication barriers
  • Explain the advanced care planning and decision-making process
  • Understand the legislative requirements surrounding end-of-life care
  • Discuss ways to improve patients’ wellbeing
Screen shot of Health and Safety Groups End of life rating. Used in the article, Death Doula Training Reviews

Cost:- £14.95 or buy a bundle of health care courses for £19.95.

Final thoughts on English End-of-Life Doula Courses

HSG rates ok. A death doula may find it useful but really, compared to the others it seems to only scratch the surface.

Most likely this is really to give trainee nurses some background notes on Palliative care which they can use in on-the-job training.

Overall I found the English courses generally conduct “workshops” offline and for this reason I haven’t included others here.

For the people paying for these courses this can be a bonus, as on completion you leave ready to start earning.

Although the course basics are online, they are not suited to students outside of England.

End of Life Doula Training Australia.

Australia: The land of regulations and rules.

At the moment there is no statutory requirement to be qualified to work as an end-of-life doula in Australia.

There is only one training company (No.1 in my list below), that offers a Statutory accredited “Certificate IV” course in EOLDD (end-of-life death doula).

The other business in this review have medical educators at the helm of the business.

A certificate IV in any craft allows you to train others.

From my research, I found Five training providers-

  1. Preparing the Way:– Helen Callanan:- Offers online courses starting from $495 up to an Accredited Certificate IV course. $2500.00
  2. Life Options:– Denise Love. Ex Nurse and midwife who runs training by a Zoom call, cost around $595.00. I need to research this more.
  3. Death Walker:– Zenith Virago. Only began online training on April 1/ 2022, after 25 years of face-to-face “events” at various places in Australia and New Zealand. Cost from $695.00.$1500
  4. Gentle Death Education and Training:– Dr. Annetta Mallon Ph.D. Offers 4 Tiers and 2 Masterclasses for $3,300.
  5. Australian Doula College: Sydney. Government-accredited Training. Costs Unknown.

The two with recognized accreditations are 1 and 5 on the above list. These are the two I will look at. Although this decision is not intended to disparage the others, who do seem very genuine and qualified.

From their stories, each would fit the IAP college description of death doulas:- brave, gifted, intuitive, and compassionate.

I will add Independent thinkers and lifelong learners.

Australia is close to Asia, so finding Eastern teachings in Australian death doula training is not unexpected.

Preparing the Way

Business InformationQualifications and Experience
Owner FounderHelen Callanan. 1986. Website Preparing the Way
Location Sunbury, Victoria. Australia
CoursesOffers government-recognized accredited courses for End of Life Doulas which can be taken entirely online.
MembershipsNational Death Advocacy Network (NDAN)

Their about page states:-

An Australian network and advocacy partnership of community facilitators, professionals, activists, and educators working to enrich the experience of dying and death.

She has various websites, some have “End of Life Care” somewhere in the title.

Helen was also part of a T.V. documentary that aired on Australian television back in April 2021.

The costs for death doula training found on the “Preparing the way” website were:-

  • $495.00 for a one-day or two-half-day course delivered over Zoom.
  • $1995.00 for an intensive 4-day course (delivered over Zoom).
  • Plus bonus access to a 6-part masterclass covering:- Advance Care Planning, Ethics, and Documentation, Branding, and Marketing, Holding a Death Cafe, Making Kick Ar*e Presentations

What this Program Includes.

The Foundation course which is a prerequisite for doing the intensive course:-

  • What holistic palliative care is (not just the medical/clinical version)
  • What is conscious dying?
  • What are our death and end-of-life preferences and how do we ensure we get them?
  • How do we support our person dying at home if that is what they prefer?
  • How do we retain capacity, control, and choice around our own end of life?
  • What are all the parts of the paperwork and other plans we need to consider?
  • What is the difference between how care is provided in a hospital, palliative care unit, or hospice?
  • What are the 10 stages of the end of life and what do I need to know about them:
    –    What conversations are relevant
    –    What resources are relevant
    –    What planning is relevant and how do I best support someone in those stages?
  • Who and what a doula is and what is it they actually do?

The 4-day intensive course includes:-

  • The essence of “service”
  • Planning and questioning in communication
  • Complementary therapies, meditation, and related practices
  • Pain versus suffering – their nuances and support strategies
  • Compassion: boundaries and burnout
  • Bereavement, grief, and loss
  • The law across the states of Australia (and New Zealand for NZ-specific training)
  • Sudden, accidental, and traumatic deaths
  • Practical skills for after-death and home-based body care
  • Natural burial and cremation options
  • Planning a funeral/memorial
  • Self-care and resilience

Again not inexpensive, nearly $2500.00.

The courses do have authority in that they now have government accreditation.

The Australian Doula College.

This college offers online training and face-to-face training that includes Birth Doulas and Death Doulas.

Business Information:Renee Adair Website:- ADC
Location:Sydney, Australia. Also has trainers in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Courses Offers government-recognized courses for birth and end-of-life doulas. Can be taken entirely online.
Memberships/ PartnershipsCharles Darwin University, Southern Cross University, and other NGOs

Renee Adair helped with the launching of Preparing the Way with Helen Callanan.

Costs for their courses are not available on the website, you need to apply for an enrollment pack.

You are also encouraged to become a member of ADC for $198.00 p/yr. which offers access to other learning benefits.

I am guessing that as your accreditation is with ADC, it would be necessary to maintain this registration, and probably take other courses periodically.

One benefit of training with the Australian Doula College is they also have a job board, where they will send a student (well advanced in their studies), to gain some experience.

Final thoughts on Australian End-of-Life Doula Courses

While a course can have accreditation, the calling (career) may not be recognized as a core skill within a field by a regulator (usually the government).

What usually happens in Australia (it would be similar in New Zealand), is that an organization or individual will put a course together for state approval.

This can be time-consuming and expensive, as you need to work your way through a minefield of bureaucrats who will be critiquing your course.

Once through, you hand over large sums of money for various stamps of approval.

A few years later, after it has been taken up by various insurers and private healthcare providers, who will then ask for that qualification from labor hire companies they contract with, the state will eventually make it a mandatory requirement if you wish to work in this field.

Normally a Cert.111 is a ticket to work, then a Cert1V to work or be a trainer.

Australia has an increasingly aging population, and health care for aging people is struggling, with nurses, aged care workers, and palliative care workers in short supply, and they have been for some years.

In-home care is becoming increasingly common as more people choose to pass away in their own homes.


While some of these courses have a sameness about them, to have you out working as a doula quickly, a couple go a little further, providing modules on setting up and running a business.

All of them except HSG (England), offer resources for external help, mentoring, skill development, and self-care.

I know I have mentioned Reiki a lot.

It seems to be a common theme among doulas anywhere in the world

Reiki is an Eastern program. It should be understood that Eastern societies have varied rituals where death and dying is concerned.

One of the more bizarre is the rituals of the Torajans

Many of the courses have additional mindfulness classes. One program for self-care I have noticed, with members from medical-related fields including doulas is Mindvalley University

As always feel free to leave a comment or an opinion in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading.


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3 thoughts on “11 Death Doula Training Reviews. Uncovering the Mind-blowing Costs and Standards of this Unregulated Profession.”

  1. These Death Doula training reviews shed light on the eye-opening expenses and standards within this unregulated field. It’s crucial to navigate this profession wisely.

  2. Thank you for clarifying that Patty,
    Quite an important observation that will benefit many of those who read this article.
    Self-regulating is probably a better term than unregulated too.

  3. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for including Lifespan Doulas in your overview of end-of-life doula training programs. I’d like to add a clarification regarding the significance of location in choosing an online training. For self-paced study and certification programs, location is irrelevant, as the doula industry is self-regulating. There is no such thing as a “national” or “international” certification for doulas regardless of whether a training organization chooses to include the words “national” or “international” in their business name or marketing). So, for example, the distinction between a “Michigan based” training organization or “Worldwide” training organization is functionally non-existent. Location only becomes important when trainings are in person OR live online. When workshops are live online, the main consideration for the consumer is the difference in time zones and whether the prospective student can make time zone adjustments work. That said, a few trainings may have a strong regional focus based on the primary trainer’s location and may offer enhanced local resources or mentoring opportunities to their students.

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