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Become an End-of-Life Doula

End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate

Helping the dying and their loved ones navigate grief, loss, and the complexities of death calls for empathy, strength, and compassion. UVM's End-of-Life Doula training will guide you in providing emotional, spiritual, and physical support at the end of life.

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Program Snapshot

Fall Start Date

August 21, 2024

Fall Start Date

October 23, 2024

How Often

Offered 5 times a year



Learning Format


Online Learning Type



8 weeks

Time Commitment

Minimum 8-10 hrs./wk.


Professional Certificate

VA Benefit Eligible








Additional Details

Spring Session I: January 13 – March 9, 2025
Spring Session II: March 24 – May 18, 2025
Summer Session: June 2 – July 27, 2025


Help Clients Navigate End-of-Life Care 

UVM’s End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate is an opportunity for you to explore end-of-life care and learn how to support clients with individualized, compassionate care. Doulas for the dying provide emotional, spiritual, informational, and physical support, helping to lower stress levels and aid in comfort for clients and their loved ones. UVM’s online, 8-week end of life doula training gives you access to a network of industry professionals and chances to learn from their own experiences, beliefs, hopes, and fears about death and dying. Our goal is to create a supportive learning experience with an abundance of opportunities to build collegiality, as the subject is intense, challenging, and affecting.

What sets UVM apart

Join a Supportive Community

Be part of a supportive, tight-knit community of practicing doulas.

Gain Credibility

Build your credibility by learning from the first end-of-life doula certificate program created by a medical school.

Expand Your Network

UVM end-of-life doula alumni are affiliated with the Osher Center for Integrative Health at UVM.

End of Life Doula Sherry Burns

Join our growing community

  • 3,000+ doula’s have been trained to provide supportive end-of-life care and received their certificates.

Our program regularly fills to capacity due to increasing demand.


Support the dying with compassion and care

The End-of-Life Doula course welcomes:

  • Aspiring doulas
  • End-of-life care practitioners
  • Family caregivers
  • Hospice and palliative care volunteers
  • Professionals who work in healthcare, mental health, social work, and integrative therapies
  • Spiritual care providers
  • All who heed the call to embrace dying as part of the natural life cycle with more compassion and knowledge

This is a popular course with limited availability. We highly recommend signing up when registration is open.


Dying, belief systems and grief  

You’ll explore everything from the role of an end-of-life doula, pain assessment and management, active listening, grief, spirituality, the active dying process, and holding space for clients and their loved ones. 

The course includes eight online modules:

  • Week 1: Introduction to End-of-Life Work
  • Week 2: Introduction to the Grief Continuum
  • Week 3: Understanding the Patient/Client Experience
  • Week 4: Ethics and Essentials
  • Week 5: Turning Toward Suffering 
  • Week 6: Death Practice and Belief Systems
  • Week 7: Dimensions of Grief 
  • Week 8: Setting Intention 

UVM offers the End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate 5 times per year. The start dates are usually in January, March, May, August, and October.

SessionCourse DatesRegistration Deadline
Summer 2024 Session05/22/24 – 07/16/2405/15/24FULL
Fall 2024 Session I08/21/24 – 10/15/2408/14/24OPEN SEATS
Fall 2024 Session II10/23/24 – 12/17/2410/16/24OPEN SEATS
*Optional orientation is offered the week before the program starts and it takes approximately one hour to complete.

* The sample syllabus contains information on course learning objectives, weekly module topics, and course assessment.

Student Stories

End-of-Life Doula Sherry Burns Talks about the Important Work of Death Doulas

“When I came across the End-of-Life Doula work that just spoke to me so much. It just felt like this is the time, this is when I get to actually go and get the certificate and do the training. It’s time to try to hang my shingle out and really start practicing and being involved in the whole death positivity movement happening now.” 

UVM End-of-Life Doula Certificate Program Alumna Sherry Burns

Scholarship for End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate Candidates

The scholarship for Fall 2024 has closed. Information about the Spring/Summer 2025 Scholarship will be available in August.

The University of Vermont (UVM) End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate program supports the development and entry into the Doula profession of more individuals who, by their background, work, studies, and/or service endeavors, increase, support and demonstrate commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  The goal of this scholarship is to broaden the reach of doulas and aspiring doulas to provide culturally-affirming EOL care within more communities. The scholarship covers the entire cost of the End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate course of your choice.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA – must meet all three:

  • Financial need –  you must certify that you have income at or below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) by household size. Please refer to the table below to check your financial eligibility (For audit purposes, UVM reserves the right to request additional information to verify income. Please refer to the table below for federal poverty guidelines)
  • An Individual who, by their background or through their work, studies, and/or service endeavors, increases or supports diversity, equity and inclusion; and
  • A commitment to furthering social justice through End-of-Life or Companion Animal doula work.
  • At this time, the scholarship is only open to current US residents.
Persons in family/householdAnnual Household Income (300% of the federal poverty guidelines)
Add $5,140 for each person in household over 8 persons

Career Outlook

What our graduates do next

Upon successful completion of this course, you’ll have the skillset and mindset to offer doula services to family,community members, patients or clients.  Many people add End-of-Life Doula skills to complement their existing training and work with clients/patients, including:

  • Hospice staff
  • End-of-life doula
  • Home health provider
  • Social worker
  • Alternative health professional
  • Birth doula

“I find it really exciting to do this work at this particular time. A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done… and it’s got good momentum. The rest of us can kind of jump on that and benefit from the work that’s already been done.”

Sherry Burns


A scholarship is available via the application information above. Learn about additional options for discounts, grants, loans, scholarships, and more on our tuition and financial aid page.

Yes. Students will need to purchase Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley, as well as Cultivating the Doula Heart: Essentials of Compassionate Care by Francesca Lynn Arnoldy. Copies of both books can be purchased online or through the UVM Bookstore.

No. Non-credit courses do not currently qualify for tuition remission.

No, we do not have payment plans, you must pay in full by credit card when you register.

If you need to cancel your attendance, you must notify us via email at or call us at (802) 656-2085 at least three business days prior to the start date of the course to receive a full refund, less a $25 cancellation fee. If a medical condition necessitates cancellation/withdrawal (documentation provided), this will be reviewed by our Studies Committee for any type of refund.

UVM offers the End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate 5 times per year. The start dates are usually in January, March, May, August, and October. Each offering is 8 weeks.

End-of-Life Doulas complement the work provided by palliative and/or hospice teams providing care for clients in hospice, hospital, and residential environments.  Doulas support clients with compassionate care in a number of ways, including emotional, spiritual, informational, and physical support, which greatly helps to ease some of the burdens faced by both the client and family.

There is no specific coursework required for this certificate.  Primarily, we want you to have a deep commitment to providing compassionate care for people who are dying.

As an affiliate of UVM’s Osher Center for Integrative Health, Graduates of UVM’s End-of-Life Doula certificate programs can take advantage of the following:

Upon successful completion of this course, learners will have the skillset and mindset to offer doula services to family/community members and/or patients/clients.  Many people add End-of-Life Doula skills to complement their existing training and work with clients/patients.  Examples include: hospice staff, birth doulas, home health care providers, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and alternative health professionals.  If you are looking to become a full-time EOL doula, you will need to pave the way to establish your professional path as this is a new, emerging career. As part of launching your own practice, your next steps will include marketing, advertising, networking, and accounting, among other considerations. Our alumni are able to remain connected and in contact with the goal of establishing this professional role through shared collaboration.

You will be assessed on your participation in the discussion boards, completion of assignments, and comprehension of the course material. In order to receive an electronic Certificate of Completion, students must receive a 70% or better in the course. Because this is a Non-Credit professional program, there is no transcript.

  1. Log in to your Credly account and locate the badge you’d like the certificate for on your Credly Dashboard.
  2. Click into the badge and select “Share” at the top of the page. Here you’ll notice several share options.
  3. Select the tab with the “printer” icon and select “Download PDF.”
  4. You can choose to print the downloaded PDF for a printable copy of your certificate.

Yes, this program is eligible for 8 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). These CEUs are automatically awarded to students who successfully complete the program. CEUs are listed on the downloadable certificate. Please see “How do I download and print my certificate?” above.

Our weekly modules start mid-week on Wednesday. This allows you to complete your readings on Thursday and Friday, and then gives you time on the weekend to engage in discussions and complete your written assignments.  Monday and Tuesday will be a great time for you to continue to refine and edit your assignments before submitting them, and continue participating in the online discussions.  We anticipate that students will spend approximately 7 to 10 hours per week on assignments, readings, and discussions for each module.

Yes, each cohort holds three optional live sessions on Zoom that are open to instructors and students from all sections of the current cohort. These conversations are facilitated by our program lead, Frances Pope Hewitt.
  • Session 1: The Role and Scope of an End-of-Life Doula
  • Session 2: Self-Care
  • Session 3: Ask a Doula
The optional, ungraded live sessions are not recorded in an effort to foster open and honest communication and to maintain confidentiality. Dates and times are announced at the beginning of each cohort. Please reach out to the program team if you have any questions about these sessions.

Students spend about 8 to 10 hours per week on the coursework. Optional orientation is offered the week before the program starts and it takes approximately one hour to complete.

Yes. Our certificate is 100% online. Please note that class materials are in English.

We recommend using a browser other than Internet Explorer with our Blackboard online learning system. Firefox, Google Chrome, or other browsers tend to work more effectively with Blackboard. It’s very 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 please make sure you have access to a desktop and/or laptop computer for the duration of the class.

If you are a non-credit student seeking accessibility support, please email and the UVM Student Accessibility Services team will be able to assist. In your email, please include that you do not have a 95 number/NetID.

Our Advisors are here to help. Please call us at 802-656-2085 or submit the inquiry form available on this site.