What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?
A Certified Nurse Midwife helps women who are going through the process of giving birth, but that’s not all.
Many Certified Nurse Midwives help mothers throughout their entire pregnancy, and even after with follow-up care.
This career is important for women across the country so that they can receive the appropriate care for themselves and their babies.
In order to begin a career as a Certified Nurse Midwife, you must first work as a Registered Nurse and gain experience with the medical field.
Once you feel that you want to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, you must earn a Master’s degree.
There are many duties that a Certified Nurse Midwife must complete on a daily basis.
Most of the time, no two days are exactly the same.
Some of the tasks that a Certified Nurse Midwife might do include:
- Conduct physical exams
- Diagnose patients
- Give medications and treatments
- Counsel and educate patients
- Provide newborn care
- Provide pregnancy care
- Assist during labor and delivery
- Educate about prenatal and postnatal care
There is a lot of money to be made as a Certified Nurse Midwife.
The average salary for this career in the United States is around $108,000 a year.
Salary can range from around $69,000 in some areas to over $150,000 in others.
Some other factors that determine the salary of a Certified Nurse Midwife are the years of experience, the credentials of the nurse, as well as education level and any specializations they may have.
Certified Nurse-Midwives who work in larger populations will also likely have higher salaries than those who work in more rural areas.
States like California and Florida pay their Certified Nurse-Midwives more than states like Oklahoma or Iowa.
Annually National Average Salary: $108,810
Monthly National Average Salary: $9,000
Hourly National Average Salary: $52.31
Average Annual Salary by State
|State||Avg. Annual Salary|
|District of Columbia||$95,990|
Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States
The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $154,500.
These are the top 5 earning states in the field:
Average Monthly Salary by State
|State||Avg. Monthly Salary|
|District of Columbia||$7,917|
Monthly Average Salary: Top 5 States
The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $12,833.
These are the top 5 earning states in the field:
Average Hourly Salary by State
|State||Avg. Hourly Salary|
|District of Columbia||$46.15|
Hourly Average Salary: Top 5 States
The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $74.28.
These are the top 5 earning states in the field:
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife
Step 1Earn a Bachelors Degree
Having a Bachelor’s degree in nursing is the best start to a wonderful career.
Most Bachelor’s degrees take about four years to finish and will include some hands-on experience.
There are even some universities that offer Bachelor’s degrees in nursing online.
However, make sure that you take in-person classes for all clinical and internships, having on the job proficiency is key for this career.
A Bachelor’s degree curriculum will consist of many nursing, medical, and science classes, but it is typical that you must take English, psychology, math, and other elective classes as well.
Some of the types of courses you can expect to take in a Bachelors degree nursing program are:
- Physiology and Anatomy
- Nursing Ethics
- Nursing Practice
- Nursing Law
Once you earn a Bachelor’s degree you must register for the NCLEX-RN exam if you want to become a Registered Nurse.
Step 2Become a Registered Nurse
Every nurse who wants to work in the United States must have a nursing license.
This license is obtained by taking the NCLEX-RN examination, which tests the competency of your nursing abilities.
Perspective nurses can take this test online or in person at certain places around the country, ask your local community college or hospital for more information.
The test is given in multiple-choice format and is based on how many answers you get right.
This means the more questions you answer correctly, the fewer questions you’ll be required to answer.
This exam costs around $300 to register for, and if you pass you will be considered a Registered Nurse and will be able to work in the United States.
Failing the exam is possible, in which case you can retake the exam after 45 days, but you can only retake it twice a year.
Step 3Obtain a Masters Degree
To have a career as a Certified Nurse Midwife, you must first start a Master’s degree program in midwifery.
The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education is the only agency that provides this program.
Before beginning a program, it’s crucial to make sure that they are accredited by the ACME, or else you won’t be able to work legally in the United States as a Nurse Midwife.
It’s possible to find both online, in person, and hybrid classes-but make sure that all labs and clinics are done in-person to guarantee that hands-on work experience needed for this career.
A typical Master’s degree program takes around two years to finish.
For those who go to school part-time, the program will likely take around three years.
Some of the courses that can be expected in this type of program include:
- Clinical Management
- Primary Care
- Women’s Health
- Cultural Literacy
- Psychosocial issues
- Research Methods
- Clinical Practice
Once you earn a Master’s degree in Nurse-Midwifery, you can apply to become certified as a Certified Nurse Midwife.
Step 4Get Certified
After graduation, in order to work as a midwife or a Nurse Midwife in the United States, all aspiring Certified Nurse Midwives must take the Certified Nurse Midwife examination from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Interested candidates only have 24 months after graduation to take this exam, and you are only allowed 4 attempts.
This exam will test competency in the field as well as clinical judgment.
The topics that you can expect on this exam are:
- Women’s Health/Primary Care
There is a $500 fee to register for this exam, and you can apply for it through the AMCB.
Once the AMCB has received the fee, they will mail a notification of when perspective Certified Nurse-Midwives can take the exam.
After you pass the exam, you will be considered a Certified Nurse Midwife and will be able to work anywhere in the United States.
Everyone who is interested in becoming a nurse must first have a Bachelor’s degree in the subject.
Most Bachelor’s degrees, for full-time students, take around 4 years to finish.
Bachelors degrees provide education on many different subjects, so you will likely need to take classes like English, psychology, and math as well as other courses specifically for nursing:
- Nursing Ethics
- Nursing Law
- Health and Wellness
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, it’s important to gain licensure to work as a Registered Nurse in the United States.
After several years of experience in nursing, someone who is interested in becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife should consider earning a Master’s degree.
A Master’s degree in midwifery can take around two years to three years, depending on if you are a full time or part-time student.
Master’s degrees dive deeper into the field than a Bachelor’s degree, which will provide a substantial education needed for this career.
A Master’s degree program will have both classroom and clinical time so that students can learn:
- Management of women’s care
- Reproductive care
- Newborn care
- Labor and birth
- Pre and postpartum care
In a Nurse Midwife Masters program, there will be clinical rotations.
This means that students get the chance to work in different areas of the medical field.
Some of the facilities that students typically work in while going to school are:
- Homebirth settings
- Health clinics
- Private OB/GYN offices
- Planned Parenthood
- Military offices
In order to graduate, students must show that they have competency in areas such as:
- Basic epidemiology
- Principles of individual and group health
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Clinical genetics and genomics
Earning a Master’s degree in Midwifery will allow for many new career opportunities to open up.
Students often find careers in the facilities that they did their clinical rotations, which can help when entering the workforce.
After completing a degree, it is necessary to take the Certified Nurse Midwife examination from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Once you gain this credential, you will be a Certified Nurse Midwife and can work in any medical facility in the United States.
Video About The Career
Certification and Licensing
Before beginning your journey to becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife, it’s necessary to become a Registered Nurse.
Being registered means that you are legally allowed to work as a nurse in the United States.
In order to become registered, you must earn a license by taking the NCLEX-RN exam.
This exam is competency-based, which means it scores you on how many answers you get correct, the more you get correct, the fewer questions you’ll have to answer.
Most of the questions on the exam are multiple-choice, and some of the topics to expect include:
- Management of Care
- Safety and Infection Control
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Reduction of Risk Potential
- Physiological Adaptation
Around six weeks after taking the exam, test results can be found in the mail.
This is a pass-or-fail the exam, so you won’t know how many questions you got right.
If you fail, you can take the exam again after 45 days.
Once you pass the exam, you will be able to work as a Registered Nurse.
Gaining experience as a Registered Nurse is key when looking to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
After at least two years of experience, and earning a Master’s degree in midwifery, someone who is interested in becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife can take the Certified Nurse-Midwife Examination, given by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
This exam is multiple choice and given through a computer.
It costs around $500 to sign up for, and applicants only have 2 years from graduating a Master’s level program to take the exam before they must prove further education.
After passing the exam, those that are interested in working as a Certified Nurse Midwife must become licensed through their state’s Board of Nursing.
This license is for Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN) and will allow for Certified Nurse-Midwives to work in doctor’s offices, hospitals, or in their own practice with a Certified Midwife.
This licensure is good for 3 years, after which proof of further education must be presented to maintain licensure.
Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years
The average time it takes to become a Certified Nurse Midwife is 8 years.
This is because it is a specialized area, in which a lot of education is required.
However, the training programs to become certified do not have a specific time frame.
Most training programs are self-paced, which means you will learn on your own time.
Once you register to become certified, you will be required to take the examination within 2 months.
So, even though the education may take a while to work toward becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife, training for certification doesn’t take much time at all.
Popular Degree Programs
Most careers in the medical field will see an increase in employment opportunities over the next decade.
However, the job of a Certified Nurse Midwife is expected to grow around 16% in the years to come.
This is much more than many other careers in the same field.
There are several reasons for this growth, the first is that the baby boomer population is growing older.
Retirement for this age group allows for new Certified Nurse-Midwives to find jobs, and also many people are turning to more natural styles of birth than before.
Areas with larger populations and higher socioeconomic statuses will likely see a larger increase in this career.
Employment Growth Projection: 16%
That's a higher than average projected growth of 1,100 jobs.
Should You Become a Nurse Midwife?
Overall Satisfaction: High
Being a Certified Nurse Midwife is a very fulfilling career, more than half of all Certified Nurse-Midwives feel that their career is good and they love what they do.
It can be stressful to be on call almost all of the time as a Certified Nurse Midwife, so the hours can be difficult.
However, Certified Nurse-Midwives feel that they are helping to make someone else’s life better.
Working in this field creates many fond memories for families as well as the Certified Nurse Midwife, as you get to be a part of something beautiful and see the joy on patients’ faces.
Average Salary: High
Most Certified Nurse-Midwives in the United States make over $108,000 a year on average.
Those that have just started out in this field will typically make less, at around $69,000 to begin.
Once you earn certifications or specialize in a particular area, it’s possible to earn raises or promotions.
With many years of experience as a Certified Nurse Midwife, it’s possible to make well over $150,000 a year in some areas of the United States.
The areas with larger populations, such as California and Illinois will boast higher salaries than smaller populations like Virginia or Utah.
Job Growth Outlook: High
Those that are looking to make a career out of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife should think about doing so soon.
This is because it appears as if this career will grow around 16 percent over the next decade.
That is almost 15% faster than many other careers in the same field, including Registered Nursing.
This growth will occur because of increased demand for medical attention as the population grows, the baby boomer population retiring and growing older, as well as many people turning to more natural ways of going through the birth process than before.
Education Duration: 4+ Years
Due to the fact that midwifery is a specialized field, it takes a Master’s degree to work as a Certified Nurse Midwife.
Every nurse that wants to work in the United States must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
This will take around four years to finish.
Then, if a nurse decides that they want to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, they must enroll in a midwifery program.
These programs can last anywhere from 18 months to two years, depending on where you learn.
So, it can take about six years to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
Personal Skills Needed
Nursing in itself is a special career, perfect for people who want to help others.
Being a Certified Nurse Midwife is just as important, especially because you will be helping women in their most vulnerable moments.
Some of the personal skills that are necessary to be successful in this career are:
- Great communication skills
- Practical abilities
- Time management skills
- Ability to stay calm in stressful situations
- Mental strength and physical stamina
- Ability to take responsibility
- Leadership skills
- Great listening skills
- Organization skills
- Common nursing skills
- Knowledge of the medical field
- People skills or ability to get along with many different people
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the average salary of a Certified Nurse Midwife?
Most Certified Nurse-Midwives who work in the United States make about $108,000 a year.
That is after several years of experience, so expect to make closer to $69,000 to begin.
After certification, specializations, and years of experience there can be a raise in salary.
The high salary for a Certified Nurse Midwife in the United States is nearly $150,000 a year.
Typically, Certified Nurse-Midwives who’ve been working many years in the career, or who work in large populations, will make that amount.
Q. How long does it take to become a Certified Nurse Midwife?
Taking care of pregnant women and assisting with labor is a challenging task, so Certified Nurse Midwives must have extensive knowledge of the medical field.
That is why it can take anywhere from 6 to 8 years to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
It’s necessary to have a Bachelor’s degree to become a nurse, which takes about four years.
Then, those who are interested in working as a Certified Nurse Midwife must enroll in a Master’s degree program, which takes about 2 years to finish.
With certifications, licensing, and exams, it may take about 8 years to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
Q. What does a Certified Nurse Midwife do?
A Certified Nurse Midwife will be the go-to person for women who are trying to get pregnant, are in the middle of pregnancy, or giving birth.
As an important part of the pregnancy and birth experience, Certified Nurse-Midwives are expected to give medications, provide physical exams, provide newborn and pregnancy care, as well as build a personal rapport with their patients.
It takes an empathetic person to work as a Certified Nurse Midwife, as working with pregnant women and newborns is a delicate and intimate experience.
Q. What is the demand for Certified Nurse Midwives?
All types of nurses will see an increase in the number of job opportunities over the next decade.
Certified Nurse-Midwives shouldn’t have any issue finding a career in the near future, as the career will likely grow around 16 percent.
That is much higher than many other careers in the medical field.
Many people are considering more natural forms of labor and delivery, which may account for the increase in the demand for Certified Nurse-Midwives.
Q. How much does it cost to become a Certified Nurse Midwife?
The cost of your education depends on where you enroll.
Many colleges and universities cost about $15,000 to $40,000 to earn a Bachelor’s degree.
After that, aspiring Nurse Midwives must enroll in a Master’s degree program, which can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000.
Also, certifications and licenses cost anywhere from $350 to $500 each.
That means that it costs anywhere from $45,000 to over $100,000 to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.