How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife: Salary, Job and Career Description

Nurse with father holding babyA nurse midwife provides care to women, such as gynecological exams, prenatal care and family planning services. The nurse midwife also attends labor and delivery.

In some cases, nurse midwives act as primary care providers for women and newborn infants. Some nurse midwives perform wellness checks and provide education on healthy lifestyle, nutrition choices and disease prevention.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife
Education Requirements
Certified Nurse Midwife Job Description
Personality Traits
Career Options
Certified Nurse Midwife Salary
Certified Nurse Midwife Certification
Professional Organizations

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

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 Level of Education Required Master’s Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Median Salary $92,290
# of Jobs (2013) 5,460 certified nurse midwives
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 31% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to become a certified nurse midwife

To work as a nurse midwife, the individual:

  • Must have an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • Work in a midwife-associated field for two to four years
  • May pursue graduate education in a Nurse-Midwife Education program or direct entry program
  • May pursue voluntary certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives Certification Council (ACNM) or similar organizations to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

Nurse Midwife Education Requirements

Individuals may earn the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM) degrees by completing a nationally accredited program then passing the national certification exam. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) now accredits 42 programs in the United States. Four of these are post-baccalaureate certificate programs and 39 are graduate programs. The candidate must complete a graduate course to enter clinical practice.

Most programs require that applicants hold a bachelor’s degree. Almost all programs require applicants already be registered nurses although some programs accept students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.

Those holding a non-nursing degree will become a certified midwife (CM). Individuals who hold a BSN degree in nursing will become a certified nurse-midwife (CNM). Nurses who do not have a bachelor’s degree must complete a BSN program before attending a CNM program.

Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Currently, only New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island grant certified midwives (CMs) license to practice in those states.

Nurse Midwife Job description

A certified nurse midwife can manage an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. In addition to caring for patients before, during and after childbirth, nurse midwives provide routine gynecological services. During the course of a typical day, the nurse midwife records patient medical histories, performs physical exams, orders laboratory tests and procedures, manages therapy and conducts other activities that promotes women’s health and reduces health risks. Some states allow certified nurse midwives to write prescriptions.

Personality traits:

  • Compassionate
  • Friendly
  • Emotionally and mentally strong
  • Observant
  • Accountability
  • Confidence
  • Patience
  • Maturity
  • Able to cope with distressing situations
  • Able to stay calm in stressful situations

A nurse midwife reports to a supervising physician.

Career options

Typical workplaces for nurse midwives include:

  • Private practices
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
  • Hospitals
  • Health departments
  • Birthing centers

The job outlook is good for nurse midwives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines job statistics for nurse midwives with nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners. BLS predicts employment of this group of health professionals to grow 31 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. BLS attributes this growth to an increase in the demand for healthcare services. Healthcare legislation and other factors drive this increased demand, including a large number of newly insured patients and an increased emphasis on preventative care.

Nurse Midwife Salary

According to BLS statistics, annual wage for nurse midwives range from $62,820 to $120,540. States with the highest employment levels for nurse midwives are Indiana, New York, California, Florida and Georgia. The top paying states for nurse midwives are California, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Massachusetts and Oregon. The top paying metropolitan area for midwives is Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division, paying an annual median wage of $129,390.

Nurse midwives report to physicians in most states, however a few states are reviewing this policy to allow nurse midwives more autonomy so that they may provide better care to underserved populations.

Certification information

American Midwifery Certification Board, formerly the ACNM Certification Council, Inc. (ACC) serves as the national certifying body for certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs). Certification requires a bachelor’s degree and education in midwifery from an accredited program. The individual’s clinical skills must meet the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Education.

Certification is valid for five years.

Professional organizations

American College of Nurse-Midwives: