Nursing
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How To Become A Certified Nurse Midwife

How To Become A Certified Nurse Midwife

If you're looking for a career where you can work closely with pregnant women of all ages, supporting them, meeting their needs, and assisting with pregnancy through to postpartum care, you should become a certified nurse midwife (CNM).

What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a career that revolves around women's health, with CNMs providing assistance with pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

It differs from the role of a certified midwife (CM). A CNM is a registered nurse who has graduated from a nurse-midwifery program. CMs are similarly skilled and focused, but they are not advanced practice registered nurses and haven't completed the same extensive training.

Both certified nurse midwives and certified midwives take certification exams before they practice.

What Do Certified Nurse Midwives Do?

Nurse midwives deal with many aspects of care concerning pregnancy, birth, and gynecological health.

It's often falsely assumed that CNMs work exclusively with pregnant women, but their roles and responsibilities extend to many areas of female healthcare.

For instance, a certified nurse midwife may provide assistance and education relating to contraception and birth control while also dealing with multiple aspects of gynecological health and preventative care. They can arrange treatments, make diagnoses, and even prescribe medications.

Certified nurse midwives also care for infants during the first few months of their lives.

How To Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

There are four steps to becoming a certified nurse midwife:

Step One: Complete a BSN at an Accredited School

The first step to becoming a nurse midwife is to complete a Bachelor's Degree through an accredited program. This will typically take four years, but it depends on whether or not you have any existing degrees or qualifications, as well as whether you study part-time or full-time.

Step Two: Complete the NCLEX-RN

After graduating, you can move onto the NCLEX-RN exam, completion of which will qualify you as a registered nurse.

Step Three: Get a Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree

The next step is to advance to a Master's or Doctoral Degree. This could take a couple of years to finish and depending on your education, you may need to complete a bridge program.

Step Four: Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

The final step is to get certified. Nurse midwifery certification is provided by the American Midwifery Certification Board. You must pass a national certification exam, and this will grant you a license to operate as a certified nurse midwife in all 50 states, including US territories.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Becoming a certified nurse midwife is not something that happens overnight. After accounting for the Bachelor's Degree, registered nurse license, Master's Degree, and certification exam, it could take between 6 and 8 years to qualify.

Is a Midwife Higher than a Nurse?

Certified nurse midwives have completed similar training to other nurses, but this training is taken a step further by the addition of a Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree. The higher education requirement means they are more qualified.

Where Do Nurse Midwives Work?

Nurse midwives work in the following clinical settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Community Health Centers
  • Birth Centers
  • Primary Care Clinics

They may also work in areas specializing in research and education.

How Do I Become a Nurse Midwife in Canada?

Nurse midwives in Canada must complete a 4-year baccalaureate program. These are direct entry programs, which means they don't need any other credentials before they apply.

There are over half a dozen educational facilities offering these programs in Canada, including:

  • McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
  • Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta
  • Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario
  • Université du Québec à Troise-Rivières in Trois-Rivières, Quebec
  • University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Where are Certified Nurse Midwives Needed?

There is a nursing shortage in the United States, and the need for healthcare professionals is growing every single year. The shortage has been evident for a number of years now, but it became even more of a concern after 2020. The stress of dealing with the pandemic forced many nurses away from the profession and placed an even greater strain on the healthcare system.

Like all healthcare professionals, nurse midwives worked through the chaos and placed their lives on the life to ensure that patients continued to get adequate care.

What's more, there are over 3.5 million babies born every year in the United States, and while fertility rates are dropping in many states, that's still a huge number of pregnant women and infants that need care.

A certified nurse midwife plays an important and active role in protecting the health of the next generation and so it will always be an essential profession.

The table below will give you an idea of the fertility rates across the United States, along with the rate of infant mortality.

StateFertility RateBirthsInfant MortalityDeaths
Alabama62.159,1519.53576
Alaska76.111,2095.9362
Arizona63.584,5206.85659
Arkansas66.438,2747.83307
California60.6488,8275.322,918
Colorado59.366,6136.44444
Connecticut53.436,0155.85244
Delaware61.210,9929.02105
Florida59.7225,0227.241,639
Georgia61.1130,0428.071,148
Hawaii67.618,0596.58118
Idaho69.822,4825.98138
Illinois60.6154,4457.381,322
Indiana64.383,0918.04701
Iowa66.939,4035.44214
Kansas68.138,0537.37294
Kentucky65.455,4496.73380
Louisiana67.263,1789.85600
Maine54.912,7056.8797
Maryland61.373,1367.3547
Massachusetts51.971,3175.13394
Michigan60.5113,3157.891,007
Minnesota66.169,7495.09361
Mississippi63.7337,92811.46486
Missouri63.874,7057.52591
Montana65.312,2827.2584
Nebraska72.226,5895.66148
Nevada62.636,2605.66211
New Hampshire50.912,2675.2776
New Jersey60.1102,6475.17588
New Mexico62.724,6926.17178
New York58.6234,2835.821,433
North Carolina60.3120,7798.811,085
North Dakota77.311,3835.9650
Ohio62.8138,0858.171,213
Oklahoma68.452,5927.95412
Oregon5745.5355.99275
Pennsylvania58.5139,4097.291,060
Rhode Island51.810,7986.4682
South Carolina59.957,3429.46546
South Dakota77.712,2756.9880
Tennessee6280,8078.77717
Texas68.6398,0476.552,526
Utah76.250,4644.52233
Vermont50.35,7566.4942
Virginia61.1102,4607.47781
Washington6390,5055.07419
West Virginia58.219,0798.16170
Wisconsin61.666,6156.54464
Wyoming67.27,3866.6348

Date from the CDC (1) (2)

How Much Do Certified Nurse Midwives Make?

The median average salary for nurse midwives in the United States is $111.130, which equates to $53.43 per hour.

However, the top 10% earn an average of $86.43 an hour and $179.770 a year. Your salary as a certified nurse midwife is also dependent on your location, with residents of states like California earning significantly more than the national average.

The table below includes the latest certified nurse midwife salary data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

StatesHourly WageAnnual WageEmployment
AlabamaN/AN/AN/A
Alaska43.5590,58050
Arizona53.31110,89090
ArkansasN/AN/AN/A
California81.86170,2701010
Colorado52.04108,250170
Connecticut50.57105,190150
Delaware46.4696,64040
District of Columbia39.9183,01070
Florida39.3681,880340
Georgia44.5092,560420
HawaiiN/AN/AN/A
Idaho34.2971,32030
Illinois51.50107,120300
Indiana55.41115,25070
Iowa47.7099,21040
KansasN/AN/AN/A
KentuckyN/AN/AN/A
LouisianaN/AN/AN/A
Maine56.64117,82060
Maryland50.82105,710220
Massachusetts56.98118,510290
Michigan51.09106,270350
Minnesota58.88122,470230
Mississippi59.78124,350N/A
Missouri55.13114,68060
MontanaN/AN/AN/A
NebraskaN/AN/AN/A
NevadaN/AN/AN/A
New Hampshire54.98114,35060
New Jersey56.40117,320130
New Mexico52.47109,140110
New York57.33119,250460
North Carolina49.68103,340170
North DakotaN/AN/AN/A
Ohio47.6899,180330
OklahomaN/AN/AN/A
Oregon54.52113,410170
Pennsylvania48.86101,620340
Rhode Island52.33108,84040
South CarolinaN/AN/AN/A
South DakotaN/AN/AN/A
Tennessee46.3396,36070
Texas50.82105,710280
Utah69.59144,75090
Vermont46.5896,89050
VirginiaN/AN/A290
Washington55.04114,480110
West Virginia61.62128,17040
Wisconsin50.42104,880120
WyomingN/AN/AN/A

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