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Certified Nurse Midwife: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Certified Nurse Midwife Job Description

Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are considered advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who provide primary and specialty care to women. These nurses are specifically trained to provide family planning services, prenatal care, and gynecological exams for female patients. They also provide care for newborn babies and mothers after delivery.

The primary duties of a nurse midwife include:

  • Gynecological exams
  • Family planning services
  • Prenatal care
  • Delivering babies
  • Postnatal care

Other duties of a midwife may include assisting with cesarean births, handling labor emergencies, educating patients, repairing cuts and tears from birth, and discussing sexual or reproductive health issues with partners. CNMs are also prepared to assess patients, diagnose health issues, and administer medication and treatment.

Midwife Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse midwives made an average annual salary of $105,030 in 2019. These nurses most commonly worked in offices of physicians and made an average of $106,760. Nurse midwives that worked for local governments, excluding schools and hospitals, made the highest average salary at $153,280.

PayScale.com reported that the median salary for a certified nurse midwife was $96,737, as of October 2019. This salary could vary based on factors like location, specific skill sets, and experience. For example, a CNM with 20 years or more experience was reported to have a median salary of $107,933, while those with entry-level experience reported a median of $89,838.

Midwife salaries can vary among states, and the highest paying states for nurse midwifes according to the BLS are listed in the following table:

State Yearly Income (Mean, 2019)
California $154,500
Minnesota $121,980
New York $120,380
Mississippi $119,640
Maryland $118,240

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Midwife Outlook

The BLS reported a job outlook of 45% for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the national average. The BLS also reported a job outlook of 12% specifically for nurse midwives during the same period. The website notes that nurse midwife is a small occupation, so this growth may only mean about 800 new jobs for the specialty. In general, the high rate of growth is attributed to the growing need for health services.

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

Those wondering how to be a midwife should know that CNM's must meet certain midwife education requirements, including completing formal education at the undergraduate and graduate levels and then pursue certification in the field. Here we discuss each of those steps in more detail.

'Step 1: Become a Registered Nurse

Midwife schooling usually begins with an RN (registered nurse) credential. This can be accomplished by earning a diploma, associate's, or bachelor's degree in nursing and then passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). However, those considering becoming an APRN should pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing, as that is the preferred education for APRN candidates. There is a wide range of RN colleges available around the country.

Step 2: Complete a Master's Program

After becoming an RN, aspiring midwives should earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a nurse-midwifery program. Some of these degree programs are available in hybrid formats and some nurse practitioner schools may offer joint programs in nurse midwifery and women's health nurse practitioner. The following is a table which lists four of the top nurse midwifery programs in the United States:

University Length of Study
Yale University 2 Years
Oregon Health and Science University 3 Years
University of Minnesota 3 Years
University of Michigan 2-4 Years

These master's degree programs can usually be completed in about 2 years and include various hands-on clinical experiences in the field. Students may take courses in topics like:

  • Care of newborns
  • Midwifery management
  • Antepartum care
  • Postpartum care
  • Health assessment
  • Biostatistics

Step 3: Earn Certification

After completing their master's in nurse midwifery, graduates can sit for the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) examination to become a CNM. Once they earn their certification, CNMs must recertify every 5 years through AMCB's Certificate Maintenance Program. CNMs must also meet the specific midwife education requirements of their state to practice, but this typically requires an RN license, master's degree, and certification in their specialization, which CNMs will have already.

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