Midwife Job Description
Nurse midwives 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 women. They also provide care for newborn babies and mothers after delivery. Other job duties may include:
- Delivering babies
- Handling labor emergencies
- Educating patients
- Assisting with cesarean births
- Discussing sexual or reproductive health issues with partners
- Repairing cuts/tears from birth
- Assessing patients
- Diagnosing health issues
- Administering medication/treatment
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse midwives made an average annual salary of $106,910 in 2018. These nurses most commonly worked in offices of physicians and made an average of $103,260. Nurse midwives that worked for local governments, excluding schools and hospitals, made the highest average salary at $155,650.
PayScale.com reported that the median salary for a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) was $93,030, as of September 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 $103,523, while those with 10 to 19 years of experience reported a median of $98,588.
The BLS reported a job outlook of 26% for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the national average. The BLS also reported a job outlook of 16% 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 1,000 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 wishing to become a CNM need to complete 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.
Midwife Education Requirements
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.
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.
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
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 their specific state requirements to practice, but this typically requires an RN license, master's degree, and certification in their specialization, which CNMs will have already.