Nurse midwives deliver babies and provide prenatal and neonatal care as well as other gynecological services to women. Nurse midwives who are certified and hold master's degrees and RN licensure can expect to earn well over $90,000 a year.
A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice nurse. Nurse-midwives deliver babies and provide prenatal and other sorts of primary care to women, including family planning advice, gynecological exams and neonatal care. Nurse-midwives differ from direct-entry midwives in that the latter are not nurses. Aspiring nurse-midwives typically start out as registered nurses and must hold RN licensure; they then must complete a master's degree program and pass a national certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
|Required Education||Master's degree|
|Licensure and Certification||RN license required; board certification required for the CNM credential|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||25% for all nurse midwives|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$92,510 for all nurse midwives|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Nurse-Midwife Career Info
Anyone wishing to begin a career as a nurse-midwife needs to first become a registered nurse and gain experience, then complete a Master of Science in Nursing degree program at an accredited nurse-midwifery program. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is ultimately part of the requirement for CNM certification, though it is not always required for acceptance into accredited nurse-midwife master's degree programs.
Undergraduate Education in Nursing - Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)
The two most common pathways to becoming an RN are to earn a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a 2-year Associate of Science in Nursing. A third option is to enroll in a nursing diploma program. A nursing curriculum includes courses in the biological and behavioral sciences and supervised clinical experience in hospitals, home health agencies, clinics and other health care organizations. Completion of a nursing degree program enables graduates to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), the qualifying examination for registered nurse.
Certified Nurse-Midwifery Master's Degree Programs
CNM master's degree programs are offered by approximately 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. Some programs accept nurses with only an associate degree in nursing or a nursing diploma, as long as they possess a bachelor's degree in another area. Most programs require a current registered nursing license and 1-2 years of nursing experience, along with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Coursework addresses anatomy, breast-feeding, neonatology, gynecology, obstetrics and other areas.
After completing the master's degree program, candidates are eligible for certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Earning the CNM credential involves passing a 4-hour computer-based exam that covers concepts such as antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum care, as well as general women's health care. Certification is valid for five years and requires candidates to complete a Certification Maintenance Program to renew it.
Employment as a Nurse-Midwife
The majority of certified nurse-midwives work in clinic or office settings. Others work in hospitals, health departments, birthing centers and other institutions. Because CNMs are advanced practice nurses, they can work independently, without a physician's supervision, and are able to prescribe medication.
Career Outlook for Nurse-Midwives
All types of nurses will experience excellent job prospects in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of nurse midwives will increase 25% from 2014 through 2024. This is a rate that is much higher than average, meaning job prospects are excellent. Advanced practice nurses, such as certified nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners, will be especially needed in rural areas, inner-cities and underserved locations.
Salary Info for Nurse-Midwives
PayScale.com listed the typical salary of a certified nurse-midwife as between $69,140 and $106,517 per year in 2016 and the BLS states that the median annual salary for nurse midwives was $92,510 in 2015. Salaries and benefits for nurse-midwives vary depending upon experience, geographic area, and whether the individual works independently or as an employee.
If becoming a nurse midwife sounds appealing, be sure to take a careful look at work environment, job duty and salary statistics to confirm if this is the right career path for you.