Certified Nurse Midwife Role

Certified nurse-midwives are responsible for the gynecologic and primary health care of women from adolescence through menopause. Reproductive health care is a main focus of a nurse-midwife’s practice. While reproductive health is a main concern for certified nurse-midwives, they may also provide more general primary care to women across the lifespan. Of course, certified nurse-midwives also provide complete care for women during pregnancy, including prenatal and postpartum care. They care for a woman giving birth and provide woman-centered care that emphasizes the normalcy of birth. They also care for newborns at birth and in the first month of life. Certified nurse-midwives practice in hospitals, clinics and birthing centers and may also attend home births.

Certified Nurse Midwife Scope of Practice

Certified nurse-midwives assess and manage contraceptive and birth control methods, general gynecological care and general preventive care. Certified nurse-midwives prescribe medication, treatments, medical devices and diagnostic measures across the country. All states recognize prescriptive authority for nurse-midwives, with the scope of practice varying from state to state.

As with most careers in the health care industry, one of a certified nurse-midwife’s biggest jobs is communicating successfully with patients. There are a wide variety of birthing practices that women may prefer, and it’s important that they understand the risks and benefits of each. Well-informed patients are a great first step in successful preventive health care. Nurse-midwives are also able to order tests, prescribe medications and see patients in a hospital, clinic, health department or private practice setting.

Certified Nurse Midwife Salary

Due to their advanced education and training, nurse-midwives earn more than traditional registered nurses (RNs). On average, certified midwives make $82,000 per year, depending on their years of experience, the geographic location where they practice and the setting of their practice.

By providing only women’s health services or in-office prenatal care, some midwives may earn less than those who are willing to make house calls and attend deliveries. Benefit packages will also vary by setting and employer, resulting in pay fluctuations. Midwifery services are in high demand in some areas, causing employers to offer lucrative incentives and benefit packages in an attempt to attract qualified certified nurse-midwives.


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How to Become a Nurse Midwife

Certified Nurse Midwife Eligibility Requirements

There are several steps that must be taken to become a CNM. Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the many requirements for being accepted into a nurse-midwife program. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to become a certified nurse-midwife.

  1. Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to a nurse-midwifery program, one must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse.
  2. Apply to nurse midwifery programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs must be graduate level programs. More information on certified nurse-midwifery programs and coursework requirements can be found below.
  3. Apply to take the certified nurse-midwifery exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) to earn your certified nurse-midwife certification. The exam tests knowledge of antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, newborn, well woman and women’s health primary care subject areas.
  4. Apply for state certification as a certified nurse-midwife in the state where you wish to practice. Go to our state certification pages to find out what the requirements are and how to apply. Many applications can be submitted online.
  5. Once you have become a certified nurse-midwife, certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours.

Certified Nurse Midwife Programs

Certified nurse-midwives are registered nurses educated at the graduate level in programs of study accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Their graduate degree may be in nursing, midwifery or public health. Master of Science in Nursing programs frequently require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for entry.

After successful completion of an accredited program, nurse-midwives are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). As of January 1st, 2011, you must hold a graduate degree and hold a valid license as a registered nurse to sit for the certified nurse-midwife examination.

Online Certified Nurse Midwife Programs

For working registered nurses who do not want to put their career on pause or uproot their lives to attend a far away on-campus program, online certified nurse-midwifery programs can be both a flexible and high-quality option. When looking for an online CNM program, make sure that it is high quality, with interactive features such as live classes and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online programs that are identical to what they offer on campus, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to move there. CNM online programs are growing in popularity and are a great way to become a certified nurse-midwife.

Certified Nurse Midwife Certification

American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)

Types of Certification: CNM (Nurse-Midwifery), CM (Midwifery)

Eligibility Requirements: Active RN license, satisfactory completion of a program in nurse-midwifery (a master’s program is required to sit for the CNM exam) accredited by or with pre-accreditation status from the ACMN.

Certification Process: Initial application, followed by a computer-based certification examination

Fees: $500 certification examination fee

Renewal: The certificate expires December 31st of the fifth year following the date of issue. Completion of the AMCB Certificate Maintenance Program is required in order to renew the certificate. The CMP is designed to assist CNMs/CMs to fulfill their professional responsibility to maintain competence. An annual program fee of $65 is assessed to cover the basic Certificate Maintenance Program.