Call the Midwife! Here’s How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

If you’ve seen any episode of the television show “Call the Midwife,” you know that midwives have played a critical role in the healthcare field for decades. Since the 1920s, midwives have helped millions of women by reducing the number of premature births and infant and maternal mortality rates. And with high salaries and an increasing demand for workers in the field, becoming a midwife is an excellent career move for those who want to care for expectant mothers and newborns.

Dive into the following topics to learn how to become a certified nurse midwife:

Certified Nurse Midwives vs. Certified Midwives

What Does a Certified Nurse Midwife Do?

Salary & Job Outlook for Certified Nurse Midwives

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

Certified Nurse Midwives vs. Certified Midwives

There are two careers available in the midwifery field: Certified nurse midwives and certified midwives.

  • Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses (RNs) who receive specialized training in midwifery. They can work as primary care providers.
  • Certified midwives (CMs) are not registered nurses, but receive the same education and take the same certification exam as nurse midwives. They take on roles like physician assistants or physical therapists.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives reports that the majority of midwives in the U.S. are certified nurses. As of February 2019, there were:

  • 12,218 certified nurse midwives
  • 102 certified midwives

Certified nurse midwives are legally eligible to practice in every U.S. state and the District of Columbia, but certified midwives are currently only legally recognized to practice in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maine and Missouri.

What Does a Certified Nurse Midwife Do?

You may picture a midwife as a nurse-type of healthcare provider who primarily assists with births, but that’s only one part of the job.

In a survey reported by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, certified nurse midwives and certified midwives stated their main responsibilities as:

  • Reproductive care (53.3%)
  • Primary care (33.1%)

Above all, the main responsibility for certified nurse midwives is to provide gynecological and maternity healthcare services to women. With the nursing certification, they can also act as primary care providers for women and their newborn babies.

Some day-to-day tasks can include:

  • Performing gynecological exams
  • Delivering babies
  • Managing emergencies during labor
  • Assisting with cesarean births
  • Educating patients on reproductive health and disease prevention

Contrary to popular belief, midwives aren’t confined to working in private homes. They also practice in:

  • Hospitals
  • Birth centers
  • Health clinics
  • Private practices
  • Urban or rural areas

Not all midwives work in direct contact with patients. They can also assume leadership roles as clinicians, researchers, educators and administrators in women’s healthcare.

Salary & Career Outlook for Certified Nurse Midwives

The future looks bright for midwives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for this position is expected to increase by 26% between 2018 and 2028, which is 21% higher than the average for all occupations.

In addition to working in a growing field, certified nurse midwives earned a median salary of $113,930 ($54.78 per hour) in 2018.

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

As an integral part of a woman’s healthcare team with the authority to prescribe medication, certified nurse midwives are required to receive graduate-level degrees and certifications before they are legally allowed to practice.

First, you’ll need to complete a bachelor’s degree program with a focus in nursing, and then become a registered nurse in your state.

Before 2010, this was all you needed to enter the midwifery field, but the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) now requires a master’s degree as the baseline education.

Licensing & Certification
Once you’ve received your master’s degree and have an active registered nursing license, you’ll be eligible to apply for certification. This involves passing the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam and renewing your credentials every five years through training modules, continuing education and annual fees.

Take the Next Step

The University of Cincinnati offers an online MSN in Nurse-Midwifery program designed for registered nurses who are looking to become certified nurse midwives.

Nurses with busy schedules can earn their degree on their own time with the flexibility of our online courses, which can be completed on a part-time or full-time schedule.

Admission requirements include:

  • An active and unrestricted RN license
  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a regionally and ACEN or CCNE accredited college or university
  • Completion of an undergraduate statistics course with a “C” grade or higher
  • A minimum of one year of RN experience, ideally in labor and delivery

Ready to get started? View our full list of application requirements here or contact an enrollment advisor here.

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