What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?

A Certified Nurse Midwife is an advanced practice nursing professional. They deliver babies and provide reproductive health advice to families in prenatal, birth, and early infant stages. Advanced practice nurses have a broader scope of authority than registered nurses. In their fields, they are medical experts that can diagnose conditions, and prescribe treatments and medications.

Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) can work in private practices, hospitals, and many employer settings. Many HMO-type organizations use CNMs. The life of a CNM is rewarding. They bring newborns into the world and help mothers before, during, and after pregnancy including postpartum issues. The life of a CNM can be stressful as the timing of birth can be unpredictable and the occurrence of complications can require urgent attention. In the sections that follow, you can learn how to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Steps to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

A Certified Nurse Midwife must have educational achievement, experience, a license, and professional certifications. Midwife Nursing is an advanced practice that is in addition to the basic nursing education required for registered nurses.

Step 1. College Education

The first step toward a career in Nurse Midwifery is to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in nursing. Students should carefully review options and select a school with an accredited nursing program. Two leading accreditation agencies are the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

It is also important to do well in school and achieve a high grade point average. Midwife education requires graduate school and experience. High grade averages can help gain access to practical experience and accredited graduate programs.

Step 2. Nursing License

After graduation from the nursing bachelor’s degree program, nursing students must qualify for and pass nursing licensing examinations. Administered by each state. Most states use the NCLEX-RN examination and may require a further specific test on state requirements.

Step 3. Nursing Experience and Specialization

The work as an RN is an excellent springboard to a career as a Nurse Midwife. Nursing practice will develop skills and helpful experience in patient care. The time spent as an RN can also be a time to take certification courses. There are many helpful certifications including the neonatal intensive care nursing certification. This certificate requires one year of nursing experience plus a passing grade on an exam. This training can enhance ICU skills and midwifery skills.

Step 4. Graduate Education

Students can pursue a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or a doctoral degree in nursing (DNP). Whether a master’s or doctoral program, students can concentrate in the field of midwifery. It is important to be aware of accreditation. Some schools have accreditation that will not be accepted widely among schools and employers.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives is a leading advocacy association. According to the Association, accreditation of choice is the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). The national certification examinations administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) require graduation from schools with ACME accreditation.

Students must design their curriculum to include the courses needed to qualify for and pass the midwife certification requirements.

•               Master’s degree programs are two-year courses of study. Master’s degree programs require a bachelor’s degree, the required grade point average, and an RN license.

•               Doctoral programs run between three to four years. The doctoral level can bring higher salaries and greater professional responsibility. Doctoral programs can equip students for careers in nursing education as well as midwife nursing practice.

Midwifery Certification

The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) offers the CNM credential. Most states ask for this certification before granting a license to practice in their jurisdiction. The CNM credential has acceptance in all states, the District of Columbia, and US Territories.

Salary for CNM

Certified Nurse Midwife salaries are significantly higher than average nursing salaries. The 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a $103,000 median income for this classification. The demand for this occupation is strong and projections indicate significant future growth. One should also consider private practice in which the Nurse Midwife operates as a business. This field is an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurship and business ownership.

Certifications Needed

Professional certifications can help graduates qualify for jobs and further education. The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) offers the CNM credential. This award requires a bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree, and an RN License. In addition, they must pass the ASMCB certification exam.

Midwife practitioners must meet state license requirements. These can be exams and overall assessments as well specific standards for Nurse-Midwives that wish to prescribe medications.

A Career of Service

While we discuss in detail how to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, the most important question may be: Why become a Nurse Midwife? The average salary and income for a CNM is higher than RN levels. The annual income of a CNM can be $30,000 higher than an RN. The advanced nursing status adds professional authority and responsibility.

For most Nurse-Midwives, the essence of midwifery is care. Your role is to care for helpless and sometimes vulnerable newborns and their mothers. Your role is critical to the health and well-being of the families that you serve. Service to others is the essence of a midwife’s nursing career.