Midwife examining expectant mother

How to Become a Nurse Midwife?

Duties, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Smiling midwife helping a patient

Nursing is a fulfilling career choice for many people. This profession offers financial stability, job security, and multiple options for career advancement through specialization.

What is Nursing Specialization?

Upon earning their license, Registered Nurses (RNs) can choose from numerous disciplines to follow. Each discipline may have its own set of unique job responsibilities, work environments, and benefits.

For many RNs, the path to higher benefits and specialization begins with earning their Master of Science in Nursing (or MSN). In addition, many of the highest-paid nursing jobs require an MSN degree.

(Read our list of the highest paying nursing careers).

For this reason, we created a new series of career guides highlighting the top nursing professions requiring an MSN degree.

(See our list of the top nursing jobs you can get with an MSN degree).

This career guide will focus on the role of the Nurse Midwife.

Continue reading to learn how to become a Nurse Midwife and the duties, requirements, and benefits of this honorable profession.

Nurse Midwife Definition

What Is a Nurse Midwife?

Nurse-Midwives are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) specializing in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. Nurse-Midwives provide gynecological and primary health care to women from adolescence through menopause. Although reproductive health is the primary concern for Nurse-Midwives, they also provide general care to women.

Nurse Midwife: Job Description

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?

The primary responsibility of a Nurse Midwife is to care for and assist expectant mothers before, during, and after pregnancy. They also provide family planning services, prenatal care, and gynecological checkups.

Nurse Midwife: Day-to-Day Responsibilities

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of Nurse-Midwives include:

  • Caring for mothers throughout labor and childbirth
  • Educating women on their childbirth options
  • Providing care for newborn babies for the first 28 days
  • Performing routine gynecological checkups
  • Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed and care for their newborn

Nurse Midwife Jobs

Where Do Nurse Midwives Work?

Nurse-Midwives may work in either public or private healthcare settings. Since they are certified in both nursing and midwifery, they can work in hospitals, universities, private physician practices, and birth centers.

Nurse Midwife Schooling & Certification

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse Midwife?

What Degree Do You Need to be a Nurse Midwife?

Medical students taking notes

Like all advanced nursing specialties, the educational requirements of a Nurse Midwife go beyond the RN licensing credentials.

In addition to passing the NCLEX-RN certification exam, Nurse Midwives must earn a Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) from an accredited program.

Most employers may also require certification in nurse-midwifery from the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

Here are the steps required to become a Nurse Midwife: 

1. Earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

Option 1: The first step to becoming a Nurse Midwife is earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. If you have no prior nursing education or experience, a BSN program can take about three to four years to complete.

Option 2: If you already have a diploma or associate degree in nursing (ADN), you can enroll in an RN-to-MSN program. Programs such as these could take an average of three years of full-time study.

Option 3: If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, you can skip the BSN and earn an MSN degree by completing what’s known as a Masters Entry Program in Nursing (or MEPN). These programs provide an accelerated nursing curriculum to non-nursing college graduates.

2. Earn your Master of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN)

Upon earning your BSN, you must become specialized in nurse-midwifery. You can earn your MSN degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Most MSN programs take about 18 to 24 months to complete. Common MSN courses include management techniques, advanced biology, organizational leadership, and nursing science.

Regardless of your future nursing specialty, earning your MSN can set you up for higher earning potential and a better job outlook.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN Certification Exam

Upon graduating from your BSN or MEPN program, the next step to becoming a Nurse Midwife is earning your nursing license. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is a nationally mandated license that all nurses must receive before becoming Registered Nurses (RNs).

4. Get Certified in Nurse-Midwifery

Once you’ve earned your MSN, you’ll be one step away from officially becoming a Nurse Midwife. Before entering the workforce, you’ll need to pass the official midwifery exam offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). The examination is computer-based and consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. Each candidate has four hours to complete the exam.

Nurse Midwife Salary

How Much Do Nurse Midwives Make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average annual salary* for Nurse-Midwives was about $114,000 per year, or $55 an hour, in 2021.

On the low end of the pay scale, Nurse Midwives may make up to $61,500 a year, while the highest-earning 10% can earn up to $166,000 or more. Nurse-Midwives rank among the highest-paying nursing specialties.

Highest Paying Industries for Nurse-Midwives

Some of the highest paying industries for Nurse-Midwives include:

Industry Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Outpatient Care Centers $70.40 $146,430
General Hospitals $57.64 $119,900
Physician Offices $54.77 $113,920
Colleges & Universities $51.51 $107,130
Local Government $50.32 $104,670

Smiling young woman at her laptop

Highest Paying States for Nurse-Midwives

Some of the highest paying states for Nurse-Midwives include:

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
West Virginia $78.46 $163,190
Utah $69.18 $143,890
California $65.90 $137,070
Massachusetts $62.19 $129,360
New York $60.66 $126,170

Highest Paying Cities for Nurse-Midwives

Some of the highest paying cities for Nurse-Midwives include:

City Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Charleston, WV $81.47 $169,460
San Francisco, CA $78.27 $162,800
San Jose, CA $75.76 $157,570
Sacramento, CA $72.59 $150,990
Salt Lake City, UT $64.40 $133,950
Los Angeles, CA $64.26 $133,660
Milwaukee, WI $63.26 $131,580
Boston, MA $62.36 $129,720
New York, NY $62.01 $128,970
Portland, OR $60.17 $125,160

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Midwives?

The BLS reports that the overall employment of Nurse-Midwives will grow 45% by 2030, which is faster than the growth of all occupations (8%).

As the population grows, job growth will occur due to increased demand for health services. More Nurse-Midwives will be needed to assist in pregnancies and childbirths.

Nurse Midwife Career

Are you ready to start your career as a Nurse Midwife?

Midwife examining a patient in labor

By earning your MSN, you open the door to many career opportunities that are only available to nurses with a graduate degree. These career opportunities not only come with higher earning potential and a brighter job outlook, but they also allow you to specialize in exciting areas of nursing.

Becoming a Nurse-Midwife may be your calling if you’re passionate about childbirth and helping mothers in need.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward becoming a Nurse Midwife, you can start earning your MSN degree at Eagle Gate College.

Learn more about our MSN program and our MEPN program to get started.