Midwife examining expectant mother

How to Become a Nurse Midwife?

Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Midwife examining expectant mother

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 degree (or MSN). In fact, many of the highest-paid nursing jobs require an MSN degree.

For this reason, we created a new series of career guides to highlight the top nursing professions that require an MSN degree.

(Click here to see our list of the top nursing jobs for MSN graduates).

This career guide will focus on the role of the nurse midwife.

Continue reading to learn how to become a nurse midwife, as well as 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) who specialize 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 main concern for nurse midwives, they also provide general care to women.

Nurse Midwife: Job Description

What Does a Nurse Midwife Do?

Student midwife overseen by a senior nurse

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?

There are several public and private healthcare settings where nurse midwives can work. 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?

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 Degree. 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 associates 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. This can be achieved by earning 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 a higher earning potential and greater 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 they can become 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 is given four hours to complete the exam.

Nurse Midwife Salary

How Much Do Nurse Midwives Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for nurse midwives is $103,640.

The highest-paid 10 percent of nurse midwives can earn over $143,650.

Highest Paying Industries for Nurse Midwives

Some of the highest paying industries for nurse midwives include:

IndustryAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Local Government$61.26$127,430
Outpatient Care Centers$59.21$123,150
General Medical & Surgical Hospitals$52.33$108,840
Physicians’ Offices$49.65$103,270
Colleges & Universities$47.50$98,800

Highest Paying States for Nurse Midwives

Some of the highest paying states for nurse midwives include:

StateAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
California$63.69$132,480
West Virginia$60.70$126,260
Massachusetts$57.55$119,700
New Jersey$53.65$111,600
Wisconsin$52.54$109,280

Highest Paying Cities for Nurse Midwives

Some of the highest paying cities for nurse midwives include:

CityAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
San Francisco, CA$71.07$147,820
Oakland, CA$68.94$143,400
Los Angeles, CA$62.17$129,300
Charlotte, NC$58.77$122,250
Boston, MA$58.00$120,630
Anaheim, CA$56.58$117,690
Rochester, MN$55.67$115,780
San Diego, CA$55.62$115,690
Lancaster, PA$55.59$115,630

What Is the Job Outlook for Nurse Midwives?

The BLS reports that overall employment of nurse midwives will grow 16% by 2028. This is significantly higher than the average growth of all occupations (5%).

The overall job growth will occur due to an increase in the demand for health services. As the population continues to grow, 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?

Nurse Midwife visiting a patient

By earning your MSN, you open the door to a plethora of career opportunities that are simply unavailable to nurses without a graduate degree. These career opportunities not only come with higher earning potential and a brighter job outlook, they allow you to specialize in the areas of nursing you feel most passionate.

If you’re passionate about childbirth and helping mothers in need, becoming a nurse midwife can be your calling.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming a nurse midwife, you can start by earning your MSN degree at Eagle Gate College.

Click here to learn more about our MSN program, as well as our MEPN program.