How Much Do Nurse Midwives Make?


Updated September 20, 2023 · 5 Min Read

Interested in becoming a certified nurse midwife? This guide explains everything you need to know about CNM salaries, including how location, work setting, and experience affect pay.

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How Much Do Nurse Midwives Make?
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How Much Does a Nurse Midwife Make?

Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) assist mothers through labor and provide prenatal care and education about pregnancy to expecting mothers. These professionals work as advanced practice nurses, which means they need master's degrees or doctorates in order to become certified. Many CNMs find their careers to be challenging and fulfilling.

This guide covers nurse midwife salaries, breaking down the way salaries change over time and vary in different locations and settings. The information below is based on the most recently available 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other sources like PayScale.

To learn more about this career path, you can also find information on how to become a nurse midwife here and a career overview of nurse midwives here.

Fast Facts About Nurse Midwives

  • More than 50% of nurse midwives list physician practices or hospitals/medical centers as their main employers.
  • Approximately 82% of CNMs have a master's degree.
  • There is a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives who represent more than 50% of the current shortage in health workers.

Sources:, World Health Organization

Average Salary for Nurse Midwives

Nurse midwife salaries continue to increase over the years. Data published by the BLS shows that the average annual wage for nurse midwives was $114,210 as of May 2021. That's up from $106,910 three years earlier. The chart below shows how certified nurse midwife salaries rose incrementally over the past few years.

In addition, the BLS projects that the number of nurse midwives could increase by 12% from 2019-2029.

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COVID-19 Effects on Nurse Midwives

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered every part of the healthcare industry. Many healthcare services have gone remote, and nurse midwife services are no different. While CNMs still meet with some patients in person, some hospitals have switched appointments to video or phone calls.

Certified nurse midwives also need to stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 and vaccine guidelines for pregnant women. The latest research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that pregnant patients are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is completely safe.

What Kind of Salary Growth Can Nurse Midwives Expect?

Compensation for nurse midwives depends on factors including certification, practice setting, and years of experience. Generally speaking, salaries increase as nurse midwives continue through their careers.

The graph below shows the range of salary expectations for nurse midwives, according to BLS data.

Average Annual Salary of Nurse Midwives by Percentile

4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Nurse Midwife

Highest Paying States for Nurse Midwives as of 2021

Geographical location affects nurse midwife salaries. Oftentimes, places with higher costs of living offer higher wages, although this isn't always the case. Other considerations like community population can affect total compensation for certified midwife salaries.

The table below uses data from the BLS to list the highest paying states for CNMs.

Highest Paying States for Nurse Midwives

State Annual Mean Wage
California $137,070
Utah $143,890
West Virginia $163,190
New York $126,170
Massachusetts $129,360
Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Midwives

The table below shows that most highest-paying areas are concentrated in California, which is in line with state-level data. Other high-paying cities not included in the table include Salt Lake City and Charleston.

Keep in mind that the BLS collects its data based on metropolitan areas instead of individual cities, as shown in the table below.

Highest-Paying Cities Average Salary
Charleston, WV $169,460
Riverside — San Bernardino — Ontario, CA $171,000
San Jose — Sunnyvale — Santa Clara, CA $157,570
Salt Lake City, Utah $133,950
Sacramento — Roseville — Arden-Arcade, CA $150,990
Source: BLS, 2021

Highest-Paying Workplaces for Nurse Midwives

According to MedScape's 2020 APRN compensation report, some of the most popular workplaces for nurse midwives include hospitals with inpatient care, outpatient-care settings, and medical offices or urgent care clinics.

The BLS also lists the highest-paying industries and workplace settings for certified nurse midwives, which you can find in the table below.

Workplace Setting Average Salary
Local government (excluding schools and hospitals) $104,670
Outpatient care centers $146,430
Offices of Physicians $113,920
General medical and surgical hospitals $119,900
Colleges, universities, and professional schools $107,130
Source: BLS

How Do Nurse Midwife Salaries Compare to Other Nurses?

The average annual salary for nurse midwives exceeds that of most advanced practice nurses, except for nurse anesthetists, as listed in the chart below. In comparison, neonatal and labor and delivery nurses — registered nurses who specialize in pregnancy and birth — earn less than their advanced practice nurse midwife co-workers.

Find Out More About How Much Nurses Earned in 2020

4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Nurse Midwife

The BLS reports the lowest 10% of CNM earners earn an annual wage of $61,500 and the highest 10% of CNM earners brought home $166,170. This range correlates with factors including certifications, education, experience, and location. The list below offers advice on ways to increase your salary potential.

1. Consider Pursuing Certifications
The certification process evaluates candidates' knowledge of their specialization, serving as an additional endorsement of a nurse's abilities. This means obtaining the Certified Nurse Midwife credential from the American Midwifery Certification Board can help nurse midwives find employment and lead to higher pay.
2. Increase Education Level
All nurse midwives need a graduate degree to earn certification and licensure. Many CNMs meet this requirement by obtaining master's degrees. However, a doctorate can help nurse midwives find higher-level roles in leadership positions, which often goes hand-in-hand with higher salaries.
3. Explore Job Opportunities in Different Locations
Location can also have a significant impact on salary, with nurse midwives working in higher-income communities generally earning more money themselves. California ranks as the best paying state for nurse midwives, as shown in the table above. If you're willing to make a big life change for the sake of better pay, consider moving to one of these high-paying areas.
4. Gain Midwife Experience
Employers typically pay higher wages to CNMs with greater nursing experience within this specialization, as they need less training and can take on greater responsibility. You can gain prior experience in the field by working as a neonatal or labor registered nurse before pursuing your nurse midwife certification. This will help you build greater hands-on expertise in the profession.

Frequently Asked Questions: Nurse Midwife Salaries

How much do CNMs make a year?

The BLS reports that CNMs make a median annual salary of $123,780.

By comparison, Payscale lists the average CNM base salary at $100,270.

Is a nurse midwife a good job?

Many certified nurse midwives earn six-figure salaries, and the BLS projects that the field could grow by 45% from 2020-2030. Based on these statistics alone, many would consider a nurse midwife a good job. CNMs also make a real difference in mothers' and families' lives, which also makes it a fulfilling job.

What is the highest-paying nurse profession?

Certified registered nurse anesthetists, who administer anesthetics during surgeries and other major operations, are the highest-earning nurses with a median annual salary of $195,610.

Do midwives make more than other nurses?

Certified nurse midwives generally make more than registered nurses, who earn a median salary of $77,600, BLS figures show. However, some other advanced practice nurses earn more than nurse midwives. This guide breaks down the highest-paying nursing jobs in the field.

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