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Nurse Midwife Careers and Salary Outlook 2020

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Nurses who want to work with women and babies may want to learn how to become a nurse midwife. This page details the career, including nurse midwife degree paths, nurse midwife requirements, and nurse midwife salary data. Readers can browse this page for information on where nurse midwives work, what skills they need, and the certification and training they must complete.

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What is a Nurse Midwife?

What is a nurse midwife and what does a nurse midwife do? Nurse midwives are advanced-practice registered nurses who specialize in both childbirth and women’s reproductive health. They care for women during their pregnancies, childbirth, and postpartum recovery. Nurse midwives also work with patients to deliver preventative women’s health maintenance and care.

These nurses approach patient care from a holistic standpoint, exploring their patients’ physical needs along with psychosocial and mental demands. Nurse midwives promote breastfeeding, use less regional anesthesia for patients, and aim to lower rates of cesarean births.

  • What Do Nurse Midwives Do?

    Nurse midwives perform many duties and responsibilities pertaining to women’s health. They promote health maintenance, encouraging women to participate in preventative health tests and screenings. These nurses also educate patients about sexual health issues and provide treatment for gynecological disorders, including infertility and sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

    Nurse midwives focus on family planning, educating patients about contraception options and helping them make the best choice for their needs and lifestyle. They also educate and treat patients for infertility and provide counseling and education for menopause and unplanned pregnancies. Nurse midwives focus on newborn and postpartum care, including cord clamping and lactation counseling.

    These professionals treat and evaluate newborns, performing initial physical assessments and monitoring weight gain and feeding patterns. They also order screenings for preventative care, including administering vitamin K injections, providing eye ointment, and conducting hearing tests.

    Nurse midwives also promote bonding and attachment between mothers and their newborns. They stabilize newborns’ temperature and closely monitor newborns’ respirations. In cases of abnormal conditions and situations, such as infection, postpartum depression, and congenital malformations, these nurses intervene.

  • Where Do Nurse Midwives Work?

    Nurse midwives typically work in private birthing centers, although some professionals work in hospitals and clinics. Nurse midwives frequently work directly in their patients’ homes since many patients elect for home births. These professionals sometimes find themselves working in stressful situations, completing busy shifts and navigating emergencies.

    Nurse midwives experience possible occupational hazards, including exposure to bloodborne pathogens, diseases, and infections. They often feel emotionally connected to their patients since they work so closely with women and their families throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

  • Skills That Could Affect Nurse Midwife Salaries

    Nurse midwives need a calm demeanor since they work in high-stress and high-pressure environments with mothers experiencing both labor and delivery. In these situations, nurse midwives should remain calm and help their patients focus to remain in good health and maintain progress with delivery. These nurses must demonstrate compassion as their patients experience pain and heightened emotions.

    Nurse midwives need strong problem-solving skills. During labor and delivery, nurse midwives follow a delivery plan. However, challenges can arise that require nurses to remain flexible and devise effective, efficient ways to solve problems and continue providing quality care to patients.

How to Become a Nurse Midwife

When considering how to become a nurse midwife, professionals must first earn a bachelor of science in nursing. Upon completing a bachelor’s program, learners can pursue licensure as a registered nurse (RN). After completing the licensing exam and obtaining official licensure, professionals can enroll in an advanced degree option at the master’s level.

Once completing a master’s degree, nurses can seek certification as nurse midwives. Many professionals continue their education further into a doctoral degree in nursing, focused on midwifery. Many professionals seek online learning opportunities as they pursue advanced degree opportunities, allowing them to continue working as they earn their degree.


Depending on the particular institution, requirements for midwifery degree options differ. The American College of Nurse-Midwives highlights 40 schools that boast accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Curricula for nurse midwifery programs varies depending on the college or university, but courses typically focus on advanced health assessment; health promotion and maintenance; women’s health; care during pregnancy, labor, and birth; and newborn care.

Individuals need a bachelor of science in nursing to pursue RN licensure. The bachelor’s option typically takes full-time degree-seekers four years to complete. Advanced degree opportunities include master’s programs which take around two years to complete and doctoral programs, requiring an additional two years of full-time study.

Training and Certification

Once individuals complete their graduate or postgraduate education focused on midwifery, they can apply for and test for certification. The American Midwifery Certification Board requires candidates interested in obtaining certification to submit proof of licensure as an RN or nurse practitioner and earn a graduate degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.

Applicants can attempt their exam four times, but they must complete all attempts within 24 months of completing their program. Certification remains valid for five years and the American Midwifery Certification Board offers recertification opportunities. Upon completing certification, nurse midwives must register with their particular state’s board of nursing.

Advanced degree programs offer the training that professionals need to work as nurse midwives. Once learners complete their general coursework requirements, they can focus on midwife specialty coursework, reviewing the concepts, skills, and knowledge they need to master in order to succeed in the field.

Nurse Midwife Salaries and Job Growth

How much does a nurse midwife make? Nurse midwife salary data varies depending on nurses’ location and experience. The occupation’s national median salary is $93,047.

Entry-level nurse midwives earn average salaries of $87,415, while more experienced nurse midwives earn $105,237. Many nurse midwives begin their careers working as Registered nurses. RNs earn the highest pay in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. RNs can explore the highest concentration of jobs and highest employment levels in the general and surgical medical hospital industry. California boasts the highest employment levels and salary opportunities for RNs while South Dakota offers the highest concentration of jobs.

Median Salary for Nurse Midwives by Career Experience

  • Entry Level: $87,415
  • Early Career: $90,619
  • Mid Career: $91,517
  • Experienced: $99,179
  • Late Career: $105,237

Source: PayScale

Related Job Salaries
Registered Nurse (RN) Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Registered Nurse (RN), Emergency Room Certified Surgical Technologist (CST)
$63,393 $33,271 $43,574 $66,391 $44,362

Source: PayScale

Nurse Midwife Resources

  • American College of Nurse-Midwives Functioning as the professional association that represents the nation’s certified midwives and certified nurse-midwives, ACNM sets standards for quality and excellence in midwifery practice and education. The association strengthens the capacity for midwives across developing countries and emphasizes childbirth, pregnancy, and gynecological and reproductive health.
  • Midwives Alliance North America An essential maternity care option in the U.S. healthcare system, MANA supports diversity in practice styles and educational backgrounds within the midwife profession. The group provides members with a forum that promotes collaboration with other field professionals.
  • National Association of Certified Professional Midwives Operating as a membership organization that represents Certified Professional Midwives, NACPM provides access to normal physiologic birth, benefitting pregnant women and newborns. The organization aims to develop and advance the profession and contribute to public policy and values.
  • Job Search This site’s job search function allows nurses to browse open job opportunities by job title or specialty. Nurses can also input a location and add distance parameters to see job openings in desired locations.
  • American Midwifery Certification Board AMCB functions as the national certifying board for Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives. The group comprises a board of directors, officers, and an office of full-time staff members and committees in charge of creating the national certification exam and certificate maintenance.
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