Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife

A career as a Certified Nurse Midwife can be extremely rewarding. It is a profession that recognizes and values the strength and power of women as the cornerstone of every successful family, community, and society.

A Brief History of Nurse-Midwifery

In the United States, the practice of nurse-midwifery dates back to Colonial America. New York City was the first municipality to officially license the profession as early as 1716. With this licensure in place, the Nurse Midwife was positioned as “servant of the state, a keeper of social and civil order.”

Fast forward to today and the number of nurse-midwives is consistently increasing.  The position of Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a coveted, high-paying role that you can prepare for with an online Master of Science in Nursing.

The Role of a Certified Nurse Midwife

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) notes that the profession is integral to reducing mortality rates among mothers and babies, as well as lowering the incidence of premature and low-weight births. This particularly important when you consider that 70 percent of women served by CNMs are susceptible to poor health outcomes due to age, income, education, ethnicity, and other factors.

While many Certified Nurse Midwives are primarily focused on childbirth and mother-baby wellness immediately after birth, there is a lot more to the role than that.  A CNM can serve as a woman’s main care provider from adolescence to menopause and beyond, providing guidance on conception planning, prenatal health, and the realities of motherhood. The modern CNM serves as a trusted professional who can help make life better for women, children, and families.

Certified Nurse Midwife Education and Certification

According to the ACNM, there was an enormous 91 percent increase in the number of Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives (CM) between the years 2005 and 2014. Each year since 2008 saw a steady increase with the greatest jump of 16 percent coming between 2011 and 2012.

These statistics should in no way suggest an overabundance of CNMs. Quite the contrary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 31 percent growth rate in the field through the year 2024. Average salaries are equally impressive with a median income of $104,740 reported in May 2015.

Certified Nurse Midwives are expected to hold an MSN degree, and have some level of expertise and interest in gynecology and obstetrics. When looking at your educational options, make a point to take the convenience, flexibility and affordability of an online Master of Science in Nursing into consideration.

Be sure that the school of your choice is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). This is an important distinction, because while the number of CNMs was increasing, the number of ACME-accredited programs was decreasing. You’ll also want to choose a university whose graduates have strong pass rates for on the American Midwifery Certification Board, Inc. exam.


Midwifery Today

American College of Nurse-Midwives

United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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