How to Become a Nurse Midwife
To become a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) or a Certified Midwife (CM), completion of a nationally accredited program must be accomplished first.
Then successful passing of the national certification exam is required. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) currently recognizes 42 accredited programs in the United States.
Of these, 39 are graduate programs and four are post-baccalaureate certificate programs. Successful completion of a graduate degree is necessary for entry into clinical practice in the United States.
1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)
A bachelor’s degree is required for applicants to enter almost all programs. The majority of programs also require that applicants be a registered nurse (RN).
A growing number of programs, however, are now geared toward students who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Although not required by some, many do require that entering RNs hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
Those not holding a BSN, but have either a BA or a BS, can become certified midwives (CMs). Those holding a degree in nursing (BSN) can become Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs).
If you are an RN who does not hold a bachelor’s degree, you are generally required to complete a BSN before being accepted into a CNM program.
There are some programs that incorporate a flexible option for nurses with associate degrees to complete their bachelor’s coursework in the course of the CNM program.
2. Complete a Nurse Midwifery Program
Most CNM/CM programs have a limited number of available spaces to admit new students each year. This is due to the intensive faculty-to-student ratio necessary to train a quality midwife.
Many prospective students are not accepted the first time they apply to a program because of this situation. This should not prevent the applicant from re-applying.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) maintains a list of midwifery education programs that you can contact if you are interested in that specific program’s prerequisites.
3. Earn the Required License
All 50 states offer licensing to CMNs. Although CMs are required to meet the same rigorous standards of practice as CNMs, the only states currently offering licensure to CMs are New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
This relatively new option for preparation is growing in popularity, however. There is virtually no difference in the scope of clinical services provided between a CNM and a CM.
There is also little significant difference between a CNM and a CM prepared at the certificate level versus the master’s level. Once you complete your program you can get certified through the American Midwife Certification Board (AMCB).
The test is a computer based test that is comprised of 175 multiple-choice questions. Once you pass the test, you will become a CMN or CM.