How To Become A Midwife In 2024: A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

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16 February 2024

Job & Career

How To Become a Midwife

Are you considering a career as a midwife or nurse? Learn about the various facets of the field, such as typical responsibilities and certification needs, by using this guide. This article also includes information on typical program durations, skills acquired as a nurse midwife, and educational requirements for midwifery schooling.  

Pregnancy, childbirth, and the first six weeks after giving birth are the main areas of focus for midwives. Due to the more personal experience that midwives can offer. Expectant people frequently choose to work with them. For example, some midwives in private practice can provide specialized services, such as home births.   

Studies indicate that individuals who receive care under a midwife-led model also experience improved health outcomes, reduced need for interventions, and greater satisfaction. In addition, a lot of midwives work in hospitals, obstetrician and gynecologist offices, and birthing centers.   

Primary care for expectant patients, physical examinations, creating patient care plans, and educating the public about birth options are among the duties. Here is everything you need to know about how to become a midwife  

How To Become a Midwife?

How To Become a Midwife

To pursue a career as a nurse midwife, students must first obtain a registered nurse (RN) license, which calls for either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing (ADN).  

 A BSN is necessary to pursue advanced degrees, even though an ADN is a minimal requirement to become an RN. A master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or a doctorate is required for students interested in advanced nurse midwife positions to become certified nurse midwives (CNM). Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are what CNMs are.  

If you want to know about the duration of each degree, exam, and licensing requirements, we have all the information here. Keep reading to know all about how to become a midwife.   

Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

More opportunities are available, and leadership skills can be developed with a four-year BSN program than with an associate degree. Nonetheless, students who wish to start their careers quickly might want to think about getting an ADN.  

Students who complete an ADN program in just two years are eligible for a state license. An accelerated BSN can provide a quicker route to a nurse-midwifery degree for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree or have college experience in another field. If you want to enter directly into midwifery without a degree as a nurse, then you can skip this step and go for the same certification exam that nurse-midwifery graduates take. Here is how to become a midwife without a nursing degree.   

Pass the NCLEX

If you are wondering how to become a midwife, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) after completing a BSN program to start working in entry-level nursing positions. There are eight subcategories and four main categories in this exam. Up to 145 questions in a variable question format are possible on the NCLEX.  

Gain experience

Prior to admission, most graduate-level nursing programs require at least one to two years of clinical experience. Practical experience is beneficial when applying to selective graduate programs. Before earning degrees as certified nurse midwives and additional licensure, nurses often work as RNs. They can possess the authority and knowledge required for advanced practice roles because of their experience.  

To get ready for their future positions as CNMs, nurses can obtain additional certifications during this time. For example, the National Certification Corporation certifies registered nurses in neonatal intensive care. This credential requires passing an exam as well as one year of professional experience. This will further strengthen nurses’ abilities with newborn infants.  

Experience is a crucial factor if you are curious about how to become a midwife.   

Enroll for the nursing midwifery program

While part-time students may complete their degree in as little as five years, those interested in a career in midwifery should anticipate earning their MSN in two years with full-time attendance.  

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can be obtained by students in three to four years, although an MSN is a minimum requirement for CNMs. Part-time options, which can take up to seven years, are also offered by universities. Students can choose the population as well as topics they wish to concentrate on with a DNP.  

APRN licensure and specialty certification

Students enrolled in advanced nurse-midwifery programs are eligible to sit for the national certification exam for the specialty. A practitioner’s national certification by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) attests to their expert knowledge and ability to care for patients.  

Students must hold an unrestricted RN license and graduate from an institution recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education to be eligible. Every five years, CNMs are required to reapply for certification. Nurse midwives can apply for an APRN license in their state after passing their certification exam. Each state has different licensing requirements.  

Start looking for a position

RNs should think about the population they want to work with to identify the facilities that will best advance their careers. According to BLS projections, there will be a 45% rise in the demand for midwives between 2020 and 2030. Students should, however, consider elements like credentials and experiences that can help them stand out from the competition.   

Midwife Schooling

Midwife Schooling

An MSN is the minimal degree required for certified nurse midwives. Students should be aware that the length of time required to become a nurse midwife varies depending on the level of training and experience required. The coursework, average program lengths, and admission requirements are described in the sections that follow.  

BSN

The first step towards becoming a midwife should be obtaining a BSN, as this degree prepares graduates for an MSN. Graduates of ADN programs can also obtain an RN license. Moreover, to obtain an MSN, practitioners must consider alternate bridge programs.  

Admission Criteria: 2.5 GPA, CV, essay, and two to three recommendation letters  

Program Curriculum: Basics of caregiving and beginning science and math classes may be covered in the courses. In addition, clinical field experiences are required of students.  

Time Required: Four years of consistent attendance  

Acquired Skills: Students gain leadership, management, as well as evidence-based practice skills and learn how to treat patients from various communities.  

MSN

The minimal qualification needed to work as a nurse midwife, or CNM, is an MSN. Since this degree takes less time than a DNP, practitioners obtain it to begin their careers as midwives.  

Admission Criteria: 3.0 GPA, resume, three recommendation letters, RN license, and some schools’ requests for GRE results are the requirements.  

Program Curriculum: Patient advocacy and clinical leadership are prioritized in MSN programs. Gynecologic health, advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, and healthcare ethics are among the possible course topics. For students to be eligible for licensure, clinical experience is required.  

Time Required: Two years of full-time attendance. Accelerated bridge programs may be available to ADN holders.  

Acquired Skills: Students enhance their clinical leadership, decision-making, and interpersonal communication abilities.  

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Candidates for DNP programs must have an MSN from an approved university to be eligible. In certain nurse-midwifery programs, students can earn both a master’s and a doctorate in three years by completing a bridge program that combines their MSN and DNP requirements. DNP holders give themselves a distinct advantage as subject-matter experts in the marketplace.  

Admission Criteria: Minimum 3.0 GPA, unencumbered RN license, GRE results, and clinical experience with the target population are required.  

Program Curriculum: Women’s health maintenance and restoration on their own are among the objectives. Clinical experiences and the science of healthcare delivery may be covered in courses.  

Time Required: Three years of consistent full-time attendance  

Acquired Skills: Students here gain an advanced clinical introduction to research methods to improve patient outcomes.   

Nurse Midwife Credentials

Nurse Midwife Credentials

After completing nursing school, CNMs can obtain a state license as well as national certification, proving they meet the legal requirements to practice. Additionally, graduates must obtain American Midwifery Certification from the AMCB. This certification verifies to patients and employers that the candidate has the necessary knowledge and abilities in midwifery. Moreover, certification enables CNMs to apply for state licensure.  

Certifications

To legally practice midwifery, a certified nurse midwife must obtain certification. The AMCB establishes the minimal requirements for midwifery practitioners and grants the CNM credential.  

Moreover, prospective CNMs need to have clinical experience. They must be proficient in handling STDs, assisting with childbirth, offering reproductive care, and caring for women’s health.  

In addition, qualified candidates must possess an unrestricted RN license and an advanced nursing degree from an accredited program. Candidates must finish a four-hour computer-based exam at a testing location that has been authorized. There are 175 multiple-choice questions on the test.   

Licensure

RN and APRN licenses are the two state-level licenses required for CNMs. State-specific requirements for APRN licensure and RN licensure differ. Each applicant for an RN license must have either an associate or bachelor’s degree. To be eligible for graduate school, nurses who aspire to become advanced licensed practitioners should select a bachelor’s degree.  

Occasionally, states release a list of accredited programs with a thorough curriculum and the required number of clinical hours for RN candidates to obtain licensure. Candidates must also pass the NCLEX-RN. State boards that oversee nursing licenses typically charge an application fee and demand a background check. After receiving a graduate degree, a prospective CNM can apply for an APRN license.  

They should be licensed registered nurses (RNs) and can earn a master’s or doctorate in nursing. For these nurses to be eligible for APRN licensure, they typically need to obtain a certification in a specialized field.  

 APRNs need a state license to practice nurse-midwifery. When choosing a school, students should check the requirements set forth by their state since every state board of nursing has minimum requirements. Before applying for a certificate of authority, candidates should first obtain their AMCB certification. Moreover, the renewal process varies depending on the state. For example, in odd-numbered years, some states might mandate renewal every two years.  

Becoming a Nurse Midwife in Practice

Becoming a Nurse Midwife in Practice

In order to help them network and find employment after completing their nursing and midwifery degrees, students might want to think about developing relationships during clinical and fieldwork. Reaching out to practices before graduation or volunteering could be another tactic. According to BLS data, the average salary for nurse midwives is $114,210. Students ought to research the typical income in their county or state, though.  

Hospitals (State, Local, and Private)

CNMs work with physicians to provide nonsurgical family planning methods and provide primary care for expectant patients.  

Birthing Facilities

CNMs support laboring individuals emotionally, help parents with labor, and keep an eye out for any complications.  

Clinics for Public Health

CNMs lower the incidence of unfavorable outcomes like preterm birth and stillbirth. They can investigate healthcare disparities, including how nurses can address differences in infant mortality. They oversee programs that advance women’s health.  

How Much Does a Midwife Earn?

How Much Does a Midwife Earn?

When asking “how to become a midwife,” you may also ask “how much does a midwife make?”   

Now that you know what kind of education and training a midwife requires, here is a little detail on midwives’ salary scope.  

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that midwives in typical work environments, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, schools, and local government establishments, earn an average of $77,510 to $171,239 per year. The highest-paid midwives are said to work in outpatient care facilities, where their annual salary is $153,310.   

The geographic location of a midwife can also affect their pay. The following states have the highest rates of midwife employment and mean yearly salaries:  

California: $169,530  

New York: $126,610  

Florida: $97,690

Texas: $93,280  

Minnesota: $116,780 

These rates reflect the general need for midwives in these areas, the cost of living, as well as the standard of living. 

Wrapping Up

Even though job security might be desirable, you should think about a lot more factors before accepting a position in the healthcare industry—or any field, really. It’s important to consider if becoming a midwife is in line with your values as well as aspirations. Determine your areas of interest and consider whether becoming a midwife would be a rewarding career choice for you.

If your response to the previous question is yes, then you should consider whether you would be prepared to devote the necessary years of study and training to become a licensed midwife. It will take about seven years to finish your training with a bachelor’s degree as well as a foundational master’s degree.

What kind of midwife you want to become is something else to think about. The route that leads to becoming a CNM will yield greater advantages, particularly regarding your desired practice location. As was previously mentioned, CNMs have a lot more options. But the training you get will be far more thorough.

If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask about how to become a midwife, then please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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