Midwives provide primary care for expecting mothers. Often, a midwife will support a mother with pre- and post-birth care, promoting the health of both woman and child. Midwives collaborate with expecting mothers’ physicians to ensure that mothers and their unborn children receive the best possible care during the pregnancy.
One of the main differences between a midwife and ob-gyn is their certification process. If you find yourself leaning toward a prenatal care career in midwifery over OB-GYN, read on to discover the essential steps to become a certified midwife.
The Different Paths of Midwifery
You have several different careers you may invest in to be considered a midwife. It’s important to note that not all nurses are midwives, and not all midwives are nurses. To create a distinction between roles, we’ve created a list.
- Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM): Registered nurses who have additional midwife certifications.
- Certified Midwife (CM): An individual who’s certified as a midwife but does not have their registered nursing license.
- Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): A certified midwife with experience in out-of-hospital birth who experiences less rigorous certification requirements.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll look at the route to become a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) specifically.
Education Requirements To Become a Certified Midwife
Midwives must have their Master’s (or higher) in Nurse-Midwifery. A couple of common program options include the following.
- Traditional Master of Science in Nursing with a nurse-midwifery focus or Master of Science in Nurse-Midwifery (eligible for RNs who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
- ACME-accredited RN-to-MSN program that provides RNs with associate’s nursing degrees with a BSN and MSN in nurse-midwifery.
Acquiring Your CNM Credentials
Once you’ve graduated from a nurse-midwifery program, there are still a couple of essential steps to become a certified midwife recognized by the state. You must receive your CNM credentials via exams before pursuing an advanced practice state licensure. You’ll take the certified nurse-midwife examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
Advanced Practice State Licensure
Once you become a CNM, you must get an advanced practice state licensure to practice midwifery. We’ve noted what you can expect from the application process below.
- Complete an APRN-CNM application
- Pay the state license fee
- Submit proof that you graduated from an ACME-approved nurse-midwife program
Maintaining CNM Certification and State Licensure
As you continue throughout your midwife career, the US requires you to maintain training to uphold your title as a CNM. At the end of your five-year certification cycle, you can either complete three AMCB Certificate Maintenance Modules and 20 contact hours of continued education with annual fees or retake the AMCB Certification Examination for $500 with no annual fees.