How Much Does a Nurse Midwife Make?

Updated July 21, 2022

Nurse-midwives play an important role in the medical community as caretakers and supporters of pregnant women and new mothers. A career as a nurse-midwife can be a satisfying, secure and profitable option for anyone interested in nursing and labor and delivery services. Before you can decide whether or not pursuing a career as a nurse-midwife is a good choice for you, you will need to know what kind of salary the average nurse midwife earns in the United States.

In this article, we will look at nurse midwife's job description, discuss the steps you can take to become a nurse-midwife and list the top ten average salaries for nurse midwives by state.

Read more: 12 Healthcare Jobs That Pay Well

What is a nurse-midwife?

A nurse-midwife is a nursing professional who provides care for low-risk pregnant women before, during and after giving birth. They provide counseling and advice related to the labor and delivery process, including what the mother can expect and what her care options are. They also support the mother and her family by providing education on caring for and feeding the newborn. Nurse-midwives may work independently or with a team of other medical professionals. They usually work in private clinics, obstetricians' offices, hospitals and other medical facilities.

How to become a nurse-midwife

There are several specific steps that aspiring nurse-midwives must follow in order to pursue this career path. These include:

  1. Pursue education.

  2. Pass the NCLEX.

  3. Become state-licensed.

  4. Gain experience.

  5. Continue education.

  6. Become certified.

1. Pursue education

The first step in becoming a nurse-midwife is pursuing the education required to become a registered nurse. This includes earning at least an ADN or an associate's degree in nursing or an ADN. Many employers require all nurses to have a BSN, a bachelor of science degree in nursing. After obtaining several years of practical experience, a registered nurse must then earn a master's degree with a specific focus on midwives before they can become a certified nurse-midwife.

Read more: Learn About Being a Registered Nurse (RN)

2. Pass the NCLEX

After a nursing student graduates with their degree, they must take and pass the National Council License Exam. This test is designed to determine whether or not the test-takers have the thorough knowledge of nursing practices and principles necessary for entry-level nursing. The NCLEX consists of between 75 and 265 questions, depending on the test taker's performance in the first round. The questions on the test will address topics like basic patient care and comfort, the prevention and treatment of diseases, coping with unexpected challenges and handling pharmaceuticals.

Practice tests and study guides for the NCLEX are available online and through many college campuses.

3. Become state-licensed

After passing the exam, nurses must then apply for registered nurse licensure in the state in which they want to work. Every state has unique regulations for requirements and fees, as well as different lengths of time that it takes to achieve your license. Before applying, aspiring registered nurses will need to research their specific state to make sure they meet the criteria.

Additionally, nurses may choose to pursue a Nurse Licensure Compact or NLC. This type of license allows nurses to obtain a multi-state license and qualifies them to practice in multiple states that are a member of the national alliance.

4. Gain experience

After becoming a registered nurse, an aspiring nurse midwife must work for a minimum of two years in a position related to midwifery. In some cases, registered nurses may be required to work in another field for several years before applying to work in labor and delivery services. Registered nurses can gain midwife experience by completing internships or working under the supervision of a more experienced nurse in a hospital or clinic. They can also find jobs working alongside family care doctors, OG-GYNs or pediatricians.

The years of experience that a nurse midwife gains while working as a registered nurse will be used to meet the requirements for admittance into master's programs and for advanced certification.

5. Continue education

To become a certified nurse-midwife, registered nurses must earn a master of science in nursing degree with a specific focus on midwives. Nursing education programs that offer this type of degree are available online or on a college campus. The majority of master's programs take about two years to complete and instruct students in both general nursing techniques and practices unique to midwifery.

There is a significant amount of overlap between a master's degree with a midwife focus and a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, so many programs offer simultaneous certification in each.

6. Become certified

The final stage of becoming a nurse-midwife is applying for certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. To qualify, applicants must submit proof of their RN or NP license, a transcript and diploma from their graduate program, verification from the head of the program confirming that the applicant met all necessary graduation requirements and confirmation that the applicant is a competent nursing professional.

After the applicant completes these steps, they must take and pass an exam. A satisfactory score will result in a five-year credential awarded by the AMCB. Certified nurse-midwives are also required to register with their state's Board of Nursing, which will involve a specific process unique to each state.

Related: How To Negotiate Salary (With Tips and Examples)

Nurse midwife salaries

Nurse midwife salaries vary significantly depending on several contributing factors. These include the nurse midwife's place of work, their educational background and their level of experience. Those who pursue master's or doctoral degrees will be qualified to compete for the most prestigious job openings and will be paid according to their level of advanced education. Nurse-midwives can also obtain certifications and credentials that may allow them to negotiate for higher salaries.

The most significant factor in determining a nurse midwife's salary is the geographic location. The average salary of a nurse midwife in the United States is recorded here at $101,287 per year, though salary updates can be found on Indeed. Here you will find the top ten average salaries for nurse midwives by state. For updated salary information, follow the Indeed links:

  1. North Dakota: $235,000 per year

  2. Minnesota: $217,457 per year

  3. Ohio: $117,845 per year

  4. Arkansas: $114,469 per year

  5. Oklahoma: $107,848 per year

  6. Arizona: $103,184 per year

  7. New York: $101,821 per year

  8. South Dakota: $100,343 per year

  9. Florida: $99,187 per year

  10. Vermont: $98,058 per year

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