Online Nurse-Midwifery Programs
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Nurse-midwifery is a branch of nursing that supports women before, during, and after childbirth. According to the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, the word “midwife” means “with woman,” which encompasses the unique caretaking and advocacy roles required to work in this nursing field.
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are registered nurses (RNs) with master’s degrees in midwifery. In general, CNMs help women through prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. However, CNMs are also qualified to provide the gynecologic and primary healthcare needs of women from adolescence through menopause and care for newborns and young babies.
On a larger scale, certified nurse-midwives can assess, evaluate, and diagnose women’s healthcare and newborn issues, prescribe medications, administer pregnancy tests, perform diagnostics, and recommend treatment plans.
Not all midwives are nurses, but having a nursing-midwifery master’s degree provides a nurse-midwife with more practice authority. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) support a collaborative healthcare approach that recognizes CNMs and certified midwives (CMs) as “experts in their respective fields of practice” to “ensure access to appropriate levels of care for all women.” In addition, the ACNM and ACOG call for nurse-midwives and certified midwives to complete accredited educational programs and earn certification and licensure when available.
The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health defines three types of midwives in the United States:
- The first type is certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), who are the most qualified with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a master’s in nurse-midwifery, and the ability to prescribe most medications.
- The second type is certified midwives (CMs) must have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a non-nursing field, a passing score on the national CNM certification exam, and must be licensed to practice midwifery.
- Lastly, certified professional midwives (CPMs) do not require a college degree but may have apprenticeship training, formal education from an accredited program, or have taken a certification exam other than the CNM certification exam.
The programs featured here offer educational programs for the first type: certified nurse-midwives (CNMs).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that nurse-midwifery careers will be in solid demand in the coming decade. The BLS estimates the number of nurse-midwives will grow by 7 percent between 2021 and 2031—a rate that’s faster than the national average for all occupations at 8 percent (BLS 2021). This growth equates to 800 new positions for CNM graduates who complete advanced degrees in nurse-midwifery.
Aspiring nurse-midwives should seek to enroll in educational programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). The master’s, post-master’s, and doctoral programs listed below are all ACME-accredited nurse-midwifery programs. In addition, many of the programs below offer a post-master’s certificate in nurse-midwifery.
These programs are typically online with practicums local to the student or primarily online with minimal campus visits. They are available in several states, and most allow students to enroll from states around the U.S. while working in their current positions.
Read on to learn more about top-ranked online nurse-midwifery programs.
Online Nurse-Midwifery Program Rankings (2023)
The programs listed here are ranked by cost, admissions flexibility, and program variety. Our database includes 1,008 online nursing programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels for the 2022-2023 school year. A program must require no more than nine campus visits in total to qualify for our rankings.
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CNM Certification, Salary, and Career Outlook
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) may work in primary care clinics, OB/GYN clinics, birthing centers, hospitals, and in home-birth situations. Many nurse-midwives deliver babies in birthing centers, in homes, or at hospitals, with hospitals being the most frequent birthing location at 94 percent (American College of Nurse-Midwives). To become certified, nurse-midwives must pass the certified nurse-midwifery exam offered through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
Salaries for nurse-midwives range from about $80,000 to $182,000 with the median wage falling at $103,770 (BLS, 2018). In addition, the nurse-midwifery occupation is growing at a much faster pace than the average of 5 percent, with an expected increase of 16 percent between 2018 and 2028 (BLS, 2018). In 2018 there were 6,500 nurse-midwives employed in the United States and that number is expected to increase to 7,600 by 2028 (BLS, 2018).