Master's Degrees for Midwife Nurses: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for nurse midwives. Get the facts about education, salary, licensure requirements, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Nurse Midwife?

Nurse midwives are registered nurses who provide prenatal and postnatal care to women and their newborn children. They also educate parents on healthy living for themselves and their child, as well as provide sexual and reproductive care treatment to the parent's partner. These professionals typically earn a Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in midwifery. In order to practice, graduates will need both licensure as a registered nurse and American Midwifery Certification Board certification. The following chart provides an overview about becoming a nurse midwife.

Degree Required Master's degree
Field of Study Bachelor's degree in nursing; master's degree in nurse-midwifery
Job Duties May be primary care provider for pregnant women providing prenatal, birth and post-natal care; perform gynecological examinations; provide family planning services; provide newborn care
Licensing Nurse midwives must be licensed as a registered nurse; nurse midwives must be certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board
Job Growth (2014-2024) 25%*
Median Salary (2015) $92,510*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Types of Master's Degree Programs for Midwife Nurses Are Available?

Most master's degree programs are offered as a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialty in midwifery. You will take specialized courses relevant to midwifery to become trained in both nursing and midwifery. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education accredits programs in midwife nursing.

There are several program options available to individuals with different backgrounds. If you are a registered nurse with an associate's degree or diploma, you may enroll in an accelerated master's program. This type of program typically takes 3-4 years to complete and leads to both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. Individuals with bachelor's degrees in other fields may enroll in a 2-year program that awards a master's degree in nursing upon completion. There are also programs suited to nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a graduate nursing degree.

What Will I Need In Addition to My Degree?

Once you have obtained your master's degree in nursing from an accredited program, you are eligible to take the national certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). Every state allows CNMs to practice legally, but each state sets its own rules for licensure and practice. You should check your state's board of nursing for specific regulations related to midwife nursing practice. You may also be required to complete some form of continuing education on a periodic basis to maintain certification.

What Types of Jobs Can I Qualify for?

Midwife nurses are advanced practice nurses who work in a variety of health care settings to provide primary care to women of all ages. With your master's degree, you may work in a hospital to provide pregnant women with prenatal care, assist in low-risk deliveries, and provide neonatal care. You could also work in a clinic or physician's office and give gynecological exams, family planning advice, and sexual health counseling. Midwife nurses also work for health departments and health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Some midwives work in a birth center or in home birth practice. With experience and business skills, you could also establish your own midwifery practice.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

Salaries for midwife nurses vary according to level of experience, type of care provided, place of practice and geographic location. BLS reports the middle 50% of nurse midwives made between $73,460 and $112,340 as of May 2015.

Many midwife nurses receive health and educational benefits. According to the ACNM's 2007 salary report, only some midwife nurses received bonuses in addition to their base salaries (www.midwife.org). The report also states that individuals generally saw an increase in salary with additional years of experience, which then tapered off after 6-10 years.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners provide similar care to midwives, and they also require a master's degree. The primary job of anesthetists is administering anesthesia to patients before, during, and after different procedures to tranquilize them and reduce pain. Nurse practitioners are specialized nurses with advanced training in diagnosing and treating specific populations (children, the elderly, etc.) and educating them on how to improve their conditions and health.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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