What is a Nurse-Midwife and How Much do They Get Paid?

What is a Nurse-Midwife and How Much do They Get Paid?

A nurse-midwife, like other nursing specialties, is dedicated to assisting and giving patient quality care. Nurse-midwives have been around for centuries, specializing in reproductive health and prevention. Nurse-midwives examine, monitor, assess patients while providing emotional support for both patients and guardians. If this is your first time hearing about nurse wives or what they do, you’re not alone.

What is a Nurse Midwife

A nurse-midwife or certified nurse-midwife provides primary and specialized care to women and individuals who give birth. Nurse-midwives provide family planning services, gynecological treatments, and exams and provide care after delivery.

They practice in various clinical or at-home settings, diagnosing, treating, and educating their patients on pre and postnatal care.  As nurses, they are highly trained in reproductive health issues, discussing these issues with patients and partners, and developing research and papers on handling labor emergencies. 

Frequently Asked Question

What’s the difference between a Nurse and a Midwife?

Both registered nurses (RNs) and midwives provide patient care, but midwives have additional training and focus on the needs of birthing individuals.

Differences in Responsibilities

RN’s: have associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing and work in hospitals and facilities check-in patients, updating records, reporting concerns, and administering medication. 

Nurse-midwives: help to deliver babies; this means they need specific credentials and extra training. A nurse-midwife has an advanced practice registered nurse and typically holds a master’s degree with specialty training. They provide information about prenatal nutrition and disease preventions, collaborate with obstetricians to help deliver babies safely.

Sometimes, they work with physicians during C-sections and handle emergencies during delivery.

How Do You Become a Certified Nurse Midwife?

To become a nurse-midwife or certified nurse-midwife, you must first become a registered nurse. This means you have to earn a degree in nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN. 

Nurse-midwives must have a Master of Science in Nursing(MSN) with a nurse-midwifery program.  The master’s degree program is usually two years and includes clinical experience.

Course work includes infant mental health courses, antepartum and postpartum care, midwifery management, and more.  


To receive a midwifery certification, you must

Note: Must recertify every five years through the AMCB maintenance program.

How Much Does A Nurse Midwife Get Paid?

A nurse midwife’s pay depends on location, experience, job demand, benefits packages, and cost of living. Certified nurse-midwives earn the highest salaries among nurses with a median annual salary of $103,770 and the lowest being $87,000 in 2018.

Some states and facilities pay higher than the median income. Some states and facilities pay nurse midwives with experience earn more than entry-level primary care doctors.  As mentioned, depending on the facility and location, a nurse-midwife can make more than their RN counterparts.

Hourly rates: Outpatient care ($56 or $57); Physician offices ($46 to $49)

Top 5 States with the Highest CNM Pay

  • California- $139,990
  • Massachusetts- $119,390
  • Maryland-$115,440
  • Arizona-$114,900
  • New Jersey-$113,980

Typical Work Period: Many midwives work in private hospitals or nonprofit facilities. They usually work 40 hours per week but may be on-call, work weekends and nights. It’s uncommon because of the profession, i.e., premature births, complicated labor.

Frequently Asked Question

Is there a demand for nurse midwives?

The U.S has about 6,250 nurse midwives and counting, they continue to be in demand; especially in rural communities. The nursing profession is one of the best and allows individuals to choose, experience, and develop various skills. As a certified nurse-midwife, individuals can help and deliver reproductive and sexual health care. Nurse midwives are in demand because they can perform tasks that physicians tasks perform, i.e., gynecological exams, giving primary and prenatal care. The specialty is growing faster than any other medical professionals with an expected increase of 26%.

Additional Information about Nurse-Midwives

  • Here are three primary skills every nurse-midwife must have: 
    • Communication (connecting with patients, guardians, and providers),
    • Critical thinking (dealing with a stressful situation and birthing complications) 
    • Social perceptiveness (being emphatic to patients, especially during counseling sessions)
  • Nurse-midwives can work in clinical education, administration, and research to domestic and global health policy and legislative affairs.
  • If you’d like to know what it’s like to be a nurse-midwife or see a day in a nurse-midwife’s life, you can check out Midwife.org
  • Did you know: Most states require health insurance and medicare to cover certified nurse-midwives services

Advice: It’s best to keep up-to-date on scientific research, reproductive or birth-related medical procedures; plus, attend CE or webinars while working as a nurse-midwife. 

We hope this article was helpful. Let us know in the comment below if there’s something we missed or if you have questions.


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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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