Career Spotlight: Midwifery

Midwives are known for offering a more personal approach to women's health care. They support and guide their patients before, during, and after childbirth.

Midwives are known for offering a more personal approach to women’s health care than what a traditional obstetrician may offer. They support and guide their patients before, during, and after childbirth.

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is a registered nurse with specialized training in midwifery. Related paths include certified midwife and certified professional midwife, which do not require a nursing degree. However, these health care providers are less prevalent and licensed in only a few states, unlike CNMs, who are allowed to practice anywhere in the country.

Midwives are skilled in pre- and postnatal care, newborn health, and women’s health from puberty to menopause. Depending on where they practice, CNMs may act as primary caregivers or as part of a team under a physician’s supervision. They work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and private practices to birthing centers and patients’ homes.


Nurse midwives primarily work with healthy women and low-risk pregnancies. They look after patients throughout gestation, during delivery, and up to 28 days after a baby is born. They also spend a lot of time getting to know their patients at appointments, helping them make decisions, developing birth plans, and addressing their specific needs and concerns.

Unlike OB-GYNs, CNMs cannot perform caesarian sections. Therefore they focus on more traditional labor and delivery methods, encouraging natural experiences with minimized medical interventions such as induction or epidurals.

But the job is not limited to delivering babies; CNMs also provide reproductive and general health care. They conduct exams, order and interpret tests, and prescribe medications. They educate women in areas such as nutrition and exercise and provide emotional counseling, often developing close bonds with their patients.


Majoring in nursing is the most efficient way to become a CNM, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). Students will benefit from a solid background in the sciences, including biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. Sociology, nutrition, and women’s studies courses are also useful.

After earning a bachelor’s degree and acquiring ample field experience, registered nurses can pursue CNM training through a nurse-midwifery graduate program. Two to three years of advanced course work and hands-on clinical experience in obstetrics and women’s health help prepare students for the certification exam required to become a CNM.

Degree required

CNMs must receive their bachelor’s degree in nursing and become a registered nurse before moving on to graduate school. Successful completion of a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) results in either a master’s or doctoral degree. Graduates then take a national exam to earn a certificate in nurse-midwifery. Recertification is required every five years.

Job growth

Excellent; job opportunities for nurse midwives have grown exponentially in the past 20 years, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment is expected to increase by 29% from 2012–2022, much faster than the national average for other occupations.

Median income

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a certified nurse midwife’s median annual wage is $96,970 but varies depending on one’s education, place of employment, and location. 

Professional organization

American College of Nurse-Midwives,

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2019

My college search began at CollegeXpress. Due to this helpful tool, I was able to gather a lot of information to guide my college planning decisions. Through CollegeXpress, I was also able to apply to several scholarships to help pay for my tuition. I would definitely recommend this website to anyone who wants to explore colleges and get more information from admission experts, counselors, and real students.

Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro


For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.



High School Class of 2021

For a long time, I've been searching everywhere to find the perfect website I can get scholarships and information from. Needless to say, I could never find the right one. That was, until I found CollegeXpress. Through my journey of finding the right scholarships for me, I was able to find articles about different things. They've all been helpful, especially in times like this! I was even able to connect with some of my favorite colleges! I love CollegeXpress. Thank you!



High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress helped open me up to many colleges that fit my interests. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so I like having a lot to look at, and CX does a great job of picking colleges that meet my wants. It's a great website that I'll continue to use until it comes time for me to apply for colleges. I also like that it notifies me through email with options to look at. Thanks CX!

Fernando Ponce

Fernando Ponce

High School Junior

College is a way of life that helps us find out who we are as a person, and CollegeXpress is a great way to stay connected with our future, even for students with little time on their hands due to the challenges of high school we face.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica and Albany, NY

Lipscomb University

Nashville, TN