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How Much Does a Midwife Make?

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Midwives Offer Birthing Options for Healthy Mothers-to-Be

Midwives help bring babies into the world, providing an alternative to a physician-led obstetrics team. They are trained in women's health needs from child-bearing years through menopause.

Job Description

Midwives help during labor, delivery and after the birth, working with expectant mothers who are in good health and who have not experienced any complications during pregnancy. Midwives deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers and at home. They educate women on prenatal care, birth options and what to expect during labor, childbirth and postpartum. They are trained to identify situations in which a medical doctor must be brought in. They teach new mothers how to breastfeed and care for their infants. Nurse midwives can also counsel women on birth control options and instruct them on the management of menopause symptoms.

Education Requirements

Midwives can complete various levels of training. All must pass a national exam for licensure. Opportunities vary according to education and professional designation, as follows:

  • Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from a school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). They can obtain licensure in any state.
  • Certified midwives (CMs) are not nurses, although they hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and complete an accredited midwifery education program. Licensure is available only in Delaware, Missouri, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
  • Certified professional midwives (CPMs) have training and clinical experience in childbirth but do not necessarily hold a degree. They assist with out-of-hospital births and are limited in the number of states where they can practice.

Admission to a Master of Science in Nursing program requires a bachelor's degree in nursing. The master's degree usually takes 18 to 24 months of full-time study. Part-time options can take three to four years. Some schools require that you finish your training within a certain time period, so be sure to check deadlines. If you have an associate's degree in nursing, you can enroll in a "bridge" program to earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree and a midwifery graduate education. Typically, these are called RN-to-MSN programs. You can follow this same path with a diploma from an approved nursing program.

Following graduation from an accredited master's program, you're eligible to take the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam; a passing score will allow you to practice. Continuing education is required to maintain certification, although requirements vary from state-to-state. Medical centers, nursing schools and professional organizations provide options for earning credits.

Although a doctorate is not required to practice nurse midwifery, the degree can open opportunities in research, policy-making and academia.

About the Industry

Nurse midwives work in hospitals, private practices, birthing centers, health maintenance organizations and health departments. They are increasingly sought by women who want to remain drug-free during the childbirth process and have an experience that is as natural as possible.

Opportunities exist for full-time and part-time employment in nurse midwifery, although most nurse-midwives work full-time. Babies come when they are ready, so evening, night and weekend shifts are expected. Nurse midwives with young families should ensure they have reliable child care to accommodate irregular hours.

Years of Experience

The average base pay for a full-time nurse midwife is $110,123. Geographic location, work setting and years of experience contribute to salary differences. Here's what you can expect:

  • 0-1 years experience: $99,706
  • 4-6 years experience: $108,446
  • 10-14 years experience: $115,395
  • 15+ years experience: $115,443

Job Growth Trend

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth rate for advanced practice nurses (those who hold a master's degree and have specialty training) will be around 31 percent over the next decade, which is much higher than average compared to all other occupations. Projected growth is attributed to population increase and greater awareness of preventative care and the treatment of individuals who are generally healthy.