RN to CNM – What Options are Available in 2023


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    Welcome to another interesting educational piece on a Registered Nurse to Certified Nurse Midwife programs.

    After reading through this article, you will learn about the program options for upgrading from RN to CNM, the education requirements, and more.

    This article covers the following and more:

    RN to CNM – Overview
    Education Requirements
    Program Duration and Costs
    Salary and Job Outlook
    Top RN to CNM Programs

    So, let’s continue!

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      RN to CNM – Overview

      Working RNs with a diploma or associate’s degree (e.g. ASN/ADN) who want to pursue an MSN or MS to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife can enroll in an accelerated RN to CNM (or Associate Degree (AD RN to CNM) program. 

      These programs will enable you to obtain your BS or BSN while working on your master’s degree. 

      Even better, RNs with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing can enroll in RN to MSN CNM programs.

      With a minimum of MSN as the education requirement for a CNM, these accelerated programs help RNs achieve their CNM status within a shorter period.

      RN to CNM - Overview

      These ACME-accredited accelerated programs are in three major categories:

      CNM Specialty: An RN to MSN CNM degree that focuses completely on Nurse-Midwifery is the standard offering for most universities.

      Dual Focus: A few “dual focus” schools will prepare you for CNM and NP certification. 

      CNM/FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) and CNM/WHNP (Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner) are the most prevalent pairings. 

      These program options may take more time to complete.

      Specialty in CNM with NP Option for a Post-Master’s Certificate: Some universities provide post-masters certificates. 

      You can earn your CNM degree and then decide whether or not to pursue NP certification by taking a few more courses.

      Education and Licensing Requirements

      A CNM is a Certified Nurse-Midwife who has completed extensive training and specializes in caring for pregnant women from pregnancy to delivery. 

      Becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife requires multiple steps, including becoming a Registered Nurse, applying for an accredited Nurse-Midwifery program, and passing The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) Nurse-Midwifery/Midwifery examination after completing the program. 

      In addition, to practice as a CNM in your state, you must apply for state licensure after gaining certification.

      Prerequisites for RN to MSN Certified Nurse-Midwives programs are often the same as NP programs.

      The following are some of the requirements:

      • A diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (except you already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject)—if you already have a bachelor’s degree in another profession, you’ll almost certainly need to submit a clinical practice portfolio
      • A valid RN license
      • A minimum undergraduate GPA (typically 3.0)
      • At least a year of relevant RN clinical experience is required
      • Professional reference/recommendation letters

      Program Curriculum

      Standard MSN or MS degrees take about 1-3 years to complete once you’ve reached the graduate level. 

      RN to CNM - Program Curriculum

      However, nursing schools prefer to personalize their CNM degrees, so each program has its peculiarities. 

      Generally, you’ll have to deal with:

      Foundation Courses

      CNM programs almost always begin with a “Nursing Core,” which includes three mandatory courses in advanced pharmacology, advanced physiology/pathophysiology, and advanced health assessment, as well as foundation courses in advanced practice issues (e.g., evidence-based practice, leadership, health promotion, health policy, and ethics).

      Core Science Courses

      While this isn’t true of all CNM programs, certain nursing schools like to include subjects like genetics, biostatistics, and reproductive anatomy and physiology.

      Midwifery Specialty Courses

      In addition to learning about the role of the CNM, you’ll learn about all four aspects of midwifery: primary care for women throughout their lives, antepartum care (such as pregnancy and fetal evaluation), intrapartum and postpartum care (such as labor and delivery and post-delivery), and newborn care. 

      These courses are frequently taken in conjunction with clinical rotations.

      Midwifery Research Project 

      While not all CNM programs will include a research-based master’s project or an evidence-based practice project, we’ve seen some that do.

      Clinical Hours (Practicums)

      You may be required to obtain clinical experience caring for healthy women. 

      Such experiences may include reproductive health, gynecology, menopause, intrapartum and postpartum, and infants. 

      You may undertake clinical rotations in the following areas:

      • Places of primary care
      • Hospitals and inpatient facilities
      • Clinics for outpatients and specialists
      • Home visits or travel to rural areas

      During rotations, you may give preconception care and family planning services, assist in labor and delivery, advise on breastfeeding, assess newborns, and deal with common health conditions.

      Certification and Licensing

      The American Midwifery Certification Board awards the CNM certification.

      To get it, you’ll need to do the following:

      • Have a valid and active RN license
      • Graduate from a nurse-midwifery education program approved by ACNM (Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education) with a master’s (MS or MSN) or doctoral degree (DNP) (ACME)
      • Take advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology courses at the graduate level
      • Complete clinical hours as supervised by a certified CNM/CM or APRN
      • Clinical skills must meet the ACNM’s Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Education, which include managing primary care for women throughout their lives, caring for healthy newborns, and managing sexually transmitted infections in male partners
      • Take the AMCB CNM test and pass it
      • Continue your education to keep your certification and licensing current

      The certification is valid for 5 years.

      Salary and Job Outlook

      According to the BLS, Certified Nurse-Midwives in the bottom 10% of workers earn $67,710 annually, while those in the top 10% earn $179,770. 

      Several elements, such as work hours and conditions and daily obligations, will influence your earning potential.

      According to the ACNM, Certified Nurse-Midwives were present at 9.1% of all births in the USA in 2017, according to the most recent data available from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

      Nurse-Midwives are in high demand, partially because they are the primary caregivers for some women. 

      Demand is also fueled by a national lack of general, family practice, and primary care physicians.

      Top RN to CNM Programs

      The table below shows schools that offer RN to CNM Programs with an AD RN to CNM option, a BA/BS to RN/CNM option, a Master’s Completion option, or a Postgraduate Certificate option:

      SchoolProgram TypeProgram Details
      California State University Fullerton, CAMSN Women’s Health Care Program
      Case Western Reserve University (MSN, Post Graduate Certificate) Cleveland, OHNurse-Midwifery ProgramThis Nurse-Midwifery program offers a variety of alternatives, including an AD RN to CNM option, a BA/BS to RN/CNM option, a Master’s Completion option, and a Postgraduate Certificate option.

      The ACME has accredited the program, ranked #13 by U.S.News & World Report.
      Emory University (DNP, MSN or MSN/MPH, Post Graduate Certificate)Atlanta, GANurse-Midwifery SpecialtyAt Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, nurse-midwifery students receive background training in health science theory and clinical training in primary health care for women and babies.

      The ACME-accredited program has two study options: an AD RN to CNM option and a Postgraduate Certificate option.
      Frontier Nursing University (MSN) Dexter, GACommunity-based Nurse-Midwifery EducationFrontier Nursing University’s Nurse-Midwifery program trains nurses to manage women’s health care, focusing on family planning and gynecologic needs, pregnancy, labor, common primary care issues, the postpartum period, and newborn care.

      The ACME has accredited the curriculum, and all coursework is performed online.

      There are various choices offered, including an AD RN to CNM, a Master’s degree, and a Postgraduate Certificate.
      Marquette University (MSN, Post Graduate Certificate) Milwaukee, WINurse-Midwifery ProgramMarquette University’s Nurse-Midwifery Program prepares students to care for healthy babies and gynecologic care for women throughout their lives.
      The NMP is an ACME-accredited hybrid-online program that blends classroom and online learning. An AD RN to CNM, a BA/BS to RN/CNM, and a Postgraduate Certificate are all choices.
      Shenandoah University (MSN, Post Graduate Certificate) Winchester, VANurse-Midwifery Education ProgramShenandoah University’s Nurse-Midwifery program trains nurses to work as home birth practitioners, birth center practice directors, midwifery educational program directors, and CNM service directors.

      The program is ACME approved and is performed using a hybrid distance learning mode. Nurses can pursue various degrees, including an AD RN to CNM, a Master’s Degree, and a Postgraduate Certificate.
      SUNY Downstate Medical Ctr (MS, Post Graduate Certificate) Brooklyn, NYMidwifery ProgramSUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Midwifery program prepares nurses to care for healthy newborns and gynecologic care for women throughout their lives. ACME accredits the program, and the coursework is delivered in a hybrid style.

      A Certified Midwife (CM) option, an AD RN to CNM option, a Master’s Completion option, and a Post Graduate Certification option are available to students.
      University of Colorado Denver (MS, Post Graduate Certificate) Aurora, COThe University of Colorado’s ACME-accredited Nurse-Midwifery program teaches nurses to offer safe and competent care to women and their families during their reproductive years.

      The hybrid program is available in AD RN to CNM, Master’s Completion, and Post Graduate Certificate and can be completed both online and in class.
      The University of Illinois at Chicago (DNP) Chicago, ILNurse-Midwifery ProgramNurses can complete a Nurse-Midwifery program at the College of Medicine in Chicago, available both online and on campus.

      Various alternatives are available, including a BA/BA to RN and a CNM/Graduate option.
      University of Michigan (MS, Postgraduate Certificate) Ann Arbor, MINurse Midwife ProgramThe University of Michigan’s Nurse Midwife Program prepares nurses to care for healthy infants and gynecologic care for women throughout their lives.

      Classes are held majorly on campus.

      However, some web-based courses are also accessible.

      There are four options in the program: AD RN to CNM, BA/BS to RN/CNM, Master’s Completion, and Post Graduate Certificate.
      Vanderbilt University (MSN, Post Graduate Certificate)Nashville, TNNurse-Midwifery ProgramRanked by the U.S. News and World Report, Vanderbilt University’s Nurse-Midwifery school is the best, with one of the largest nurse-midwifery faculty practices.

      Coursework is delivered in a hybrid fashion, particularly as students advance through their specialized year.

      There are four options in the program: AD RN to CNM, BA/BS to RN/CNM, Master’s Completion, and Post Graduate Certificate.
      Wayne State University (MSN, DNP, Post Graduate Certificate) Detroit, MINurse-Midwifery OptionThe Midwifery program at WSU College of Nursing prepares nurses to care for women’s health, family planning, gynecologic needs, pregnancy, labor, postpartum, and newborn care.

      The curriculum is delivered in a hybrid approach, combining remote learning and on-site classes.

      In addition, the ACME-accredited NMW program offers a variety of alternatives, including an AD RN to CNM program, a BA/BS to RN/CNM program, and a Post Graduate Certificate program.

      Choosing the right programs

      When choosing an RN to CNM program, there are numerous aspects to consider, but finding the appropriate fit is not impossible. 

      Therefore, it’s essential to note some details during your search to ensure that your chosen school and program are worthy of your time and money:


      A reputable nurse-midwifery program will be accredited by local, regional, and national accrediting bodies. 

      The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are some of the organizations to seek. 

      In addition, the American College of Nurse-Midwives maintains a list of ACME-accredited midwifery programs.

      The cost of the program

      Tuition prices for most certified nurse midwife programs are shown by credit. 

      Nurse-Midwifery students enrolling in a Master of Science in Nursing or DNP program should pay between $500 and $700 per credit, though this might vary depending on the school and location. 

      DNP programs demand more credits than MSN programs, resulting in higher tuition costs. 

      Students should also consider the cost of study materials, transportation, and other necessary expenses and tuition.

      Length of Nursing Program

      Most MSN-level Nurse-Midwifery programs require 50-60 credits and take about 2-3 years to complete, whether you study full-time or part-time. 

      DNP-level programs take three to four years to complete and require roughly 75 credits to graduate.

      Opportunities for Internships and Externships

      Residency programs and other hands-on training can be an important element of a Nurse Midwife’s preparation to obtain experience. 

      Most institutions can assist students in finding internships and externships. 

      In addition, students can look for them on their own at hospitals or midwifery clinics like the East Hawaii Midwife Service, which has a range of internship opportunities.

      Options for Online/Campus Education

      Many institutions provide both online and campus-based Nurse Midwife programs to address the needs of busy students. 

      Some colleges will even offer a “hybrid” program, allowing students to take many classes online while still attending lectures and laboratories in the classroom.


      Nurse-Midwifery, a particularly satisfying branch of nursing, has increased in popularity in recent decades, resulting in certified Nurse-Midwife schools. 

      In addition, RNs interested in women’s health, reproductive medicine, or labor and delivery can speed up their CNM training by enrolling in an accelerated CNM program.



      Top RN-to-CNM Programs

      Choosing the right RN to CNM Program

      CNM Program Types

      Nurse Beth

      Nurse Beth, Registered nurse (RN). Has more than 10 years of experience helping people get started in their nursing careers. She is an expert and helping people pass their CNA, NCLEX RN, NCLEX PN, HESI A2, and TEAS exams.

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