How to Choose a CNM Degree

Are you considering to become a certified nurse midwife (CNM)? This is one of the most in demand advanced practice nursing professions in the US today. A CNM is a highly trained advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has two or three years of graduate education beyond her bachelor’s in nursing degree.

A certified nurse midwife enter this career by earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), with a specialty in nurse midwifery.

The typical nurse midwifery MSN program will take two years to complete beyond a bachelor’s degree. Also, you will need to complete your clinical rotation that usually consists of 500-750 supervised hours. After you finish your program, you will need to sit for the national certification examination that is given by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

If you have set your mind to becoming a CNM, you will need to make decisions about these two questions:

As you are thinking about getting your MSN degree as a CNS, you need to consider the following factors:

  • Where will you go to school?
  • Will you take an online MSN program or on campus program?

As with all advanced nursing practice roles, a certified nurse midwife possesses highly specialized skills and knowledge that makes them one of the top nurses in the profession. Job duties include:

  • Provide comprehensive health care services to women focused on family planning, gynecological exams and pre- and post-natal care.
  • Deliver babies and manage any emergency situations in labor
  • Provide assistance to doctors in some births
  • Acts as the primary care providers for women and newborns
  • Provide wellness care to women and their children

CNMs also earn a good salary, with $90,000 being typical. with a typical salary of approximately $90,000.  You also will not have to worry about lack of job demand, as jobs for all advanced practice nurses will increase by 31% by 2024.

If this nursing career path sounds attractive, you will need to choose from many available CNM programs that are available today. Hopefully, this website will help you make an informed educational decision.

How to Select Your MSN and CNM Program

You will first need to decide if you want to earn your Master of Science in Nursing in an online program or on campus. Many busy working professionals prefer to earn their graduate degree online so that they can more easily attend classes on their own schedule.

For example, the University of Cincinnati in OH offers a CNM degree program that is mostly online. The curriculum in this accredited MSN program includes:

  • Biostatistics for Evidence Based Practice
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Reproductive Dynamics
  • Health Care Policy
  • Clinical Reasoning Theory
  • Research and Best Evidence for Clinical Reasoning
  • Pharmacology for APRNs
  • Illness Assessment in Women
  • Conceptual Frameworks for CNMs
  • Nurse Midwifery Practicum

Another excellent online program in nurse midwifery is offered by the George Washington University. This program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). While most classes can be done online, there are on campus sessions for skills training in nurse midwifery as well as for clinical practica. You can earn your degree in two years full time or three years part time.

Courses required in this CNM program are:

  • Concepts in Population Health
  • Primary Care of Women
  • Midwifery Practicum
  • Comprehensive Perinatal Care
  • Integrated Midwifery Internship
  • Evidence Based Practice Project
  • Advanced CNM Role Development
  • Physiology and Pathophysiology

If you decide to take advantage of earning your degree online, keep in mind that it is not any easier than the campus program. Some students may find that the self discipline and rigorous independent study is daunting. However, with a lot of hard work, most online university students studying to become a CNM will earn their degree in two or three years.

The Importance Of Accreditation

It is important that your online or on campus CNM program be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

CCNE and ACEN have been deemed by the US Department of Education as the premier accreditation agencies in nursing. Read more here about the standards of these organizations for accrediting MSN programs.

Next, be sure that the university is accredited by one of the regional accreditation associations that have been recognized by the US Dept. of Education:

MSN Bridge Programs

Earning an advanced degree takes a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, there are bridge programs available for earning your MSN degree and becoming a CNM.

  • RN to MSN: This is for a working nurse professional who earned her RN designation with an associate’s degree or RN diploma. While you can earn your BSN and then your MSN, this would take at least six years. If you attend an RN to MSN bridge program, you may be able to earn your MSN degree in four or five years, as well as cover the material that is in the bachelor’s program. The George Washington University offers an online RN to MSN bridge program for midwifery.
  • BSN to MSN direct entry: Some professionals have spent years working in another field and decide later to become a registered nurse. Most of them have a bachelor’s degree in that field. Rather than earning the BSN and MSN back to back and taking six years, this type of bridge program allows you to earn the MSN in four or five years. The first part of the program will cover all of the basics of nursing that is taught in the bachelor’s program. The University of Pennsylvania offers a BSN to MSN direct entry program for nurse midwifery.

These MSN bridge programs offer fast track options for both experienced nurses and professionals coming into nursing from another field.


Earning an MSN degree focused nurse midwifery will put you in a growing career field with a high salary potential. Use our website to learn more about this field and to choose the best MSN program for your needs.