How to Get a Nurse Midwife MSN Degree?

This article will describe how you can obtain your nurse midwifery degree, which is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a nurse midwife speciality. We will tell you about the criteria that you should consider as you evaluate various midwifery degree programs. Lastly, we will offer our recommendation for a quality, online nurse midwife degree.

What Is a Nurse Midwife Degree?

A nurse midwife degree is a Master of Science in Nursing that is given to registered nurses who have learned the skills and knowledge needed to care for pregnant women and their children – during and after pregnancy.

Just like other nurses, nurse midwives are licensed nurses, but they have obtained additional training in their degree program so that they can care for pregnant women, newborns and fetuses. In a nurse midwifery degree program, you will learn to do much of what obstetric nurses do, but you will learn a more holistic way of thinking regarding women’s health, pregnancy and childbirth.

In your degree program, you will learn how to care for expecting mothers during pregnancy, and also when the child is being born. The main things that you will learn will center around making certain that mother and child are healthy. You also may provide assistance to women who are not having children.

Among the most critical skills you will have drilled into you in your MSN program is to examine and assess the patient correctly. You will, for example, be doing pelvic examinations and will learn how to do various prenatal tests. Many of the testing skills you develop are very important because they can pinpoint potential problems in the pregnancy. You also will be providing much of the prenatal care for your patients, and will be doing regular checkups, ordering of ultrasounds and counseling mothers on the best diet and exercise programs.

Typical Nurse Midwife Degree Curriculum

For example, at the University of California San Francisco, their MSN program in nurse midwifery includes all clinical and theoretical preparation that is needed for those beginning in the profession. It also provides skills in primary care, sensitivity to race, gender and culture issues as they can affect women’s health.

The core of the UCSF program focuses on health assessment of the woman and newborn. The first quarter has rotations in antepartum departments, and also courses on antepartum physiology and care of the mother and fetus. The next quarter stresses physiology and care of the fetus during the pregnancy and the newborn right after delivery.

Clinical rotations consist of one on call rotation each week and also regular attendance at antepartum clinics. In the spring term, the core of the program focuses on the care of women in family planning and gynecology. You also will learn how to care for a healthy newborn. Students also learn primary care skills so that they can care for all primary care needs of women; this includes health assessment, health promotion and disease prevention.

Why Earn a Nurse Midwifery Degree?

The healthcare profession is expanding at a very rapid clip for the next decade and more. It is expected that there will be a 19% increase in healthcare jobs by 2024.

This very rapid increase in jobs is occurring largely because of increase in demand, more older people living longer, and also a strong focus to reduce costs. Advanced nursing practice professionals, which include nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, can provide most of the same services as physicians but at a lower price point. Thus, there is a soaring demand for all advanced nursing practice nurses.

This fact is borne out in the data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment for all APRNs will increase by a huge 31% by 2024. Nurse midwives are going to experience demand of 25%. Therefore, virtually every certified nurse midwife will have plenty of jobs to choose from.

Pay for advanced nursing practice nurses is also excellent, with a median of $107,460, and a median for nurse midwives at an impressive $99,770 per year.

It also is worth mentioning that becoming an advanced practice nurse today provides you with a great level of respect and credibility. Nurse midwives and nurse practitioners are very important in the healthcare profession today and are held in very high esteem. This is very much a step up from a regular registered nurse position.

Online – MSN Nurse Midwife Degree Options

The University of Cincinnati offers a respected and accredited nurse midwife degree.

This program features the following courses:

  • Biostatistics for Evidence Based Practice: You will understand how to apply biostatistics to nursing and generally evidence based practice. There is focus placed upon interpreting and appraising data for using evidence to make the best practical nursing conclusions regarding empirical data.
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology: This class will build upon your basic knowledge of physiology and anatomy in humans, and will provide a highly detailed look at molecular physiology. There is an emphasis upon basic and translational research in molecular, organ and biochemical system function.
  • Advanced Reproductive Dynamics: Looks at the physiological and anatomical basis for reproductive health care and advanced nursing practice. It includes a study of genetics and endocrinology in males, females, fetuses and neonates.
  • Health Care Policy: Explores economical, political, ethical and social forces that affect the decision making of health care.
  • Theoretical Basis for Clinical Reasoning: Studies the theoretical underpinnings of nursing evidence based practice. Stress is on the application of many theories from nursing and providing high quality health care.

After you have earned your MSN in nurse midwifery, you will be eligible to take the American Midwifery Certification Board examination so that you may become a certified nurse midwife or CNM.

The University of Cincinnati for 2016 had a 95% pass rate for first time test takers. Repeat takers had a 100% pass rate; three year pass rate for first time takers was 90%. Also, 99% of students who start the nurse midwife speciality courses complete the entire program.

This program has been accredited by the ACME, or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.


Accreditation is a very important part of earning your master of science in nursing, and in midwifery. It is important because you need to be sure that your education is of high quality; after all, you will be spending a lot of money and at least two years on your education. You will want to be certain that it is worth it.

You should verify that your nurse midwife degree has been accredited by a respected educational accreditation body. That way, you are sure that your degree is of good quality and that your employer and potential employer will have respect and appreciation of your education.

The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education or ACME is the most important accreditation agency in the field of nurse midwifery.


Becoming a certified nurse midwife is an excellent long term career goal for the experienced registered nurse. The high level of job demand for advanced practice nurses will not abate in the near future, and you will be able to take advantage of this fact with your master of science in nursing in this booming field.