Midwives or nurse midwives provide primary or secondary healthcare and coordinate patient care. Their scope of practice differs from state to state.
If you are thinking of becoming a midwife then follow the following steps.
What Does a Midwife Do?
Midwives specialize in women’s health related issues from adolescence to menopause. They are expected to perform the following duties:
Coordinating all aspects of childbirth process
Providing assistance to women during childbirth
Expertise in newborn, prenatal and postnatal care
Examining patients for sexually transmitted diseases
Practicing breast and gynecological exams
Helping patients in family planning
Observing patients’ response to the medicines
Counseling patients to follow a healthy lifestyle
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Become a Midwife
Following steps highlight the procedure to become a midwife.
The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) offers two kinds of certifications- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) or Certified Midwife (CM). The CNM path requires the applicant to be a registered nurse first. Their training involves taking courses like biology, chemistry, human anatomy and nutrition. It may also incorporate clinicals for the purpose of on-the-job training. Those who want to be a CM, need to obtain their Bachelor’s degree. Both of these paths require students to take the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) exam. ACNM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
There is another certificate option known as the Certified Professional (CPE) which is obtained through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).
Bachelor’s Degree and Apprenticeships
Those who want to become a CM have to obtain their Bachelor’s degree. Even though there are no specific major requirements, candidates are recommended to take midwife related courses like nursing.
NARM provides certificates to those who have assisted a number of child birth performing primary duties of a midwife. Their training involves newborn care, prenatal care, postnatal care and continuity of care.
Midwife Education Program
Candidates who want to obtain an AMCB certificate as a CNM or CM have to complete their graduate degree in midwifery which is accredited by the ACME. Midwifery programs help them to polish their skills, clinically and academically. Most of these programs last for two years. NARM also certifies candidates who graduate from a Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) accredited program.
Candidates who are licensed obtain AMCB’s CNM certification after the completion of their midwifery program. After completing the ACME approved program, CM candidates are eligible to appear for AMCB exam. CPM candidates can appear for the AMCB exam after completing their MAEC approved program.
CM and CNM are required to participate in Certified Maintenance Program organized by AMBC. It lasts for five years and requires professionals to take 20 CUEs and completing three self-learning modules or retaking the certification exam and taking 20 CUEs to get their certificates renewed. CPMs follow a three-year cycle and are expected to complete 30 CUEs along with finishing an extra 2.5 CUEs or retaking the exam.
How Much Does a Midwife Earn in the US?
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of Nurse Midwives was $108,810 in 2019. The highest paying states in terms of annual mean salary were California with $154,500, Minnesota paying $121,980 and New York paying $120,380.