Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) receive training as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) specializing in healthcare services for women. CNMs provide primary and gynecological treatment; pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care; and newborn care during the first month of life.
In response to the demand for APRNs licensed as CNMs, many schools have developed online midwifery programs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 16% increase in nurse-midwife positions between 2018-28. Nurse practitioners enjoy competitive salaries, earning a median annual income of $105,030.
Until recently, most nurse-midwives entered the field after earning a master's in advanced practice nursing. However, the level of expected academic preparation for APRNs has shifted to the doctor of nursing practice (DNP). The length of time needed to complete midwifery school online ranges from one to four years, depending on program requirements and a student's educational background.
Online midwifery programs vary in length based on the type of program, the level of nursing education applicants already possess when they start the program, and whether they choose full- or part-time study. A BSN-to-DNP or an RN-to-DNP program may require up to four years of full-time study, while an MSN-to-DNP may be finished in one to two years.
How much do nurse-midwives make?
According to the BLS, CNMs earn a mean annual salary of $108,810, significantly higher than the average salary for RNs at $72,180. However, nurse-midwives' earning potential varies considerably across geographic locations, type of employer, position responsibilities, and years of work experience. Average yearly income ranges from $69,000 to over $158,000 for the top 10% of earners.
What does a certified nurse-midwife do?
Employed in a variety of settings, including hospitals and medical centers, physician offices, and private practice, CNMs provide primary and secondary healthcare for women, typically in the areas of prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and aftercare. They prescribe medication, offer counseling and education, and sometimes treat male patients for sexually transmitted diseases.
Are certified nurse-midwives in demand?
Like other advanced practice registered nurses, career projections for graduates of CNM programs remain strong, much higher than the average for all other occupations. Employment opportunities have expanded in heavily populated urban centers and in medically underserved areas. The demand for CNMs reflects a growing trend among women for increased control over their personal healthcare decisions.
Affordable CNM Programs Methodology
In 2017 and 2018, NursePractitionerSchools.com compiled a database of over 640 online APRN programs across all specializations and degree-levels, including MSNs, DNPs, and post-master's certificates.
To qualify as "online," it had to require fewer than ten campus visits throughout the entire degree program. Affordability estimates are based on the total (not annual) tuition for out-of-state students, and additional fees may apply. Since these figures are based on the cost of the entire program, BSN-to-MSN and MSN-to-DNP programs are generally favored simply for their shorter duration (and fewer required credits) relative to BSN-to-DNP programs. That said, many schools accommodate multiple points of academic entry and offer various degree pathways.
NursePractitionerSchools.com took great care to ensure the accuracy of all program data, but tuition figures and the availability of programs are subject to change. Prospective CNM students are encouraged to reach out to program coordinators directly for the most recent cost assessments and other information.
The table below includes the most affordable MSN and DNP nurse-midwifery programs offered online. It does not include post-master's NP certificate programs since the cost of such programs tends to vary, based on applicability of prior coursework and clinical work to the new specialization. Please contact us to add programs or correct published details.
Best Online Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) Programs
Old Dominion University
This public university in Virginia offers master's and doctoral degrees in nurse-midwifery online and in a hybrid format. Administered jointly with Shenandoah University, the 47-credit MSN in nurse-midwifery program requires full-time attendance. Students take the first year of advanced practice nursing coursework online through ODU, followed by a second year of midwifery-specific classes and clinical experience through Shenandoah. Graduates receive their MSN from ODU and their CNM certification from Shenandoah.
ODU also offers a 36-credit hour DNP designed for post-master's APRNs, including nurse-midwives. DNP students take most courses online but must attend in-person weekend residencies once each semester at the university's Virginia Beach center. The DNP may be completed by full-time students in four semesters, and part-time learners in seven semesters.
Nationally recognized for its graduate programs, ODU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's nursing programs hold accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Texas Tech University
Located in the South Plains city of Lubbock, Texas Tech enrolls over 38,000 students in 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. The university's School of Nursing offers a 51-credit MSN nurse-midwifery track. Online or web-enhanced face-to-face coursework is supplemented with an on-campus student orientation program and an advanced skills and health assessment practicum. The master's program accommodates full- and part-time students in two, two and one-half, and three-year degree plans.
Texas Tech also offers an online post-master's nurse-midwifery certificate for MSN-holders. This 39-credit program admits candidates who have completed at least one year of labor and delivery experience or comparable obstetrics experience within five years of their enrollment. Graduates of the post-master's track qualify to take the American Midwifery Certification Board exam.
Texas Tech's School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the midwifery programs hold full accreditation from by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.
Frontier Nursing University
FNU established the nation's first distance education midwifery program in 1989. This Kentucky-based private institution's academic offerings reflect its mission to care for women and families, with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations.
The school's community-based nurse-midwifery programs offer three degree pathways for RNs, nurse practitioners, and nurse-midwives, respectively: a 64-credit MSN, a postgraduate certificate program that leads to the CNM credential, or a 30-credit DNP. Both the MSN and the postgraduate certificate programs give students the opportunity for direct admission into the DNP, completing an additional 21 credits to receive their doctorate.
While all coursework for nurse-midwifery programs is delivered entirely online, candidates must attend two on-campus meetings. Students may complete their clinical practicum hours in their home communities.
FNU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The nurse-midwife programs online hold accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, this interdenominational Christian university awards degrees in over 100 areas, including a master of science in nurse-midwifery.
This 57-credit program uses an online, cohort-based format in which groups of students progress through the program together. Most distance learners take 2-3 years to graduate, completing on-campus intensives, clinical experiences, and a master's project. Classes like antepartal care, intrapartum and postpartum care, and newborn care prepare graduates to sit for the American Midwifery Certification exam. Due to the program's rigorous pace, students should not work full time while enrolled.
Bethel also offers a DNP with post-master's and postbaccalaureate tracks. This mostly online degree, which requires only two years to complete, features flexible start dates in the fall and spring semesters and a one-week in-person intensive.
The midwifery program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Bethel holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
East Carolina University
ECU's nurse-midwife programs include a 53-credit MSN and a post-master's certificate in midwifery, both of which prepare students for certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. The MSN uses a hybrid format, requiring up to four days of on-campus attendance at the school's Greenville, North Carolina location at the beginning of each clinical course. Distance learners may fulfill their practicum experiences at clinical sites near their homes.
Admission requirements include a BSN from an accredited school and an RN license. Applicants without experience in labor and delivery or women's health can gain admittance to the program but may need to complete further training.
Part of the University of North Carolina system, ECU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's College of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The Accreditation Commission of Midwifery Education has accredited the nurse-midwifery program.
The George Washington University
As the largest higher learning institution in the nation's capital. GW enrolls over 28,000 students. Designed for working nurses, the School of Nursing's MSN nurse-midwifery concentration provides a three-year part-time plan of study and a two-year full-time option focused on evidence-based practice in women's healthcare.
This 47-credit master's, offered in partnership with Virginia-based Shenandoah University, awards an MSN through GW and a postgraduate certification through Shenandoah. The format blends distance learning with campus residencies. The campus-based components include an intensive in health assessment and diagnostic reasoning.
Fall and spring training sessions in the final year take place at the Shenandoah campus and focus on antepartal, prenatal, and perinatal care. Students may complete required clinical hours in their local communities.
The university holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits GW's School of Nursing. The master's in nurse-midwifery holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.
University of Cincinnati
Located in Ohio's largest metropolitan area, UC offers some of the nation's top-ranked online nursing programs. The online MSN in nurse-midwifery prepares graduates to seek the CNM credential.
Designed for RNs who want to specialize in women's reproductive health, the program admits applicants every semester throughout the academic year. Applicants must hold a BSN and demonstrate prior experience in women's healthcare and/or labor and delivery.
Distance learners typically complete all 57 credits, including 782 clinical hours, 42 lab hours, and two campus-based intensives within two years. The curriculum covers biostatistics for evidence-based practice, advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and primary care for women, alongside an emphasis on antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and newborn care.
Established in 1819, this 200 year-old public research institution holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The School of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
The nation's oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, Georgetown enrolls over 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students in nine schools and colleges. Based in Washington, D.C., this highly selective private research institution offers a top-ranked online MS in nursing with a dual nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner focus.
Designed for part-time students, the 49-credit NM/WHNP degree combines asynchronous didactic content, synchronous courses, and three in-person campus intensives. The broadly-focused curriculum encompasses obstetrical and gynecological care during childbearing years, prenatal and newborn care, and primary care for women throughout the lifespan.
Graduates typically complete the degree in 27 months and may sit for the American Midwifery Certification Board exam leading to the CNM designation and the National Credentialing Certification Corporation exam for the women's health nurse practitioner (WHNP) certificate.
The NM/WHMP program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Georgetown is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.