How to Become a Nursing Midwife: Career Advice & Information

Overview & Salaries


Nurse midwives provide healthcare to pregnant women, helping them through the process of pregnancy and childbirth. They offer care during pregnancy and take patient histories, perform physical examinations and pap smears, and check on the health of the fetus. Nurse midwives can deliver a baby naturally or assist in a surgical delivery. And through the whole process, they provide guidance and care. Nurse midwives are experts in the childbirth process and develop excellent patient care skills.

If a pregnancy is not high-risk, a midwife may be the primary healthcare provider; otherwise, a nurse midwife may be supervised by an obstetrician-gynecologist.


Annual salaries for nurse midwives will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2012, the average annual salary for nurse midwives working in the U.S. was $92,230 per year.

For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for nurse midwives, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.

Discover the Best Cities and States to Work as a Nurse Midwife

Indiana leads the nation in employment for nurse midwives, with 660 nurse midwives earning an average annual wage of $82,050. New York State is second in the nation, with 490 nurse midwives making an average salary of $97,750.

The metro areas employing the most nurse midwives are:

  • Indianapolis (330)
  • New York-White Plains (290)
  • Atlanta (160)

The metro areas employing the highest concentration of nurse midwives are:

  • Indianapolis (0.36 jobs per thousand)
  • Lexington, KY (0.19 jobs per thousand)

The metro areas employing the best-paid nurse midwives are:

  • Oakland, CA (annual average salary $129,390)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach (annual average salary $122,580)

Employment and Salary Information for Nurse Midwives

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as a nurse midwife. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Nursing Midwife

Why Become A Nurse Midwife?

If you are passionate about childbirth and caring for mothers and children, then there are compelling reasons so consider becoming a nurse midwife. Here are a few of those reasons:

  • Extraordinary job growth. Healthcare is a growing field, and between 2012 and 2022, the number of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow by 31%—a huge amount, and much faster than the average job.
  • Incredibly important work. Not everyone can say that helping to bring children into the world is their job.
  • Happy moments in healthcare. It may sound obvious, but most people who enter the healthcare system don’t want to be there. But as a nurse midwife you’ll be working closely with pregnant women and their partners, who are generally experiencing some of the most exciting events in their lives.
  • Pays well. It’s a high-skill position and it pays as such, with an average annual salary of $92,230.
  • Newborn babies are adorable. Not the best reason, but a

Nurse Midwifery: What You Need To Know

Pregnancy is an exciting but potentially anxious time for anyone expecting a child. Nurse midwives need to be knowledgeable about pregnancy and childbirth, but also able to communicate that knowledge clearly and sensitively. A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.

  • Knowledge of Reproductive Healthcare
  • Clinical and Nursing Skills
  • Natural and Surgical Delivery Procedures
  • Patient Care
  • Communication

Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about nurse midwifery careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.

Degree Options for Nurse Midwifery Careers

Nurse midwives need a master’s degree in their area of specialization. Many colleges offer master’s programs, some online. Coursework usually includes pharmacology, pathophysiology, health care ethics, reproductive healthcare for women, and labor and delivery care.

Before joining a master’s program, however, aspiring nurse midwives must have a registered nursing degree, which usually takes up to four years.

Nearly every state in the U.S. recognizes all of the roles of the nurse midwife, though some will require individuals to have a nursing license, complete an approved graduate-level program, and pass a certification exam.