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How many years does it take to become a Certified Nurse Midwife?

My main question is how many years of schooling are required to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. I'm overwhelmed with all the research I've been doing about schooling and I just need straightforward answers. I want to do the least amount of schooling possible in order to become a CNM. I'm also curious what courses or classes I would have to take in college in order to reach my goal. #nursing #college #midwife

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Sue’s Answer


Unfortunately, there are no short cuts to becoming a CNM. The research you are doing is important so that you have all of the necessary information needed to make an informed choice about this career field, where you go to school and where you want to practice. Each state has different regulations you need to be aware of. It might be best to decide where (the state(s)) you want to work in when you are done and research the requirements for those states.

It can take at least eight years to become a CNM: four years for a bachelor’s degree, one year of nursing experience, and three years in a nurse midwifery program. Certified nurse midwives have master’s degrees in nurse midwifery, and to enter a nurse midwifery program, one must typically have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and some experience working as a registered nurse. Certified nurse midwifes are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), a category that requires nurses to hold a graduate degree. Course work includes clinical training and courses in anatomy, nursing, chemistry, and microbiology, among others.

Good luck to you.


Thank you comment icon This information is helpful GAD MPAYIMANA
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M. Cristina’s Answer

Sue's answer is on point; that's the nature of the industry. Becoming a Nurse Midwife is a lengthy process, as you'll need an advanced degree in order to begin practicing. If the length of time in school is a deciding factor, you can also consider being a Labor and Delivery Nurse, which also requires becoming an RN but doesn't necessarily require additional schooling beyond the BSN, though it would be helpful to get a certification that focuses on Obstetrics because L&D is very competitive.

M. Cristina recommends the following next steps:

Obtain a BSN or ABSN (typically 4 years)
Gain relevant work experience (at least 1 year)
Apply to an advanced nursing degree program
Complete advanced nursing program (2-3 years, depending)
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Tonya’s Answer

For my journey to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, I did 4 years for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) + 3 years for my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) (part-time in school) = 7 years. You could complete the BSN and MSN sooner if you complete an accelerated program. I also worked for apx 1.5-2 years before returning for my MSN.

I cannot tell if your need to complete quickly is because you are excited to start as a midwife, cost of the education to become a midwife, or other reasons. There are other options. I will provide a description of the three midwifery paths.

You could become a certified nurse midwife (CNM), Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), or a Certified Midwife (CM). The difference is in the educational background of the person. A CNM has achieved a nursing degree. A CM has education/a degree in a healthcare field such as public health or community health (or other healthcare field). Then a CPM enters directly into a midwifery program. To learn more about the different types, you can visit the Midwives Alliance of North America (2021) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (2021). The links for the websites are listed in the reference section of my answer. The CPM and CM could take less time. Please note, the CNM can provide more career opportunities.

All the best as you decide. Remember, you are caring for the lives of others. And in becoming a nurse, nurses are considered the most trusted profession. The time to study is worth the responsibility we hold to provide safe and quality patient care to a diverse population and inclusion of so many in the US. And, you may decide to care for patients around the world (World Health Organization, 2020).


Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (2021). Search ACEN Accredited Nursing Programs

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2021). CCNE Accredited Programs.

American College of Nurse-Midwives (2021). Home.

American College of Nurse-Midwives (2011). Definition of Midwifery and Scope of Practice of Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Midwives.

Midwives Alliance North America (2021). Home.

International Confederation of Midwives (2021). Home.

U.S. News and World Report (2021) Find the best nursing schools.

World Health Organization (2021). Year of the Nurse and the Midwife 2020.