Salary Guide for Certified Nurse Midwives

midwife listening to heart of smiling baby
midwife smiling with newborn infant

As highly qualified healthcare providers with sought-after skills, certified nurse midwives (CNMs) enjoy expansive opportunities for advancement. They also are among the most highly paid nurses, earning an average annual salary of $112,830, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nurse midwives are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), a category that also includes nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and other highly educated nurses. While their work can differ substantially, they all are generally well compensated.

Here’s a look at how nurse midwife salaries stack up against pay for other APRNs and healthcare professionals with similar education and training.

Salary Comparison for Midwives and Other Healthcare Providers

Career Median Annual Salary
Nurse Midwives $112,830
Physician Assistants $121,530
Nurse Practitioners $120,680
Nurse Anesthetists $195,610
Physical Therapists $95,620

Earning Potential

The BLS reports that certified nurse midwives in the bottom 10% of earners receive $61,500 annually, while those in the top 10% make $166,170. Your earning potential will depend on several factors, including work hours and conditions and daily responsibilities.

Your earning potential will depend on several factors, where you work and live, work hours and conditions, and daily responsibilities.

Where you work can make a significant difference in your salary as well. According to the BLS, these are the top five places to work by salary if you’re a CNM.

Place of Employment


Government agencies


Outpatient care centers


Physicians’ offices


General medical, and surgical hospitals


Colleges, universities, and professional schools


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Where you live can have an even bigger impact on your pay. According to the BLS, certified nurse midwife salaries in the top metro areas are all above the national average.

Metro Area Median Annual Salary
Charleston, WV $167,310
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $166,730
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $166,730
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $166,170
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $131,000
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $129,820
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH $128,700
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO $128,690
Tucson, AZ $128,190
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $127,970

Demand for Nurse Midwives

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) reports that certified nurse midwives attended 372,991 U.S. births in 2020.

Demand for nurse midwives is expected to increase, partly because they serve as primary caregivers for some women. The continued national shortage of general, family practice, and primary care physicians also is driving demand.

Job Growth in the Field

Job growth for certified nurse midwives is strong—11% through 2030, according to the BLS.

In addition to demand, a career as a nurse midwife or in other APRN specialties can be attractive because these nurses practice with a high degree of responsibility and autonomy. That’s largely because the federal government defines APRNs as primary care providers, a designation that allows them to perform many of the same tasks as physicians, including:

  • Writing prescriptions
  • Ordering tests
  • Diagnosing health issues
  • Creating treatment plans

In addition to demand, a career as a midwife can be attractive because they practice with a high degree of responsibility and autonomy.

Competition for Jobs

Where you work can play a big role in the competition for CNM positions.

Nurse midwives are less likely to face competition in a hospital setting, where turnover can be high due to irregular hours and other factors. On the other hand, midwives might find more competition if they want to work in a physician’s office, where regular hours are the norm and conditions are generally better.

Whether a job is in a city or a rural community can also affect competition because it’s generally harder for rural areas to recruit healthcare workers.   

Advancing Your Career

Certified nurse midwives must earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to practice. Those who want to move ahead might consider pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

A doctorate can open the door to leadership and nurse manager roles in hospitals and clinics and prepare CNMs for university teaching roles or work in public policy.

malia jacobson

Written and reported by:

Malia Jacobson

Contributing Writer