Salary and Job Outlook for Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs)

Certified nurse midwives can expect competitive pay and strong job prospects as highly trained nurses.

midwife listening to heart of smiling baby
midwife listening to heart of smiling baby

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 $111,130, 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 anesthetist

$183,580

Physician assistant

$115,390

Nurse practitioner

$111,840

Nurse midwife

$111,130

Physical therapist

$91,010

Speech-language pathologist

$79,120

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020

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Earning Potential

The BLS reports that certified nurse midwives in the bottom 10% of earners receive $67,710 annually, while those in the top 10% make $179,770. 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

Salary


Local government agencies

$158,210

Outpatient care centers

$142,010

Physicians’ offices

$116,440

General medical, and surgical hospitals

$111,420

Colleges, universities, and professional schools

$107,130

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020

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

Top-Paying States

Salary


California

$159,590

Utah

$133,680

Mississippi

$127,960

New York

$125,780

Minnesota

$123,600

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020

Demand for Nurse Midwives

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) reports that certified nurse midwives attended 9.1% of U.S. births in 2017, the most recent data available from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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.

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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