Top Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Programs

7 Min Read Published November 7, 2023
Best CNM programs 2024 | Nurse.org

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is an advanced practice registered nursing role projected to grow by nearly 29,200 new jobs per year in the coming decade (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). CNMs can earn over six figures and have flexibility in their practice field, making the role enticing to nurses who wish to advance their careers.

However, becoming a CNM requires a higher education. Nurses who advance to midwifery attend CNM programs to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. If you're considering becoming a CNM, you'll want to find the best programs in the nation. 

This article explores the top 10 CNM programs in the United States and other important factors you should know before attending midwifery school. Keep reading to find the right CNM program for your needs!

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife  >> Certified Nurse Midwife Salary >> Midwife vs Nurse Midwife >>

 

Fast Facts about Certified Nurse Midwife Programs

Salary CNMS earn a median annual wage of $120,880 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Program length Two years full-time or three years part-time
Requirements
  • RN license
  • GRE
  • Bachelor's Degree

Top 10 Certified Nurse Midwife Programs 2024

Nurse.org has compiled a list of some of the best online and in-person CNM programs for 2024. This list considers numerous factors, including location, graduation rate, cost, credit hours, and more. Read about our program ranking methodology here

1. Baylor University

  • Admissions: June 15th
  • Degree Awarded: DNP
  • Program Length: 75 credit hours and 1,125 clinical hours
  • Location: Online with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: $1,100 per credit hour
  • Accreditation:
    • Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME)
    • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 888-227-5901
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: admissions@onlinenursing.baylor.edu

2. Columbia University

  • Admissions: January 31st
  • Degree Awarded: DNP
  • Program Length: 6 semesters, 88 credit hours
  • Location: Hybrid online with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: $2,240 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 212-305-5756
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: nursing@cumc.columbia.edu

3. Vanderbilt University

  • Admissions: October 15th
  • Degree Awarded: MSN
  • Program Length: 4 semesters, 52 credit hours 
  • Location: Hybrid online with in-person classes and clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: $1,939 per credit hour
  • Accreditation:
    • ACME
    • CCNE
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 1-888-333-9192
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: vusn-admissions@vanderbilt.edu

4. University of California - San Francisco

  • Admissions: April 1st
  • Degree Awarded: MSN
  • Program Length: 2 years; 85 credit hours, including a 10-week clinical rotation
  • Location: Hybrid with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: $12,264 per year
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 415-476-1435
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: nursingadmissionssupport@ucsf.edu

5. Emory University

  • Admissions: August 1st (spring start); September 1st (fall start)
  • Degree Awarded: MSN
  • Program Length: 50-51 credit hours and 620-680 clinical hours
  • Location: Hybrid with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: $24,259 per semester
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 404-727-7980
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: nursingquestions@emory.edu

6. University of Washington

  • Admissions:
    • Fall start: May 1st
    • Spring start: January 15th
    • Winter start: October 15th
  • Degree Awarded: DNP
  • Program Length: 3 years
  • Location: Hybrid with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: Resident - $18,057 per academic year; Non-resident - $31,530 per academic year
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 206-543-8736
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: asknursing@uw.edu

7. Oregon Health and Science University

  • Admissions: February 20th (fall start)
  • Degree Awarded: DNP
  • Program Length: 3 years; 116 credit & 1000 clinical hours
  • Location: Hybrid with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: Resident - $8,688.69 per quarter; Non-resident - $10,497.69 per quarter
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 503-494-7725 or 866-223-1811
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: proginfo@ohsu.edu

8. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

  • Admissions: March 15th
  • Degree Awarded: MSN or DNP
  • Program Length:
    • MSN: 2-3 years; 48 credit hours  
    • DNP: 3-4 years; 73 credit hours
  • Location: Hybrid online with in-person classes and clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: Resident - $13,347 per academic year; Non-resident - $26,891 per academic year
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 734-763-5985
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: UMSN-GradAdmissions@med.umich.edu

9. Yale University

  • Admissions: November 1st
  • Degree Awarded: MSN
  • Program Length: 60 credit hours and 1,024 clinical hours
  • Location: On-campus (classes) and on-site (clinical hours)
  • CNM Program Cost: $48,056 per academic year
  • Accreditation: ACME & CCNE
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 203-785-2389
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: ysnadmissions@yale.edu

10. East Carolina University

  • Admissions: September 15th (spring start)
  • Degree Awarded: MSN
  • Program Length: 2 years; 53 credit hours
  • Location: Hybrid online with in-person clinical experience
  • CNM Program Cost: In-state - $3,828.47 per semester; Non-resident - $10,402.97 per semester
  • Accreditation:
    • ACME
    • CCNE
  • College of Nursing - Contact Phone Number: 252-744-6358
  • College of Nursing - Contact Email Address: bagleyr@ecu.edu

Show Me Nurse Midwifery Programs

How to Pick the Right Certified Nurse Midwife Program for You

Picking the right CNM program can be overwhelming, especially with the increasing number of available programs nationwide. Online programs have given access to top-tier programs to those unable to relocate. 

The most important determining factor when choosing a program is understanding if the state where you reside allows students to enroll in distance education programs and participate in clinical practicums within the state. 

Licensure requirements vary from state to state and by professional organization. It is essential to check with your state board of nursing to see if your state allows this. If you have any questions regarding state eligibility, contact the University's Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs.

Other factors include: 

  • How will I pay for the degree? Loans? Scholarships? Tuition Reimbursement?
  • Does your current job have an affiliation with any CNM programs?
  • Do I want to work in a private OB office of a large public hospital?
  • Online versus in-person?
  • Do you prefer obtaining your MSN or DNP?
  • Consider the program's accreditation and graduate certification rate.
  • Consider the entry prerequisites for which you qualify.
  • Do you want a program that will find your clinical placements?
  • What is the job placement rate?
  • Is there program flexibility?

Show Me Nurse Midwifery Programs

About Certified Nurse Midwife Programs

Curriculum

CNM programs generally offer similar courses to adhere to accreditation criteria. Some classes are comparable to those in other advanced nursing degree programs. Students can expect the take the following types of courses:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Physical Assessment
  • Advanced Reproductive Dynamics
  • Antepartum Care for the Nurse-Midwifery
  • Clinical Practicums
  • Conceptual Frameworks for Midwifery
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy, Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Practice
  • Intrapartum, Postpartum, and Newborn Care for Midwifery
  • Leadership and Critical Decision Making
  • Research Methods and Design
  • Unique Women's Health Issues
  • Well Woman for Midwifery
  • Women's Health

Certified Nurse Midwife Prerequisites

Though every Certified Nurse Midwife degree program is different, most have similar entry requirements, which generally include the following:

  • Completion of undergraduate statistics with a grade of C or better
  • Current Basic Life Support certificates
  • GRE if applicable
  • Minimum of two years of nursing experience in obstetrics and midwifery
  • Professional resume or curriculum vitae
  • Satisfactory completion of an accredited baccalaureate program with at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Submission of official transcripts from all postsecondary schools attended
  • Successful completion of a personal interview with the Nursing Admissions Committee
  • TOEFL test, if applicable
  • Two or three professional references
  • Unencumbered, active RN license in the state of practice (Some programs will require an RN license in the state of the program)
  • Written statement of professional goals for graduate study and nursing career

Tuition

Certified Nurse Midwife programs vary significantly in cost. Factors include school, location, online versus in-person, and ultimate degree.

  • Credit hours can vary between $500 to $2,000, depending on the program.
  • Doctoral-level programs tend to be more expensive than master's degree programs, in part because more credits are required overall. There are only a handful of these programs, generally BSN-DNP programs.  
  • Tuition costs include program fees, lab fees, course materials, and other associated expenses. 

Examples of credit costs include: 

  • DePaul University - $750 per credit hour
  • Fairfield University - $1,030 per credit hour
  • Georgia College - $473 per credit hour
  • Marquette University - $1,220 per credit hour
  • Thomas Jefferson University - $935 per credit hour

Accreditation

The Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) is the accreditation body for Certified Nurse Midwife programs in the United States. ACME aims "to ensure that programs are performing at the highest level of quality and providing learning experiences that will lead to optimal outcomes for students."

Accreditation by a program is entirely voluntary; however, students will want to seek out programs that ACME accredits. This can be essential when sitting for state boards at the end of the program. Furthermore, some healthcare systems will not hire individuals who have not attended accredited CNM programs.

ACME established the Criteria for Programmatic Accreditation of Midwifery Education Programs. This criterion was established to provide a framework for programs seeking accreditation. More specifically purposes of the requirements are:

  • Provide structure for implementing peer evaluation in the assessment of the quality of midwifery education programs preparing midwives and nurse-midwives
  • Assure all aspects of midwifery education programs lead to appropriate student outcomes and train competent midwives
  • Serve as a guide to faculty in developing and improving their program and as a framework for self-evaluation 

Currently, the ACME accredits CNM programs using six main criteria: 

  • Organization and administration
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Curriculum
  • Resources
  • Assessment and Outcomes

Kathleen Gaines
MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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