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Best Nurse Midwifery Schools

17 Min Read Published November 8, 2023
What are the Best Midwifery Schools?

Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) are traditionally known for their care and medical support of women and infants during labor and childbirth. However, nurse midwife duties also include caring for women at many other points throughout their lifespans, including pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, after birth, and throughout their reproductive lives. To become a midwife, you’ll need to enroll in a midwifery school. 

What is Nurse Midwifery School?

Nurses attend nurse midwifery school to earn the advanced practice certifications necessary to become certified nurse midwives. Nurses attending midwifery school often earn either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. However, some nurse midwifery schools also offer shorter certificate programs.

Fast Facts About Nurse Midwives

Salary Midwives earn a median salary of $120,880 annually or $58.12 per hour per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Program length Nurse midwifery programs are usually three years long. However, it takes about eight years to become a midwife. 
Requirements
  • RN license
  • BSN
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A minimum score on the GRE
  • Letter of recommendation
  • 1-2 years of nursing experience

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Top Midwifery Schools & Programs 2024

Our ranking algorithm uses the latest and most robust US government data sets, specifically the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and College Scorecard. We consider factors such as graduation rate, student-faculty ratio, program focus, and more to help you find the right nursing program.

1. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt’s midwifery school is next door to its University Medical Center, one of the nation's top medical centers. Not only is Vanderbilt's nurse-midwifery program one of the largest in the US, but it's also quite rigorous and competitive.

Vanderbilt University's midwife school has a faculty of doctorally prepared educators who use a combination of classroom, simulation, and clinical midwife training to prepare aspiring midwives for certification. The school also reports a low faculty-to-student ratio and personalized education to students.

  • Tuition: $1,939 per credit hour
  • Program length: 4 semesters (full-time); 7 semesters (part-time)
  • Accreditation: 
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    • Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME)
  • Application deadline: 
    • Priority: October 15th (fall start)
    • Students who submit after the priority deadline are considered on a space-available basis
  • Contact information:
  • Are online options available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: 
    •  MSN
    • On-campus/hybrid
    • The school also has a program for non-RN students to complete an accelerated BSN before starting the midwifery program. Students must already have a bachelor's degree in another field for application consideration. 

2. Oregon Health and Science University, Portland

Nurse midwives are present in nearly 20% of all births in and around Portland, Oregon, so it makes sense that one of the best nurse midwifery schools is in the area. Portland's Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) is between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade mountain range. Many Nurse-Midwifery students appreciate the geographical beauty of the area in addition to the state's solid reputation for reproductive and maternity care.

The OHSU Nurse-Midwifery program has taught students for over 30 years between the university hospital and surrounding clinics. Students learn by attending many of the births at the OHSU hospital. 

Students earn over 1000 hours of individualized, supervised practice before graduation from OHSU in diverse patient populations and clinics in the surrounding areas.

  • Tuition: Resident - $8,688.69 per quarter; Non-resident - $10,497.69 per quarter
  • Program length: 3 years or 116 credit hours
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • Application deadline: February 20th (fall start)
  • Contact information:
  • Are online options available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components 
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs:
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • On-campus/hybrid
    • OSHU also offers an accelerated BSN to DNP midwifery program for students who have a BSN in another field outside of nursing

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan (UM)  at Ann Arbor, Michigan, offers two options for nurses who want to be nurse-midwives:

  • A Nurse-Midwifery-MSN
  • A Nurse-Midwifery-DNP

UM created the first graduate nurse-midwifery program in Michigan to address high infant mortality rates. Now UM midwifery graduates work in organizations such as birth centers, hospitals, and private and public clinics.

UM aims to provide midwife training and education to nurses to become teachers, advocates, researchers, and public educators. The UM midwifery website also boasts that faculty within the program works with each student to understand their goals before classes begin. 

  • Tuition: Resident - $13,347 per academic year; Non-resident - $26,891 per academic year
  • Program Length:
    • Nurse-midwife MSN: 2-3 years
    • Nurse-midwife DNP: 3-4 years
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • Application Deadline: March 15th (fall start)
  • Contact Info:
  • Are Online Options Available? No 
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: 
    • BSN to MSN Nurse-midwife program- 2-year plan
    • BSN to MSN Nurse-midwife program- 3-year plan
    • BSN to DNP Nurse-midwife program- 3-year plan
    • BSN to DNP Nurse-midwife program- 4-year plan

4. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is a private Ivy League institution established in 1740.

The UPenn midwifery school website states that they offer unique clinical education opportunities in addition to the most current research in the field. Some of the skills taught at UPenn that may not be available through other midwifery programs include but aren't limited to OB ultrasonography, IUD insertion, and endometrial biopsy procedures. 

This program is also unique because it is a double major, and graduates are eligible for two national certification exams:

The school reports that their midwifery graduates become directors of home birthing centers, home-birth practitioners, midwifery educators, and directors of small and large hospitals. 

  • Tuition:  $54,008 per academic year
  • Program Length: 2 years (full-time); 3 years (part-time)
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • Application Deadline: November 1st (full-time); March 15th (part-time)
  • Contact Info:
  • Are Online Options Available?  Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: 
    • On-campus/hybrid
    • Full-time and part-time program options

5. East Carolina University, North Carolina

East Carolina University in North Carolina's nurse midwife schooling prepares registered nurses to become competent practitioners of nurse-midwifery as certified nurse midwives. Graduates earn an MSN or Post Masters Certificate in nurse-midwifery and can sit for the American Midwifery Certification Board exam.

  • Tuition: In-state - $3,828.47 per semester; Non-resident - $10,402.97 per semester
  • Program length: 2 years (full-time)
  • Accreditation:
  • Application deadline: September 15th (spring start)
  • Contact Info: 
  • Are Online Options Available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: 
    •  Hybrid
    • Nurse-Midwifery MSN (Full-Time)
    • Nurse-Midwifery MSN (Part-Time)
    • Nurse-Midwifery Post-Masters Curriculum Plan

6. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis

University of Minnesota’s midwifery school resides in a community of diverse practices, giving it an edge in clinical experience opportunities. Another reason students love UNM's midwifery program is that it's primarily online. Online midwifery programs combined with scheduled in-person sessions allow for learning flexibility other programs can't offer.

Midwifery students can also earn an additional 12-credit Certification in Integrative Therapies and Healing Practices or a minor in Public Health.

  • Tuition: $1,053.00 per credit
  • Program length: 3 years, full-time
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • Application deadline: 
    • Priority: November 1st (fall start)
    • Final: February 15th
  • Contact Info 
  • Are Online Options Available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs:
    • Nurse-midwife DNP
    • On-campus/hybrid

7. University of Washington, Seattle

Located in Seattle with many of the best healthcare facilities nationwide, the University of Washington offers a highly-ranked DNP nurse-midwifery school. This program has been educating nurse-midwives for over 20 years, and they work with over twenty clinical sites throughout the area.

Students must attend the program on-site and full-time. After completing the program, students can sit for the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) certification exam. Past rates from 2014 to 2018 were 98% and 100% for students who took the exam a second time.

  • Tuition: Resident - $18,057 per academic year; Non-resident - $31,530 per academic year
  • Program length: 3 years
  • Accreditation: ACME, CCNE
  • Application deadline: January 15th (fall start)
  • Contact info: 
  • Are online options available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: On-campus/hybrid

8. University of Utah, Salt Lake City

The University of Utah states that its mission is to prepare clinically component nurse-midwives to care for women and their families and become leaders in the community. Their DNP midwifery program takes three years to complete if attending full-time.

The University of Utah has the oldest midwifery program west of the Mississippi. Students can complete dual Nurse-midwifery (NM) and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) specialties. However, this path extends the program by about one semester. 

  • Tuition and fees: Resident: $7,927 per semester; Non-resident - $19,503 per semester
  • Program length: 3 years
  • Accreditation: ACME
  • Application deadline: December 1st (fall start)
  • Contact info:
  • Are online options available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: On-campus/hybrid

9.  Columbia University, New York City, NY

Founded in 1955, Columbia Universities' midwifery program was one of the first in the US.  As an Ivy League school, the university has an excellent track record for providing quality midwifery education. 

Columbia University’s midwifery program boasts excellent pass rates for graduates, including:

  • A 100% Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) pass rate
  • A 100% Annual American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) pass rate for test-takers

In addition, 100% of graduates from Columbia University’s midwifery program are employed within one year of graduation.

Upon graduation, students are prepared to provide a wide range of women and infant health care, including pregnancy, delivery, gynecology, antepartum care, and postpartum care. 

  • Tuition: $70,194
  • Program length: 2 years (88 credits)
  • Accreditation: ACME, CCNE
  • Application deadline: December 15th (fall start)
  • Contact info: 
  • Are online options available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: On-campus/hybrid

10. University of Colorado, Denver

The University of Colorado in Denver offers coursework to the state and the Mountain West. The university boasts several clinical faculty practice sites that provide high-quality clinical education in Denver and more remote Colorado areas. The University is also striving to expand clinical placements in boarding states. 

  • Tuition: Residents: $725 per credit, Non-residents: $1,175 per credit
  • Program length:
    • MSN: 3 years (7 semesters)
    • DNP: 4 years (11 semesters)
    • Post-graduate certificate: 2 years (4 semesters)
  • Accreditation: ACME, CCNE
  • Application deadline:
    • December 15th (fall start)
    • July 1st (spring start)
  • Contact info 
  • Are online options available? Yes: Hybrid coursework with in-person components
  • Types of Nurse Midwifery Programs: 
    • On-campus/hybrid
    • MS Nurse-Midwifery
    • BS-DNP Nurse-Midwifery
    • Post-Graduate Certificate: Nurse Mid-Wifery

What to Expect From Nurse Midwifery School

Nurse midwifery programs usually have a classroom and an on-site clinical component. Programs typically start with several months of classroom education before working in clinical areas. However, students must manage both parts throughout most of their programs. 

Midwifery programs teach specialty knowledge in women’s health, primary care, midwifery, and newborn care.

Certified midwife programs usually include the following classes:

  • Healthcare policy
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced reproduction
  • Advanced physiology and pathophysiology
  • Women’s medical care
  • Advanced nursing practice pharmacology
  • Nurse-midwifery frameworks
  • Antepartum care
  • Intrapartum and postpartum care
  • Newborn care

Certified nurse midwife programs also provide education and training to prepare midwives to perform skills such as: 

  • Provide prenatal care
  • Perform physical exams
  • Prescribe medications and contraception
  • Provide gynecological care
  • Order and collect lab tests for diagnostic purposes
  • Give health education
  • Counsel women of all ages
  • Give labor and birthing care at all stages of childbirth
  • Provide post-birth care for mother and newborn

Check if your midwifery program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). Accreditation ensures that the program you attend adheres to essential core curriculum requirements needed for beginning midwifery practitioners to practice safely.

Things to Know About Becoming a Nurse Midwife

  1. More women are choosing care from midwives than ever before. It is more attainable to have one no matter where women decide to deliver - at a hospital, a child birthing center, or even home.
  2. Midwives provide much of the same care as gynecologists. However, midwives have a different type of education that takes about eight years to complete. Midwifery education usually requires a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a minimum of 1-2 years as a bedside nurse in OB, and two to four years in a graduate or doctoral program for Nurse-midwives.
  3. Certification requirements and the scope of practice of midwives vary per state. Always refer to the state where you will practice to ensure you meet all requirements and understand your midwifery role.
  4. Midwives are more focused on allowing for more natural births that require less medical intervention and medications, such as epidurals. However, many women still choose to have midwives present during childbirth, even in the hospital setting.
  5. If you consider midwifery as a career, know that it is not for the faint of heart! Childbirth is stressful and rarely goes according to anyone’s plan. Babies tend to come when they are ready, and the process is excruciating for the mother and bloody and messy. Midwifery can be stressful, requiring a calm, focused, and relaxed demeanor.

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Midwifery Program Prerequisites

Most candidates who become midwives know they want to continue with that education during or soon after their nursing programs. It is important to remember that if you go to midwifery school, you must have completed specific prerequisites within five years of applying to the program. 

Some midwifery program prerequisites may include the following:

  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Biomedical Statistics

Prerequisite requirements may differ between schools, so check with your school before taking additional classes to ensure you enroll in the correct ones. 

Midwife School Requirements

Every midwifery program will have slightly different admissions requirements for acceptance. However, the most common program requirements include:

Although most candidates from midwife schools are RNs, some programs allow students who did not go to nursing school to attend their programs. 

However, they will need a bachelor's degree or higher in another field and take an additional full-time accelerated BSN (1-year program) before starting in the school's midwifery program. 

FAQs 

  • Is a midwife higher than a nurse? 

    • Yes, becoming a midwife requires a higher education than becoming a nurse. A midwife is an advanced practice nurse and requires a master of science in nursing (MSN). To become a  registered nurse, you need an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a BSN.
  • What experience do you need to be a nurse-midwife?

    • Most midwifery programs require a minimum of one year of experience working as a registered nurse for acceptance consideration into their program. However, a few programs accept non-RN bachelor's degrees with the understanding that students will complete an accelerated BSN program upon acceptance into the midwifery program. 
  • How long is midwife school?

    • Midwifery school takes between 2 and 3 years to complete. However, becoming a certified nurse midwife from start to finish takes an average of 8 years.
  • What is the best major for midwifery? 

    • The best major for a midwife is to have a BSN. To start midwifery program classes, students must have completed a BSN curriculum.
  • How much do midwives make?

    • According to the BLS, the average nurse midwife salary is $120,880 or $58.12 per hour. The BLS adds that the top 10% of earners make about $171,230, while the lowest 10% earn about $77,510 annually. 
  • What's the difference between a doula and a midwife?

    • A doula is not the same as a midwife. A doula is not a healthcare professional and does not require a bachelor's or master's degree. However, doulas are trained assistants who support women emotionally and physically through childbirth, miscarriage, or postpartum care. 

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Sarah Jividen
RN, BSN
Sarah Jividen
Nurse.org Contributor

Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a trained neuro/trauma and emergency room nurse turned freelance healthcare writer/editor. As a journalism major, she combined her love for writing with her passion for high-level patient care. Sarah is the creator of Health Writing Solutions, LLC, specializing in writing about healthcare topics, including health journalism, education, and evidence-based health and wellness trends. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. 

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