How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Midwife: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $93,610
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 24.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Good Entry Level Salary
    Career Attribute

While midwives are most commonly known as individuals who assist during births, the role of the midwife extends throughout pregnancies and potentially after birth. They counsel expecting mothers during pregnancies, assist during births, and provide advice and guidance to new parents after births.

Recommended Schools

What is a Midwife?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in midwife roles:

  • Perform exams and provide prenatal care to expecting mothers
  • Deliver babies when mothers go into labor, and assist physicians when emergency procedures—such as caesarian sections—are required
  • Teach new mothers how to properly breastfeed their newborn babies and how to use pumps
  • Provide pediatric care and offer advice and guidance to the parents of newborn babies
  • Counsel women of reproductive ages on the importance of safe sex, and provide STD education

A Day in the Life

Recognized as an occupation and career with a history that goes back more than 3,000 years, midwifery involves pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. Modern midwives have become true experts and assist with a growing number of births. In the United States, midwives are equipped with the knowledge and experienced needed to handle common birth complications, such as breech births. However, patients are sent to obstetricians for more complicated issues.

With the growth of the midwife as a career, the scope of the profession has also increased. While previous midwives may have been responsible only for the period of pregnancy and for a short duration after the child is born, many midwives today have taken a more holistic approach and are primary care providers for women on a long-term basis. They have extensive knowledge in sexual and reproductive health as well as prenatal and postpartum concerns.

Most midwives are hired at the beginning of a pregnancy, and their primary responsibility during this early period will be to conduct physical examinations to track fetal development as well as the health of the mother. Additional tasks will include maintaining health records and referring women to specialists when needed, such as for a caesarean section delivery. Many midwives also provide childcare instruction after the birth as another service to clients.

Typical Work Schedule

The hours a certified nurse midwife will work varies depending on the facility, organization, or practice group they are working for, as well as their own personal preference. Most will typically work 8-hour days and 40 hours a week in a clinical setting. Some, however, may work 10 or 12-hour shifts in a hospital.

While the bulk of a midwife’s work will happen during regular business hours, they are also required to be on call during all hours of the day, including weekends and holidays to deliver babies when their mother clients go into labor.

There are many variable shifts available depending on the facility or office a midwife may work for. And, since they have their own scheduling needs, they should visit the group’s website or speak directly with a manager or HR person before applying. While most facilities are flexible in their scheduling, it is a good idea to always conduct research beforehand.

Projected Job Growth

As more and more people discover natural and alternative health treatments and practices, many learn about the possibility of using a midwife for birth and like the idea. This is one reason that nurse midwives are expected to be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

Other reasons for the increase in demand is that these professionals can lend medical support in places that typically have fewer medical resources such as rural parts of the country and poorer inner cities.

In addition, The American College of Nurse-Midwives estimates that one in 10 babies will be delivered by a certified nurse-midwife in the near future. That is a significant jump from just the 3% of births attended by a midwife just 10 years ago.

We can also expect an increase in competition when looking for employment as a midwife. Certified midwives are less likely to face high competition in a hospital setting because turnover is often high. But when looking for jobs in private practice offices or birthing clinics, where regular hours and more the norm and conditions generally more desirable, competition may be higher.

Typical Employers

Midwives are most commonly self-employed, though they may have close relationships with obstetricians in their area with whom they exchange referrals. Midwives typically operate their own businesses and take on clients on a freelance basis. However, they may also work as nurses or assistants in hospitals or the offices of OBGYNs.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Midwife

To study for a career in midwifery, there are many universities and organizations that offer both undergraduate and alternative-entry graduate programs. In the case of the latter, an existing graduate degree, such as one in nursing, is required and will lead to certification as a nurse midwife (CNM). While this certification is licensed in every state, other midwife certifications do vary from state to state and you’ll need to ensure that you are correctly licensed for the state where you wish to practice.

Apart from the CNM, the other three primary designated certifications are as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), Certified Midwife (CM), or Licensed Midwife (LM). Of these, becoming a CPM has the lowest barrier to entry, and you will need to complete a program approved by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council. However, this certification is only available in 28 states and does not give the midwife the ability to prescribe medicine.

As with many medical careers, maintaining a CNM or CM license will require that you complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. This is done every five years and will also include retaking the certification test. For those with a CPM license, the cycle is shorter and you’ll need to be recertified every three years. Common continuing education learning might include gestational diabetes, midwife ethics, neonatal resuscitation, or other pregnancy-related topics.

Midwife Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Midwife salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Midwife's can make an average annual salary of $93,610, or $45 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $73,460 or $35 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #83 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Midwifes

  • 13.5%   Doctorate
  • 77.7%   Masters
  • 5.8%   Bachelors
  • 1%   Associates
  • 1.2%   College
  • 0.6%   High School
  • 0.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Midwife job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 1,300 jobs for a total of 6,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 24.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #30 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Midwifes

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of physicians 2,400 500 1%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 1,300 --- 0%
Offices of all other health practitioners 400 200 0%

Want To Be a Midwife? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →