Nurse Midwife Salary Potential and Career Paths

Bringing a child into the world is a momentous event, one often most meaningful in parents’ lives. Midwives help facilitate this wondrous occasion by providing women, their babies, and their families customized medical and supportive care during pregnancy, throughout the birthing process, and postpartum. Midwives’ careers unfold alongside the lives of women and their families and other medical and pregnancy specialists such as nurses, pediatricians, and OBGYNs.

Some of midwives’ primary responsibilities include:

  • Performing general medical tasks
  • Providing gynecological care
  • Guiding women through healthy pregnancies, births, and post-pregnancies
  • Responding to issues and emergencies pre-partum, during birth, and post-partum (either directly or by referring women and babies to other medical professionals)
  • Working closely with women and their families to tailor medical and supportive care
  • Counseling women throughout the childbearing process
  • Mentoring other midwives

Nurse Midwife Salary Potential

In the majority of cases, people in pursuit of a midwife career earn bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and/or advanced certificates in midwifery from accredited schools and programs. They also earn state-mandated certification and licensure to practice. Midwives and nurse-midwives enhance their careers through graduate-level training and advanced certification.[i]

The midwife salary depends primarily upon where midwives work and what training, education, and certification they have. Within the confines of this article, we’ll look more closely at the nurse midwife salary in states across the United States. Nurse midwives are Registered Nurses who earn a master’s degree, advanced certification, or concentration in midwifery.  

Nurse midwives are categorized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. According to the BLS, APRNs most commonly work in physicians’ offices and state, local, and private hospitals[ii]. Of those APRNs, any number could be nurse midwives who also work in birthing centers and people’s homes. Although these are the entities most likely to provide employment to nurse midwives, potential career opportunities for midwifes might also available in a variety of other settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012 the median annual salary for nurse midwives was $89,600[iii].

Nurse Midwife Salary Potential in Selected States

If you’re interested in pursuing  a nurse midwife career, it’s important to determine state standards for midwife education, training, and certification. It’s also wise to determine the midwife salary potential for the state in which you hope to practice. Keep in mind that your salary will ultimately depend on the state in which you work, the setting in which you work, and your professional midwifery and nursing background. The following chart outlines some of the salary potentials of nurse midwives throughout the U.S. It also lists the number of nurse midwives employed in each listed state in 2014:

Number of Nurse Midwives Employed in 2014Annual Mean WageMean Annual Salary for Lowest 10% of EarnersMean Annual Salary for Lowest 10% of Earners
Nurse Midwife Salary in New York450$97,460$72,180
Nurse Midwife Salary in California450$127,940$88,800
Nurse Midwife Salary in Massachusetts320$103,600$42,300
Nurse Midwife Salary in Florida300$86,210$53,140
Nurse Midwife Salary in Georgia260$91,920$72,950
Nurse Midwife Salary in Iowa50$128,120$79,060
Nurse Midwife Salary in North Dakota40$121,790$83,580
Nurse Midwife Salary in Oregon100$113,480$84,180
Nurse Midwife Salary in New Hampshire40$111,700$80,470
Nurse Midwife Salary in Pennsylvania150$83,670$55,290
Nurse Midwife Salary in Colorado120$96,790$60,420
Nurse Midwife Salary in Michigan120$95,560$75,890
Nurse Midwife Salary in Main50$97,530$80,280
Nurse Midwife Salary in Vermont40$93,390$77,760
Nurse Midwife Salary in Georgia260$91,920$72,950
Source: bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm
Note: Salaries and Employment data reported in this chart are for ARPNs and have earned a Master’s Degree in Nurse Midwifery bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-4

Nurse Midwife Industries of Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 5,110 nurse midwives were employed in the U.S. in 2014. Of those 5,110, nearly fifty percent were employed in physicians’ offices; approximately thirty percent were employed in medical and surgical hospitals; just over ten percent were employed in outpatient care centers; and the remaining found employment elsewhere[iv]. The chart below offers more specific information about where nurse midwives worked in 2014:  

Industry of EmploymentNumber of Nurse Midwives Employed in 2014
Offices of Physicians2,370
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals1,500
Outpatient Care Centers600
Offices of Other Health Practitioners360
Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools50
Source: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm
Note: Salaries and Employment data reported in this chart are for ARPNs and have earned a Master’s Degree in Nurse Midwifery bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-4

nurse midwife jobs

Potential Midwife Careers

Midwife careers are likely to unfold amidst the hustle and bustle of clinics, hospitals, outpatient centers, and other settings. In settings with more traditional 9-5 hours—schools and physicians’ offices, for example—nurse midwives often enjoy similar schedules. In settings of other more common employers—clinics, hospitals, and birthing centers, for example—nurse midwives may work day, night, weekday, or weekend shifts depending on employers’ needs. Also, because mothers give birth at unpredictable times, many midwives are on-call and prepared to work whenever needed.[ii]

The BLS predicts that careers for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses will grow by 31% between 2012 and 2022 which is much faster than average for all occupations. For nurse midwives—specialized APRNs—the BLS predicts that employment will grow by 29% in the same time. The fastest growing occupation for APRNs will be for nurse practitioners (at 34%), while the slowest growing occupation for APRNs will be for nurse anesthetics (at 25%).[v] The following chart illustrates this projected growth for APRN occupations:

nurse midwife job growth projections

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References:

[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-4 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-3 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5 | [iv] bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm | [v]  bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-6

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