CNM - Certified Nurse Midwife

  • $500
  • Renews every 5 years

COURSE FORMAT

About

A Certified Nurse Midwife is a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse who deals specifically with women’s health, with a strong focus on pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Certified Nurse Midwives provide care to women through all life stages from adolescents to menopause. Midwives often provide care to pregnant women who are considered “low risk” and can assist with natural unmedicated labor and delivery. They can also provide and assist with some medical interventions during labor and delivery such as pain management. 

Getting a Certified Nurse Midwife Certification is required for employment. Certification allows nurses to prove their competence to employers and ensures patient safety by requiring a minimal skill set for CNMs to practice. CNM certification requires a graduate-level nursing degree and passing of the certification exam. 

The Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).

Cost

In order to sit for the CNM certification exam, test takers must pay a $500 certification fee. If you have to retake the exam, it will cost $350 and rescheduling the exam costs $121.

Course Format

The CNM certification exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions. Test takers are given four hours to complete this computer-based exam. This test can be taken at a PSI testing center and candidates will receive their test results immediately after completing the exam. 

The exam content for the CNM certification exam varies depending on the most recent Task Analysis. The Task Analysis is a recent review of current CNM practice that determines necessary exam content. This report is reviewed every five years. The most recent update to exam content will take effect 1/1/2023 and is as follows:

  • Antepartum - 21%

  • Intrapartum - 21%

  • Postpartum - 18%

  • Newborn - 10%

  • Gynecology - 19%

  • Primary Care - 11%

Certification

The CNM exam is designed for those who already have a nursing background and have successfully completed a graduate-level nursing program. For anyone who is hoping to gain certification as a midwife without a nursing background, you’ll want to apply for the CM exam rather than the CNM exam. 

Eligibility

To sit for the CNM certification exam, test takers must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have an active registered nurse license.

  2. Complete a graduate level nursing program that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).

  3. Provide a verification letter from your program director stating that you have demonstrated beginner-level competence to practice as a midwife. 

Application Process

The American Midwifery Certification Board offers a certification exam for candidates who hope to obtain a CNM certification, as well as a CM certification. CM certification is for aspiring midwives who do not have a nursing background while CNM certification is for those who do. 

When you are ready to apply for the CNM certification exam, gather your documentation, review the Candidate Handbook and be prepared to pay the $500 exam fee. Online application for the CNM certification exam can easily be done through the AMCB website. 

When you submit your CNM certification application, you’ll also need to submit a copy of your RN license as well. The director of the program you’ve graduated from will have to send a letter to AMCB to verify your identity and program completion. Applications are processed after this letter has been received.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email confirming that you can register for the exam. Sign up for the exam by calling PSI or visiting their website. It is strongly encouraged that nurses take the CNM certification exam shortly after graduating, as this tends to be when you are most likely to pass.

Renewal

AMCB automatically enrolls all certification holders in their Certificate Maintenance Program (CMP). The CMP is designed to help individuals keep their certifications active. The CNM certification is valid for five years before recertification is required. There are two main ways to go about renewing your CNM certification. 

  1. AMCB Certificate Maintenance Module Method: Complete 3 AMCB modules during the 5 year certification period, complete 20 continuing education hours, pay the annual renewal fee, and fill out the recertification application. Note: if you choose this method you’ll have to pay the $70 CMP fee yearly.

  2. Reexamination Method: Sit for the current AMBC certification exam, pay the $500 examination fee instead of the yearly maintenance fee, and fill out the recertification exam once the previous requirements are complete.

Other Resources

You have to complete your certification exam within 24 months of graduating from your graduate program. It is recommended that you sit for the exam shortly after graduating, when the information is fresh on your mind.

Although review courses are not required, it is incredibly helpful to utilize sample questions and practice tests. Consider utilizing a review course to help you prepare for the CNM certification exam.

Related Certifications

The AMCB also offers the Certified Midwife (CM).

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and Certified Midwife (CM)?

Certified Nurse Midwives have a background in nursing. In order to become a CNM, you must first become a Registered Nurse. In order to sit for the CNM exam, test takers must hold an active RN license. Certified Midwives, however, do not have a background in nursing. These midwives have completed a midwifery program and typically have a healthcare background outside of nursing. AMCB offers a CNM certification exam as well as a CM certification exam.

Is a CNM a type of Nurse Practitioner?

Nurse practitioners and CNMs are both considered Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN). An APRN is a nurse who has completed a graduate level degree and obtained an advanced license. The three main types of APRNs are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM), Nurse Practitioners (NP), and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA).

How long does it take to become a CNM?

Most CNM programs range from 2 - 4 years. Keep in mind, this is the program that is completed after becoming a registered nurse. For someone who isn’t yet a nurse, the timeline for becoming a CNM could take anywhere from 6 - 8 years since you’ll have to first complete an undergraduate nursing degree and become a registered nurse.

If I don't qualify for the CNM, what certification might I get instead?

If you don't qualify for the CNM, you might qualify for the Certified Midwife (CM) instead. CM certification is for aspiring midwives who do not have a nursing background while CNM certification is for those who do.

What organization administers the CNM?

The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) administers the CNM.