Just a few years ago, the term “midwife” would have called to mind either Victorian medicine or hippie home births, but not today. Nurse midwifery, one of the most in-demand nursing specialties, has been on the rise in recent years as expectant mothers have been tending to move toward holistic care options. What does a nurse midwife do? They work with expectant mothers during pregnancy and childbirth, caring for both the mother and her new child throughout the process. Women tired of the coldness of conventional obstetrics – often practiced by male OBGYNs – are seeking out nurse midwives, which offer the best of both worlds: modern medical science, combined with the empathetic, hands-on care of nurses.
Working nurses who want to advance to a career as a midwife can look to online and hybrid programs. If you’re a parent, getting your degree online can also help make you more relatable to the women you’re helping as a midwife. Showing an expecting mom that you can successfully advance your career while raising a child can be just the reassurance she may need. Nurses should be aware, though, that while an MSN is the standard for becoming a nurse midwife, many nursing schools are raising their nurse midwifery programs to the Doctor of Nursing Practice level, in anticipation of changes in Certified Nurse Midwife standards. Choose your program wisely.
How We Ranked the Best Online Nurse Midwifery Programs
Nursing School Hub recognizes the practical needs of working nurses. Online programs are plentiful, but not all online MSN and DNP programs are really worth the time and expense. That’s why NSH editors ranked Nurse Midwifery programs according to practical concerns: Cost, Salary Potential, and Student Satisfaction, with data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche. With these criteria, students know their Nurse Midwifery degree will pay off.
1. University of Minnesota
The Nurse Midwifery DNP degree from the University of Minnesota is a fully immersive online program. As part of the degree track, nurses can choose midwifery as a specialization. The low-cost University of Minnesota program requires 81 credits for degree conferment with only a single four-day visit to campus needed per semester. Course requirements can be met within three years with the curriculum covering topics such as prenatal care, labor and delivery, and newborn nursing techniques. The University of Minnesota has one of the best online nurse midwifery programs because of a high post-graduation success rate.
The University of Minnesota is a public institution with multiple campuses throughout the state. The Twin Cities campus is more than 1,200 acres and stretches across two cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Campus housing is available as traditional dorm rooms or Living Learning communities. Each Living Learning dormitory has a theme like Healthy Foods. Top rated schools at the University of Minnesota include the law, education, and business departments.
2. SUNY Downstate Medical Center
The Nurse Midwifery MSN from SUNY Downstate Medical Center is done as a hybrid program with online and traditional classes. The college’s Health Sciences Department includes a midwifery specialization through the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. As one of the best online nurse midwifery programs, the college provides enrolled students with the option to earn all credits either through five or seven semesters. For graduation from the program, 60 graduate-level credits are needed from courses such as Postpartum Care, Antepartum Care, Gynecology Wellness, Obstetric Complications, and Advanced Pharmacology. The SUNY Downstate Medical Center MSN program offers a high return on investment to nurse midwives.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center is part of the public system of the State University of New York. The school is made up of multiple graduate level programs through the College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Public Health, and more. The college emphasizes the importance of diversity with programs strongly focused on delivering exceptional medical care to urban communities. The highly-rated graduate school offers access to the top medical facilities in the east coast for unique learning opportunities.
3. James Madison University
James Madison University has a Nurse Midwifery MSN hybrid program available through a partnership with Shenandoah University. The MSN portion will be awarded through James Madison University while a post-graduate certificate in Nurse-Midwifery is provided through Shenandoah University. To meet all graduation requirements, nurses will need to finish online courses and enroll in an approved internship program. For the MSN degree, 22 credits will be needed while the post-graduate certificate requires 19 credits. For full-time students, the program can be finished within five semesters. In the nursing field, the James Madison University degree track has a reputation as one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
James Madison University has a convenient location just outside of Washington DC. The public college was founded in the early 20th Century and has grown to a university with more than 21,000 enrolled students. The university has seven schools with over 70 undergraduate majors available. The college has a popular study abroad program with partnerships with schools in China, Italy, England, Belgium, and Spain.
Format: Hybrid – partnership with Shenandoah University
4. University of Washington
The University of Washington has an exceptional online Nurse Midwifery DNP program with a required weekly campus visit component. The program is offered exclusively to full-time students with 50 percent of requirements finished online and 50 percent completed in person. The program will take a total of three years to complete with a final DNP project required for graduation. The university has a high first-time pass rate for the midwife certification exam. The University of Washington has one of the best online nurse midwifery programs with an average graduation rate of 93 percent.
The public University of Washington has a convenient location within the bustling city of Seattle. The school is one of the largest in the state with undergraduate enrollment in excess of 32,000 students. The college has a reputation as a commuter school with many students choosing to secure off-campus residences in the surrounding city. The university is very selective for admissions with less than half of applicants gaining acceptance.
Format: Hybrid – on-campus once a week
5. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
The University of Colorado Denver has one of the best online nurse midwifery programs with all core courses being done virtually. Considered a hybrid program, a portion of the MSN classes will be done at the College of Nursing. To be considered for the graduate program, a specialization in the field of midwifery must be declared. On average, most students take two to three years to finish their course requirements including clinical hours. The University of Colorado has a highly successful midwife program with 100 percent of test takers passing the Midwife Certification Board examination. Most significantly, 100 percent of all graduates in the program have a position as a nurse-midwife within a year of certification.
The Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado is located in the downtown section of the city. The public college is known for having prolific degree options with more than 130 majors to choose from. The health programs at the college are top-rated in the state including the nursing and medicine departments.
Format: Hybrid – core online, others on-campus
6. Georgetown University
Georgetown University has a part-time Nurse Midwifery MSN program available online for nursing students. The hybrid format features most of the courses online with three of the intensives taken on-campus. The program focuses on key aspects of women’s health including reproduction, childbirth, prenatal care, and newborn care. At the conclusion of the program, nurses can sit for the examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board. Georgetown University is ranked as a top 30 MSN school by U.S. News & Report and has a 94 percent pass rate for the certification exam.
Georgetown University is a private college with a convenient location in the nation’s capitol. Many students of Georgetown University take advantage of the close proximity to federal buildings by securing internships for the government. The college is also home to the storied Georgetown Hoyas, one of the top basketball teams in the NCAA Division I. Top ranked programs at Georgetown University include majors from the School of Medicine, Law Center, and School of Public Policy.
Format: Part-time online with 3 intensives
7. Texas Tech University
As one of the best online nurse midwifery programs, Texas Tech University’s program has a unique delivery method. Enrolled nurses can choose either to study online or use a web-enhanced format. With the web-enhanced format, the online portion is coupled with in-person study and learning activities. To receive a MSN with a specialization in midwifery, a total of 51 credits are required. The Texas Tech University nursing midwife program is highly flexible with students able to design their semesters to meet requirements in just two years.
Texas Tech University has a city-like campus with a requirement that students must remain on campus until 30 credits have been earned. The public college is a major hub for research with projects that include environmental studies and weather tracking. The college is well-known for having a highly rated business, communication, and engineering departments. The low cost of tuition offers the chance for a high return on investment for graduating students.
Format: Hybrid – online or Web-Enhanced
8. University of Illinois at Chicago
The DNP Nurse Midwifery program from the University of Illinois at Chicago follows a hybrid format to allow nurses to meet requirements online and in-person. The bridge program allows BSN holders to earn their DNP degrees after finishing a total of 90 credits. Required classes cover subjects such as healthcare of women, newborn care, birth and the newborn, and advanced pharmacology. The University of Illinois has a high exam pass rate for the American Midwifery Certification Board test. Some years, 100 percent of all test takers passed on the first attempt.
The University of Illinois is made up of a large student body with more than 30,000 for total enrollment. Located on an urban campus in Chicago, the public college can be easily accessed through public transportation. A major initiative of the college is allowing undergraduate students to pair up with faculty for research projects. The university has an exceptional program for health majors with the College of Medicine being the largest department in the world.
9. Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University offers a nurse midwifery hybrid program that allows students to earn a post-master’s certificate and MSN after all requirements are met. At the conclusion of the program, nurses sit for the examination from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Courses delve into prenatal care, pregnancy complications, labor and delivery, pharmacology, and newborn care. The program is designed for accelerated graduation with nurses able to finish all courses within seven semesters.
Case Western Reserve University is a small, private college located in an urban area of Cleveland. Despite its modest size, the college has been nationally ranked as a top 50 university from U.S. News & World Report. The college has an active campus with more than 200 student organizations and multiple Division III sports teams. The college has unique programs that aren’t offered at many other universities such as nonprofit management and health law.
Degree: Post-Master’s Certificate – Nurse Midwifery
10. Rutgers University
Rutgers University has a highly rated Nurse Midwifery DNP program for those looking to enter the field. The hybrid course delivery includes online classes and in-person clinical sessions. Through courses on advanced pharmacology, labor and delivery, newborn care, reproductive care, and advanced practice nursing, graduates will earn both their DNP and midwifery certification. Rutgers University has a 100 percent DNP graduation rate and an average of 86 percent first-time pass rate for the board certification exam.
Rutgers University has the largest student body of all public colleges in New Jersey. The urban campus has multiple resident halls for undergraduates, but the school is also a popular choice with commuters. Rutgers University has an avid sports fan base with thousands of students and alumni attending the Scarlet Knights football games in the fall.
11. University of Kansas
The University of Kansas has been consistently ranked as having one of the best online nurse midwifery programs. The KU Nurse Midwifery DNP program is done primarily online with intensives required on campus two to three times per semester. For graduation, a total of 76 credits are needed through courses that focus on labor and delivery, reproduction, menopause, newborn care, and gynecology services. The average graduation rate for the DNP program is 90 percent while the American Midwifery Certification Board pass rate is 85 percent for first-time test takers.
The University of Kansas is a public college with a campus size that stretches across more than 100 acres. The college is consistently known for being a best value school with low tuition costs for state residents. Numerous programs are highly ranked in the nation with standouts including public administration, special education, and engineering majors.
Format: Online with intensives
12. Marquette University
Marquette University prepares nurses for the challenges of midwifery with an innovative MSN hybrid program. Through online classes and in-person courses with scheduling flexibility, nurses learn about advanced pharmacology, antepartum management, delivery, postpartum management, newborn care, and labor support. For graduation, students must complete 49 to 51 credits. Marquette University has a very high post-conferment placement rate for nurse midwives.
Marquette University is a private college that was established more than 150 years ago in Wisconsin. The Catholic college has more than 25 academic departments located on campus. The school’s study abroad program is very popular with students with participation in colleges on all continents besides Antarctica. The college offers a number of programs and services to veterans looking to earn their degrees.
13. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati has one of the best online nurse midwifery programs in the Midwest. The program requirements are completed through the virtual campus with only two campus visits needed for graduation. The degree program includes 57 credits, 784 clinical hours, and 42 lab hours. The University of Cincinnati has been awarded the distinction of being one of the Best Online Grad Schools for Nurses by U.S. News & World Report.
Through hundreds of available majors, students easily find the right program for them at the University of Cincinnati. The public college has an urban-like atmosphere with close proximity to major airports, event centers, and sports arenas. The school is renowned for having an exceptional nursing department with the honor of developing the first live polio vaccine in the 1960s.
14. Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing offers a Nurse-Midwifery specialty option that was ranked #1 by the U.S. News & World Report. The goal os this dual concentration is to produce a certified nurse-midwife who is able to meet the comprehensive health needs of their patients. The program emphasizes wide focus areas which include counseling, prenatal care, gynecological services, and wellness care for women and infants.
As one of the top ranked graduate schools in nursing, the specialized training and clinical-care setting prepares a candidate for the demanding world of nursing and patient care. The faculty and curriculum are also designed to offer advanced techniques and innovative teaching styles that draw from and are informed by research-based and theoretical sources. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, this program is one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
15. Baylor University
Baylor University’s online DNP with a Nurse-Midwifery track prepares nursing students for patient care that is both women-centered and holistic across ages and circumstances. The program focuses on diversity and service, while providing clinical experience in nurse-midwifery practice for vulnerable populations. The program is focused on supporting the needs of actively practicing and trained Registered Nurses (RNs). Entrance is not designed to require roadblocks, so they do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. The program is ranked in the top 10 Nurse Midwifery Programs.
The program is ACME-accredited, CCNE-accredited and is listed on U.S. News & World Report. The online coursework offers flexibility and learning opportunities for nursing students across the US with on-campus immersions. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Baylor University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Online with immersions
16. East Carolina University
East Carolina University’s hybrid MSN degree features a concentration in nurse-midwifery. The program is designed to train nurses to take on the tasks of nurse-midwifery, with the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) certification. Beyond the MSN degree, the nurse-midwife can also opt for the Post Masters Certificate or become a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) by taking the American Midwifery Certification Board exam.
East Carolina University is ranked on U.S. News & World Report. The university accepts registered nurses (RNs) into its baccalaureate program, with recognition and credit based on knowledge in the field. It’s a research college in Greenville, North Carolina that was first founded for teacher training. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, East Carolina University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
17. George Washington University
In partnership with Shenandoah University, George Washington University offers the MSN in Nurse-Midwifery degree. Shenandoah University awards the Post Graduate Certificate in Midwifery. The program covers every aspect of primary patient care and women’s health, with more than 720 clinical hours of experience across community service and ambulatory sites. The coursework is facilitated via online distance learning, with hands-on practicum in local communities.
In partnership with George Washington University, Shenandoah University’s Nurse-Midwifery Program is designed to meet the needs of nurses who wish to pursue further training to achieve the skills and knowledge necessary to become a certified nurse-midwife (CNM). With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, this partnership program supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Hybrid – partnership with Shenandoah University
18. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University’s Nurse Midwifery Program is part of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The online distance-learning based program prepares nurses for women’s health care needs, with the goal of becoming a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), registered by the New York State Education Department. The coursework and on-site training requirements prepare nurses for a variety of roles as consultant, advocate, educator, and leader in health care settings across age groups from infancy to adulthood.
The School of Nursing (SON) program supports degrees in Bachelor of Science (BS) with options for an on-site accelerated degree, as well as a Master of Science (MS), the PhD in Nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Stony Brook University’s mission is to prepare leaders in the many fields of nursing. It’s a world-class education, with award-winning faculty, an outstanding return on investment, and included by Forbes on their “Best Values Colleges” list. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Stony Brook University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Online with on-site intensives
19. Bethel University
Bethel University’s MSN degree with its program in Nurse-Midwifery prepares nursing students for primary care and women’s health situations from prenatal care through birth, post-partum, and gynecological services. The curriculum prepares nursing students for practice in a variety of care settings including birth centers, clinics, and other facilities in rural, urban, and internationally diverse locations.
Bethel University’s programs focus on healthcare combined with an emphasis on the mental and physical needs of the patient. Designed to meet and exceed the rapidly changing needs of healthcare, Bethel’s programs offers online coursework combined with on-campus opportunities. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Bethel University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Online with intensives
20. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University offers the MSN in Nurse-Midwifery degree, in partnership with Shenandoah University, in a comprehensive program that offers the Post Graduate Certificate in Midwifery. The ODU program offers advanced nursing coursework, and then the Shendendoah program offers clinical training with emphasis on women’s health and patient care. The Shenandoah coursework features coursework via online distance learning and includes 720 hours of mentored clinic work in local communities.
In partnership with Old Dominion University, Shenandoah University’s Nurse-Midwifery Program offers training in the pursuit of the certified nurse-midwife (CNM) credential. Old Dominion University offers a range of highly ranked programs and it is ranked #1 as a Top Online College. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Old Dominion University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Hybrid – partnership with Shenandoah University –
21. University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico offers an MSN degree with a concentration of Nurse-Midwifery. The coursework is available via online distance learning with some hybrid courses. The focus of the program is to prepare nurses to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), as the primary care provider for prenatal, birth, postpartum, and newborn care with an emphasis on women’s health and wellness over a longer term. It’s an intensive, two-year program, with particular focus on rural and underserved community healthcare services.
The University of New Mexico is ranked via US News & World Reports, as one of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” for the School of Medicine, as well as in the top 10 for rural medicine and family practice. Located in the heart of Albuquerque, the university funds advancements in healthcare and hands-on training, which is in perfect sync with their Nursing concentrations. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, University of New Mexico supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Hybrid – core online, other classes hybrid
22. Wayne State University
Wayne State University’s MSN with Nurse-Midwife (NMW) specialty prepares nursing students with training for practice as a nurse-midwife. The curriculum and training covers a range of healthcare services from prenatal, delivery, postpartum, newborn, and women’s health and wellness. This comprehensive program requires 600 hours of hands-on clinical experience.
Wayne State University is ranked on U.S. News & World Report. Located in Detroit, Wayne State University is one of the 50 largest universities in the US with world-renowned faculty and top programs. Beyond its prestige as a research institution, top-ranked for physician’s assistants, Wayne State is in the top 25% for its nursing-anesthesia program. The university also gives back to the community by working to eliminate health disparities in Detroit. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Wayne State supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Degree: MSN or DNP
Format: Online – Synchronous
23. Jefferson University
The Midwifery Institute at Jefferson University combines coursework from Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University, in an MS-targeted Midwifery program that’s designed to offer the best online distance-learning opportunity of its kind. The program taps into cutting-edge technology with live discussion and on-line forums, designed to offer an intensive graduate education for Registered Nurses (RN) and CM Pathway students. The program weaves online tutorials, simulated clinicals, peer review, and case studies with hand-on practice in a clinic under the mentorship and direction of a midwife preceptor.
What sets Jefferson College apart is that it focuses on educating and preparing healthcare professionals for real-world practice in a global community. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Jefferson University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Online with 2 intensives
24. Shenandoah University
Shenandoah University combines its nurse midwifery program with other universities to offer wider accessibility and training options for students pursuing the Post Graduate Certificate in Midwifery. The Shenandoah program focuses on comprehensive hands-on clinical training related to women’s health and patient care. Shenandoah’s coursework is readily accessible and flexible via online distance learning, with 720 hours of clinic work in local communities close to home. Their take line is all about making a difference in women’s health care.
Shenandoah University’s Nurse-Midwifery Program trains Registered Nurses (RNs) to fulfill the certified nurse-midwife (CNM) credential. This nationally recognized college is a liberal arts institution in Winchester, Virginia. The university is designed to support a range of career and professional experiences in a close-knit and supportive community. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Shenandoah University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Degree: MSN – Midwifery
25. Frontier Nursing University
The Frontier Nursing University’s Nurse-Midwifery Program supports the developing needs of Registered Nurses (RNs) in training to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). Their role is critical in women’s health, prenatal, birth, and newborn care, as well as a range of other primary care services. The range of hands-on services and care includes nutrition counseling, physical exams, family planning services, preventative care, annual exams and more. This program is a graduate track with the concurrent completion of the Master of Science in Nursing or a Post-Graduate Certificate, which prepares these candidates for practice in a range of community clinics, heathcare practices and other environments. Frontier Nursing University also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a Post-Master’s DNP.
The background and history of Frontier Nursing University started as the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery, so the focus of the institution has been toward educating and supporting the needs of nurse-midwives. This pioneering institution is now recognized as a top not-for-profit institution that is dedicated to the advancement and training of midwives and nurses in the United States. With its accreditation, level of educational learning and placement, Frontier Nursing University supports one of the best online nurse midwifery programs.
Format: Online – continue to DNP seamlessly
What is a Nurse Midwife?
Wondering, “what is a nurse midwife?” or “what do nurse midwives do?” You’re not alone! Certified nurse midwives, or CNMs, are registered nurses who have completed advanced training in the fields of pregnancy and childbirth. CNMs work in a variety of settings, including birthing centers, hospitals, and private practices. Some CNMs own their own business. Nurse midwives are legally allowed to prescribe medication, and they’re considered to be primary health care providers by law.
While nurse midwives are incredibly skilled in their technical knowledge of a woman’s needs during pregnancy and childbirth, the are also emotionally intelligent. They’re able to provide reassurance and support to women during some of the most vulnerable times of their lives. Many CNMs report that while their job can be very stressful, it’s worth it due to the reward they get after helping a woman have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth experience.
Due to the nature of the job, a nurse midwife’s schedule is unpredictable. Nurse midwives who work in a hospital may have slightly more predictable days, due to knowing when their shift will start and end. Nurse midwives who work in private practice need to be available for emergencies and when women go into labor. Many nurse midwives schedule a time during the year when they will not have any clients ready to give birth, allowing them to have some time off.
Will Employers Trust an Online Nurse Midwifery Degree?
In a word: yes! When you’re looking for nurse midwifery online programs, it makes sense that you’d be concerned about the nurse midwife job outlook. Employers know that certified nurse midwives got their initial nursing training in a standard nursing program, and are generally accepting of subsequent education that took place online. Enrolling in colleges for midwifery can actually show a potential employer that you’re dedicated to advancing your career, and you know how to manage your time. It’s important to communicate to potential employers that you’re passionate about nursing, and wanted to further your education so that you’d be able to help more people.
Just like with any degree, it’s important that you keep your grades up in nurse midwifery online programs. Potential employers will be more likely to show an interest in hiring you if you performed at the top of your class. The nurse midwife job outlook is great – the number of hospital births attending by certified nurse midwives has been on the rise for the past two years. As women, health care providers, and families begin to move toward holistic health care, it’s expected that the field of certified nurse midwifery will continue to grow. By looking for colleges for midwifery now, you’re staying ahead of the trends in the health care field. This can show potential employers that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s coming next in nursing.
Can I Get Certified as a Nurse Midwife with an MSN?
Absolutely. It’s required that you earn your MSN before you’re eligible to take part in certified nurse midwife programs. Certified nurse midwife education requires a solid base of nursing knowledge before you begin to pursue your advanced certification. If you’re still in the process of earning your associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you’ll want to start looking at programs that allow you to earn your master’s of science in nursing. There are some programs that accelerate the process by combining the bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements. This is an ideal route to allowing you to apply to certified nurse midwife programs.
If you’re still in the process of earning your MSN, there are some things that you can do in the meantime to make it more likely that you’ll be accepted into certified midwife programs. If you’re working as a nurse in the hospital, request rotations in OBGYN, labor and delivery, the perinatal unit, and the NICU. The more experience that you have around moms and babies, the more your passion will shine through when you apply to certified midwife programs. When you’re working in units with moms and babies, talk with midwives about their experiences. Even though you’re not yet able to enter certified nurse midwife programs, you can still learn on the job, making it easier for you to understand concepts when you do start your certified nurse midwife education.