A Complete Guide to Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in New Mexico

A Complete Guide to Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in New Mexico

Have you decided to become a Certified Nurse Midwife?

Or are you thinking of advancing your nursing career?

Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is a great choice if you want to focus on giving care to mothers from the start of their pregnancy to postpartum care. 

Another plus of this profession is that you can have your own practice and earn a higher salary. How good is that! 

If any of those advantages resonate with you, then knowing how to get started on this journey is a must. 

We’re here to help you understand the process of how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in New Mexico, step-by-step. 

Let’s get started. 

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife in New Mexico in 4 Steps

Becoming a CNM is not as difficult as you might think – it takes four steps! 

Here are the steps: 

  • Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse
  • Step #2: Complete a Certified Nurse Midwife Program
  • Step #3: Pass the Certification Exam
  • Step #4: Apply for a CNM License from the New Mexico Department of Health 

To set your expectations, know that becoming a CNM takes a while. Like any other medical professional, you need to complete a certified program to make you eligible to apply. 

But if you’re willing to study for a few years, then this isn’t a problem. 

Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse

Note: If you’re already a registered nurse in New Mexico, you can skip this part. 

CNMs are advanced practice nurses which means that you have to be a registered nurse first. Becoming a registered nurse has four steps: 

  • Complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Pass a Criminal Background Check
  • Apply for a License Online
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN

Becoming an RN: Complete an ADN or BSN

Every registered nurse has to pass the required education requirements which are the ADN or the BSN. 

The ADN is a two-year program that focuses on the technical skills and the basic administrative responsibilities of a nurse. You can finish it in just two years. 

The BSN is a four-year program that teaches the ADN curriculum plus more laboratory and research courses. BSN graduates are also taught some management skills. 

Since you are planning to become a CNM, we suggest that you go for a BSN since it gives you the technical and managerial know-how crucial for advancing your career. Many CNM schools also require a BSN for admission.

Becoming an RN: Pass a Criminal Background Check

All aspiring RNs have to pass a criminal background check. 

To do this, register at Gemalto which is the third party that the New Mexico Board of Nursing works with to handle the background checks. 

Choose ‘Criminal Background Check’, and pay the fee. You will also pick a date and venue where you will take the background check. 

Once you complete this, wait for 2-12 weeks to get your results via mail and email. 

Becoming an RN: Apply for a License Online

The next step is to apply for your license online. You can do this by registering at the New Mexico Board of Nursing portal by following these steps: 

  • Log in or sign up for an account. 
  • Verify your account. 
  • Choose the ‘apply for an RN license’ option and fill in all the required information. 
  • Contact your ADN/BSN school to send your transcript of records to the New Mexico Board of Nursing. They can do this by mail or email. 
  • Pay the $150 application fee. 
  • Wait for your application to be verified. 

Becoming an RN: Pass the NCLEX-RN

The last step to becoming an RN is to pass the NCLEX-RN. Here’s how you can apply for it: 

  1. Go to PearsonVue NCLEX.
  2. Complete a test application. 
  3. Pay the $200 exam fee. 
  4. Get your Authorization to Test (ATT) to choose your schedule and venue. 

Once you pass the exam and your criminal background check has been cleared, you become an RN! 

Step #2: Complete a Certified Nurse Midwife Program

Now that you’re an RN, you can focus on becoming a CNM. 

As mentioned, you will still need to take additional educational requirements such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. 

The MSN is a two-year program while the DNP is a four-year program. 

Whether you take an MSN or a DNP, you need to make sure that your program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Midwifery Education (ACME). 

Currently, there is only one accredited program in New Mexico – the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. 

However, you can also opt to take an accredited online program. These programs often partner with local health institutions in each state which will allow you to complete your clinical hours in New Mexico. 

Each CNM program will differ, but you can expect to have at least 40-60 credit hours of didactics and about 1,000 hours of clinical exposure. 

Step #3: Pass the Certification Exam

After graduating, you need to pass the National Certification Exam for CNMs. 

The exams are given by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). 

Here’s how to apply: 

  • Read the Candidate Handbook.
  • Create an account at the AMCB website.
  • Select the CNM Exam Application and scroll down until you see the link for the online applications. 
  • Choose “First Time Applicant – Certified (CM) or Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)”. 
  • Complete the application and pay the $500 exam fee. 
  • Submit a copy of your RN license to the AMCB website
  • Wait for your application to be processed. 

Once you have the schedule and venue, you can now take the exam. 

The exam is made up of 175 items in multiple-choice format. You are given 4 hours to complete it. 

The topics cover the following topics: 

  • Antepartum (19-26%)
  • Intrapartum (17-26%)
  • Postpartum (15-18%)
  • Gynecology (15-18%)
  • Women’s health and primary care (8-16%)
  • Newborn (7-16%)

If you pass this exam, you will be nationally certified as a Nurse Midwife!

Step #4: Apply for a CNM License from the New Mexico Department of Health

When you’re done with your program, you can apply for a CNM license through the New Mexico Department of Health

All you have to do is create an account or log in and then follow the application process. 

You will have to submit the following:

  • a completed application;
  • proof of holding a valid license that meets the New Mexico Board of Nursing’s requirement to practice as a registered nurse in New Mexico;
  • proof of current certification by AMCB or its designee;
  • $200 application fee

If your application is approved, you will receive a license and can start working as a CNM. 


But don’t forget to renew your CNM national certification and license to continue working as a CNM. 

To keep your license active, you need to complete 30 CE hours every 2 years, 15 of which should be in pharmacology. 

You also need to follow the guidelines of the AMCB to keep your national certificate current. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife in New Mexico

Do you have some questions about becoming a CNM in New Mexico? Here are some FAQs to help you. 

How long does it take to become a nurse midwife?

If you’re already an RN, the whole process takes almost three years. The shortest education program you can take is the MSN (two years) which is the bulk of the application process. 

Where do you apply for a CNM license?

Unlike most states where you can apply to their Board of Nursing, New Mexico requires that CNMs apply for a license at their Department of Health. 

How much is the APRN exam?

It’s $500 payable online via debit or credit card. You can also pay via check addressed to the  AMCB at 849 International Drive, Suite 120, Linthicum, MD 21090.


Now you know exactly what it takes to become a CNM in New Mexico.

Clearly, it will take a lot of time and dedication.

But we hope that you don’t get disheartened since this is a standard process in most states. Plus, it will be worth it in the end if this is what you are passionate about. 

Just follow our 4 steps, and you’ll achieve your goal before you know it.

So if you’re still committed to becoming a nurse midwife, we wish you all the best in your career! 

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