How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in North Dakota – A Simple Guide

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in North Dakota feature image

If you want to focus on maternity, women, and reproductive care, then being a Certified Nurse Midwife or CNM is the perfect career for you.

A CNM is a more advanced type of nurse; this means that you need to be a registered nurse before pursuing this track. 

After that, whether you’re applying in North Dakota or anywhere in the country, you need to pursue a master’s degree or higher.

However, attaining a specific level of education is not the only requirement to becoming a CNM. There are several stages and numerous prerequisites to get a North Dakota license.

So if you’re looking for a guide on how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in North Dakota, then you’re in the right place!

This article has a comprehensive yet concise list to help you in your journey and prevent hassles and confusion. 

We’ll also answer some FAQs from other CNM applicants.

Can’t wait to take your nursing career a step higher?

Then read on below!

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife in North Dakota in 4 Steps

As mentioned above, you first need to become an RN before you can pursue nurse-midwifery. If you are not yet an RN and would like to find out how to become one in North Dakota, you can read this guide.

These are the 4 steps to becoming a CNM:

Step #1: Earn at least a Master’s Degree in Nurse Midwifery

When you are trying to advance your career, especially in the health and medical industry, completing the required training and education takes up the longest part of the journey.

We’re not trying to scare you, but that’s going to be the case if you want to be a CNM. Since this is a specialization, you will need roughly 2 additional years to finish the necessary coursework.

And in North Dakota, you need to make sure you enroll and graduate from a program that’s accredited by the American Commission for Midwifery Education. This will ensure you’re equipped with the proper knowledge and experience before you get to practice. 

If you’re worried about juggling your current daytime job, then you’ll be glad to know that there are also accredited online programs for students like you.

Program Content

Here are some of the courses you will take in your CNM program:

  • Advanced Health and Physical Assessment
  • Advanced Midwifery Role Development
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Pharmacology for Primary Care
  • Antepartum Care
  • Care of the Newborn
  • Perinatal Care
  • Primary care of women
  • Postpartum care

Educational Tracks 

There are also 3 common educational tracks students take to get their master’s degree:

  • BSN to MSN: These are for RN graduate students with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree who will take traditional graduate (master’s) programs afterward.
  • RN to MSN: These are for those with an RN associate’s degree who want to take up a master’s. Since students from this track don’t hold BSN degrees, they usually need to take bridge programs.
  • Post Graduate Certification: This track is taken by those with MSN degrees without an APRN or specialization yet. 
  • Dual Specialization: From the name itself, these are for current APRNs who want to take nurse-midwifery as their other specialty.

Admission Requirements

Prepare these admission requirements ahead of time for easier and faster enrolments:

  • Current and Active RN license
  • Transcripts from your nursing degree/s
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA
  • Minimum GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation

Step #2: Take and Pass the National Certification Exam

The Nurse Midwifery certification exam is conducted through the American Midwifery Certification Board. 

This certification examination screens all applicants to ensure all are ready to deliver quality and safe practice. 

In this examination, you will be tested in midwifery courses, general courses such as pharmacology and physiology, clinical decision-making, and physical examination reading. 

There are a total of 175 questions and all are in multiple-choice format. You will be given 4 hours to finish the exam and you will get the results right after your test. 

In North Dakota, you can take the exam in testing centers located in Bismarck and Fargo, so prepare for a drive if needed. Unfortunately, online exams are not allowed.

For a more comprehensive guide on the National Certification Exam, you can refer to this candidate’s handbook.

Step #3: Apply for an APRN – Certified Nurse Midwife License in North Dakota

In North Dakota, you need to apply for an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) license specifically for Certified Nurse Midwives. 

To apply, you need to complete and submit the following to the state’s board of nursing:

  • Complete and filled-in CNM application (Prepare $125 for the application fee)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited graduate program (sent directly from your school to the Board; transcript copies sent by applicants will not be accepted)
  • Criminal History Record Check (Prepare $20 for the processing fee). You can find the instructions for this here
  • Proof of current and active RN license and number in ND or from a compact state which is your primary state of residence
  • CNM certification from your national certifying body (sent directly to the Board from the AMCB)
  • Optional – Application for prescriptive authority 

If you want to apply for prescriptive authority, then you need to submit a few other requirements:

  • A completed “Initial Advanced Practice License with or without Prescriptive Authority Application” (prepare an additional $75 for the processing fee)
  • A completed transcript from your accredited CNM program which includes evidence of completion of advanced pharmacotherapy, physical assessment, and pathophysiology. 
  • Evidence of completion of 30 contact hours of education in pharmacotherapy related to your CNM practice that was obtained in the past 3 years. 
  • Only certificates that itemize pharmacology CE will be accepted. 

All documents should be printed and mailed to North Dakota’s State Board of Nursing.

You can read more about the requirements here

Step #4: Practice as a CNM and Renew Your License

Finally, you have your CNM license!

Now the next question is, which medical institutions should you consider for your job-hunting? 

Contrary to what many people think, hospitals aren’t the only place you can go to. You can also apply to birthing clinics and private OB/GYN and midwifery clinics. 

But don’t forget to keep your license updated so that you can continue your practice without interruption. 

How to Renew Your APRN-CNM License

In this state, you need to renew your APRN license once every two years. 

For you to renew your license online, you need to do the following:

  • Complete 12 hours of CE if you are a CNM without prescriptive authority
  • Complete 15 contact hours of pharmacotherapy if you are a CNM with prescriptive authority 
  • Pay the renewal fee of $120
  • Keep a valid CNM certification (since this expires every 5 years)

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife in North Dakota

What’s the annual salary for CNMs in North Dakota?

In North Dakota, the average salary is around $108,810. 

Though this is lower than the national average salary of around $127,000, this number is still a good increase from your previous salary as an RN. 

Which clinics should I enter as a CNM?

Here are some of the centers you can check out:

  • Great Plains Women’s Health, Williston
  • Family Healthcare Center, Fargo
  • Mid Dakota Clinic, Minot
  • Trinity Health, Minot
  • Trinity Community Clinic – Western Dakota, Williston
  • Trinity Hospital OB/GYN, Minot
  • Trinity Community Clinic, Kenmare

Is the Nurse Licensure Compact observed in North Dakota?

Unfortunately, the Nurse Licensure Compact does not apply to APRN licenses. It is only applicable for RN or LPN licenses. 

So if you already have an APRN or CNM license in a different state, you need to re-apply again in North Dakota.


Progressing in your nursing career takes time and preparation, especially if you’re considering specializing. 

For CNM applicants, the requirements that take the longest time to complete are obtaining your RN license and finishing the CNM coursework.

Once these two are complete, the next steps will be relatively easier and faster.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, just keep your end goal in mind and follow our guide step-by-step.

You’ll be a CNM in no time!

We wish you all the best on your CNM journey!

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