There’s no better time than now to become a nurse midwife!
The demand for Certified Nurse Midwives or CNMs is rising. This is because more women prefer personalized and less invasive methods of care.
Birthing with CNMs is a long-term tradition in Arkansas. But even if this practice stems before it became popular, the State Board of Nursing is quite strict in implementing its requirements for aspiring CNMs.
But what are the requirements? What will it take to become a CNM in Arkansas?
Well, you’re in the right place!
In this article, we’ll share every step you need to take to become one – including educational, certification, and licensure requirements.
Having a guide on how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in Arkansas will allow you to strategize and embark on the journey with a clear path.
Are you ready?
Let’s dive in.
How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Arkansas in 4 Steps
Before we get into the details, make sure that you already have a current and active RN license. This is a prerequisite before you get to specialize in this field.
If you are not yet an RN, you can read this simple guide on how to become an RN in Arkansas.
If you’ve got that covered, you can then proceed to the 4 steps to nurse midwifery:
- Step #1: Earn Qualifying Education in Nurse Midwifery
- Step #2: Get a National Certification in Nurse Midwifery
- Step #3: Apply for APRN Status – Nurse Midwifery Route from Arkansas’s State Board of Nursing
- Step #4: Practice as a CNM and Renew Your License
Step #1: Earn Qualifying Education in Nurse Midwifery
Just like any other specialization, CNMs need to complete further training before they can be considered ‘specialized’ in that field.
Aspiring nurse midwives need to enroll in a graduate program in nurse midwifery that is approved by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
Unfortunately, there are no ACME-accredited programs for nurse midwives in Arkansas. But you can look for accredited programs offered in nearby states or online.
Many aspiring CNMs take their programs while practicing as an RN since there are flexible options. But if you want to study full-time, then there are several schools in nearby states such as Texas and Tennessee.
Although schools may have some unique requirements, these are some of the common ones:
- Active and current RN License
- Proof of completion of BSN and other nursing prerequisite courses
- Minimum undergraduate GPA
- Letters of recommendation
- Essay or video of professional goals
Graduate Program Courses
All students will encounter the following classes, as required by ACME:
- Advanced topics in women’s reproductive health
- Advanced pharmacology for childbearing women
- Advanced women’s physiology and pathophysiology
- Female care before, during, and after pregnancy
- Integrated midwifery care of women
- Labor, birth, and newborn care
- Legal and ethical issues in women’s health
- Maternity nutrition
Aside from completing these courses, you’ll also need to render at least 1,000 hours of clinical education. In these hours, you will be able to apply all theoretical learning to real-life situations.
If you choose to enroll in an online program, then check with your school if they can help you locate practices and/or apprenticeships in local clinics and hospitals. Here are some of the hospitals students in Arkansas go to:
- Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock and North Little Rock
- CHI Saint Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock
- Forrest City Medical Center
- Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado
- Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville
- Saline Memorial in Benton
- Washington Regional in Fayetteville
Step #2: Get a National Certification in Nurse Midwifery
Now that you’re done earning your degree, you are qualified to take the national nurse midwifery certifying exam offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
The exam is administered by Applied Measurement Professional (APM), a third-party testing company with centers in Fayetteville and Little Rock.
Once you’ve registered with AMCB, you can then select your testing schedule on APM’s website.
If you wish to apply for the examination via mail, you can send in your application to AMCB, 849 International Drive, Suite 120, Linthicum, MD 21090
This is a 4-hour exam with a total of 175 questions. The exam has 6 main sections:
- Women’s health and primary care
If you pass the exam, you will be given a CNM certification.
Step #3: Apply for APRN Status – Nurse Midwifery Route from Arkansas’s State Board of Nursing
There are 2 ways to get your APRN status in Nurse Midwifery in Arkansas – by examination and by endorsement.
The licensure by examination process is for first-time midwife applicants who do not hold an APRN license(s) in any state.
For those who already have an APRN license from a different state, you can apply as a CNM by endorsement. This process is also more commonly known as reciprocity.
Just fill in your application in the Arkansas State Board of Nursing (ASBN)’s online application portal and wait for the movement in status on the same website.
Prepare the following details before filling in your application form:
- Complete licensing history filled out on http://www.nursys.com/
- A Notarized statement attesting that you have practiced as a registered nurse for a minimum of two-thousand (2,000) hours
- Educational history including the month and year of graduation
- Official transcripts from your CNM program sent directly to the ASBN
- Verification from the AMCB that you passed the certification exam
If you do not hold an RN license in Arkansas, you will need to:
- Apply for an RN license by endorsement (if you are from a noncompact state)
- Submit verification of your RN license through https://www.nursys.com/ (if you hold a multistate license from another compact state)
You will also be required to undergo a Criminal Background Check (CBC) either by:
- Completion of a fingerprint card supplied through ASBN
- Completion of this process through Arkansas Live Scan fingerprint scanning
If you want to apply for prescriptive authority, you will need to apply through your Nurse Portal account.
You can request prescriptive authority at a later time if you do not need it right away.
For more information, you can go to the ASBN page.
Step #4: Practice as a CNM and Renew Your License
Congratulations! You’re now a CNM in Arkansas!
Now, where should you apply?
Thankfully in this state, you have so many options! You can either go to a local women’s clinic, a birthing center, or a hospital!
And once you’ve chosen your new workplace, it’s time to reap the benefits of all your hard work.
Of course, the most frequently asked question is how much your salary is.
In Arkansas, the average annual salary is around $109,000. Though entry-level starts at around $69,000, your average gets higher with experience.
While practicing, don’t forget that you still have to renew your license every 2 years.
You need to renew every 2 years on the last day before your birth month.
All you need to do is to submit the following to the Arkansas State Board of Nursing:
- APRN Renewal Form
- Proof of current and active RN license
- Proof of CNM national certification (from the AMCB)
If you have Prescriptive Authority, you have some additional requirements including five (5) hours of pharmacotherapeutics continuing education every 2 years.
For more information on license renewals, you can go to the ASBN website.
Applying as a CNM right now is a strategic career move.
There is higher demand for CNMs in Arkansas and the pay can reach up to 6 digits.
You also get to help a lot of women and their families.
So, if you are interested in becoming one, make sure to complete all coursework necessary and complete all paperwork required.
Just refer to the steps above so that you won’t get lost on your journey.
We’re sure you can become a CNM in no time.
We wish you all the best!