A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Hawaii

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Hawaii

Want to have a rewarding and meaningful career?

Interested in pursuing advanced nursing practice?

Want to provide reproductive healthcare for women, especially during pregnancy and childbirth? 

Well, look no further than the Certified Nurse Midwife!

But, although the job of a CNM is something to be desired (if you’re passionate about these things), the process of becoming one can be a bit tough. 

You’ll have to go through further education, certification exams, and licensure requirements. 

Don’t worry though! 

In this article, we are going to give you an in-depth explanation of HOW exactly you can become a CNM in 4 simple, actionable steps.

We’ve waded through a lot of information and have packaged it all in a way that is straightforward and complete. 

So, are you ready to learn how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in Hawaii? 

Let’s begin! 

How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Hawaii in 4 Steps

These are the four steps to becoming a CNM in Hawaii:

  • Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Step #2: Get a Master’s in Nurse Midwifery
  • Step #3: Pass the National Certification Exam in Nurse-Midwifery
  • Step #4: Apply for Your CNM License from the Hawaii Board of Nursing 

Let’s go into each, one by one. 

Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse (RN) 

To start the journey of a CNM, another journey has to be taken first: Becoming a registered nurse. 

Only RN licensure can give you access to CNM licensure, and to get that, you need to enroll at a nursing education Institute.

(If you are already an RN, you can go ahead and skip to Step #2.)

Enroll at a Nursing Education Institute 

The Nursing Education Institute you will select will provide you with your foundation as a nurse. This is where you will learn all the fundamentals, introductory lessons, and basics of nursing. 

In your search for a nursing institute, shortlist only the accredited schools as these are state-approved.

In nursing school, you’ll have two options on what to study:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) 
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) 

We strongly urge you to choose the latter. A BSN will be accepted as a qualifying degree in nursing more readily than an ADN. In some cases, an ADN may not even be accepted. 

Passing the NCLEX 

All students have to go through tests, some big, some small. In the case of nursing, the exam that will make or break you is the NCLEX. 

The NCLEX is a national exam designed to test aspiring nurses on all that they have learned. It tests if you have the knowledge and skills necessary to function as an RN. 

Application Submission to the Hawaii Board of Nursing

The Hawaii Board of Nursing examines all your credentials and issues the final RN license. 

Aside from your nursing education and passing score in the NCLEX, here are other things you need to submit to make a successful application at the HBN: 

  • Completed application form and paid application fee
  • ID Card and Social Security Number 
  • Criminal Background Check 

For more information on how to become an RN in Hawaii, you can read this simple guide

Step #2: Get a Master’s in Nurse Midwifery

A Master’s in Nursing truly sets you apart from the crowd. How?


Becoming an RN is already a great accomplishment, but becoming a specialist takes you up a notch. 

And that’s exactly what a Master’s (or postgraduate degree or doctorate) will do for you! 

In terms of opportunities, they are immense. 

Moving from a simple RN to a specialized CNM is not just a title change, but also a change in authority. Before, you were working under doctors, but now you will work alongside doctors!  

Approved Programs

Master’s programs can only be embarked upon in state-approved, accredited programs. 

Make sure your program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Midwifery Education (ACME). 

So far, there are no ACME-accredited schools in Hawaii. But you can choose to enroll in other schools that offer online programs. 

These schools usually partner with health institutions in your area which will allow you to comply with the clinical hours required. 

You are required to have about 700-1000 hours of clinical exposure. 

Step #3: Pass the National Certification Exam in Nurse-Midwifery

Master’s-level nurse-midwives can take the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) exam. This is the national exam that tests aspiring CNMS. 

Candidates seeking certification must complete a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery and pass the certification exams. 

Candidates must apply, gain approval to take the exam, and schedule it at one of more than 150 Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing sites in the U.S.  

Hawaii’s testing center is in Honolulu.

The exam is composed of 175 multiple-choice questions based on topics including antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, newborn care, etc. Exam takers have a maximum of 4 hours to finish the exam. 

The AMCB offers a Candidate Handbook and other resources for aspiring CNMs to prepare themselves for the exam. 

Step #4: Apply for Your CNM License from the Hawaii Board of Nursing 

Once you complete your master’s and become nationally certified, it’s time to apply for your Certified Nurse Midwife license from the Hawaii BON. 

The CNM license falls under the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) license category in Hawaii.

General Application Requirements in Hawaii

After taking and completing the necessary certification exams, applicants must submit an application to the Hawaii Board of Nursing for APRN recognition.

To be eligible for APRN licensing in Hawaii, applicants must meet the following requirements, in addition to holding a valid Hawaii RN license:

  • Current application (must provide SS number)
  • Criminal history record check (through electronic fingerprinting)
    • Note: If you were already fingerprinted after July 1, 2017, to receive a Hawaii LPN or RN license, you don’t need to be fingerprinted again for your APRN license. 
  • If you are or were currently licensed as a nurse in another state, you will need to submit a self-query report from the National Practitioner Data Bank (“NPDB”)
  • Transcript of graduate-level CNM degree sent DIRECTLY from your nursing school to the Board
  • Verification of current CNM certification sent DIRECTLY to the Board from the AMCB
  • Verification of unencumbered license as a registered nurse and as an APRN in all states in which you are CURRENTLY licensed
  • Documentation requirements if you answered “Yes” to any of the questions about criminal history, license revocation or suspension, and disciplinary action. 

Nurse Midwife with Prescriptive Authority

Prescription-only APRNs in Hawaii are the only ones allowed to plan and implement a therapeutic regimen that includes nutritional, diagnostic, and supportive services through home healthcare, hospice, and physical and occupational therapy, as well as prescribe, order, and dispense medical devices and equipment.

If you wish to apply for prescriptive authority, aside from your transcripts and national certification, you need to submit:

  • Proof of education in advanced pharmacology, including advanced pharmacotherapeutics.

If your application is accepted by the Board, then you will be recognized as an APRN-CNM! Congratulations!

For more information on the requirements for APRN recognition, you can refer to these instructions from the Hawaii BON

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Nurse Midwife in Hawaii 

What is the difference between an LPN, RN, and CNM?

In the nursing industry a lot of technical jargon such as LPN, RN, CNMs, NCLEX exams, and much more, are thrown around and it is no surprise why beginners may get confused.

Confusion often means people don’t understand what exactly is what and how they differ from each other.

Below, we’ve broken some terms down so you can easily understand. 

Type of NurseMeaningTime to Complete Training ProgramExaminationRequiredTasks
LPNLicensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse12-18 monthsNationwide Exam (NCLEX-LPN)Under the supervision of RNs and assists RNs with slightly more complex services such as administering medicines and changing bandages. 
RNRegistered Nurse about 2 years if you take the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

About 4 years if you take the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Nationwide Exam (NCLEX-RN)ADN-RN
Create patient care plans, monitor patients, answer questions, assist with procedures, take vital signs, track patient progress, and guide LPNs, and CNAs.

Includes all the tasks of an ADN, as well as more specialized nursing care and administrative positions. Working under the supervision of doctors who provide guidance and support. 
CNM Certified Nurse Midwife About 1 -1.5 years  Master’s in Nursing National Certification Exam in MidwiferySpecialized in midwifery, patient care, emergencies, and women’s health. Facilitate, assist, and work alongside gynecologists

How much does a CNM in Hawaii earn?

If you’re a CNM in Hawaii, then you’re in for a good deal!

Hawaii ranks third in top-paying states for Nurse Midwives, with a mean annual wage of $156,020!

You can see this table on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Hawaii

Finishing it Up

So, that’s how you become a CNM in 4 steps.

The process may seem tricky at first, but just break it down and take everything step by step… and remember to enjoy the process!

If becoming a CNM is something you are passionate about, then you will truly have a meaningful and rewarding career.

You’ll even be highly compensated since Hawaii ranks third in top-paying states for CNMs! 

We hope this article will help you on your journey to becoming a CNM. 

Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below. 

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