Interested in becoming a nurse specialist?
Aspiring for high responsibility and great privileges?
Interested in focusing on women’s health, especially during pregnancy and childbirth?
Well, then, becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) is one of the best choices you can make.
It is fun, exciting, rewarding, respectable, and, most of all, meaningful!
However, many have found the process of becoming a CNM intimidating.
The never-ending studies, long list of requirements, and confusing jargon can be scary even for professional nurses.
But don’t worry just yet. We are here to help!
In this article, we are going to provide an extensive yet easy-to-understand guide on how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in Kentucky.
To make things easier, we are going to provide all the details in just 4 steps.
The Certified Nurse Midwife 101
Before moving on to the steps, let’s start with the basics.
It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into, what you can expect, and what the work entails.
For starters, familiarizing yourself with the nursing ranks and its hierarchy is critical.
Here’s a breakdown of the nurse ranks:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
- Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP)
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
As the list shows, the CNM field falls within the general bracket of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), which is the highest category of nurses.
With such seniority comes certain benefits in the workplace. Working with senior doctors is a dream for all nurses, and that’s what you’ll get to do as a CNM!
As a CNM, your work will be focused on women’s gynecological needs, pregnancy, labor, the postpartum period, caring for the newborn, and family planning.
Having said that, let’s discuss the process of becoming a CNM.
Here are the four steps:
- Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
- Step #2: Take a Degree in Nurse-Midwifery
- Step #3: Pass the National Certification Exam in Nurse-Midwifery
- Step #4: Apply for Your CNM License from the Kentucky Board of Nursing
Let’s discuss each one.
Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
A registered nurse? What about becoming a CNM?
Well, as we mentioned before, there is a nursing hierarchy. To get to the top and become a CNM, you first need to start small – and that starts by becoming an RN
But how exactly can I become an RN? Let’s go over it in summary.
(If you are already an RN in Kentucky, you can skip ahead to Step #2.)
Admission to a Nursing Education Institute
Make sure to enroll in a state-approved nursing institution, otherwise, your education will not count.
Once you join, you’ll have to choose between two types of courses:
- Associate Degree in Nursing – 2 years (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing – 4 years (BSN)
While both choices have their pros and cons, the best option to take is the BSN. Why? You are more likely to become a CNM by choosing this degree.
Most CNM schools require a BSN as part of your educational background.
So, taking the BSN route is longer, but it will pay off.
Passing the NCLEX
Every student knows that exams are part and parcel of their education.
However, it is only a few times in your life when career-defining exams will come up and the only way ahead is by passing them.
Well, in your journey as a nurse, the NCLEX will be one of those exams. It is an exam designed to test your knowledge of nursing, covering the fundamentals as well as more advanced concepts.
Once you’ve passed the exam, you can send your application to the Board and hope for a successful application.
Application Submission to the Kentucky Board of Nursing
Aside from a BSN degree and a passing rate on the NCLEX, there are other requirements that you need to submit to the KBN for a successful application.
These include passing a Criminal Background Check, completing an application form, paying the application fee, passing the Jurisprudence Exam, etc.
If you want more details on how to become an RN in Kentucky, you can read this simple guide.
Step #2: Take a Degree in Nurse-Midwifery
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the value of specialization and the role of an expert; this is the point where it all starts to come together: Your CNM degree.
The most common degree that aspiring CNMs go for is a Master’s degree, but you can also opt for a doctorate.
The completion of a Master’s degree program is seen as a significant accomplishment for nurses. You’ll learn new things, you’ll develop a deep interest, and you’ll become a specialist.
The benefits of a specialist are many, but to put it simply, it’ll look fantastic on your resume and employers will hire you immediately.
So, how exactly do I acquire a Master’s?
Through midwifery education programs approved by the ACME.
At present, there is only one approved institute of midwifery in Kentucky:
Community-Based Nurse-Midwifery Edu.
2050 Lexington Rd
Versailles, KY 40383-1738
The great thing about Frontier Nursing University is that they offer an online option, which allows you to complete your clinical hours in your home community. You are required to complete 675 clinical hours.
You can also choose to study full-time or part-time.
Step #3: Pass the National Certification Exam in Nurse-Midwifery
We’re almost getting to the finish line, but wait… another test?
Don’t worry, you’ll have loads of practice by this time. This one is going to be a piece of cake.
The National Certificate Exam in Midwifery is offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
It is a 175 MCQ test focusing on midwifery and women’s health.
These are the topics with their respective percentages (updated for 2023):
- Antepartum – 21%
- Intrapartum – 21%
- Postpartum – 18%
- Newborn – 10%
- Well Woman/Gyn – 19%
- Women’s Health/Primary care – 11%
For a detailed guide on the exam process and instructions, you can review this Candidate’s Handbook provided by the AMCB.
Passing this test is crucial if you want a successful application so review well!
Step #4: Apply for Your CNM License from the Kentucky Board of Nursing
RN license holders in Kentucky who want to become CNMs for the first time must file for a license under the APRN category.
You will be required to send in the following:
- APRN license application (checking the CNM specialization) through Kentucky’s Nurse Portal
- $165 for the APRN license fee application
- State and federal criminal background check through IdentoGO®
- Official transcripts sent straight from the school showing proof of education as a nurse-midwife.
- Proof of national certification from the AMCB
- Mandatory reporting of criminal convictions
Your license will be issued to you within 14 business days after you send your application unless you answer “yes” to any of the criminal or disciplinary questions.
You can view your license status by logging in through your Nurse Portal account.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Nurse Midwife in Kentucky
How long does it take to become a CNM?
Including all of the studies and examinations, in total, it will take around 6-8 years (or more).
Here is a rough breakdown estimating the time it will take for you:
- BSN – 4 years
- RN licensure process (including the NCLEX) – 3-6 months
- RN experience – 1 year
- CNM degree – 1-2 years
- CNM licensure process (including national certification) – 3-6 months
How much does a CNM in Kentucky make?
According to Salary.com, the average annual salary of a CNM in Kentucky is $113,552.
How often does a CNM in Kentucky need to renew his/her license?
Nurses in Kentucky renew their licenses every year, by October 31.
For more information on the CE requirements for renewal, you can read this guide.
Well, that’s it! Those are the 4 steps to becoming a CNM in Kentucky!
It can seem overwhelming at times, but just take it slow and enjoy each step of the process.
Remember, if you want to succeed, working hard and being consistent is critical.
At the end of the day, you will gain a very meaningful, well-respected, and rewarding career.
We hope you found this helpful.
Let us know what you think about the article in the comments below.