How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Massachusetts in 2023: A Complete Guide

How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Massachusetts featured image

Did you know that according to a workforce analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a continuous demand for specialized nurses in Massachusetts?

Specialized nurses include CNMs or Certified Nurse-Midwives.

So if you are planning on pursuing this career path, now is the best time to start! 

But how do you become a CNM?

Since this is a specialization, you can expect that there will be a lot of requirements – from educational training to licensing and certification. 

But don’t fret!

This article will guide you on how to become a nurse-midwife (CNM) in Massachusetts.

We will explain each step in detail and include all you need to know to get your CNM license.   

We’ll also answer some FAQs afterward. 

Let’s get right to it!     

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

Before we go on, this article is for registered nurses in Massachusetts who want to further their careers and specialize in nurse-midwifery. 

If you are not yet an RN, read this simple guide on how to become an RN in Massachusetts

Otherwise, you can proceed to the following steps:

Let’s get into each step in more detail. 

Step #1: Earn a Master’s Degree in Nurse-Midwifery.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Nursing requires all aspiring CNMs to complete a master’s degree or higher in nurse-midwifery. 

The master’s program usually runs for two years, while a doctoral degree takes four years to finish.


Whether you take a master’s or doctorate, you have to make sure that the program is ACME-accredited.

ACME, or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education, is the agency that establishes the standards and ensures the quality of midwifery programs in the country. 

In Massachusetts, there is only one accredited nurse-midwifery program found at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

If you find it difficult to study there, you can also opt for online midwifery degrees. 

You can discuss with your program director about selecting a suitable clinical setting to comply with the required clinical experience. 

Program Content

Nurse-midwife master’s programs typically consist of classroom-based and clinical coursework. 

Classroom-based coursework includes between 40 to 60 credits, covering topics such as women’s reproductive healthcare, pharmacology, family crisis care, and newborn care. 

Clinical coursework, on the other hand, ranges from 700 to 1,000 hours and takes place either in hospitals or at local birthing clinics.

Additionally, you can also expect to take graduate courses in Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Advanced Assessment, and Advanced Pathophysiology, which are standard for all APRNs.

Step #2: Pass the National Certification Exam for Nurse-Midwives

Once you earn your master’s or doctor’s degree in nurse-midwifery, you can sit for the Certified Nurse Midwife Exam given by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). 

You have 24 months after completing your degree to take the exam. 

First, you must apply to take the exam. You can do so online or by mail.

How to Apply for the Exam Online:

  • Go to the AMCB website and sign in.
  • Create an account by clicking on the New Applicant button.
  • Log in to your account and go to CNM/CM Exam Applications.
  • Click Create New Application and select Certified Nurse Midwife under the certification type. 
  • Accomplish the form and submit it. 

How to Apply for the Exam by Mail:

  • Fill out the CNM exam application form and print it. 
  • Attach proof of your RN licensure and a $500 exam fee check payable to AMCB. 
  • Mail your application to the below address:

American Midwifery Certification Board, Inc.

849 International Drive, Suite 120

Linthicum, MD 21090

You will receive an email from AMCB once your application is approved, then you can schedule an exam with PSI. 

You can book a test appointment online via the PSI website or by calling PSI at 800-345-6559 or 888-519-9901.

Exam Content 

The exam is computer-based, consists of 175 multiple-choice questions, and has a four-hour time limit.

Starting last January 1, 2023, the contents of the certification exam are as follows:

Women’s Health and Primary Care11%

Currently, there are PSI testing centers in Framingham, Holyoke, and Saugus.

You can refer to the Candidate Handbook from the AMCB to prepare yourself.

Step #3: Submit Your Application for Massachusetts CNM Licensure

When you apply to the Massachusetts BON, you will be asked to submit the following:

  • Active Massachusetts RN license (expiration date must be more than 90 days from the date of your application)
  • Official transcripts from your CNM program
  • Proof of graduate-level coursework, including:
    • Pathophysiology
    • Advanced physical assessment
    • Pharmacotherapeutics
    • Participation in or application for participation in MassHealth as a provider of services or as a non-billing provider
  • Current CNM certification from the AMCB
  • Good Moral Character
  • Social Security Number 
  • License verification from each state of licensure
  • $150 application fee
  • 2” x 2” passport-type color photo 
  • Completed application form including the Child Protective Services Background Record Request Form

You are now ready to apply for licensure!

  1. Visit the Massachusetts APRN Licensure page and follow steps 1 through 8 in the instructions. 
  2. Click Let’s Get Started to proceed with your application. 
  3. Click Yes in the next window. Then, select Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and proceed.
  4. Verify if the details are correct. Select Yes.
  5. Read and check all the boxes on the APRN Authorization Application page, and click the Add to Cart button. The application fee for Massachusetts is $150.
  6. Proceed to check out and complete all the required billing and candidate account details.
  7. You will receive an email confirmation once your application is processed.

If the Board accepts your application, then you will receive your APRN-CNM license! Congratulations!

Step #4: Keep Your Massachusetts CNM License Current

Continuing Education (CE) is mandatory for RNs every two years. 

For CNMs and other APRNs, it is also mandatory to maintain current certification via a board-approved certifying organization. 

The renewal fee for RNs with APRN licenses is $180. 

You can renew your license online via the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Licensing portal or by mail.

To renew by mail, request a renewal form by emailing Accomplish the form and mail your application to the following address:

Mass Department of Public Health

Division of Health Professions Licensure

Post Office Box 414394

Boston, MA 02241-4394

You can renew as early as 90 days before your license expires. Late renewal results in a penalty of $57.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in Massachusetts

What do I need to bring on the day of my CNM exam in Massachusetts?

You need two forms of identification to be admitted to the exam. Both IDs must bear your name and signature. One must include a recent colored photo. 

Below are the acceptable IDs:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid passport or military ID
  • City or state-issued ID

You can bring any of the following as a secondary ID:

  • Signed, valid credit card
  • Signed social security card
  • Student ID
  • Any identification bearing your name and signature  

What happens if I fail the Massachusetts CNM exam the first time?

The AMCB allows you to take the certification exam for nurse-midwives up to four times. You must wait for 30 days before applying for your second exam. Your third and fourth attempts must not occur sooner than 90 days after your last exam.

The fee for each test retake is $350. You must apply with AMCB and schedule with PSI for every retake.  

How many times can I retake the Massachusetts CNM exam?

You can retake the certifying exam three times. However, you must repeat an ACME-accredited program under either of the two circumstances before applying for an exam again: 

  • You failed the exam four times
  • The 24-month window has lapsed, and you have not passed yet

How much do CNMs in Massachusetts earn?

The mean annual salary of CNMs in Massachusetts is $143,870. 

Massachusetts ranks 4th in the top-paying states for CNMs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 


Certified nurse-midwives are in demand not just in Massachusetts, but all over the US.

But the great news for CNMs in Massachusetts is that you can earn a high salary, since Massachusetts is the fourth top-paying state!

You also get to have a very fulfilling career as you help women and their families, especially during pregnancy and childbirth. 

If these all sound exciting to you, follow the four steps we summarized above, and you’ll become a CNM before you know it!

We wish you all the best on your journey!

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