A Complete Guide on How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in South Dakota

How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in South Dakota

In 2018, at least 10% of births were cared for by nurse midwives. 

This number is expected to grow as more and more women are looking for more well-rounded support throughout their pregnancy. 

So if you’re planning to become a nurse midwife in South Dakota, then you’re on the right track. 

But how do you become one anyway?

How long will it take and what are the requirements? 

If you’re reading this, then there’s a high chance that you have no idea where to begin. So you can leave that to us. 

Here, we’ll help you in your nurse-midwifery journey starting with becoming a registered nurse.

Are you ready to find out how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in South Dakota? 

Let’s get started! 

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife in South Dakota in 5 Steps

Even if it only takes five steps to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) in South Dakota, this process takes long because you need to have the required educational attainments. 

Here’s an overview of what you need to do:

  • Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse
  • Step #2: Complete a Certified Nurse Midwife Program
  • Step #3: Pass the Certification Exam
  • Step #4: Apply for a CNM License in South Dakota 
  • Step #5: Pass a Criminal Background Check

Don’t worry, we’ll give a detailed guide on each step below. 

Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse

Note: If you’re already a licensed registered nurse, you can proceed with Step 2. 

The very first thing you have to be is a registered nurse in South Dakota. 

Since a CNM is a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), you have to start with the basics before advancing your career. 

To become a registered nurse, you have to:

  • Complete the required educational requirements
  • Apply for an RN license
  • Complete a background check
  • Pass the NCLEX

Completing the Required Educational Requirements

To be an RN, you have to either take an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

ADN programs only take two years to complete. The downside of this, however, is that you don’t have the same in-depth knowledge and experience that BSN graduates have. 

BSN programs, on the other hand, take four years to complete because they include research and more hands-on skills. 

Most CNM schools require or prefer enrollees who are BSN graduates. ADN graduates may have to take bridge programs or additional courses. 

Applying for an RN License

Once you complete your RN education, you can already start applying for a license. 

You have to apply through the South Dakota Board of Nursing.  

Completing a Criminal Background Check

After you submit and pay for your application, wait for the criminal background check packet to arrive at your doorstep. 

Follow the instructions and get your fingerprints scanned. Once completed, return the packet to the South Dakota Board of Nursing. 

Passing the NCLEX

The last step to becoming an RN is passing your NCLEX. Before you take the NCLEX, make sure to schedule an exam: 

  • Visit the Pearson Vue website and go to the NCLEX section. 
  • Create an account. 
  • Wait to receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) by email from Pearson Vue. You will only get an ATT once the Board of Nursing approves all your documents. 
  • Pay $200. 
  • Schedule your time and venue. 

To learn more about how to become an RN in South Dakota, you can read this article

Step #2: Complete a Certified Nurse Midwife Program

On top of your RN education, you also need to take additional advanced training to qualify as a CNM in South Dakota. 

You have an option to take a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. An MSN usually takes two years, but it can be longer depending on your schedule. 

If you want to focus on research and analysis of diseases, you can take a DNP.

Just make sure that, whichever you choose, it is accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Midwifery Education (ACME). 

The ACME makes sure that the programs conform to high standards of education. They also require about 40-60 credit hours of coursework and 1,000 hours of clinical work. 

Since there are no ACME-accredited programs in South Dakota itself, you can enroll in another state or an online program. 

When enrolling in an online program, you can ask which local health institutions they partner with for the compliance of your clinical hours. 

Step #3: Pass the Certification Exam

After graduating from your CNM program, you need to take the national certification exam offered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). 

The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice items.  

Here’s how to schedule an exam: 

  • Go to the AMCB website.
  • Create an account if you don’t have one yet. 
  • Fill up the application form to schedule an exam. 
  • Pay the fee online using a credit or debit card. 
  • Check your email to find your exam confirmation. Click the link prompting you to schedule your exam. 
  • Take the exam on your test date and venue. 

Now, all you have to do is pass so that you will receive your national certification! 

Thankfully, the AMCB has provided a lot of information and resources to get you ready for the exam. 

You can have a look at their Candidate Handbook for more details

Step #4: Apply for a CNM License in South Dakota 

After you receive your certification, you can apply for a license with the South Dakota Board of Nursing. 

You can apply for a temporary permit while waiting to take your exam (as long as you are already accepted as an examinee) or while waiting for your official exam results. 

But you cannot receive a permanent license unless you can show proof of national certification. 

To apply for a license, you need to submit the following: 

  • Evidence that you have completed an approved educational program (part of the form has to be completed by your school’s Dean.);
  • An official transcript (sent by your school to the BON) documenting the date of completion, credential received, role and population focus area, completion of 500 clinical hours, and completion of advanced graduate level courses in physiology and pathophysiology, health and physical assessment, and pharmacology;
  • Evidence that you passed the national certification examination from the AMCB
  • The application fee of $100
  • Evidence of holding an unencumbered South Dakota registered nurse license or privilege to practice;
  • A set of fingerprints for a Criminal Background Check 
  • Verification of having completed one thousand forty practice hours as a nurse midwife in the preceding five years; or submission of a collaborative agreement with a nurse midwife or physician licensed in South Dakota for the applicant’s first one thousand forty hours of practice. 

Submit your application form with supporting documents to the South Dakota Board of Nursing. 

Step #5: Pass a Criminal Background Check

If you have had a criminal background check within three years, you don’t have to do this. 

For those who have no valid criminal background check: 

  • Request a packet from the Board of Nursing. 
  • Wait for the packet to arrive at your registered address. 
  • Follow the instructions on the packet. 
  • Wait for the Board of Nursing to receive your results. 

A permanent license will not be issued to you until this is completed. But if everything is alright, then you will finally receive your license. Congratulations!

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

Want to know more about the CNM process? Here are some FAQs to guide you. 

How long does it take to become a nurse midwife?

The application process itself only takes a few weeks, but if you are taking an MSN, expect to do two years ofstudying. If you aren’t an RN yet, you need an additional 2-4 years to complete the educational requirements. 

Is MSN or DNP better?

This depends on whether you want to focus on researching and analyzing diseases. If you do, then you might want to take a DNP. 

How much is the APRN exam?

The National Certification Exam for CNMs costs $500. 


Now you know the five steps of how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in South Dakota. 

It will take a lot of time and effort. 

But we hope that you don’t get disheartened since this is a standard process in most states as well. 

Plus, once you are a CNM, you will have a very rewarding and meaningful career. 

So if you’re still committed to becoming a nurse midwife, just follow our guide and you’ll be sure to succeed.

We wish you all the best in your career! 

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