How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Virginia – A Simple Guide

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

Trying to get ahead in your nursing career?

Thinking about gaining advanced certifications?

One way to advance your nursing career is by pursuing nurse-midwifery. If you are passionate about helping women, especially during pregnancy, delivery, and recovery, then this pathway could be perfect for you.

Aside from focusing on a field you love, advanced certifications also lead to higher compensation and more job security.

However, with many different prerequisites and steps involved, it can be confusing to figure out how to become a CNM. 

If you’re in Virginia though, keep on reading,

We’ve summarized the whole process of how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in Virginia in 4 easy steps. We’ll also answer some FAQs afterward. 

RReady?  Let’s get into it!

How to Become a Registered CNM in Virginia in 4 Steps

Here’s a brief rundown of all the steps you’ll need to go through to get registered in Virginia: 

Step #1: Meet All the Prerequisites

Step #2: Take a Master’s Degree in Nurse-Midwifery

Step #3: Pass the National Nurse-Midwife Certification Examination

Step #4: Apply for APRN Licensure with the Virginia Board of Nursing

Let’s take a closer look at each step down below.

Step #1: Meet All the Prerequisites

Before you can even start studying to be a CNM, you have to comply with a lot of prerequisites. 

First, you need to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. You will then need to take the NCLEX, and then apply for a license from the Board of Nursing. 

Most CNM schools require a bachelor’s degree, but some may consider your application even if you graduate with an Associate’s Degree (ADN). Some schools also give you the option to take a bridge program.  

Take note that CNM schools usually require a minimum GPA, so it’s not enough to just finish a course. You need to perform well and keep good grades. 

Depending on the school, you may also be required to have at least 1-2 years of work experience as an RN before you can be admitted to a CNM program.

If you are not yet an RN and want more details on how to become one in Virginia, you can read this article

Step #2: Take a Master’s Degree in Nurse-Midwifery

If you’ve already got an RN license, then the next step is to take a Master’s Degree in Nurse-Midwifery.

Remember that the CNM school you attend must be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education

If you’re looking for an accredited program in Virginia, Shenandoah University in Winchester offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a postgraduate certificate specializing in nurse-midwifery. 

The course consists of a maximum of 31 credits that’ll be taught through 3 semesters, taking around one year and a half to complete (assuming you do it full-time). 

The course will also require 720 hours of clinical hours, according to the AMCB’s requirements, before you get your degree.

Some examples of areas you’ll be learning are:

  • Newborn Care
  • Midwifery Care During Pregnancy
  • Ambulatory Care of Women
  • Pharmacology
  • Family Crisis Care
  • Midwifery Care During Labor

Although there is only one accredited program in Virginia, you can also check out other ACME-accredited programs that offer online options. 

Step #3: Pass the National Nurse-Midwife Certification Examination

After receiving your Master’s Degree in Nurse-Midwifery, the next step is to sit for the national Nurse-Midwife examination.

The exam is conducted by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), which handles CNM certifications throughout the US.

To apply, you’ll need to fill out the application form and mail it to the address below,


849 International Drive, Suite 120

Linthicum, MD 21090

Alternatively, you could apply using AMCB’s Online Portal.

In Virginia, the exam is conducted at multiple AMP testing locations such as Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke.

The exam is made up of 175 MCQs, with candidates having 240 minutes to complete it.

Here you’ll be quizzed on different areas in the following amounts updated for 2023:

  • Antepartum – 21%
  • Intrapartum –  21%
  • Postpartum –  18%
  • Newborn –  10%
  • Well Woman/Gyn –  19%
  • Women’s Health/Primary care –  11%

For more information, consult the AMCB Certification Exam Candidate Handbook which has all the details regarding the syllabus and testing procedures.

Step #4: Apply for APRN Licensure with the Virginia Board of Nursing

After you’ve cleared the exams and received your passing certificate, you’ll be allowed to apply for a license in Virginia. 

This is handled by the Virginia Board of Nursing, which uses its an online platform to handle applications for licensure.

The Virginia Board of Nursing has a minimum requirement of 720 hours of supervised residency, under a licensed practitioner or APRN to qualify for licensure.

You’ll also have to submit:

  • Proof of licensure as a registered nurse in Virginia or proof of multistate licensure
  • Official transcripts from your CNM program 
  • Evidence of current specialty certification (CNM certification from the AMCB)

You can also request for prescriptive authority following the instructions listed here

After filling out the application, you’ll also have to pay a fee of $130 online to the Virginia Board of Nursing.

If you have more than 1,000 hours of clinical experience as a CNM, you do not need a practice agreement with an experienced CNM or a physician anymore. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a CNM in Virginia

What does a CNM do?

A CNM is a licensed healthcare practitioner certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board to be a Nurse-Midwife.

A CNM provides women’s health care that focuses on common issues in the birthing process, such as family planning, care during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and caring for the newborn.

Most CNMs are part of healthcare groups within hospitals that deal with patients daily. 

How much does the CNM test cost in Virginia?

The CNM examination is handled by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) and costs $500.

The re-examination fee, however, is lower at $350, where you’ll have a maximum of 4 retries.

You’ll also have to pay a processing fee of $121 to the AMCB.

How much does a CNM make annually in Virginia?

According to Incredible Health, a registered CNM can make an average annual salary of around $106,000 in 2022, which works out to $51 per hour.

While this is slightly below the national average, it still offers significantly more compensation compared to an RN.

How long will it take to complete a CNM program in Virginia?

For an RN in Virginia, the process of gaining your Master’s in Nursing with a specialization in Midwifery will take 1 ½ to 2 years if you plan on doing it full-time.

However, considering the testing and application process, you could very well see the process taking 3 years, depending on how prepared you are with the various requirements. 


So there you have it! A complete 4-step guide to becoming a nurse midwife (CNM) in Virginia.

The CNM process may be time-consuming, but the payoff is well worth the dedication, given a meaningful career, better compensation, and more job security.

With this guide, you don’t need to keep wondering how exactly to become a CNM. We’ve laid out everything you need to know. 

Just follow the four steps and you’ll be a CNM before you know it. 

Remember that we’re rooting for you on your journey to becoming a CNM!

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