Wondering how to become a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)?
Alabama may have one of the strongest potential job markets for CNMs as so few currently practice there.
So, if you want to take advantage of this trend, this article is for you!
The process of becoming a CNM may be a bit confusing, especially because the requirements differ per state.
And it’s hard to plan if you’re not exactly sure what you need for a journey.
But don’t worry!
We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about how to become a CNM in Alabama.
Our guide will walk you through the process in just 5 steps.
We also answer several frequently asked questions from users.
By the end of this article, you’ll feel equipped and ready to take that first step.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the article!
How to Become a Nurse Midwife (CNM) in Alabama in 5 Simple Steps
If you want to become a CNM in Alabama, you need to undergo the following steps:
- Become an RN (If You Aren’t Already) and Gain Relevant Experience
- Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery
- Pass the National Certification Examination (NCE)
- Apply for Licensure with the Alabama Board of Nursing
- Begin a Career as a Certified Nurse Midwife
Here’s a closer look at each step.
Step #1: Become an RN (If You Aren’t Already) and Gain Relevant Experience
Nurse midwives are registered nurses who enter into advanced practice.
So, the very first step to becoming a nurse midwife is to become an RN (if you aren’t one already).
Enroll in a BSN Program
Before you can apply for an RN license, you have to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for RNs.
It’s best to enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program since the training you will receive is more in-depth and rigorous. It serves as a good foundation for the advanced practice of nurse midwives.
Aside from that, schools usually require a BSN from those seeking admission into their CNM programs.
But just in case you finished with an ADN, you can still take an RN-to-BSN bridge program. Some schools may also have an RN-to-MSN bridge program.
Apply for an RN License
After graduating from your BSN program, you can apply for an RN license from the Alabama Board of Nursing.
You will be asked to submit several documents and you are required to take and pass the NCLEX-RN.
If your application is approved and you pass the licensure exam, then you will receive your RN license! Congratulations!
If you are already an RN in another state, you can either apply for an RN license in Alabama by endorsement or make use of a multistate license. Alabama is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC).
To learn more about how to become an RN in Alabama, you can read this guide.
Gain Relevant Experience
After becoming licensed, you still cannot go straight into a CNM program. You first have to gain experience working as an RN.
CNM programs usually require at least one year of experience, but it’s best to check with your school since some require at least two years.
Step #2: Earn a Qualifying Degree in Nurse Midwifery
Aspiring nurse midwives must hold a minimum of a master’s degree in midwifery.
You may obtain this degree from any school that’s approved by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
The great thing about these courses is that you can choose between online and in-person programs.
Applicants with busy schedules can complete their requirements in between work and other responsibilities.
Alabama currently doesn’t have a fully accredited CNM program, although the University of Alabama at Birmingham is pre-accredited.
Luckily, there are other available programs in neighboring states, like Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.
Master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery are structured in various ways to meet the specific needs of RNs at different phases of their education.
Thus, requirements may vary depending on the type of program you’re enrolling in.
Generally, requirements include:
- A BSN, or a related education that includes completion of nursing prerequisites
- Current RN license
- Minimum GPA
- Personal statement or video essay
- Letters of recommendation
- GRE General Test
Midwifery programs are typically divided into two parts:
- A classroom study consisting of 40 to 60-semester credits.
- A clinical training typically lasting around 1000 hours.
In the classroom, women’s health and midwifery programs will cover important theoretical topics.
A few subjects you may encounter include advanced pharmacology for childbearing women, health care legal issues and ethics, and integrated midwifery care of women.
Meanwhile, clinical training aims to help students transition from theory to practice.
Training is typically delivered in local healthcare facilities, which may be recommended to you by your clinical advisor.
In Alabama, a few prime options include:
- Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham
- Madison Hospital
- Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children
- UAB Women and Infants Center in Birmingham
Step #3: Pass the National Certification Examination (NCE)
Aspiring CNMs must pass the National Certification Examination (NCE) provided by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Only applicants who hold a valid RN license and have completed a relevant master’s program endorsed by the American Commission for Midwifery Education are qualified to take this exam.
To book a slot for the National Certification Examination in Nurse-Midwifery, you’ll need to send your application to this address:
849 International Drive, Suite 120
Linthicum, MD 21090
You can also submit your exam application online.
There are 175 multiple-choice questions in the exam. You have four hours to answer each topic.
The examination will cover the following topics (effective 1/1/2023):
- Antepartum – 21%
- Intrapartum – 21%
- Postpartum – 18%
- Gynecology – 19%
- Women’s health and primary care – 11%
- Newborn – 10%
Candidates who pass this exam will have met all of the prerequisites to become a licensed Certified Nurse Midwife with the Alabama Board of Nursing.
The AMCB will award successful examinees a Certificate in Nurse Midwifery (CNM).
Step #4: Apply for Licensure with the Alabama Board of Nursing
Now that you’ve passed the NCE, it’s time to finalize your license application with the Alabama Board of Nursing.
The process is fully online and accessible via the Alabama Board of Nursing website.
- An active Alabama RN license
- Master’s or higher degree in nurse-midwifery
- CNM certification from the AMCB
- Filled-up initial application and $175 application fee
- Signed copies of the Standard Protocol and Quality Management Plan
- Commencement Form and fee submitted by your collaborating physician to the Board of Medical Examiners
You can read more about the requirements here.
CNM designations are covered by the Alabama Board of Nursing’s Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) license.
In other words, you’ll be carrying an APN license in Alabama.
Step #5: Begin a Career as a Certified Nurse Midwife
The Alabama Board of Nursing will send you a Notice of Approval for Practice after you submit your application to practice as an APN.
After receiving this, you can begin your new career as a CNM in your chosen collaborative practice.
Any of the following establishments in Alabama can serve as potential employers and practice models:
- Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham
- Clinic for Women in Madison
- East Alabama Women’s Clinic in Opelika
- Tennessee Valley OB GYN Clinic in Huntsville
- Ladies First Obstetrics and Gynecology in Ozark, Enterprise, and Dothan
- Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children
- Princeton Baptist Medical Center Women’s Center
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a CNM in Alabama
How much do CNMs in Alabama get paid?
According to Salary.com, the average annual salary of CNMs in Alabama is $110,566 in 2023. The range typically falls between $101,666 and $125,328.
But how much you make depends largely on your experience, location, and other credentials.
What’s the difference between a Midwife and a CNM?
Midwives are non-nurses who have completed graduate-level midwifery education.
They’re accredited by the American Midwifery Certification Board but not on the same advanced level as CNMs.
CNMs are registered nurses who have completed a graduate-level nurse-midwifery program and passed a certification examination.
They have a deeper specialization and often have more experience than a midwife.
How long does it take to become a CNM in Alabama?
It takes an average of six to eight years to become a nurse-midwife because you must complete a BSN and at least an MSN.
You must also have at least one year of nursing experience.
CNMs play an essential role in every healthcare team.
They offer expecting mothers more holistic approaches to general care, pregnancy, and delivery.
Additionally, they help free up OBGYN MDs’ schedules — allowing doctors to tend to more patients.
The job of a CNM is very rewarding and fulfilling.
And now, you have a road map on how to become a nurse midwife (CNM) in Alabama.
Start your journey on the right path — use our guide to keep track of your progress.