How to Become a Midwife in New Jersey
There is a reason that more than 600 midwives took to Capitol Hill in June of 2015 to provide support for proposed federal legislation. They wanted to shed light on underserved areas in the country in which a lack of maternity care providers exists. In fact, as of 2011, some 40 percent of all counties in the U.S. did not have any certified nurse midwives, certified midwives, or obstetrician-gynecologists, reports the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). But, in New Jersey and elsewhere, anyone interested in serving as a nurse midwife can do so by obtaining the right education. This is typically in the form of a master's degree that enables them to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) and later seek certification and licensing. Nurses with a midwife education in New Jersey can then join the ranks of approximately 170 midwives in the state, according to May 2014 information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Educational Requirements to Become a Midwife in New Jersey
The BLS reports that a master's degree is typically needed to become a certified nurse midwife. This graduate-level degree should introduce students to advanced coursework in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physiology, and then build upon these foundations with specialized coursework related to female care and childbirth. Classes in a nurse midwife program at the master's level could include:
- Antepartum and Postpartum Management
- Foundations of Midwifery Care During the Reproductive Cycle
- Management of the Newborn
- Reproductive Healthcare Management
Students will also have opportunities to complete clinical hours as part of a master's degree program. These offer students the opportunity to gain hands-on skills while working in a healthcare setting under the supervision of a trained professional. Clinical hours are also important to gaining certification after graduation. One school offering a nurse midwifery program at the master's level in New Jersey is Rutgers University. The program is based at Rutgers Health Sciences Campus in Newark, and can be completed in five terms of part-time study or full-time. Students also can look for MSN midwifery programs online, from colleges such as the University of Colorado or Ohio State University.
Licensing Requirements to Become a Midwife in New Jersey
There are multiple steps that need to be taken in order to work as a licensed midwife in New Jersey. These include a notarized application as well as copy of the applicant's birth certificate or passport. An application fee is also necessary, as is an additional fee if the person is applying for prescriptive status. Other requirements, according to the State Board of Medical Examiners, are:
- Official midwife educational transcripts
- Completion of a background check
- A curriculum vitae or resume
- Verification of pharmacology education (if applying for prescriptive authority)
- Proof of certification from the American Midwife Certification Board (AMCB), the American College of Nurse Midwives Certification Council (ACC), or the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)
Several licensing applications are available in New Jersey, including to work as a certified nurse midwife or simply a certified midwife (which typically means that the applicant did not have a nursing background prior to their midwife education). Once initial licensing has been granted, it needs to be renewed every two years, according to the State Board of Nursing. This includes completing 30 hours of continuing education. As well, a midwife also needs to receive a certification of registration on an annual basis. This does not require continuing education from the Medical Board of Examiners, but just a nominal fee for the certificate to be re-issued.
Salary and Job Outlook
Pay for a nurse midwife can be above average, according to the BLS, and this is particularly true in New Jersey. As of May 2014, the mean annual salary for nurse midwives in the state was $109,460. This is higher than both the mean wages nationwide for the occupation -- $97,700 -- and for all occupations combined -- $47,230.
In New Jersey, job opportunities for nurse midwives are expected to grow by 21.1 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to Projections Central. However, job growth is expected to be even stronger nationwide, at 29 percent over this period. As a result, some 1,700 new midwife positions could become available across the country. The BLS reports that two factors in this growth are more practice authority being given to APRNs, of which licensed midwives are a part, and improved access to healthcare coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act. That said, the BLS states that some of the best job opportunities could be available to individuals willing to work in areas where the population is underserved, or in rural locations where needed services may be limited.
- Continuing Education Facts, New Jersey Board of Nursing, http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nur/Pages/Continuing-Education-FAQ.aspx
- Hundreds of Midwives Take to Capitol Hill to Raise Awareness About Maternity Care Provider Shortages Across the U.S., American College of Nurse Midwives, June 25, 2015, http://www.midwife.org/LobbyDay2015
- Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, Aug. 16, 2015, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates New Jersey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
- May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000
- Midwife Liaison Committee Application Checklist, State Board of Medical Examiners, http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/mid/Applications/Application-for-Licensure-as-a-Midwife.pdf
- Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-6
- Nurse Midwives, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm
- Nurse Midwifery, Rutgers University, http://nursing.rutgers.edu/academics/masters/nursemidwifery/index.html
- Nurse Midwifery/Master of Nursing (MN), Oregon Health and Science University, http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/school-of-nursing/programs/upload/NMW-MN-POS-1516-071315.pdf