How to Become a Midwife in Ohio
Nurse midwives help provide reproductive care to women, but also offer needed services during pregnancy, including up to and through delivery and even after. Their focus often centers on listening to the patient and understanding and respecting their input when it comes to decisions about their health care. Individuals interested in becoming a midwife typically need to have a nursing background, and then be accepted into a master's degree program in the field to be able to become a licensed, certified nurse midwife. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Ohio is home to approximately 170 professional nurse midwives. However, the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) suggests that those considering this career path spend time with a certified midwife beforehand to learn about the occupation, become familiar with the various practice settings, and even discuss potential prospects for the future.
Educational Requirements to Become a Midwife in Ohio
To become a nurse midwife in Ohio or elsewhere, one typically needs a master's degree in nursing, according to the BLS. This degree generally takes two to three years of full-time study to complete and includes foundational classes such as advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and physiology. After that, students in a master's of science in nursing (MSN) program might take courses such as:
- Well Woman for Nurse Midwifery
- Conceptual Frameworks for Nurse Midwifery
- Advanced Reproductive Dynamics
- Integration and Professional Issues for Nurse Midwifery
Practicum hours will also be part of any MSN program in midwifery. These give students the opportunity to work in healthcare settings under the supervision of a qualified professional, and build their skills providing antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum care. A capstone project may be required as well, allowing students to synthesize all of their learning and experiences in a final cumulative project. Two midwife programs available in Ohio are offered through the University of Cincinnati in an online format and at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Additionally, Case Western also has an accelerated program that can be completed in less than two years, but includes a summer session.
Licensing Requirements to Become a Midwife in Ohio
In Ohio, individuals with specialty education in midwifery must become licensed as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). This requires having RN licensing in the state and then pursuing a certificate in the area of expertise pursued through their graduate-level education. For example, someone interested in becoming a certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state would seek a Certificate of Authority (COA) through the Ohio Board of Nursing to practice as a CNM. Applicants for the COA must already:
- Have a graduate degree or post-graduate certificate
- Be licensed as a registered nurse (RN)
- Have national certification
Once an APRN has been granted permission to work in the midwife field, they will then have to renew both their RN license and COA to continue employment in Ohio. A fee is required for RN licensing renewal, which can be done online in most cases. Additionally, RNs need to have 24 hours of continuing education to seek renewal of their license. RN licensing is good for two years, although this runs from September 1st of an odd-numbered year through August 31st of the following odd-numbered year. As well, those with a COA, like the certified nurse midwife, must maintain their national certification. Finally, any APRN who has been granted a Certificate to Prescribe (CTP) must renew this as well. To do this, 12 continuing education hours are needed if the CTP has been held for a full renewal period.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the BLS, nurse midwives in Ohio made a mean annual wage of $94,070 in 2014. While this was slightly lower than the nationwide mean annual wage of $97,700 for the occupation, it was still significantly higher than the mean annual wage for all occupations combined in the country, which was $47,230 as of May 2014.
Nationwide, job opportunities in the nurse midwife field are expected to grow by 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, as projected by the BLS. This is considered much faster than average job growth and could lead to 1,700 new positions opening up during this time. Factors in growth include more individuals having access to healthcare services and insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, as well as APRNs, such as nurse midwives, being given more practice authority.
While a master's degree in nursing never guarantees a job, it can open up advanced opportunities in the field, particularly in rural or underserved areas. Organizations like the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) offer job boards that list various positions and opportunities available to qualified midwives across the country.
- Comparison of the APRN Consensus Model and the Ohio Nurse Practice Act and Administrative Rules, Ohio Board of Nursing, http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/PDFS/AdvPractice/OH_APRN_Comparison.pdf
- Community Health Workers and Medication Aides in Ohio, Ohio Board of Nursing, March 2015, http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/PDFS/Licensure/CE_FAQ_3_15.pdf
- FAQS for Prospective Midwifery Students, American College of Nurse-Midwives, http://www.midwife.org/FAQs-for-Prospective-Students
- May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Ohio, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.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
- 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 Midwifery, Case Western Reserve University, http://fpb.case.edu/msn/midwifery_curriculum.shtm
- Nurse Midwifery, University of Cincinnati, http://nursing.uc.edu/academic_programs/msn/nurse-midwifery-online.html
- Nurse Midwives, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm