Midwifery Schools in Tennessee - TN

Nurse-midwives do much more than prepare women for home births. Individuals who obtain a nurse-midwife education at the graduate level learn to pay particular attention to the needs of the female patient, whether she requires pregnancy care, other reproductive services, or just primary care attention. Approximately 70 nurse-midwives were employed in Tennessee as of 2012, according to information from Projections Central, which utilizes data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, job opportunities in the field are expected to grow on both a state and nation level between 2012 and 2022. In Tennessee alone, demand for these professionals is projected to increase 30 percent over that time. This growth is considered much faster than average, and could mean more jobs for graduates of midwifery programs in Tennessee and elsewhere.

Educational requirements to become a midwife in Tennessee

A master's degree in nursing with a specialization in midwifery is typically needed to enter the field in Tennessee or any other state, reports the BLS. In most cases, individuals pursue a master's of science in nursing (MSN), although a post-master's certificate may be available to those who already have an MSN degree. Typically, the MSN takes two to three years of full-time study to complete. However, nurses may be able to find accelerated options to speed up their program length, or choose to enroll part-time in order to keep working in the field. In the case of part-time study, an MSN program can take up to five years to finish.

Many MSN nursing programs begin with advanced coursework in pathophysiology, assessment, and pharmacology, as outlined in a new model for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). For the most part, nurse-midwives are considered to be APRNs. Nurses in a midwifery program also take classes to learn about the reproductive needs of the female across the lifespan, including those related to the various stages of the birthing process. Most midwifery programs available in Tennessee and elsewhere include clinical hours as well. These allow students to gain hands-on experience working in the field under the supervision of a medical professional, and are essential to seeking both midwifery certification from a national organization and state licensure.

The Tennessee Board of Nursing licenses all nurses in the state, including registered nurses (RNs) and APRNs. Generally, individuals with an advanced education, such as nurse-midwifes with a master's degree, would seek APRN licensing. Requirements for APRN licensing include:

  • Current RN licensure
  • Evidence of specialized skills
  • Master's degree in a nursing specialty area
  • National certification
  • Three quarter hours of pharmacology

APRNs can also be granted prescriptive authority in the state, given that they meet the pharmacology requirements. Finally, Tennessee does have a nurse licensing compact law with other states, meaning that a nurse with a multi-state license in one of the specified states does not have to seek licensing in Tennessee. More details on this law and the licensing process can be found on the Tennessee Board of Nursing website.

Midwifery schools in Tennessee

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that just one school in Tennessee offered a midwife education program at the graduate level as of 2015: Vanderbilt University in Nashville. U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanderbilt's nurse-midwifery program as number three in the nation for 2015. Its program is considered innovative in its integration of nursing informatics and progressive teaching technologies, according to the school website.

In the program, students take courses such as Skills for Nurse-Midwifery, Antepartal Care for Nurse-Midwifery, and Nurse-Midwifery Care of the Mother-Baby. Multiple practicums give students opportunities to complete clinical hours and gain hands-on skills working with patients in need of primary or reproductive care across their lifespan. The number of credits needed for completion vary since multiple points of entry into the program are available. These include for:

  • RNs who already have a bachelor's degree
  • RNs with an associate degree or diploma
  • Individuals with no nursing background at all
  • Nurses who already possess graduate-level education

The nurse-midwife program at Vanderbilt is accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). However, the school was undergoing accreditation review by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) on its graduate-level nursing programs as of October 2015.

The NCES reports that roughly 22 students graduated with an MSN degree in nurse-midwifery from Vanderbilt University in the 2013-14 academic year. At the graduate level, 13 percent of students attended part-time, while 87 percent sought full-time enrollment. This was for all graduate programs at the school, however, not just nursing. According to the NCES, the average tuition and fees for graduate students, as of 2014-15, were $42,768 and $422, respectively. Again, this was for all disciplines, not just nursing. Students looking for other midwifery programs in Tennessee might want to explore online opportunities, such as those available through George Washington University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and the University of Cincinnati.


  1. About. Board of Nursing, TN Department of Health. http://tn.gov/health/article/nursing-about
  2. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, Aug. 24, 2015. http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=TN&p=51.3401+51.3807
  3. FAQ: Consensus Model for APR Regulation, American Nurses Credentialing Center. http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Certification/APRNCorner/APRN-FAQ#Q1
  4. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, Aug. 24, 2015. https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  5. Nurse-Midwifery Rankings 2015, U.S. News & World Report. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-nursing-schools/midwife-rankings
  6. Nurse-Midwifery, Vanderbilt University. http://www.nursing.vanderbilt.edu/msn/nmw_plan.html
  7. Vanderbilt University, National Center for Education Statistics, Aug. 24, 2015. http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=TN&p=51.3401+51.3807&id=221999#retgrad

Midwife Schools