Midwifery Schools in California | CA Midwifery Schools

Midwifery Schools in California - CA

According to the Midwives Alliance of North America, there are approximately 15,000 practicing midwives in the United States. Trained to support women during their pregnancies, midwives provide care for women through preconception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Many midwives are also trained to provide primary health care and gynecological care.

Midwifery degree programs in California

Midwives in California hold one of two designations: Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and Certified Nurse-Midwife (CPN). CPM programs vary in their admission requirements. Some require incoming students to hold high-school degrees or GEDs, while other schools require bachelor's degrees. Many incoming students are expected to have completed college-level courses in anatomy and physiology and microbiology.

CPNs, on the other hand, are advanced practice nurses, and hold post-graduate degrees. Accredited schools generally require incoming students to have bachelor's degrees, at a minimum. Some require students to be registered nurses, as well.

In California, students who want to become CPMs must enroll in a three-year midwifery program that has been approved by the Medical Board of California. Midwifery school in California includes a combination of coursework and clinical work. Coursework may include the following classes:

  • Foundations of midwifery
  • Medical terminology
  • Microbiology
  • Reproductive science
  • Nutrition in pregnancy
  • Prenatal care
  • Perineal integrity and repair

The clinical component of midwifery school entails working with a clinical educator, or preceptor, who supervises hands-on experience. Working with their preceptors, students provide care to women during prenatal visits, labor, birth and postpartum.

Upon completion of coursework and clinical work, students take the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) comprehensive examination, which is offered twice a year. A passing score enables students to graduate from the program. At that point, they are eligible to apply for a California Midwife License.

Midwifery licensing requirements in California

California requires that midwives practicing in the state be licensed by the Medical Board of California. In order to become licensed, CPMS who have graduated from a state-approved midwifery school can submit an application for a license to practice. Licenses must be renewed every two years. Midwives are expected to complete 36 hours of state-approved continuing education during the two-year period, in order to renew their licenses.

Midwifery salary and career trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), California has the third highest employment of nurse midwives and is the top-paying state for the profession (The BLS does not provide separate data for CPMs). In 2013, the national mean annual wage for nurse midwives was $92,230. In California, the mean annual wage was $120,450. The Oakland-Fremont-Hayward metropolitan area had the highest concentration of midwives in the state in 2013, and offered an annual mean wage of $129,390.

The BLS projects job growth for nurse midwives and other advanced practice nurses to be 31 percent from 2012 to 2022, significantly higher than the national average. Most midwives work in physicians offices and hospitals, while a smaller number teach at colleges, universities and professional schools, and work in outpatient care centers.


An Overview of the Midwifery Program, Nizhoni Institute of Midwifery, http://midwiferyatnizhoni.org/about-nizhoni/an-overview-of-the-midwifery-program/

Become a California Licensed Midwife: for Students and Experienced Midwives, California Association of Midwives, http://www.californiamidwives.org/become_CA_Licensed_Midwife_Students

Certified Professional Midwives in the United States, Issue Brief, Midwives Alliance of North America, http://mana.org/pdfs/CPMIssueBrief.pdf

How to Become a CPM, North American Registry of Midwives, http://narm.org/certification/how-to-become-a-cpm/

Midwives Application for Licensure, The Medical Board of California, http://www.mbc.ca.gov/Applicants/Midwives/

Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm

Nurse Midwives, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291161.htm#st

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