Why You Should Consider a Career as a Midwife After Your Military Service

Nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives provide critical services in today’s armed services.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard all have midwifery programs that seek to develop the skills of their members interested in midwifery.

Over 23,000 babies are born in Army facilities each year and the Air Force sees nearly 8,000 babies born annually in military facilities, so armed services nurses and midwives get lots of practice.

But today’s midwives deal with more than just pregnancy and birth — they are able to help all ages of women resolve health issues and live more healthy lives.

Military-trained midwives have been recognized over the years for their outstanding contributions to the science of midwifery.

In fact, the 2016 Kitty Ernst Award from the American College of Nurse-Midwives honors a relatively new nurse midwife who has demonstrated innovation and creativity.

Army Maj. Elizabeth Nutter received this award for her services to the Army Surgeon General.

TRICARE, a health benefit program that assists uniformed service members, retirees, and their family members, covers certified nurse midwife services, adding to the increasing level of public confidence certified midwives are experiencing.

Even if you didn’t serve in a medical unit of the armed services, you can still become a midwife after being discharged from the military.

First, you’ll need to decide which path you’ll take toward this new career.

There are three kinds of midwife certifications representing three levels of engagement, education, and licensure: Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Midwives, and Certified Professional Midwives.

Of course, your midwife salary will be commensurate with these levels of experience, with Certified Nurse Midwives achieving the highest level of compensation.

Fortunately, if you choose, you can start at the level of Certified Professional Midwife and build on your experience and education over time to achieve the distinction of Certified Midwife or even a Certified Nurse Midwife.

This makes a career as a midwife a uniquely viable option that allows incremental growth over time.

This step-by-step process is particularly useful if you want to disseminate the cost of education over a long period.

Nurse Midwife Certification

If you were a nurse, but not a nurse midwife in the military, you’ll first need to obtain your nurse midwife certification to be considered a Certified Nurse Midwife.

This is a simple process for those who are already Registered Nurses (RNs). To continue toward your Nurse Midwife Certification, you’ll need to enroll in, and complete, a master’s or doctoral degree with an accredited midwifery program.

The great thing about opting to become a Certified Nurse Midwife is that these individuals are considered independent health care providers.

This means they even have the authority to prescribe medication, although most states still require that they receive oversight by a physician.

Depending on the state, they can deliver babies at home, in hospital, or at a birth center.

To become a Certified Nurse Midwife, you need to complete the following steps.

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    Graduate from a nurse-midwifery education program accredited by Association of Certified Nurse Midwives (ACNM) Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
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    Be verified by the program director as having completed the education program
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    Be an active registered nurse (RN)

In addition, you must have the following education:

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    Graduate degree from accredited college/university

Some midwifery programs require the applicant to have an RN license while others will allow students to get their RN license before graduate study.

For RNs without a graduate degree, some midwifery programs offer a pathway that helps candidates attain a graduate degree prior to completing the midwifery program.

You’ll need to have clinical skills at the level specified by the Core Competencies for Basic Midwifery Education and you must practice under the supervision of an AMCB Certified Nurse Midwife or Midwife or Advance Practice Registered Nurse.

Your clinical education will include a broad spectrum of women’s health issues spanning all ages. These include reproductive health care, management of sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and birth, and care of newborns.

Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed in the District of Columbia, all US territories, and all 50 states. They are licensed by Boards of Medicine, Boards of Midwifery/Nurse-Midwifery, Departments of Health and Boards of Nursing.

Midwife Certification

You don’t have to be a nurse to become a Certified Midwife.

This option is a great choice if you already have an advanced degree like a Master’s or Doctorate degree. Depending on the focus of your graduate degree, you may need to take supplemental science courses before becoming certified in midwifery.

According to the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) candidates to be a Certified Midwife need to complete the following steps.

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    Graduate degree (minimum of a Master’s degree) from accredited university or college with a focus on essential science courses as outlined by the AMCB.
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    Graduate from a midwifery education program accredited by ACNM Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).
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    Be verified by program director of completion of education program

Clinical practice requirements are the same as those of a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Certified midwives are licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maine. They may practice by permit in Delaware and receive authorization to practice in Missouri. They are licensed by Departments of Health, Boards of Medicine, Complementary Health Care Providers, and Boards of Midwifery.

Professional Midwife Certification

If you aren’t a nurse and you don’t have a graduate degree, you can still become certified as a professional midwife through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).

Many who have placed a strong emphasis on home births gravitate toward this certification.

To begin registration, you’ll need one of the following items:

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    A completed NARM Portfolio Evaluation Process pathway.
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    Proof of graduation from a Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) accredited midwifery education program.
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    Proof that you’re a Certified Midwife or Certified Nurse Midwife with AMCB.
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    Proof of completion of a state licensure program.

Education requirements are as follows:

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    You must complete the Portfolio Evaluation Process pathway or participate in an apprenticeship program. There’s no degree or high school diploma necessary.
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    Your teacher, called a preceptor, must be a nationally certified or state licensed midwife that’s either attended at least 50 births out-of-hospital and has been in practice for at least three years.
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    If you choose the formal education pathway rather than the Portfolio Evaluation Process, you must have a high school diploma from a state or private accredited school.

In addition, you will need to meet specific clinical skill competencies as outlined by the Midwives Alliance of North America and will include the oversight of prenatal, birth, and postpartum care for both women and their babies.

Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are licensed, registered, or certified in 31 states.

They receive licensing through Departments of Professional Licensure, Boards of Medicine, Departments of Health, Boards of Nursing, Complementary Health Care Providers, and Boards of Midwifery.

The Midwife Salary: What You Need to Know

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The midwife salary varies depending on your level of certification, your area of practice, and your geographical location.

The typical midwife salary for a Certified Nurse Midwife is $107,460, while a Certified Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife averages around $54,201 per year.

It’s important to look at the midwife salary opportunities when determining how much money to put into your training.

Certified Professional Midwifery programs run anywhere from 15K to 60K for a complete program. For the higher-level certifications — Certified Nurse Midwife and Certified Midwife — you must consider the additional cost of traditional schooling at the higher degree level alongside program costs.

Why Midwifery is a Great Choice After a Military Career

Whether or not you have previous medical experience, becoming a midwife is a fulfilling profession that can offer you stability, a good income, and the opportunity to advance and expand your knowledge if you choose.

The midwife salary offers you a stable income, with room for an increase as your skills grow.

Because TRICARE, the armed services health benefits group, supports the use of certified midwives, your midwifery certification will allow you to serve your friends and colleagues in the armed services, even after you’ve been discharged.

Uniformed military, retirees, and their families will feel more comfortable knowing that you’ve been in the service and understand the particular challenges that they face.

Midwives don’t just deal with pregnancy and obstetrics — they focus on women’s health issues from adolescence all the way to menopause.

This means that your skills will be useful for women at all ages and stages.

Overall, midwifery is an excellent career choice for the armed services veteran who wants a dynamic, responsible career caring for women and their newborns.

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