Nurse Midwife Salary – How Much Do CNMs Make?

A common question for those considering a certified nurse midwife (CNM) career is: how much do CNMs earn? Certified nurse midwives are integral in managing high-quality care for expecting mothers, newborns, and families across the United States and worldwide. So how much can a CNM expect to make as a certified nurse midwife? This article explores the typical salaries of certified nurse midwives based on experience level, geographic region, and other factors to help aspiring CNMs determine their earning potential.

Simply put, certified nurse midwives earn an average annual salary of $114,210, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021)—the latest data available as of mid-April 2023. 

Compared with other healthcare occupations, certified nurse midwives earn 41 percent more than other healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (including registered nurses (RNs), physicians and surgeons, and dental hygienists), whose average is $75,040 per year (BLS May 2021). Compared to all other occupations, certified nurse midwives earn nearly double the national average salary of $58,260 per year (BLS May 2021).  

What responsibilities are certified nurse midwives (CNM) compensated for? CNMs provide prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum healthcare to mothers and newborns in their first 28 days of life. Certified nurse midwives provide mother and baby healthcare in clinical environments, birth centers, and home birth settings. 

In addition to health promotion and preventative care, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwifery, CNMs “conduct physical examinations; independently prescribe medications including but not limited to controlled substances, treatment of substance use disorder, and expedited partner therapy; admit, manage, and discharge patients; order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests; and order medical devices, durable medical equipment, and home health services.” 

Once licensed, the scope of practice for a certified nurse midwife depends on the state in which they are licensed. Some states give full independent practice authority to CNMs, while others require CNMs to work under physician supervision.

As for education, certified nurse midwives are classified as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with graduate or doctoral levels of education and professional certification. Many CNMs have at least a year of experience as registered nurses (RNs) before enrolling in a graduate or doctoral degree or certificate program recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME). In addition, CNM degree and certificate programs require 600 to 1,200 clinical hours, preparing nurses to provide birth care for patients and for professional examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). 

When considering salary offers, certified nurse midwifery compensation is determined by experience, education, employer, and location. Nurses have ranked #1 on Gallup’s list of most honest and ethical professions for nearly two decades. Therefore, CNMS must familiarize themselves with comprehensive information to ensure they receive adequate compensation for the invaluable contributions they provide.

Read on to learn more about how much certified nurse midwives make, including salary percentiles, and the top-paying metropolitan areas, states, and industries.

Number of Employed Certified Nurse Midwives & Salary Percentiles

The BLS (2022) shows that three types of APRN careers, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives, are expected to grow 40 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is much faster than the national average (5 percent). Of these three occupations, nurse practitioners (NPs) hold the highest number of positions at 234,690 compared with the 7,750 currently employed certified nurse midwives (CNMs). 

The BLS (2022) anticipates that openings for nurse midwives specifically will swell 7 percent in the 2021 to 2031 timeframe, adding 600 jobs nationally.

A table compares the number of employed APRNs, the annual NP and CNM salaries, and salary percentiles for both professions. 

Nurse PractitionersCertified Nurse Midwives
Number of professionals employed234,6907,750
10th percentile$79,470$61,500
25th percentile$99,540$96,040
50th percentile (median)$120,680$112,830
75th percentile$129,680$130,450
90th percentile$163,350$166,170
SourceBLS, May 2021BLS, May 2021

Top-Employing Metro Areas for Certified Nurse Midwives

Bigger cities have more people. Hence, it’s no surprise their employment demand is higher compared to areas with smaller cities. Therefore, salary data is largely influenced by location and population density. 

Here are the cities and metropolitan areas with the highest number of employed certified nurse midwives and their annual salaries based on BLS data from May 2021. It’s worth noting that all the metro areas below, except for the Baltimore metro area, pay average annual salaries above the national average.

Metropolitan areaNumber of employed CNMsAnnual salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA400$128,970
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA320$133,660
Boston-Cambridge-Nashaa, MA-NH250$129,720
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA240$162,800
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV200$112,400
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD160$116,510
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI160$118,030
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 160$123,480
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA160$96,650
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD150$113,320
Source: BLS May 2021

Top-Paying Metro Areas for Certified Nurse Midwives

With the average annual salary for certified nurse midwives at $114,210, it’s easy to see which metro areas pay at or above the national average. Here are ten of the top-paying cities and metropolitan areas, all of which pay salaries higher than the national average for certified nurse midwives in the United States. 

At the higher end of the scale, CNMs working in Charleston, West Virginia, can expect to earn nearly 40 percent more than the national average. By comparison, certified nurse midwives working in the Portland, Oregon, metro area can expect to earn nine percent more than the national average for CNMs.

Metropolitan areaNumber of employed CNMsAnnual salary
Charleston, WVUnknown$169,460
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA240$162,800
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA80$157,570
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA90$150,990
Salt Lake City, UT90$133,950
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA320$133,950
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI60$131,580
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH250$129,720
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA400$128,970
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA100$125,160
Source: BLS May 2021

Top-Paying States for Certified Nurse Midwives

Cost of living in a particular area is one of the biggest factors that influence salary. Housing, utilities, transportation, and groceries are generally more expensive in states with larger metropolitan areas and coastal cities than in states with smaller, inland cities and metro areas. As such, certified nurse midwives must be aware of the cost of living when considering job offers or seeking employment in particular states. One helpful resource for job-seekers is the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), which publishes a cost of living index for all 50 states and Puerto Rico. 

According to MERIC data in December 2022, three out of the five top-paying states are also in MERIC’s list of the top five most expensive states to live in. Massachusetts is the third-most expensive state to live in, followed by California and New York. 

Therefore, certified nurse midwives who have the option of working in Utah and West Virginia can make their salaries go further, ranking #1 and #2 in the BLS list of top-paying states and #31 and #8 on MERIC’s list of most affordable states to live in.

StateNumber of employed CNMsAnnual salary
West VirginiaUnknown$163,190
New York490$126,170
Source: BLS May 2021

Top-Employing Industries for Certified Nurse Midwives

Certified nurse midwives play an essential role in reproductive healthcare in a variety of healthcare settings. Many certified nurse midwives gravitate towards industries such as private practices, hospitals, and government-run health facilities. 

Private practices, including physician’s clinics, allow certified nurse midwives to form their own unique bonds with their patients and utilize evidence-based practice more efficiently. Medical and surgical hospitals and outpatient care facilities are the top employers and provide certified nurse midwives with opportunities to collaborate with other healthcare professionals and treat patients immediately in cases of emergency. 

On the other hand, certified nurse midwife jobs in educational health facilities allow CNMs to increase their knowledge of providing care in diverse settings. For example, a CMN working at a university-based teaching and research hospital may provide opportunities to work with patients facing unique healthcare challenges and contribute to cutting-edge, life-saving research.

IndustryNumber of employed CNMsAnnual salary
Outpatient care centers1,070$146,430
General medical and surgical hospitals1,680$119,900
Offices of physicians3,880 $113,920
Colleges, universities, and professional schools79$107,130
Local government, excluding schools and hospitals90$104,670
Source: BLS May 2021
Rachel Drummond, MEd

Rachel Drummond, MEd


At, Rachel Drummond has applied her extensive experience in education and mindfulness to elucidate the importance of self-care for nursing students since 2022. Through her writings, she underscores the role of mental and physical well-being in fostering resilient and compassionate healthcare professionals.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.