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How to become a CNM

Last post 09-25-2009 6:47 PM by Kim. 7 replies.
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  • 08-07-2009 7:49 AM

    How to become a CNM

    I'm wondering if you all have any advice. I've wanted to do this for a while, but we are going to Korea for 3 years. That will make it very hard to persue, since there will be school I can go to. So, I started looking into CPM's. Almost signed up for AAMI. But, honestly, I'm worried about the legality issues. We are a military family, and therefore move all over and can't control what state we're living in. I'd hate to not be able to practice for 3+ years, because I WONT practice illegally, or alegally. Plus, not to mention the trouble DH could get into if I got into trouble. DH already said we can move to a legal state after he retires so I can practice if that's what we agree to, but we're still 13 years away from that.

    So, I know there are no LPN/RN online/distance learning schools out there. Which means I would have to go to a physical location. But what then? How long are we talking for this education? 2 years for RN and then more for CNM? Are there accelerated courses that I can become an CNM from LPN instead? Can I go from nothing to CNM without a break in training, or do I have to have some work in that process?

    Thanks for the info!



  • 08-11-2009 6:13 AM In reply to

    Re: How to become a CNM

    I was not willing to possibly work alegally/ilegally and so I pursued the CNM path.

    I am going to start a 3-year Bachelor's to CNM program.  I am not yet a nurse.  During the first year of the program you take nursing classes and then during the last two years of the program you take your specialty (midwifery) classes.

    This type of program is called a graduate-entry or direct-entry CNM program.  You can find a list of these programs here: ACNM List of Bachelor's to CNM Programs.  Many of them, but not all, require pre-reqs (mine does not which has shaved off at least a year of more schooling for me).

    There are other types of programs called ADN (RN) to CNM programs.  After you become a RN you can do a bridge program that then allows you to move on to the CNM without a significant amount of schooling added on.  You can find a list of these programs here:  ACNM list of ADN (RN) to CNM Programs.

    Another list of programs you will want to check out are distance programs:  ACNM list.

    I would start there.  See post below.

    ~ Lamaze CBE ~ CNM student ~
  • 08-11-2009 6:21 AM In reply to

    Re: How to become a CNM

    Since you are going away to Korea for three years, pursuing the CNM option right now will be difficult.  The most you can do during those three years will be to start taking some pre-reqs online (not ones that have labs obviously).

    You can't become and RN online so that would have to wait until you return to the states.

    If you do a bridge program (RN to MSN) then the process will take 2 years for the RN and then 2 years to get the CNM.

    My program (graduate entry Bachelors to CNM) then the process is three years.

    Basically, whatever option you take, to get your CNM it will be at least three years and it may be 4-5 depending on the path.  That's why it's important to research your options and see what would be appropriate for your geographic location and circumstances.  Good luck!


    Feel free to PM me with any questions :)


    ~ Lamaze CBE ~ CNM student ~
  • 08-11-2009 11:26 AM In reply to

    Re: How to become a CNM

    To the OP, I am in the same boat, kind of. My hubby is Army and we are going to be moving around and around till he retires. I would choose the CPM route, but for the safety of my family, I am choosing to go the CNM route. At the local Army hospital where I am, the CNMs are amazing. I am a doula and see them often and have spoken to them personally on their midwifery journey. One used to be a birth center midwife, in fact. She has suggested the Frontier distance learning program, which I will look into soon. One thing that is throwing me off is I found out I am pregnant, so I'm not sure when to begin my midwifery journey.

    labor doula
  • 08-11-2009 12:33 PM In reply to

    Re: How to become a CNM

    Thanks for all the replies! I've looking into the accelerated CNM programs. I have an associates degree now, but not a bachelors, so, maybe while I'm in Korea, I can work on that online. Then, when I return, I can start an accelerated program. I'd have to see if there's any way DH can get assigned to a base near one of the schools so I could do the 1 year to get the BSN. After that, it seems the CNM courses can be distance ed. That would be great for me (well, other than the HUGE price tage. I just have to remind myself that when I'm done, I'd have a master's degree). I wasn't able to talk to someone from one of the schools, but here is what I have broken down (if I got it right). The cost is the CNM with the bridge. So I'll still have to pay for the other BA/BS.

    East Carolina University - $24,000

    Stony Brook University - $27,336

    Frontier - $36,120

    Philidelphia University - $42,368

    University of Cincinati - $?? Can't talk to anyone until next Monday

    Now, these are all assuming in state tuition, but being military, we usually get that. As far as I can tell, they are all 3 year programs except for Stony brook. The BSN takes 12 months, and then the CNM is only 1 year. Of course, that info came from someone that wasn't sure about the program. But, the list of classes required show it lasting only 1 year, and the part time taking 2

    What I haven't been able to acertain yet, is if I need any time actually BEING an RN. Or if I can go straight from the BSN to CNM without a break in school.


    Ahh, this is all so confusing. Should I do the CPM or the CNM? I want to be a CPM, but I worry about the legal issues. That is the only reason I want the CNM.


    Here's a question...As a CNM, are there a certain number of births you are required to attend before getting licensed, like the CPM needs? Are you working in a clinic somewhere to get that experience? Does it matter when it occurs? Like, if I shadow a midwife while in Korea, would those births count towards my licensing?




  • 08-13-2009 4:32 AM In reply to

    Re: How to become a CNM

    Hi Wendy,

    I want to answer your questions about births for the CNM:  "Here's a question...As a CNM, are there a certain number of births you are required to attend before getting licensed, like the CPM needs? 

    To become a CNM, you have to:

    1. Graduate from an accredited program

    2. Take the certifying exam

    To take the certifiying exam, you have to graduate from an accredited program- that's all. 

    However, to graduate from an accredited program, you will be expected to be the primary midwife on a certain number of births- it's usually somewhere between 15-20.  There is usually not a hard and fast number b/c midwifery is competency based.  If you have showed your competency after 15 births, then great.  If you need 20 births to show your competency, then that's what they expect.  But, the important thing to keep in mind is that you are working closely with your preceptor during your integration semester.  She will be the one to make sure you manage enough births and that you are competent to practice.  

    To get licensed there is no expecationn of a certain number of births.  If you have graduated from an accredited program (during which your preceptor supervised you in at least 15-20 births) and you have passed the credentialing exam, then you can get licensed.  

    "Like if I shadow a midwife while in Korea, would those births count towards my licensing?"

    Any births you attend in Korea will not count because you haven't started your CNM program yet.  They probably wouldn't count towards the CPM credential either b/c NARM has recently changed their rules about attending births overseas and they are very specific about how you can count births attended outside of the U.S.

    "Are you working in a clinic somewhere to get that experience? Does it matter when it occurs?"

    Where you attend births will depend on the program.  You will need to research how these programs work.  For example, I didn't see the The Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursingl on your list.  Have you looked into this school?  They are a distance based CNM program and have had a large role in the history of homebirth midwifery.  They have you choose a preceptor in your community (this could be a hospital CNM, a birth-center CNM, or a homebirth CNM) and then you will attend births through your preceptor.  Theoretically, if you find a homebirth CNM who is willing to precept you, you could get ALL of your births in the homebirth setting only.  Another example: my school is similar, I am responsible for finding a preceptor (although they have a list of practices that have helped out in the past that I could reference) and wherever they practice (hospital, BC, home) then that's where I get my births.   

    The Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing would be a great option for you because they are a distance program.  You can do it from anywhere and you choose your preceptor from within your community.  They are highly regarded.  

    ~ Lamaze CBE ~ CNM student ~
  • 08-13-2009 10:23 PM In reply to

    • CNM2B
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-08-2009
    • Posts 4

    Re: How to become a CNM

     Sounds like you have been doing a lot of research!  I am currently a CNM student at Frontier and love it!  I wanted to just quickly answer your question about number of births and clinical experiences.  The answer is that the ACNM (the American College of Nurse-Midwives) does give a required number of births that you must attend (in the primary role), but most programs require far more than the ACNM.  I think the current ACNM requirement is 25 births (but that number may have changed).  Frontier has a specific requirement for all types of clinical experiences and I have several friends who are CNM's and students from different schools and they have reported that their schools have similar requirements.  Just as an FYI, here are Frontier's required clinical experiences to graduate:

    10 preconception care visits

    30 new antepartum visits

    140 return antepartum visits

    40 labor management experiences

    40 births (including 4 observations, at least 5 continuity clients, and at least 5 without epidurals)

    40 newborn assessments

    20 breastfeeding support visits

    40 postpartum visits (2 hours to 14 days)

    30 postpartum visits (2 to 8 weeks)

    40 common health problems

    30 family planning visits

    25 non-postpartum gynecological visits

    25 perimenopausal/postmenopausal gynecological visits

    I am also doing the WHNP program (women's health nurse practitioner), which requires about an extra 250 well-woman gynecological visits. 

    We do get to choose where we do our clinicals (with a lot of input and final approval from the school).  Many students do a combination of hospitals, clinics, private practices and birth centers.  Some students do get to do some with a homebirth midwife, but that is rather unusual (homebirth midwives often have trouble getting malpractice insurance, and most schools will only allow students to precept with CNM's who have adequate insurance--a sad state of things, but those are the rules). 

    Good luck and please let me know if you have any questions!!


  • 09-25-2009 6:47 PM In reply to

    • Kim
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 09-25-2009
    • Posts 1

    Re: How to become a CNM


    Have you looked into the Post 9/11 G.I Bill?  It can be transferred to spouses to cover tuition. My husband is in the military as well and he wasn't planning on using his GI bill, so he transferred it to me. My tuition is now covered 100% for the next 36 months. How much you get is dependent on how long your husband has been in.  You might want to check it out.



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