Nurse midwifery is, quite simply, one of the most critical roles in modern healthcare. While to many people “midwife” may sound old-fashioned or even historical, nurse midwives are definitely not a thing of the past – in fact, they are the present and future of birthing. With extensive training in the most current medical research; the most up-to-date, evidence-based nursing practice; and the age-old art of caring for women in pregnancy and birth, nurse midwives are the best of all possible worlds for expectant mothers and their newborns.
The Importance of Online Nurse Midwifery Programs
Nurse midwives are special for a lot of reasons. For one, they are able to provide a closer form of care than the average OB-GYN, since their training in nursing makes hands-on patient care central to their expertise. In addition, nurse midwives can provide a valuable middle ground between mothers who want the security of a medical birthing environment, but also the intimacy of a midwife over the clinical nature of a obstetrician. Perhaps most importantly, though, nurse midwives are crucial to providing medical care in rural and remote regions where there are few or no OB-GYNs in practice.
As with other specializations, nurse midwifery is on course to make a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) the standard for entry-level positions in nurse midwifery. The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), which accredits nurse midwifery programs, has resisted that trend, arguing that nurse midwives are too crucial to be held up in unnecessary schooling when an MSN provides all the education necessary. Still, many schools of nursing are already making the transition from MSN to DNP Nurse Midwifery programs, or developing bridge programs for those who want to make the next step to a DNP.
Ranking the Best Online Nurse Midwifery Programs
To rank the Top 15 Online Nurse Midwifery Programs, Top RN to BSN researched online, hybrid, and low-residency nurse midwifery MSN and DNP programs across the US, choosing only those with regional certification, as well as many with ACME certification. We then ranked programs according to three factors:
- Cost: current tuition (according to IPEDS)
- Reputation: current Niche score
- Return on Investment: current alumni salaries (according to College Scorecard)
This combination provides the best balance of quality, affordability, and job-market authority for nurse midwifery graduates.
1. James Madison University
U.S. News ranks James Madison University at one hundred seventeen for both Master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees in Nursing schools. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Top 100 ranks JMU as one of the best values for your dollar in the public education field. Although JMU’s branding tends to emphasize their esteemed school paper and sports teams, the small class sizes contribute to a reputation for having one of the most tight-knit communities for Nursing students, and this is a major draw for many students and professionals in the field. The graduate nursing enrollment at James Madison University totals one hundred and twenty students, with two dozen studying full-time.
The ACME-accredited JMU MSN Nurse-Midwifery Concentration program will train students on advanced health assessment, health care policy, the role of an advanced practice nurse, and epidemiology and population assessment among other courses. This unusual program uses a special partnership with Shenandoah University to provide students with an MSN from JMU, and a post-graduate certificate in Nurse Midwifery from Shenandoah. Online nurse midwifery programs like the certified midwife programs at JMU are built to help a student become an invaluable asset to a hospital, and JMU’s emphasis on rural and underserved communities makes the nurse-midwifery MSN a valuable contribution to Appalachian life.
Format: Hybrid (partnership with Shenandoah University)
2. University of Colorado College of Nursing
One of the nation’s most acclaimed medical and health sciences institutions, the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus dates back to the University of Colorado’s original medical school in the late 19th century, which held courses in Denver because of the city’s larger population. CU’s health programs have been ranked in the top 20, and many in the top 10, by the US News & World Report. The College of Nursing, dating back to 1898, is particularly well-regarded. The University of Colorado is focused heavily on academic excellence, and the rankings and awards that they’ve won prove it.
The College of Nursing offers four courses online for the CU Anschutz MSN in Nurse Midwifery. For those pursuing certified midwife programs from a rural area, there are special allowances made for study and qualification, given the spread-out nature of the state of Colorado. For residents of Colorado, the University’s online nurse midwifery programs is one of the best deals available in terms of return on investment, with resident tuition varying depending on a number of factors but generally being lower than average within this field.
3. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University, the flagship institution for the Texas Tech University System was established in 1923 and draws on a century of tradition in technical fields and training. Founded as a technical college, Texas Tech’s stated mission was to provide career training for the people of west Texas, where there was no public higher education institution. Clearly, the need was there, and today, with nearly 40,000 students, Texas Tech is central to professional life in the region. Ranked one hundred eighty seven on Best Colleges’ National Universities list in the 2019 edition, Texas Tech is especially known for the TTU Health Sciences Center.
Texas Tech University’s online nurse midwifery programs are aimed at both beginning nursing professionals and students, and those who have been at the game for a little while, and are looking to strengthen their resume. TTU’s hybrid MSN in Nurse Midwifery degree program provides students with online and web-enhanced courses (requiring some on-campus attendance); the nurse midwifery track will require a little more on-campus time than other specializations. Coming from West Texa’s leading technical university, TTU’s certified midwife programs can be a tremendous stepping stone in one’s career.
4. University of Washington
Ranked one of U.S. News & World Report’s top national universities for 2019,, the University of Washington is Washington state’s leader in social science, medical, engineering and business programs. Founded in 1861, UW dates back to just after Seattle was incorporated as a city, and well before the Washington Territory was admitted to statehood. In other words, Seattle and the state of Washington owe a lot to UW, which is not just a great school, but a cornerstone of life in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, nursing graduates are already in one of the highest-paying cities for nurses.
The University of Washington DNP in Nurse Midwifery program is one of the most comprehensive certified midwife programs available right now. The first year is a hybrid program, 50/50 online and in person, and will take students through the steps to build a solid foundation to be not only an expert in their field, but a pillar of their professional community, covering leadership, appraisal, health systems and policy and quality improvement. More than 20 diverse sites give nurse midwifery students a wide range of experience. Not many online nurse midwifery programs are so devoted to creating not just great professionals, but people who may have an impact on the health industry at large.
Format: Hybrid (on-campus once a week)
5. Georgetown University
Georgetown University is one of those schools that needs no introduction. With just around seven thousand students, Georgetown is known as one of the most selective and elite institutions in the nation, and gaining admittance is very competitive. As the nation’s first Catholic university, located in the nation’s capital, Georgetown has tremendous academic and political influence. With the oldest Catholic medical school, and the world-renowned Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown is also one of the nation’s most influential institutions in health sciences.
As a household-name university, Georgetown wishes to only produce professionals who will rise to the top of their field, including the Georgetown Master’s in Midwifery degree program. This means that it can be very hard to get enrolled in Georgetown’s certified midwife programs, but if you make the cut, and you can stick it out, you will effectively have your career made for you. Georgetown’s online nurse midwifery programs cover everything from the philosophy, ethics, and business of nursing to advanced health assessment, pharmacology and pathophysiology training across three on-campus intensives and one thousand plus clinical hours for the part-time program alone.
Format: Online (with 3 on-campus intensives)
6. George Washington University
Founded in 1821 by a Congressional charter, George Washington University was designed as proof of Washington DC’s growth and development into a world capital, following the first president’s last wishes. With its location in the District, GWU is one of the most politically connected universities in the nation, and in addition to its political powers, is primarily known for its programs in engineering and health professions. The university is also highly selective, with admitted students receiving the highest level of support and professional opportunity outside of the Ivy League.
The GWU hybrid MSN-Nurse Midwifery program comes about through a partnership with Shenandoah University, which provides a post-graduate certificate in nurse midwifery to George Washington University’s certified midwife programs. The program features aculty mentoring, part-time and full-time enrollment options, and focused attention to antepartal, perinatal, neonatal and postpartal care, with a mind towards serving underserved communities such as rural areas. GWU’s program is essentially designed to create nursing care superheroes, people who will help to push the highest quality medical treatment out to areas where it might not easily be found.
Format: Hybrid (partnership with Shenandoah University)
7. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University is not just a great school but a pillar of life and learning for Long Island and the state of New York. While Stony Brook began as a teacher’s college in 1957, over the following six decades the university grew into a hub for major breakthroughs in research and development, consistently turning out some of the very best people in the medical field. Stony Brook Medicine provides not only research and learning, but community health care, and overall the university accounts for a nearly seven and a half billion dollars economic impact on Long Island.
The university’s certified midwife programs include Stony Brook’s MSN in Nurse Midwifery, combining online nurse midwifery programs with on-site course work. The work that nursing students will do here is not a simple training course, but implementing scientific findings to improve nursing care, with a focus on theory and clinical judgment. At Stony Brook, you’re not a trainee, you’re a researcher, and may wind up doing some of your most important work while here. Stony Brook is also an affordable way to get a degree in one of the highest-paying states for nurses.
Format: Online (some on-site requirements)
8. University of Kansas
Founded in 1865, the University of Kansas has a bigger job than just educating Kansas’ people – it came about to heal and restore the state that had just a few years before been known as “Bloody Kansas” for its pre-Civil War violence. Today, KU is one of Kansas’ bedrocks, recognized as the region’s finest research university and a center of health and medicine with the KU Medical Center. Kansas is known for its value and return on investment, regularly ranking as a best value.
One of the Midwest’s finest certified midwife programs is the University of Kansas’ DNP Nurse Midwifery track. With online nurse midwifery programs and intensives, the nurse-midwife DNP program will have students studying at a number of facilities around the Kansas City metropolitan area and beyond, and will make graduates eligible for the national certification examination by the American Midwifery Certification Board, which may open the door to an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse license, essentially a golden ticket for professionals in this field.
Format: Online (with intensives)
9. Baylor University
Founded in 1845, Baylor University is a Christian college in Waco,TX, the oldest continuously operating college in the state, known for its motto “For Church, For Texas.” At the time, Texas was still an independent republic, not yet having joined the US, and Texas identity and service to Texas are still at Baylor’s heart. Baylor is ranked particularly highly for nursing, coming in at #10 nationally for midwifery according to U.S. News & World Report. The name brand recognition of a school like Baylor University can go a long way in advancing one’s career, and that’s an integral part to Baylor University’s identity.
The Baylor online DNP in Nurse-Midwifery degree program includes a post-masters track, and may be one of the best certified midwife programs in the state. Program features include a 100% first-time pass rate for certification exams, ACME accreditation, and CCNE accreditation. The Herrington School of Nursing is widely considered one of the finest not only in Texas, but in the entire US; the extensive training and education found here will make for a robust and impressive resume, virtually ensuring employment anywhere in the country.
Format: Online (with immersions)
10. East Carolina University
When people talk about East Carolina University, one of the first things that comes up is going to be the ECU Pirates. It’s a big sports college, but their medical programs are comprehensive, with extensive awards and honors program to help produce an impressive resume. In fact, ECU educates more nurses than any other college in the Carolinas, and is widely seen as the top nursing school in the South. In other words, the East Carolina University does not just produce people who are able to find work in their chosen professions, but people who are industry leaders and game changers.
ECU’s online MSN in Nurse Midwifery degree is one of the more impressive online nurse midwifery programs available. The program will qualify students for the American Midwifery Certification Board exam to work under the CNM title, and post masters certificates are available for those who want to advance their education. Many who study with ECU go on to become educational professionals, allowing for greater diversity in one’s career path. With comprehensive education on the skills demanded of a midwifery professional as well as the business side of the healthcare industry, it shouldn’t be surprising to find hospital and pharmacy founders among ECU’s alumni.
11. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati’s motto is “Strength in Unity,” and that spirit has been driving UC for nearly 200 years; even studying online students find a rich and vibrant community surrounding the school. Founded in 1819, UC is one of the oldest universities in the Midwest and one of Ohio’s most trusted institutions, making a major impact on the development of the first city founded after the American Revolution. The University of Cincinnati is devoted to giving their students a place and a purpose, and is credited as the birthplace of the cooperative education model – the foundation of experiential professional learning.
The University of Cincinnati’s online Master’s in Nurse Midwifery track is a full, comprehensive program devoted to understanding everything there is to understand about helping women through the birthing process, including the physical and psychosocial aspects, but also the spiritual and religious needs of the patient. Nursing is a scientific field, but unlike many medical fields, nursing goes well beyond science, and the University of Cincinnati’s certified midwife programs aim to equip graduates with all of the tools needed for the human element of the job.
12. Bethel University
One of the leading Christian universities in Minnesota since its founding 1871, Bethel University was actually founded in Chicago, moving to Saint Paul, and then Arden Hills by 1972. Bethel’s mission statement is to develop students on all levels: spiritually, socially, and physically, within a Christian environment. Whatever your religious background, Bethel has a strong track record for producing excellent nursing professionals, and the culture surrounding the school is quite positive.
The online nurse midwifery programs at Bethel University will cover much of the same ground as any other online nurse midwifery programs, but are focused heavily on providing care to underserved communities, including rural and inner city areas. Whether or not this is your career plan, being able to work directly in these communities proves to employers that you are not only qualified by your credentials in nurse-midwife practice, but that you have extensive experience with the human element and the compassionate side of nursing, as well.
Format: Online (with intensives)
13. Old Dominion University
Established in 1930 as an extension campus of the College of William & Mary, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia is a leading public research university. Of course, ODU has far outgrown its origins, with demand increasing to make the university one of Virginia’s largest, and a comprehensive research university. ODU has particularly made its name on online and distance education in recent years, and has emerged as a great choice for medical professionals who are considering a possible future in academics and research, as well as the business side of the profession.
ODU’s certified nurse midwifery programs are offered in partnership with Shenandoah University, providing their online MSN courses along with Shenandoah’s post-graduate certificate in nurse midwifery. A two year program awarding a Master of Science in Nursing, opening the door for further certification and licensing, what really makes ODU a first choice is the access that students will have to one of the best research facilities in the country. For students who wish to delve into the science end of the field, ODU will help you to make contacts and learn the skills required to become a tenured professor, resident or researcher at a leading university.
Format: Hybrid (partnership with Shenandoah University)
14. Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson University (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) was founded in 1824 as Jefferson Medical College, and Philadelphia University was founded in 1884 as the Philadelphia Textile School. The new Jefferson was established on July 1, 2017 as a result of the merger of these two renowned universities. Jefferson – home of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College as well as numerous colleges, schools and institutes, like the College of Nursing and the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce—delivers high-impact education in 160 undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,800 students in architecture, business, design, engineering, fashion and textiles, health, medicine, science and social sciences.
Jefferson University’s certified midwife programs include two and three year tracks to the American Midwifery Certification Board exam, with the final four semesters of both being full-time, with advanced placement for certain qualified MEAC-educated professional midwives. A bachelor’s degree is prerequisite, as a primarily online nurse midwifery programs with only two intensives, it’s not difficult to work Jefferson into your educational career plan. Accessibility is one of the strongest attractions for this program, with online education allowing students to do the bulk of their coursework on their own time, making it the ideal program for working professionals looking to advance their careers with further training.
Format: Online (with 2 intensives)
15. University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico, the state’s flagship institution, was founded in 1889 to provide higher education to what was then the New Mexico Territory. A top-tier national research university, UNM is particularly crucial as a provider of medical services for Albuquerque and the surrounding region; U.S. News & World Report ranks the university among the top institutions for primary care, and #2 for rural medicine. New Mexico is one of the more rural states in the US, and one of the poorest, but populated with philanthropists and professionals seeking to make rural life easier for those living away from the city.
Of course it stands to reason that the University of New Mexico has one of the best certified midwife programs in the country for rural medicine. For anyone looking to devote some time to rural medicine, whether as a lifelong pursuit or to develop their career and build a strong resume with online nurse midwifery programs, the Nurse-Midwifery track at the UNM College of Nursing is about as good a foothold in that niche as one can hope to get. A full-time two year commitment awarding a Master of Science in Nursing, with online MSN Core courses available and an APRN Core program involving both online and on-site experience, any hospital looking to push healthcare in a rural area is likely to fast-track UNM graduates to the top of the list.
Format: Hybrid (core online, concentration hybrid)