Online Midwifery Schools Offering CNM Masters Degrees in South Dakota

Midwives have provided women with support and assistance during childbirth for centuries. Today’s nurse-midwives carry on the tradition of high-touch, low-tech personal care, while their advanced practice nursing expertise allows them to effortlessly bridge traditional birthing practices and modern medicine.

Certified nurse-midwives in South Dakota are part of a growing movement toward nurse-midwifery care, not just during the birthing process but also for care throughout the lifespan. Nurse-midwives, as advanced practice registered nurses, provide well woman care to women from adolescence well beyond menopause.

In 2018, about 7-10.99% of births in South Dakota were attended by midwives, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.

The South Dakota Board of Nursing identifies the scope of practice for nurse-midwives to include:

  • Providing advanced nursing assessment, intervention, and case management
  • Providing advanced health promotion and maintenance education
  • Providing counseling to clients, families, and other members of the healthcare team
  • Consulting with or referring clients to other healthcare providers

Steps to Becoming a Nurse-Midwife in South Dakota

RNs in South Dakota interested in becoming certified nurse-midwives must become licensed as Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) through the South Dakota Board of Nursing by following the steps detailed in this guide:

Earn a Qualifying Graduate Degree in Nurse-Midwifery
Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations
Apply for APN Licensure through the South Dakota Board of Nursing
Explore Career Options as a Nurse-Midwife in South Dakota and Keep Credentials Current



Step 1. Earn a Qualifying Graduate Degree in Nurse-Midwifery

The first step to becoming a nurse-midwife in South Dakota involves completing a master’s degree or higher in nurse-midwifery that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME), the sole accrediting agency for nurse-midwifery degree programs in the U.S.

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Master’s Degrees in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health

For RNs who possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), conventional master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery are appropriate for earning APN licensure in South Dakota and gaining eligibility for the CNM credential.

However, a number of ACME-accredited degree programs exist to accommodate RNs with different educational backgrounds:

  • RN-to-MSN Degrees: Designed specifically for RNs with associate degrees, RN-to-MSN degree programs encompass the components of both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing, usually in an accelerated format.
  • Post-Graduate Certificates: RNs that already possess a master’s degree when seeking initial APN licensure often complete post-graduate certificates in nurse-midwifery, as do currently licensed APNs seeking to add another specialty to their APN license.

Today’s nurse-midwifery programs feature formats designed to appeal to students with different needs and professional goals. For example:

  • Dual-specialization master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery/women’s health allow students to broaden their scope of practice and achieve national certification and APN licensure as both a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP).
  • Part-time programs in nurse-midwifery often appeal to working RNs. While full-time master’s degree programs in nurse-midwifery take about two years to complete, part-time programs take about three years to complete.
  • Many of today’s nurse-midwifery master’s degrees have partially or fully online didactic coursework. In many parts of the country, online programs are particularly valuable because of the lack of nurse-midwife programs in the U.S. For example, there are currently no nurse-midwife programs in South Dakota.

Program Components
A master’s degree in nurse-midwifery consists of two components: a didactic component and a clinical component. The core curriculum of these programs includes courses in:

  • Advanced health assessment
  • Nurse-midwifery management of the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum woman
  • Well woman health care and the newborn
  • Nurse-midwifery management of complications
  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Assessment and management of common primary care signs and symptoms
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Issues in nurse-midwifery professional practice

The clinical residency of a nurse-midwife master’s degree program, which often consists of up to 1,000 hours, includes rotations in antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, newborn, well woman’s care, and primary care. Clinical sites range from private midwifery practices to large hospital systems. In South Dakota, students may complete part of their clinical residency at the following sites:

  • Avera Medical Group Women’s Midlife Care Hospital, Sioux Falls
  • Sanford Clinic Women’s Health, Sioux Falls
  • Women’s Wellness Center, Huron
  • Regional Health, Spearfish Regional medical Clinic, Rapid City

Many of today’s online master’s degree programs in nurse-midwifery partner with clinical sites throughout the U.S. allowing students to complete the clinical component of their program at a location close to home.

Admission Requirements

In addition to requiring candidates to possess a valid RN license and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), institutions offering master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery often require candidates to possess:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA
  • Minimum GRE scores
  • Admissions essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Nursing experience



Step 2. Take and Pass the National Certification Examinations

After graduating from a master’s degree program in nurse-midwifery, RNs in South Dakota seeking APN licensure as a nurse-midwife must take and pass the Nurse-Midwife (CNM) examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Graduates of master’s degrees in nurse-midwifery/women’s health may also choose to take the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) examination offered through the National Certification Corporation if they wish to hold dual APN specialization.

Candidates must apply to take the examinations and receive approval before they can schedule to take the examinations through an Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing center. In South Dakota, candidates may take the exams at the AMP centers in Rapid City or Sioux Falls.



Step 3. Apply for APN Licensure through the South Dakota Board of Nursing

To become an APN nurse-midwife in South Dakota, candidates must possess a current and unencumbered RN license in South Dakota (or an RN license from a Nurse Licensure Compact state) and complete the CNM Initial License Application. In addition to a completed and signed application, applicants must submit the following to the Board:

  • Licensure fee of $100
  • Completed criminal background check packet (Applicants must contact the South Dakota Board of Nursing at 605-362-2760 to request the packet.)
  • Transcripts from the university where the nurse-midwife degree was conferred (Candidates must complete the Transcript Request Form 2)
  • Evidence of current CNM certification
  • Collaborative Practice Agreement
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Nurse-midwives attending out-of-hospital births must sign a Waiver of the Collaborative Agreement to Attend Out of Hospital Births.

Note: Candidates also seeking APN recognition as a women’s health nurse practitioner must complete a separate CNP Application.

Controlled Substance Privileges

To prescribe, dispense, and administer controlled substances, nurse-midwives in South Dakota must contact the South Dakota Department of Health for an application for Controlled Substances Registration. CNMs must possess a collaborative agreement with a physician that authorizes their prescriptive authority, including controlled substances.



Step 4. Explore Career Options as a Nurse-Midwife in South Dakota and Keep Credentials Current

Nurse-midwives in South Dakota must always ensure they maintain their RN license, APN license, and national certification(s).

APN Renewal Requirements – South Dakota Board of Nursing

CNMs in South Dakota must complete the APN renewal process online. All CNM licenses renew biennially at the same time as RN licenses. In addition to a renewal fee of $70 (or $160 for the renewal of both RN and APN licenses), nurse-midwives must provide evidence of their active CNM certification.

CNM Renewal Requirements – American Midwifery Certification Board

The American Midwifery Certification Board’s Certification Maintenance Program allows CNMs to satisfy their continuing education requirements by completing one of the following:

  • Option 1: Complete at least 3 AMCB Certificate Maintenance Modules during each five-year certification cycle and at least 20 contact hours of approved continuing education units; pay annual fees
  • Option 2: Retake the AMCB Certification Examination and pay the $500 examination fee in lieu of annual fees

WHNP Renewal Requirements – National Certification Corporation

The National Certification Corporate requires WHNPs to take a continuing competency assessment at the beginning of each three-year maintenance cycle and complete a specific number of continuing education credits hours based on the results of the assessment.

Resources for Nurse-Midwives in South Dakota

Just a few of the settings throughout South Dakota where nurse-midwives may find professional opportunities include:

  • Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls
  • Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls
  • Dakota Women’s Clinic, Mitchell

Job posts surveyed in 2015 reveal that South Dakota is home to a variety of job opportunities for nurse-midwives (shown for illustrative purposes only):

  • Certified Nurse-Midwife: Indian Health Service, Pine Ridge
  • Certified Nurse Midwife, Medical Doctor Associates, Locum
  • Nurse-Midwife, Indian Health Service, Eagle Butte
  • Active Nurse Midwife, U.S. Army Healthcare Team, Sioux Falls

Salaries for Certified Nurse-Midwives in South Dakota

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the occupational outlook from 2018-28 for nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners is projected to grow for both sectors between nearly 18% and 27%, respectively, so you can expect the job outlook for nurse-midwives to be in the same ballpark.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t publish data for South Dakotan nurse-midwives, but the annual average salary nationally for nurse midwives in 2019 was $108,810. For more experienced nurse midwives in the 75th and 90th percentiles, the national average salaries are $127,110 and $158,990, respectively.

A Growing Interest in Nurse-Midwifery in South Dakota Leads to Strong Job Growth for CNMs

According to a National Vital Statistics Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010, about 0.29% of all births in South Dakota between 2005 and 2006 were out-of-hospital births, the vast majority of which were home births. What’s particularly interesting is the upward trend toward home birthing and midwifery services. In fact, according to the advocacy group South Dakota Birth Matters, between 2004 and 2009 the number of out-of-hospital births in South Dakota increased by an astounding 92%.

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Additionally, one study released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in 2012, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed that the number of home births nationally had increased by 29% between 2004 and 2009.

These trends, both nationally and locally, reveal an upward trend in CNM-attended births and a renewed prevalence of nurse-midwives in women’s healthcare. These factors help point to a positive career outlook for certified nurse-midwives in South Dakota.

In 2019, the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, published occupational data projecting that the demand for nurse-midwives nationwide would increase by 45% in the 10-year period between 2019 and 2029.

(Salary data for nurse-midwives reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2019. Figures represent state data, not school-specific information. Job growth data provided by Projections Central, a resource funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Conditions in your area may vary. Information accessed March 2021.)

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