The Salary of a Prenatal Nurse

by Louis Horkan

Prenatal nurses specialize in providing care for new and expectant mothers and their babies. Also referred to as perinatal nurses or nurse-midwives, they are generally registered nurses working in health-care facilities who provide assistance to women and their babies during the pregnancy, delivery and postpartum stages. Compensation for prenatal nurses varies by location, training and other factors.

Salary

Prenatal nurses are considered nursing specialists and categorized as registered nurses by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau reported that registered nurses nationwide earned an annual average wage of $69,110, as of 2011. The median annual salary for the profession was $65,950 a year. Nurses reporting in the lower 25 percent earned $53,770 a year or less, while those reporting in the upper 10 percent earned $96,630 or more annually. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives’ 2010 Compensation & Benefits Survey, prenatal or midwife nurses earned an average annual salary of $114,152, with a median annual wage of $88,000.

Location

One of the primary factors influencing compensation for prenatal and other registered nurses is geographic location. According to the bureau, nurses working for health-care providers in California earned the highest annual average wage nationwide, at $90,860, followed by those working for providers in Massachusetts at $86,810 a year and Hawaii at $83,950 a year. Meanwhile, nurses working in Iowa reported the lowest annual average wage nationwide, at $53,300 a year, followed by those working in South Dakota at $55,710 a year and Oklahoma at $56,130 a year.

Training

Most prenatal nurses are registered nurses with a minimum of an associate's or bachelor's degree of science in nursing. They generally obtain specialized nurse-midwifery training through accredited two-year programs offered at colleges and universities throughout the country. Certification is preferred by employers and is offered through the American College of Nurse-Midwives. State licensing and continuing education are requirements for all prenatal nurses. Certification influences compensation and is required to advance to supervisory or management positions by many employers.

Outlook

According to the BLS, registered nurses will be in high demand in the future, with job growth for the profession projected to be 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, nearly twice the rate projected across all occupations for that period. Prenatal nurses are expected to be more sough-after because of shortages in rural communities and inner cities. Advances in treatments and technology are also expected to increase demand.

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