Return to Newsroom & Events > Get Connected

The Latent Phase: Maintaining your License, Crunching the Numbers

By Stephanie Tillman, CNM, MSN

Understanding the specific requirements needed to maintain your midwifery license, including continuing education, is a numbers game. Here is how I have come to understand the system, and keep track of seemingly complex requirements in a clear fashion.

Just when I thought I had all the numbers crunched in my list of certification, licensure, and maintenance requirements, I learned the true depths to which the numbers-game of maintenance goes: I encountered continuing education. Thank goodness the counting doesn’t start until after graduation! For those in clinical practice, here’s how it works (nota bene: 10 contact hours = 1.0 CEUs).

National Requirements

First, let’s start with our certifying body. The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) operates on a 5-year certification cycle. That means that if you initially pass the Boards this year (2014), you have until the end of 2019 to fulfill the cycle requirements, which are:

1. Completion of 20 contact hours (2.0 CEUs), and

2. Either

a. Testing in 3 certification maintenance modules; or

b. Retaking the certification exam within the same 5 years.

Upload your CEUs to the AMCB website via your individual profile to ensure completion. Once you have met the requirements, a green announcement will show up under the “Continuing Education” section on your profile page that reads “Congratulations. You have met the continuing education requirement for your current cycle.” Similar red/green announcements will appear under the “Modules” section to alert you about whether requirements have been met.

There are also annual or cycle fees associated with maintaining certification. You can track your fee payments via your individual profile on AMCB’s website, too, as well as map your progress in modules. Visit their website for further details regarding these requirements.

State Requirements

On top of the national certification requirements, every state holds different requirements for the number of continuing education hours needed to maintain individual licenses, including RN and APN or CNM licenses. For example, in Illinois, I am required to have 50 hours for APN and 20 hours for RN. They are allowed to overlap, but this is still 30 contact hours within a much shorter time frame than what is required by AMCB. CEUs by state are typically on an honor system, meaning that you should keep them filed away so that you’ll be ready in the event that someone asks for them. Contact your state licensing body, often a Board of Nursing, if you still have questions.

Trying to figure out how to track all of this? Me too. Here’s a spreadsheet, including some of my own example info in italics, to help get you started.

Where do I get these credits?

There are many methods by which providers earn CEUs. Conferences, like the ACNM Annual Meeting & Exhibition, AWHONN’s annual convention, MANA meetings, Symposia Medicus, or Contemporary Forums are all good starts. Even education sessions at regional meetings may offer opportunities to earn CEUs. Employers may offer reimbursement for time and money spent going to conferences to cover these requirements, and health care professionals typically attend 1 to 2 conferences per year specifically for this reason. If you are scrambling for a few extra hours at the end of your cycle, check out the suggestions below.

Free online CMEs:

  • ACNM: Intrapartum Sterile Speculum Examination for Registered Nurses. Simply register and take the online exam to earn ACNM-approved credits for one contact hour (0.1 CEU).
  • HRSA: Evidence-Based CE/CME Activities for Safety Net Providers from ARHQ. HRSA identified 36 training activities relevant to safety net healthcare providers in medically under-served communities. Some midwife-related topics include: “Non-surgical Treatments for Urinary Incontinence in Adult Women,” “Noncyclic Chronic Pelvic Pain Therapies for Women,” and “Progestogens for Prevention of Preterm Birth.”
  • ARHP (American Association for Reproductive Health Professionals) Clinical Minute: Review a brief case study on a key reproductive health topic through ARHP’s Clinical Minute. In just 15 minutes, you can earn CE/CME credit while improving your clinical skills.
  • The Fenway Institute: Webinars with free CMEs offered through the National LGBT Health Education Center. Topics include “Introduction to LGBT Health,” “Transgender Health,” “Lesbian and Bisexual Women,” and other primary care information.
  • Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: Nurses and Physicians can earn 1 hour of CME credit by viewing all 4 presentations.
  • One contact hour on how “Every Nurse is a Risk Manager” to “reinforce and strengthen nurses’ understanding of risk management in healthcare and to suggest risk reduction tools to mitigate exposure to professional liability.”

There are also many for-pay options online. Members of ACNM can get CEUs at substantial discounts from the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health by taking tests associated with publications in particular journals. Step-by-step instructions available here. Another option is ADVANCE Healthcare Network: for advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, with a variety of primary care topics as well as 3 specific women’s health topics. Each course is around $10 and offers up to 2 credit hours.

Will I see you at the Annual Meeting in Denver? This will be my third attendance in a row, and I am really looking forward to seeing old faces, meeting new ones, and reconnecting in new ways with the College. Keep an eye out for me - I'll be the one with the Feminist Midwife swag.  Hope that we cross paths!

Stephanie Tillman is a recently-graduated nurse-midwife now practicing full-scope midwifery in the urban United States, at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and as a member of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). With a background in global health and experience in international clinical care, the impact of public health and the broader profession of midwifery are present in all her thoughts and works. Stephanie's blog, Feminist Midwife, discusses issues related to women, health, and care. Find out more at and follow her on Twitter at @feministmidwife.

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 3/21/2014 4:41:14 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


American College of Nurse-Midwives.
8403 Colesville Rd, Suite 1550 | Silver Spring MD 20910
Phone: 240-485-1800 | Fax: 240-485-1818
Follow Us