Nursing Salaries: How Much Does an Obstetrics Nurse Make?
Obstetrics nurses assist patients with pregnancy, delivery, and recovery from childbirth. Learn more about OB nurse salary expectations and careers.
Published September 21, 2022
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- The average OB nurse salary was $64,300 in September 2021.
- Obstetrics nurses can pursue advanced practice certification as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.
- Nurse midwives earned an average of $118,040 in May 2021.
- OB nurse salaries vary by location, with California reporting the highest registered nurse salary in May 2021.
Obstetrics nurses go by many names including OB/GYN nurses, perinatal nurses, or labor and delivery nurses. These nurses specialize in the care of patients during pregnancy and childbirth. They also assist with other women's health needs, from puberty through menopause.
Many factors impact obstetrics nurse salary expectations, including where you live and the type of medical practice you work at. Higher levels of education allow nurses to pursue licensure as nurse midwives or nurse practitioners, which can increase an OB/GYN nurse salary. Talk with career counselors, nursing recruiters, or practicing nurses to plan for your future career.
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What Is the Average Obstetrics Nurse Salary?
Obstetric nurses include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives. Each of these nursing specializations involves working with women who need medical care for their reproductive health.
While the median salary for registered nurses was $77,600 in May 2021 as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), keep in mind that half of all nurses earned more than that amount. The top 10% of registered nurses earned median salaries of over $120,250 per year. The OB nurse salary report below provides the median salaries for each position, as reported by the BLS in May 2021.
Highest-Paying Obstetrics Nurse Jobs
Nurse midwives and nurse practitioners report the highest obstetrics nurse salaries. These positions require a minimum of a master's degree in nursing and professional certification to meet state licensing standards.
|Obstetrics Nurse Job||Average or Median Annual Salary|
|OB/GYN Nurse||$64,300 as of September 2021|
|Labor and Delivery Nurse||$68,510 as of August 2022|
|Family Nurse Practitioner||$120,680 as of May 2021|
|Nurse Midwife||$112,830 as of May 2021|
|Nurse Educator||$77,440 as of May 2021|
Data from the BLS and Payscale
How Much Obstetrics Nurses Make in Your State
OB nursing salary varies by state. Several states with a high cost of living, like California, often report a high obstetrics nurse salary. However, the cost of housing, taxes, and education could impact a decision on moving to a high-wage area. But according to the BLS, West Virginia reports the highest salary for nurse midwives, driven by its need for more medical providers.
Carefully consider factors like local job demand, education requirements, and cost of living when considering changing jobs or moving to a new state.
|State||Registered Nurse||Nurse Midwife||Family Nurse Practitioner||Nurse Educator|
|District of Columbia||$98,540||$94,030||$125,290||$100,030|
|Guam||No Data||No Data||No Data||No Data|
|North Dakota||$71,200||No Data||$112,720||$77,160|
|Puerto Rico||$35,690||No Data||$21,610||$39,400|
|South Carolina||$69,580||No Data||$102,850||$71,630|
|South Dakota||$60,540||No Data||$112,320||$71,350|
Data sourced from the BLS
|Registered Nurse||Nurse Midwife||Family Nurse Practitioner||Nurse Educator|
|#1 West Virginia
#2 New Jersey
#3 New York
Data sourced from the BLS
Job Growth for Obstetrics Nurses
The BLS projects 9% growth in employment of registered nurses from 2020-2030. While the projected growth matches the overall job growth projected for all careers, a 2022 report from consulting firm McKinsey projects a shortage of 200,000-450,000 nurses across the U.S. by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic, more nurses retiring, and fewer nursing students entering training programs may all fuel this shortage. That's why many consider nursing a top job for career changers.
Many communities also need more medical providers. In some states, communities are turning to advanced practice nurses like nurse midwives and family nurse practitioners who can provide direct patient care in consultation with a medical doctor. The BLS projects a 45% increase in employment of these advanced practice nurses from 2020-2030.
What Field of Obstetrics Nursing Pays the Most?
Advanced practice nurses, such as nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, report the highest pay among registered nurses. These nurses begin working in clinical settings like hospitals or doctor's offices as registered nurses. They must complete a minimum of a master's degree with coursework in women's health and obstetrics and pass a certification exam. According to the BLS, these obstetrics nurses reported a median salary of $123,780 in May 2021.
Top-paying industries for nurse midwives and nurse practitioners are:
- Hospitals: $128,190
- Outpatient Care Centers: $128,190
- Physician's Office: $121,280
- Educational Services: $102,680
More Education Leads to a Higher Obstetrics Nurse Salary
Registered nurses can choose from associate degrees or bachelor's degrees to begin their nursing career. Many schools offer registered nurses bridge programs that allow them to quickly complete requirements for a bachelor's in nursing. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports 56% of all registered nurses hold a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree curriculum includes clinical education and a general education that prepares graduates for multiple careers and continued nursing education.
Median Salary (May 2021): $77,600
Registered nurses perform diagnostic tests, administer medication, and educate patients and families on managing health conditions. They also collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Most nurses work in hospitals but may also find positions in physician's offices, outpatient care facilities, government agencies, and educational institutions.
Health Education Specialists
Median Salary (May 2021): $60,600
Health education specialists inform communities about health concerns and access to health services. They collect data on community needs, conduct outreach programs, and supervise staff. These healthcare specialists may work in nonprofit organizations, healthcare facilities, or public health departments.
Average Salary (August 2022): $56,250
Lactation consultants assist new parents with breastfeeding. With personalized attention and advice, they can help develop solutions to challenges such as low milk production, latching issues, or breast pain. Many work in hospitals or healthcare facilities, though they may conduct home visits. Registered nurses with specific training and accreditation from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners can serve as lactation consultants.
Many nurses continue their education with a master's in nursing to gain additional clinical expertise or pursue expanded career opportunities. The AACN reports that 13.2% of the nursing workforce has earned a master's or doctoral degree. Graduate nursing programs provide advanced study in nursing management, healthcare policy, and health assessment. Many programs allow students to specialize in a specific area of care, including obstetrics or women's health.
Median Salary (May 2021): $120,680
A nurse practitioner can provide various primary and specialty care services to patients. Some states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently of a physician, while others require a nurse practitioner to collaborate with a medical doctor. Many accrediting agencies oversee various nurse practitioner specializations, including women's health and family nurse practitioners.
Median Salary (May 2021): $112,830
Nurse midwives provide care during pregnancy, including baby delivery and postnatal recovery. They also offer comprehensive women's health services, including routine gynecological exams and family planning services. Nurse midwives seek national certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Health Services Manager
Median Salary (May 2021): $101,340
Health services managers oversee clinical departments or medical practices. They work in hospitals, government organizations, outpatient care centers, and physician's offices. These managers work closely with medical staff to provide safe, effective, and efficient patient care. They organize records and ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. In addition, they may recruit and train staff, develop work schedules, and oversee finances.
Earning a doctorate in nursing prepares OB nurses for careers in education, research, and policy management. Doctoral nursing students learn to implement evidence-based care in treatment plans and devise innovative healthcare delivery solutions. A DNP degree can also advance the skills and knowledge of advanced practice nurses, like nurse midwives or nurse practitioners. In 2018, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties announced it would move entry-level nurse practitioner education to DNP degrees by 2025.
Chief Nursing Officer
Average Salary (August 2022): $134,900
Chief nursing officers oversee the nursing program at a hospital or healthcare facility. They develop procedures to enhance patient safety, participate in training programs, and manage the nursing staff. Specific duties vary, but many chief nursing officers also develop budgets, oversee purchasing, and evaluate inventories. In addition to education and clinical experience, chief nursing officers need management experience.
Median Salary (May 2021): $78,830
These public health researchers study public health programs, collect data, and communicate their findings to healthcare practitioners and policymakers. These research scientists may specialize in maternal and child health and often work for state or local governments. They may also work for insurance providers or pharmaceutical companies.
Median Salary (May 2021): $77,440
Nursing educators work with nurse training programs to prepare students to become registered nurses. These instructors work for postsecondary institutions teaching associate through doctoral-level courses in nursing, clinical practice, or health research. Some nursing educators teach part time while continuing to work in clinical nursing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Obstetrics Nurse Salary
What qualifications do you need to become an obstetrics nurse?
The minimum qualifications to become an obstetrics nurse include completing an associate degree in nursing, passing the National Council Licensure Examination, and completing state nursing licensure requirements. These steps prepare you for entry-level clinical nursing positions in hospitals, physician's offices, or outpatient care centers.
Nursing programs typically include clinical experience as part of the curriculum, including rotations in women's health or a hospital's labor and delivery department or nursery. After gaining at least two years of full-time experience, OB nurses can seek the inpatient obstetric nursing certification from the National Certification Corporation. Though not required for licensing, many employers may prefer candidates with this professional credential.
What is the difference between midwifery and obstetrics?
When patients become pregnant, they may choose between an OB-GYN or a midwife to coordinate their care. While these two roles share many similarities, there are key differences. A certified nurse midwife is a nurse who has completed a master's degree and earned certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. OB-GYNs are licensed physicians.
Nurse midwives can assist patients with hospital births and home births for patients with normal pregnancies. Many patients appreciate that midwives can spend more time with them during labor and prefer more natural pain management approaches, such as breathing, acupressure, or massage.
OB-GYNs can work with patients at risk for complications during pregnancy, such as breech births or cesarean delivery. They typically assist patients in hospitals.
Is obstetrics the same as labor and delivery?
Obstetrics encompasses all care related to pregnancy and childbirth while labor and delivery focuses on the birth of the child. An obstetrics nurse can serve patients before, during, and after the birth of their child. They may work in physician's offices, hospital maternity wards, or birthing centers.
A labor and delivery nurse specializes in assisting patients from the onset of labor through delivery. They monitor a patient's vital stats, like blood pressure and heart rate, track the timing of contractions, and administer drugs.
How do you become an OBGYN?
Becoming an OB-GYN requires completing a medical training program and becoming a licensed physician. The requirements include completing an undergraduate degree, graduating from medical school, and completing a residency program. They must also complete at least three years of specialty training in obstetrics and gynecology.
OB-GYN physicians not only care for pregnant patients but also provide care and counseling related to reproductive health, cancer screenings, and the treatment of menopause. Most OB-GYNs work in physician's offices, earning an average salary of $309,210 per year as of May 2021, according to the BLS.
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