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Continuing Competency Assessment

Recognizing Professional Commitment to Midwifery

ACNM’s Continuing Competency Assessment (CCA) Program was active from 1986 through the end of 2010 as a voluntary comprehensive recognition program developed to provide Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) with lifetime certification the opportunity to demonstrate competency in the provision of care to women, newborns and their families. ACNM discontinued its support of this program in 2010, based on the decision by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) to require time-limited certification for all CNMs and CMs who are in active practice.

For more information about the AMCB and the requirements for time-limited certification maintenance, go to

About AMCB and CNM/CM Certification

The American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB), formerly the ACNM Certification Council, Inc. (ACC) is the national certifying body for CNMs and CMs. The certification function is a critical aspect of professional quality assurance in midwifery.

1971: The first nurse-midwives are certified by examination by ACNM, first within the Division of Examiners, and then within the Division of Competency Assessment.

1991: In keeping with the professional standard that certification should be separated from the professional organization, the ACNM Certification Council, Inc. (ACC) is incorporated as a distinct organization from ACNM, charged with functions related to the midwifery certificate. These functions include initial certification, recertification (certificate maintenance) and discipline.

1998: The ACC begins offering certification to professionally educated midwives who were not first educated as nurses (CMs). The CM certificate is offered to candidates from midwifery education programs that have been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME).

2005: ACC changes its name to American Midwifery Certification Board to clarify that the membership organization (ACNM) and the certifying body (AMCB) are two distinct organizations. Despite the name change from ACC to AMCB, the mission and goals of the organization remain the same. According to the AMCB Vision Statement, “AMCB is committed to using progressive, comprehensive educational and professional criteria to certify midwives.”

2011: AMCB initiates time-limited certification for all CNMs in active practice. This change was implemented due to changing standards and expectations for the certification of health professionals which jeapordize the ability of CNMs to maintain their state licensure. Midwifery is not alone in making this change. The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification & Education, developed by the APRN Consensus Work Group and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing recommended that certificate maintenance activities be required for all APRNs and that re-certification occur at a minimum of every five years. The American Board of Medical Specialties and the National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants are moving in a similar direction. In short, while there was once a valid argument and rationale for CNM lifetime certification, the public, the states, and other health care professionals have weighed in on this, and lifetime certification is not consistent with their recommendations.

Questions? Please contact Megan Bassett at [email protected]


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