How to Become an Emergency Room Nurse

Emergency Room Nurse Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $61,920
Avg. Pay / hour $29.77
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 12%

An Emergency Room Nurse is an RN (Registered Nurse) that is specialized in providing health care to individuals who are seeking immediate medical assistance.

These professionals are experienced working in a fast paced and stressful environment providing supportive services to a team of medical doctors or other health care professionals.

Individuals who want to become an Emergency Room Nurse will have a knack for working in a busy, fast paced environment and have the ability to stay organized when organizing and documenting client interactions.

Education Requirements to Become an Emergency Room Nurse

Individuals who want to become an Emergency Room Nurse have a variety of options to consider when choosing an educational path.

Individuals have the option of pursuing a diploma from an accredited nursing program, an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s of science (BSN) focused on nursing.

Entry level positions will accept any of these degrees.

However, many employers look for individuals with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.

All of these educational paths require individuals to secure a license.

The majority of nursing programs from a diploma to an associate’s include a variety of courses focused on health and anatomy.

Some typical courses include classes in: microbiology, physiology, psychology, nutrition, chemistry and other science classes.

These programs also include clinical experience supervised under a licensed individual.

An associate’s and certification programs typically take between two to three years to complete while a BSN can take four years.

Individuals who want to become an Emergency Room Nurse will also need to seek licensure in order to enter this profession.

Individuals must first complete an accredited program and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before becoming licensed.

Please visit NCLEX for specific information on registration and eligibility requirements.

Emergency Room Nurse Job Description

Emergency Room Nurses work in the ER department providing health care to patients needing immediate medical assistance.

Emergency Room Nurses are experienced professionals who are able to work in a high volume, busy environment providing assessments and treatments to individuals experiencing a medical crisis.

Emergency Room Nurses are also highly experienced in treating a variety of different medical ailments.

Emergency Room Nurses can assess and treat several different patients who are being admitted to an emergency room for a variety of medical crises including: injuries, being unconscious, breathing problems, heart problems, accidents, being poisoned and a plethora of different reasons.

The first thing an Emergency Room Nurse needs to do is assess and record a patient’s symptoms and vital statistics.

Emergency Room Nurses report to a team of doctors or other health care providers and work extremely close with them in order to provide the best care for their patients.

Emergency Room Nurses will also work independently in order to take assessments, record a patient’s symptoms, take a patient’s vital statistics, such as blood pressure and provide a treatment plan that has been determined and planned by a doctor or supervising physician.

An Emergency Room Nurse will also be required to use a variety of medical equipment and technology in order to record assessments and symptoms, consult with doctors regarding a patient’s treatment plan and explain important instructions to a patient who is being released home or to another medical department.

Emergency Room Nurse Salary and Career Path

Emergency Room Nurses are specialized Registered Nurses (RN) that work specifically in an urgent care facility or emergency room.

In 2012, the median annual wages for all Registered Nurses was approximately $65,470.

Exact wages will depend on the industry an individual works in.

For example, Registered Nurses working for federal based health care facilities can expect to earn a median wage of $68,540 per year while individuals working for a private physician’s office can expect to earn a median wage of $58,420.

The job outlook for all Registered Nurses, including Emergency Room Nurses, looks promising with an expected job growth of 19 percent through 2022.

This increase is considered higher than average making this profession a wise choice to consider when choosing a career path.

Individuals interested in a career as an Emergency Room Nurse have a lot of things to look forward to including a healthy job outlook, a healthy income and the ability to work with individuals who need immediate medical assistance.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$98,540
New Hampshire$78,270
New Jersey$89,690
New Mexico$77,590
New York$93,320
North Carolina$71,200
North Dakota$71,200
Rhode Island$85,270
South Carolina$69,580
South Dakota$60,540
West Virginia$67,640
Guam- NA -
Puerto Rico$35,690
Virgin Islands$69,890

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $124,000.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $124,000
Hawaii - $106,530
Oregon - $98,630
District of Columbia - $98,540
Alaska - $97,230
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Registered Nurses, OCC Code 29-1141, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an emergency room nurse?

Emergency room nurses are registered nurses who work in the emergency room.

ER nurses work with physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide care for patients.

They need to know how to triage patients based on observation and prioritize injuries that are life-threatening.

Emergency room nurses can perform tests, administer medication, use medical equipment but they also have the role of advising patients and their families.

If you’re a compassionate person who enjoys caring for other people, a career as an emergency room nurse may be the right path for you.

ER nurses also need a variety of other skills, including time management skills, the ability to put aside their personal feelings and stay calm in stressful situations.

How much does an emergency room nurse make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for registered nurses, in general, was $71,730 as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary depending on the specialty, the employer and the region.

Registered nurses can make anywhere between less than $50,000 and more than $100,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become an emergency room nurse?

Most emergency room nurses start by earning a diploma, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Although you can find entry-level employment with a diploma or associate’s degree, most hospitals prefer to hire registered nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Bachelor’s degree programs in nursing can cost you anywhere between $40,000 and more than $100,000 a year, depending on the school you choose.

Registered nurses also need a state license, which can be earned after obtaining a passing score at the NCLEX.

The cost to take the NCLEX-RN exam is $200.

As a licensed registered nurse you can seek employment as a nurse in the emergency room.

After gaining a few years of emergency room experience you can seek certification through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing.

What is the demand for emergency room nurses?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

However, employment opportunities vary depending on the region and the nurse’s level of experience.

Holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and obtaining professional certification as a Registered Emergency Nurse can give you better job prospects.

How long does it take to become an emergency room nurse?

Registered nurses need at least an associate’s degree in nursing but holding a bachelor’s degree in this field can give you better job prospects.

You can earn your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing after 4 years of post-secondary training.

After finishing your schooling the next step is to take NCLEX-RN and become a licensed registered nurse.

Afterward, you can seek employment as an emergency room nurse.

After gaining 2 years of work experience you can choose to become professionally certified as an Emergency Room Nurse.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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