How to Become an ER Nurse

Registered nurses seeking a challenging specialization that involves directly saving lives every day may consider training to become an ER nurse. Emergency room nurses must be registered nurses, and must be qualified to respond to many different life threatening injuries. To become a registered nurse, students must earn a degree from a state-approved school of nursing, be it a four year BSN program or a two-year associate degree, and pass a state licensing examination. Nurses with their bachelor’s degree may see more career advancement opportunities. Click here to find an accredited RN to BSN and MSN nursing programs for ER nurses. Additionally, to become more competitive, a nursing student can become certified in emergency room nursing, which requires passing an exam given by the Emergency Nurses Association.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)
Purdue Global Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing
Grand Canyon University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Online Nursing Degrees
Liberty University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
Walden University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Online Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Nursing Programs and Certificates

Emergency Room Nurse Job Description and Duties

Registered nurses can specialize in different ways, and one way is by work setting. Emergency room nurses work in hospital emergency rooms or stand-alone emergency departments or trauma centers, and they treat patients of all ages and will deal with any type of condition or injury. They provide assessments and treat patients with life-threatening conditions. Some ER nurses are qualified to further specialize as transport nurses, who care for patients who are being transported to a medical facility by plane or helicopter. It can be an exciting, adrenaline-filled job that is fast-paced and requires quick-thinking, teamwork, and someone who works well and remains calm under duress. ER nurses are sometimes referred to as trauma nurses and usually consider the same types of certifications and career advancement opportunities.

ER Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

Registered nurses are the largest group of healthcare workers in the healthcare industry, and about 56% of nurses work in hospital settings, such as the emergency room. Healthcare is a fast-growing industry due to the growing aging population, and the impending shortages in healthcare workers means that there will be no shortage of stable, secure jobs for qualified nurses. Nursing in general is projected to see roughly 587,000 job openings before 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This is the largest projected rate of growth of any other occupation. Trauma nurses are in large demand as well throughout the country, which gives them leveraging power.

The salary of an ER nurse will vary, depending on region, hospital, and years of experience, but the national median hovers around $60,000 and rises each year. (source: According to, the head emergency nurse position holds a median salary of $86,150.

Nurses in the field of ER nursing also pursue work as poison information specialists. Poison information specialists work in poison control centers and often have flexible schedules. ER Nurses are frequently recruited into these positions since they have quite a bit of relevant experience.

Accredited Programs for ER Nurses

University of Phoenix College of Health and Human Services

School Branding

Programs Offered: RN to BSN, MSN – (Specializations: Nursing Informatics, MSN/MBA, MSN/MBA – Health Care Management, MSN/Health Care Administration), Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, Health Care Administration Degrees

While widely available, not all programs are available in all locations or in both online and on-campus formats. Please check with a University Enrollment Representative.

Walden University School of Nursing

School Branding

Walden University School of Nursing graduates have the knowledge and skills to be leaders in their profession. You may choose to specialize in Education, Informatics or Leadership & Management. Request information from Walden University to learn more.

Kaplan University School of Nursing

School Branding

Request information from Kaplan University School of Nursing to learn more about their online RN to BSN and Masters in Nursing Programs.

Back to Top | Explore More Nursing Schools