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How to Become an Emergency Room Nurse

February 23, 2015

Emergency nursing is a fast-paced, intense career that requires stamina, dedication, compassion and the ability to remain calm in chaotic situations. Consult the information below to learn more about becoming an emergency room nurse.

More about the Job

Emergency room nurses are registered nurses with specialized training. They typically provide care to trauma patients, such as those who have serious illnesses, acute injuries or other life-threatening ailments that require immediate intervention. Most emergency room nurses work in hospital emergency departments. However, you may also work in other locations that deal with crises, such as poison control clinics or urgent care facilities.

As an emergency room nurse, your salary will vary based on a number of factors, such as experience and location. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the average annual wage for all registered nurses is approximately $65,470. Because emergency room nurses often have specialized training, salaries may be slightly higher in this part of the field. Emergency room nurses may also be able to earn more money through travel nursing.

Education and Licensure

To become an emergency room nurse, you must first become a licensed registered nurse, or RN. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can become a registered nurse by obtaining a diploma from an approved nursing program, an associate's degree in nursing or a bachelor of science degree in nursing. All of these paths require a different amount of study. While you may be able to obtain a diploma or associate's degree in two or three years, most bachelor's degree programs require four years of full-time study.  All registered nurses must obtain licensure by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

After becoming an RN, you will typically need additional training to become an emergency room nurse. This may involve advanced nursing courses and/or experience in emergency room settings.


Although you may be able to work as an emergency room nurse in some locations by simply completing some additional coursework or training after your initial RN degree, you may be able to enhance your employment opportunities by applying for certification. To obtain certification as an emergency room nurse, you must pass the Certified Emergency Nurse Exam offered by the Emergency Nurses Association. This organization also offers continuing education opportunities for nurses interested in emergency nursing.

A career in emergency nursing is an excellent choice for nurses who are able to maintain composure under pressure. To find out more, contact some local nursing education programs and request information.

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