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Are you interested in a fast-paced and fulfilling nursing career? Then emergency room (ER) nursing may be for you. ER nurses hold registered nursing (RN) licenses and help patients with serious illnesses and injuries.
In general, RNs received a projected employment growth rate of 9% from 2020-2030 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A Payscale survey of close to 1,400 ER nurses found most respondents highly satisfied with their jobs.
Average Salary for ER Nurses
How much do ER nurses make? Payscale data from June 2022 indicates an average annual salary of $73,000 or $32.56 an hour. ER nursing pays comparable average annual salaries to other nursing specializations, including critical care nursing, flight/transport nursing, and trauma nursing, which all earn income in the $70,000 range.
Location, work setting, years of experience, and education level can affect average ER nurse salaries. ER nurses in Los Angeles, for example, earn salaries 52% higher than the national average. Nurses with 5-10 years of experience can see significant salary increases. Possessing skills like treating patients while in transport, clinical education, and administration can increase pay by 15%-20%.
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The Highest-Paying States for ER Nurses
According to May 2021 BLS data, RNs, which include ER nurses, bring in the highest salaries in California, with an average wage of $124,000 a year. In Hawaii, RNs earn just over $106,000. Oregon and Washington, D.C., both average around $98,500. Alaska RNs make an average salary of $97,000.
4 Ways to Increase Pay As an ER Nurse
Become a Certified
The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing provides credentials to nurses who have passed the certified emergency nurse examination. Certification indicates that an ER nurse continues to acquire specialized knowledge and expertise. This credential can lead to higher salaries and career advancement opportunities. Certified ER nurses stand out to employers for their contributions to safe and productive ER units.
Complete Your BSN or MSN
According to June 2022 Payscale data, nurses with bachelor of science in nursing degrees earn an average annual salary of $89,000, compared to professionals with associate degrees in nursing, who make an average of $73,000. Individuals with master of science in nursing (MSN) degrees earn an average of $98,000. An MSN opens doors to careers as nurse practitioners (NPs), and ER NPs are paid an average salary of $105.092.
Gain Experience in Administrative Roles
Gaining administration skills through experience, certification, continuing education, or workplace leadership training programs can increase hourly wages by more than $5 per hour. Higher degrees or certificates can lead to roles in nurse leadership, such as medical and health services manager. These positions earn average annual salaries of nearly $120,000.
Become an ER Travel Nurse
ER travel nurses work for travel nursing agencies that issue temporary assignments at ERs throughout the country. ER specialists are in demand and typically earn $3,000-$7,000 per week. They also receive stipends or additional pay to cover housing and food expenses, along with potential crisis pay.
Frequently Asked Questions About ER Nurse Salaries
What is the salary range for ER nurses?
ER nurse salary ranges start at $27.53 per hour for entry-level RNs and increase by approximately $6 per hour with 5-9 years of experience. After 10-20 years, hourly wages rise from $37 an hour to just below $40 an hour.
Are ER nurses in demand?
The BLS projects a 9% employment growth rate for RNs from 2020-2030. Not all nurses may want to work in the fast-paced and stressful ER environment, and turnover can be high, which opens new opportunities.
What is the hourly salary for an ER nurse?
The BLS reports an average hourly rate for RNs at $37.31. ER nurse hourly wages range from $27,53-$39.61 on average, according to June 2022 Payscale data.
How much does an ER travel nurse make?
Travel nurses typically get paid an hourly rate and can expect to make $3,000-$7,000 per week for an average of 46 weeks. ER specialists are among the highest-paid travel nurses, and assignments in New Jersey, North Dakota, and Washington tend to pay more.
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