Hey Everyone, Welcome to our informative write-up on becoming an ER Nurse!

In this guide, you’ll learn about becoming an Emergency Room Nurse, including the educational requirements you need to fulfill first and the possible certifications and credentials you may need.

Additionally, we explore all avenues on how to become an ER Nurse since there is no one way to become one.

After reading this guide, you’ll be familiar with the procedures required to become a nurse working in an emergency room.

This guide will cover:

  • Step-by-Step on How to Become an ER Nurse
  • Is there any certification or credentials needed?
  • How long does it take to become an ER Nurse?
  • The different routes to becoming an ER Nurse
  • Is it worth it to become an ER Nurse?

Let’s dive straight in!

Step-by-Step on How to Become an ER Nurse

Step-by-Step on How to Become an ER Nurse

When deciding to become an ER Nurse, you’ll be responsible for identifying the milestones you’ll have to achieve before taking up your career.

To help you begin with getting around to compiling research surrounding qualifications, experience, and skills needed to become an ER Nurse, we’ve compiled the steps and requirements to becoming an ER Nurse below:

Step 1: Attend a nursing program 

Before becoming an Emergency Room Nurse, you must become a Registered Nurse.

To get that designation, you’ll have to complete a degree program.

If you are familiar with what it takes to become an RN, you might already know that there are two-degree programs available to RNs.

Foremost, a prospective RN can obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing, which teaches the clinical training required to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

The second option is to acquire a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which generally provides more career advancement opportunities once you become a Nurse.

Choosing which degree to take will lie in the time frame you intend to spend on education and your career goals.

For instance, should you decide to obtain an ADN, your course will generally last between 1 and 2 years, while a BSN degree program is typically four years long.

Furthermore, an ADN provides students with just enough knowledge to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, while a BSN provides prospective RNs with higher skill levels that are advantageous for joining the workforce.

Once you’ve decided on which degree program to take and successfully graduate, the next step to becoming an ER Nurse is passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

Step 2: Take the NCLEX-RN Exam 

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), which NCSBN administers, tests prospective Registered Nurses on whether they’ve assumed enough knowledge to begin entry-level practice.

The exam typically contains 75 multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, and fill-in-the-blank type questions surrounding the nursing knowledge taught in degree programs.

While the exam usually consists of 75 questions, it can consist of 265 questions.

Passing the exam is usually not a walk in the park, so you may want to consider getting some extra study resources or even taking an exam prep course to ensure you pass the test on your first attempt.

Once you pass the exam, the next step to becoming an ER Nurse is to apply for an RN Licensure.

Step 3: Obtain Licensure

Depending on your state, you will have to fulfill different requirements to obtain an RN license.

For example, while some states might require a recommendation letter and background check to begin your licensure process, only a background check may suffice in other states.

Once you’ve reviewed your state’s licensure application process, submitted the correct details and documents, and eventually obtained your license, the next step to becoming an ER Nurse is to gain some work experience.

Step 4: Obtain Experience  

Although some employers may hire new graduates and RN license holders with no experience, many will only hire ER Nurses who have gotten at least 1 to 2 years of experience.

To get some experience, you could consider getting an entry-level job working in a general medical-surgical unit or an intensive care unit.

When obtaining experience in a healthcare facility, your primary concern should be getting a bedside-related nursing role.

This will prove to your future ER Nurse employer that you’ll be able to transition to the often more strenuous emergency room role.

With that being said, while obtaining experience is the last milestone to achieve in becoming an ER Nurse, many prospective ER Nurses consider obtaining further certification to better their chances of landing a great job.

In the next section, we explore whether it’s necessary to get a certificate as an ER Nurse and, if so, the various options available to you.

Is there any certification or credential needed?

Is there any certification or credential needed

Becoming an ER Nurse requires plenty of time and hard work.

This is why it’s understandable that many prospective ER Nurses prefer to get straight into the workforce after meeting the primary education and experience requirements.

However, with advanced certifications being offered to ER Nurse to hone specialties and further develop their skills, you might want to consider obtaining advanced certification.

By obtaining an advanced certification, you stand to get high skill level positions, and you’re prone to earn significantly higher.

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) recommends the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) certification as the most popular advanced certification for ER Nurses.

Apart from the CEN, other popular certification choices include Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certifications.

And it doesn’t end there.

You could also get certifications such as the Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN) certification for ER Nurses providing care to children and the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (CTRN) certification for Trauma Nurses.

Now that we’ve gone over the recommended certification for ER Nurses, let’s discuss the time frame you should set aside to become an ER Nurse next.

How long does it take to become an ER Nurse?

How long does it take to become an ER Nurse

If you plan on pursuing a career path, having an estimated time frame for reaching your goal is an excellent way to gauge your progress.

When it comes to pursuing ER Nursing, it could take you about six years to finally begin working in the profession; hence staying within that time frame might indicate you’re progressing sufficiently.

The six years it takes to become an ER Nurse is broken down into 2- 4 years in getting the appropriate education.

Then, you’ll need to spend two years obtaining clinical experience.

Finally, you should be mindful that six years is merely a benchmark and that it can take longer should you experience any hurdles like failing the licensure exam.

If you assume an Emergency Room Nursing position immediately after getting your RN license, it could take less time.

The different routes to becoming an ER Nurse

The different routes to becoming an ER Nurse
The different routes to becoming an ER Nurse

As mentioned earlier in this guide, there is no one route to becoming an ER Nurse.

There are various requisite nursing education and certification programs for ER Nurses, thus the benefit of pursuing an ER nursing career in different ways.

Below, we explore the different pathways a prospective ER Nurse can take to begin working in the emergency department.


The most common way of becoming an Emergency Room Nurse providing critical care is to take on an ADN or BSN program.

After completing the educational program, the next step is to take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) 

While obtaining an ADN or BSN is the primary nursing degree every RN needs before starting practicing, RNs can go a step further and get an MSN.

Through an MSN, you’ll acquire a high-level education that will enable you to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) instantly.

RN – BSN  

If you already hold an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and are interested in advancing your degree type, several RN-BSN programs allow you to upgrade your ADN to a BSN.

By providing prospective Emergency Room Nurses with various options, becoming certified and qualified becomes much more flexible and manageable.

Is it worth it to become an ER Nurse?

Is it worth it to become an ER Nurse?
Is becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner worth it?

Determining whether becoming an ER Nurse is worth it depends on your career goals and personal interests, and needs.

Despite that, we’ll mention a few aspects of the job that generally attract professionals so you can deduce whether it’s the nursing career for you.

For one, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records the ER Nurse’s median annual salary as $73 300.

Hence, the ER Nurse’s salary is higher than the US median household income.

In addition, with the BLS predicting a 9% growth in career opportunities for RNs, there’s a good indication that there will be sufficient work for Emergency Care Nurses.

Apart from the salary and job outlook, some Emergency Room Nurses say they are up for the adrenaline rush of working in trauma centers.

Furthermore, they enjoy helping severely injured patients recover.

When it comes to the not so appealing parts of the job, some ER Nurses state they work more than 10 hours daily, states Monster.

Furthermore, the multitasking associated with often the fast-paced environment may be a scare for people not comfortable with being pushed to the edge.

Finally, with ER Nurses encountering the most severe injuries and life-threatening medical conditions, the job can sometimes toll on an ER Nurse’s emotional well-being.


Conclusion on CMSRN Recertification

While, at first glance, becoming an ER Nurse may seem like an overwhelming procedure, it is not.

Provided you’ve done thorough research into the education, experience, and skills requisites, you’ll be able to have a smooth journey to starting your career as an ER Nurse.

In this guide, we ensured to explore every avenue to consider when becoming an ER Nurse so that your commitment to pursuing the profession is made simpler.

We hope you have found answers to all your questions regarding training to become a Nurse in an emergency room.

Good luck!


What are the ER Nurse education requirements?

The education requisites to becoming an ER Nurse include obtaining an ADN degree or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While it’s not compulsory to get a Master’s degree should you want to attain an advanced role, an MSN is needed. Finally, it’s recommended that you receive an ER-related certification.

How many years does it take to become an ER Nurse?

The same years will depend on the requisite education you choose to obtain and your career goals. However, it typically takes about six years to become an ER Nurse. This includes 2-4 years to complete an ADN or BSN program and obtaining 1 to 2 years of nursing work experience.

How much do Emergency Room Nurses make?

According to ZipRecruiter, ER Nurses make an average of $85 704 annually. The highest recorded salaries for ER Nurses range at $116 500 while the lowest ER Nurse salary is about $67 000. Massachusetts pays ER Nurses the highest amount, averaging $95 375 per year.

How to become an ER Nurse as a new grad?

New grads can become ER Nurses provided they obtain their Registered Nursing License. However, seeking a job after graduating can prove challenging as many employers prefer to hire ER Nurses with some years of experience working at the bedside.

Is it hard to be ER Nurse?

In addition to having extended hours on foot to care for critically ill patients, the ER Nurse specialty often involves significantly strenuous work. This includes emotional strain from seeing severe cases of trauma and pain to often experiencing extreme tiredness from the fast-paced nature of the job.

What do you need to do to be an ER Nurse?

Firstly, become an RN by acquiring an ADN or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from an accredited nursing school. Then, take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The next step is to obtain a year of work experience. Then, the Emergency Nurses Association recommends obtaining the CEN certification.

What is an ER Nurse?

An ER Nurse works alongside Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and other medical staff to triage and stabilize patients that are critically ill or injured. Emergency Room Nurses work in critical situations, and they have to work under pressure and with unusual cases.


Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing




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