How Much Do ER Nurses Make? Emergency Room Nurse Salaries

Updated August 10, 2023

If you're interested in a career in nursing, there are many specializations you can choose from based on your interests and goals. Nurses often have financial considerations when choosing a practice area, as some offer higher salaries than others. Learning about the salary you may earn as an emergency room (ER) nurse can help you decide if this career path is the right fit for you.

In this article, we provide average national and state salaries and the highest-paying cities for ER nurses, share steps for increasing your salary in this role and answer frequently asked questions about working as an ER nurse.

How much do ER nurses make?

The salary you may earn as an ER nurse depends on many factors, including your level of education, your experience in health care and your employer. The national average salary for an emergency room nurse is $152,898 per year. Here are the highest-paying cities for ER nurses and average salaries by state:

Highest-paying cities for ER nurses

The geographic location where you work can affect the salary you may earn as an ER nurse. Here are the highest-paying cities for professionals in this role:

  • Brooklyn, New York: $199,646 per year

  • Bronx, New York: $183,259 per year

  • Chicago, Illinois: $170,242 per year

  • Miami, Florida: $154,570 per year

  • Houston, Texas: $146,367 per year

  • Phoenix, Arizona: $144,178 per year

  • Dallas, Texas: $142,944 per year

  • New Orleans, Louisiana: $140,460 per year

  • Denver, Colorado: $139,677 per year

Related: Highest-Paying States for Registered Nurses (And Salaries)

ER nurse salaries by state

States have different salaries for ER nurses based on factors like demand, demographics and cost of living. Here are the average salaries for an ER nurse in each state and Washington, D.C.:

  • Alabama: $133,615 per year

  • Alaska: $159,431 per year

  • Arizona: $153,390 per year

  • Arkansas: $145,210 per year

  • California: $170,666 per year

  • Colorado: $152,190 per year

  • Connecticut: $159,764 per year

  • Delaware: $182,883 per year

  • District of Columbia: $169,765 per year

  • Florida: $130,992 per year

  • Georgia: $144,969 per year

  • Hawaii: $124,693 per year

  • Idaho: $153,257 per year

  • Illinois: $168,807 per year

  • Indiana: $154,871 per year

  • Iowa: $158,937 per year

  • Kansas: $132,543 per year

  • Kentucky: $145,648 per year

  • Louisiana: $142,288 per year

  • Maine: $170,744 per year

  • Maryland: $169,969 per year

  • Massachusetts: $160,548 per year

  • Michigan: $154,063 per year

  • Minnesota: $179,596 per year

  • Mississippi: $137,777 per year

  • Missouri: $145,752 per year

  • Montana: $135,498 per year

  • Nebraska: $153,177 per year

  • Nevada: $170,468 per year

  • New Hampshire: $151,026 per year

  • New Jersey: $176,186 per year

  • New Mexico: $161,590 per year

  • New York: $172,071 per year

  • North Carolina: $149,731 per year

  • North Dakota: $151,055 per year

  • Ohio: $142,369 per year

  • Oklahoma: $166,015 per year

  • Oregon: $168,805 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $153,579 per year

  • Rhode Island: $165,547 per year

  • South Carolina: $130,576 per year

  • South Dakota: $145,683 per year

  • Tennessee: $136,887 per year

  • Texas: $138,744 per year

  • Utah: $142,269 per year

  • Vermont: $165,939 per year

  • Virginia: $139,533 per year

  • Washington: $163,593 per year

  • West Virginia: $149,294 per year

  • Wisconsin: $166,434 per year

  • Wyoming: $166,290 per year

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the links provided.

Related: Learn About Being an ER Nurse

How to increase your salary as an ER nurse

Here are some steps you can take to earn a higher salary as an ER nurse:

1. Gain experience in the field

The first step for many nurses who want to increase their salaries is gaining experience in the field. Entry-level roles in ER nursing may pay less than the average for your city or state, but you can earn more by pursuing mid-level roles that may become available to you after a few years. Those with extensive experience often earn above-average salaries in advanced practice nursing roles or nurse management positions.

2. Pursue a certification

You may also increase your salary by participating in continuing education programs that award you with a credential specific to your industry and experience level. Professional nursing certifications show employers you have specialized knowledge or skills in a certain area of the field. For example, the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing offers the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) designation for candidates who pass an exam on ER nursing topics.

Related: Nursing Certifications: What You Need To Know

3. Earn a degree

Some states allow ER nurses to practice after receiving an associate degree in a nursing program, but earning a higher degree may improve your chances of earning a higher salary. You might consider completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which allows you to take on more responsibilities and potentially move into a higher-paying role. If you currently hold a BSN, consider entering a master's degree in nursing program so you can pursue a senior clinical or administrative position in the field.

Related: What Is a BSN Degree in Nursing and Is It Worth Getting?

FAQs about working as an ER nurse

Here are some additional questions that you might have about ER nurses or their salary expectations:

Is ER nursing in demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment opportunities for all registered nurses to grow by 9% between now and 2030. This is slightly faster than the average rate for all occupations, which is 8%. The agency estimates about 194,500 new openings to become available during this time frame.

Related: What Is the Job Outlook for Registered Nurses?

What are the skills required to become an ER nurse?

ER nurses use a wide variety of skills to provide their patients with comfort and immediate care. These include soft skills like communication and patience, which can help you succeed in any position, and technical skills that relate specifically to the job, like using medical equipment or adhering to standards of care. Here are some common skills for an ER nurse:

  • Diagnostic skills: As ER nurses work in emergency care, they encounter patients of all ages with all kinds of illnesses and injuries. They use their diagnostic skills to evaluate their patients' conditions and determine the next step in treating and easing their symptoms.

  • Prioritization: Emergency rooms sometimes become busy with patients who require medical care. ER nurses prioritize care by determining the patients who require more immediate assistance.

  • Compassion: This is an important soft skill for an ER nurse to have, as patients in the emergency room may experience challenging medical circumstances. Demonstrating comfort and kindness can reassure patients and increase their trust in the medical professionals who help them.

  • IV Therapy: IV therapy is a technical skill that's essential to caring for patients with a range of medical needs. ER nurses place IVs to administer medications that may relieve pain or replenish bodily functions.

Related: 15 Nursing Skills To Put on Your Resume

Are there any risks associated with being an ER nurse?

As ER nurses often treat patients with significant medical conditions that may expose them to illness or contact with potentially hazardous material, they may encounter risks in the workplace. They prevent or minimize their risk of developing or spreading illnesses by using medical safety equipment like gowns, gloves, and face masks. They also dispose of materials properly to avoid preventable contamination. Following regulations and protocols allows ER nurses to keep themselves and their patients safe.


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