What Are the Education Requirements for an Emergency Room Nurse?
If you are you a critical thinker and are able to respond quickly and effectively in chaotic situations, you might enjoy the fast pace of emergency and trauma nursing. Continue reading about general and advanced education requirements for emergency room nurses, as well as certification options.
General Education Requirements for Emergency Room Nurses
In order to work as an emergency room nurse, you must already be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require candidates to have completed approved nursing programs. You can choose from several educational options to meet this requirement, including the following types of programs:
- Licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to RN
- Paramedic to RN
- Two-year associate degree in nursing
- Four-year bachelor's degree in nursing
Important Facts About Emergency Room Nursing Education
|Common Courses||Kinesiology, biochemistry, microbiology|
|Prerequisites||Chemistry, anatomy, biology|
|Continuing Education||Recertification for emergency room nursing credential requires 100 hours of continuing education credits|
|Online Availability||Online options are available for undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and for licensing/certifications. However, online coursework must be accompanied by hands-on learning.|
|Median Salary (2019)||$65,595*|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||15% (for all registered nurses)**|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) offers voluntary certification for emergency room nurses. In addition to the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) designation, BCEN offers credentials in three sub-specialties: Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN), Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN) and Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN).
You only need RN licensure to qualify for the CEN, CFRN or CTRN examination; however, the BCEN recommends at least two years' experience in an appropriate setting. Requirements for the CPEN include RN licensure, as well as a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice in a pediatric emergency setting in the two years prior to application. Each of these certifications must be renewed every four years.
If you would like to broaden your knowledge and skills as an emergency room nurse, you might choose to enroll in a master's-degree program for emergency nurse practitioners. You will likely need 1-2 years of experience as an RN to qualify for one of these programs. Some nursing schools require that at least part of this experience be in an emergency setting.
As a master's-level student with an emergency nursing focus, you could take courses in environmental emergencies, clinical decision making, advanced pharmacology and trauma emergencies. You might also complete multiple practical requirements. In addition to full-time, on-campus options, these programs might be found in part-time and hybrid formats, the latter of which offer some classes online.