How Much Do Emergency Room Nurses Make | ER Salary

According to, emergency room nurses in the United States earn roughly $79,461 annually.

Head emergency room nurses earn even more, with a reported median salary of $109,234.

An emergency room nurse’s annual salary varies depending on several factors.

It includes their experience, educational background, location, work schedule, performance, and employer agreements.

The following section discusses the different aspects influencing how much money emergency room nurses earn each year.

ER Nurse Salary Factors:

  • Job location
  • Career experience
  • Education
  • Work performance
  • Employer

Job Location

Where a nurse works significantly impacts their income.

Those in low-paying states earn up to 30k less annually than nurses in high-paying states.

Nurses operating in busy city/metropolitan areas also generally earn more than those in rural areas.

According to,  ER nurses in New York earn roughly $105,287 while ER nurses in North Carolina make $68,830.

That said, salary doesn’t determine how much money ER nurses have left after expenses.

Cost of living, state taxes, sales tax, and property tax reduce the money nurses have left after paying necessary expenses.

As a result, nurses must determine living costs in pricy areas to understand whether the higher salary is beneficial.

Some states don’t pay nurses as highly as others, but low living costs may save them more money after paying expenses.

Career Experience

As emergency room nurses gain more experience, they can perform more tasks and take on additional responsibilities.

It enables them to be more effective in emergencies, and hospitals will happily pay for highly trained nurses.

Busy healthcare facilities understand it’s less expensive to keep trained staff instead of hiring new employees.

As a result, they may offer financial incentives to keep their best ER nurses from leaving for another hospital.

Many healthcare institutions also have legal requirements to pay nurses more every year they remain employed.

It ensures nurses can cover local living costs and manage ever-growing inflation. 


The more education nurses possess, the more opportunities they have to pursue different careers and disciplines.

In emergency departments, nurses with advanced degrees can accept jobs beyond entry-level nursing positions.

It enables them to play a more significant role in healthcare facilities and earn more money.

ER nurses with an MSN or DNP degree can become nurse practitioners, providing more primary care.

Depending on the state and healthcare facility, nurse practitioners act as primary care providers.

As a result, they can diagnose various conditions, prescribe medications, and even open clinics.

Work Performance

Work performance can dramatically impact an ER nurse’s salary.

Those who go above and beyond stand a better chance of receiving pay raises, promotions, and compensations.

As a result, nurses must put in the hours, obtain additional certifications, and take leadership roles.

It shows the healthcare facility they’re top tier and well worth the pay.


Simply put, some employers pay nurses more than others.

As a result, it’s beneficial for emergency room nurses to research various hospitals and critical care department salaries.

It enables them to determine where to work and negotiate a higher salary if a different facility offers better compensation.

Can ER Nurses Earn Six Figures?

Yes, emergency room registered nurses can earn six figures a year.

Nevertheless, they must meet specific requirements to earn $100,000 annually.

It includes acquiring sufficient education, and work experience, maintaining performance, and negotiating a higher salary.

It’s also essential emergency room nurses work in high-paying locations to receive the highest financial compensation.

As previously mentioned, some states pay ER nurses exceptionally well.

It includes states like North Dakota, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, California, and others.

As a result, ER nurses must take advantage of the abovementioned factors to earn a comfortable six-figure salary.

What About ER Nurse Practitioners?

Emergency room nurse practitioners earn more than ER staff nurses and head nurses, with a reported salary of $118,983.

ER nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who’ve obtained post-graduate education.

These specialists possess an MSN or DNP degree to provide the broadest scope of care within the nursing profession.

As a result, they can command a higher salary due to their training, education, and advanced career role.

Nurse practitioners can provide more comprehensive care than standard registered nurses.

For instance, they can act as primary care providers, diagnose conditions and prescribe medications in some states.

Nurse practitioners can also open independent clinics to accept patients without physician oversight in full-practice states.

Reduced and restricted practice states still provide nurse practitioners with a broad scope of practice.

However, their medical capacities are more limited and may require a physician for specific tasks.

Occupation Overview

Emergency room nurses provide medical care to patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

These specialists work in emergency and critical care units, assisting physicians, RNs, and other staff with medical tasks.

For instance, they administer medications, clean lacerations, take blood work, insert IVs and assist with moving patients.

They also coordinate care plans and treatments with the medical team to ensure patients receive adequate, timely care.

Every second and decision in emergency care is critical to a patient’s survival and well-being.

As a result, ER nurses must be well organized, timely, compassionate, team-oriented, and analytical.

Even small mistakes can have significant consequences if not appropriately managed.

Career Outlook

According to, the job outlook for registered nurses is excellent.

Over the next decade, registered nursing careers will increase by 9%.

In addition, many registered nurses will retire, and an aging population will require new nurses to fill vital positions.

The nursing profession is relatively recession-proof because the country will always need qualified medical personnel.

As a result, there are numerous opportunities to earn a stable income with excellent job stability in a well-paying profession.

Nursing offers a broad spectrum of occupations to accommodate different needs and personal interests.

Numerous nurses work in hospital settings providing compassion, medical care, and support to injured and ill patients.

However, many non-bedside care occupations exist for those who want to pursue different careers.

For instance, nurses can work in research, education, entrepreneurship, travel nursing, and legal consulting.

It enables registered nurses to work in settings that accommodate their interests and skills.