Emergency Room Nurse Salary by State

Emergency room nurses are licensed registered nurses that work in a hospital’s emergency department or ER. These nurses are the first line when a patient arrives at the hospital and are responsible for appropriately triaging a patient and caring for them prior to admission, surgery, or discharge. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about emergency room nurses, average salaries, salary by state, and ways to increase your earning potential. 

According to the BLS, registered nurses of all specialties earn a median salary of $77,600 annually or $37.31/hr. While the BLS does not differentiate between different specialties of nursing, reports that emergency room nurses earn an average of $93,405 per year or $45 per hour. 

The majority of emergency room nurses make between $77,000 and $107,000, with top earners making $124,500 annually. 

ER Nurse Salary by City and State

Highest Paying Cities for Emergency Room Nurses


Annual Salary

Hourly Wage

San Francisco, CA



Fremont, CA



San Jose, CA



Nantucket, MA



Oakland, CA



Tanaina, AK



Wasilla, AK



Sunnyvale, CA



Hayward, CA



Jackson, WY



Via ZipRecruiter

Emergency Room Nurse Salary By State


Annual Salary

Hourly Wage

New York



New Hampshire















West Virginia


















New Jersey






Rhode Island









North Dakota



























South Dakota



























New Mexico



South Carolina







































North Carolina



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Via ZipRecruiter

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ER Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

Emergency Room Nurses can earn a higher annual salary with increased years of experience.

  1. Less than 1 year of experience earn an average hourly wage of $27.48
  2. 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $29.60
  3. 5-9 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $33.18
  4. 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $36.91
  5. 20 years and higher years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $39.00

Via Payscale

ER Nurse Salary by Work Setting

Generally, emergency room nurses work in hospital emergency rooms; however, they can work in a variety of other locations such as:

  1. Academia
  2. Ambulance transport team
  3. Burn center
  4. Disaster Response and/or Emergency Preparedness 
  5. Emergency response team
  6. Flight transport team
  7. Government agency
  8. Medical clinic
  9. Poison control center
  10. Prison
  11. Trauma center
  12. Triage center
  13. Urgent care center

The highest paying locations for emergency room nurses are large, level one trauma centers. These hospitals require multiple ER nurses during a shift and often require the highest level of skills. 

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You can increase your ER nurse salary a few different ways:

  1. 1. Earning the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) Certification: Advanced certification is optional but highly encouraged and can help increase your earning potential. The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing offers the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) to eligible nurses. 
  2. 2. Working nights or weekends, where you are paid a higher per-hour wage
  3. 3. Advance your education by earning a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) or higher
  4. 4. Work per diem or become a travel emergency room nurse
  5. 5. Train to be a preceptor for new hires on the unit
  6. 6. Become a charge nurse or manager or your unit
  7. 7. Climb the clinical ladder within the unit
  8. 8. Offer to be a part of a unit or hospital-based committee
  9. 9. Pick up over time on your unit or throughout the hospital, if needed
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Yes, COVID-19 has affected the salary and earning potential of emergency room nurses. But it also has greatly impacted the salaries for ALL nurses. 

Emergency rooms were hit especially hard during the pandemic because this was often the first stop for patients. It also became a holding area as patients waited for rooms on the units and more often than not spent days in the ER versus the typical hours. 

ER nurses saw a pay bump during this time because there was consistently a shortage within this department. Nurses left their positions at an accelerated rate because of the increased exposure but also because of the toll the pandemic was taking on them mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Furthermore, ER nurses were at the highest risk for contracting COVID-19 because of the constant and prolonged exposure to the deadly virus. 

Crisis contracts were extremely popular during the height of the pandemic and the highest wages were seen for ER nurses. 

At the time of publication – travel nurse contracts for ER positions are some of the highest paying contracts available to nurses. 

>> Click to Compare RN-to-BSN Programs

The cost of becoming a nurse can be overwhelming; however, with scholarships, loans, and tuition reimbursement it is feasible for anyone that is interested in the field. 

Typically, nurses in the ER are BSN educated. ER nursing requires critical thinking, strong communication, and the ability to appropriately delegate which is can be learned in BSN classes.

While not a requirement, hospitals that are Magnet status or level one trauma centers will typically only hire BSN-prepared nurses. 

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There is no one set cost for nursing school, but you can expect to spend anywhere from thousands for a shorter degree program, to as high as over $80,000 and even sometimes $100,000 for private or Ivy league nursing programs. 

There is a multitude of factors that affect the cost of a nursing program including, but not limited to:

  1. Full time or part-time status
  2. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  3. RN to BSN bridge program
  4. Community college vs. state college vs. private college
  5. Books
  6. Nursing Uniforms
  7. Lab Fees
  8. Transportation to classes and clinical sites

Regardless of the cost, nursing is a rewarding career and it is worth taking the risk. While the typical college student will leave school with debt, there are ways for it to be paid back by the government, hospital, or military. It’s important to speak to a counselor or hospital HR department regarding options. 

>> Click to Compare RN-to-BSN Programs

Emergency room nurses earn an average of $93,405 per year or $45 per hour. Here’s how that compares to some other nursing specialties:

  1. Telemetry nurses: $109,061 per year, $52 per hour
  2. OB nurses: $91,798 per year, $44 per hour
  3. NICU nurses: $101,727 per year, $49 per hour
  4. Corporate nurses: $82,880 per year, $40 per hour
  5. ICU nurses: $95,000 per year, $46 per hour

Salaries via ZipRecruiter

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