In 2012, registered nurses earned an average of $67,930 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But advanced certifications have a way of improving a nurse’s earnings. A survey in “Nursing2013,” a national nursing journal, found that those working in emergency medicine made $71,200 a year as of 2011. For those certified in emergency nursing, training often begins as it does for any other registered nurse.
Emergency room nurses, particularly those with emergency certification, must be registered nurses, explains the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing. So, training begins in one of three ways -- through a bachelor’s of science program, an associate degree program or a diploma program. As with any bachelor’s degree, you’re looking at a four-year commitment for a BS in nursing. Associate degrees and diplomas in this field can take from two to three years to complete.
No matter your choice of program, the coursework is pretty much the same. It’s a combination of classroom and clinical experience. You’ll cover topics such as health assessment, basic skills of nursing, anatomy and physiology, pediatric nursing and gerontological nursing, among others. For clinical experience, you can find yourself working in pediatrics, maternity, surgery and emergency clinics. Upon graduation, you’ll sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, which allows you to practice as a registered nurse.
Although not a prerequisite, the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing recommends two years of experience in the emergency department before sitting for the CEN, or Certified Emergency Nurse, exam. The two-year recommendation is largely due to the testing content. The exam tests candidates on cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, gynecological, maxillofacial and neurological emergencies, among other topics. A little on-the-job training in emergency medicine can prove beneficial to your certification.
Besides practical experience, CEN prep courses can help. These short training programs review the core topics of the exam, only covering Certified Emergency Nurse materials. But you’ll walk away with a study book, study aids and continuing education credits -- something that can help registered nurses move into other positions within a hospital or clinic. Prices vary by program, but the fee runs around $250 as of 2013. Preparation exams and study materials are also available through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Registered Nurse
- Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing: CEN Eligibility FAQ
- Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing: CEN Review Courses
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- Nursing2013: Nursing2011 Salary and Benefits Survey Report
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images