Best Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) Programs in 2024

Discover the best emergency nurse practitioner (ENP) programs in 2024, along with information on the role, responsibilities, and salary expectations. Programs

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Emergency nurse practitioners (ENPs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who specialize in providing comprehensive and specialized care to patients in emergency and urgent care settings.

They are crucial in assessing, diagnosing, and managing acute and critical conditions while working collaboratively with interdisciplinary healthcare teams to deliver prompt and efficient care.

These ENP programs include a wide range of training on health assessment, advanced skills, and clinical experience. If you're interested in pursuing a career as an ENP, read more about the best NP programs available in 2024, along with detailed information about the role, responsibilities, salary expectations, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Best ENP Programs

The following programs have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, including graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University offers an exceptional CCCNE-accredited ENP program that prepares nurses to deliver high-quality emergency care. With a focus on evidence-based practices and advanced clinical skills, students gain the expertise to manage critical situations in emergency settings. Vanderbilt's renowned faculty and state-of-the-art facilities enhance the learning experience, ensuring graduates excel in the dynamic field of emergency nursing. The program is offered in a distance-learning format for BSN and MSN graduates. The tuition per credit hour is $1,939, and the ENP program consists of 51 credits to complete. 

2. University of South Alabama - Mobile, AL

The University of South Alabama's ENP program emphasizes comprehensive training in emergency care. Students acquire advanced assessment and diagnostic skills, enabling them to make rapid and accurate decisions in high-pressure situations. With a strong focus on interprofessional collaboration, graduates are equipped to provide efficient and compassionate care in various emergency healthcare settings. The tuition fee for In-State residents costs $423 per credit hour, while Out-of-State residents cost $846.

The post-graduate certificate curriculum includes:

  • 15 credit hours
  • 4 semesters
  • 420 emergency practicum hours
  • 3 on-campus clinical intensives 

3. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham's ENP program is accredited through the CCNE and is designed to develop competent and confident emergency nurse practitioners. Through immersive clinical experiences and rigorous coursework, students gain expertise in managing critical and urgent cases. Graduates are well-prepared to provide rapid and effective care, ensuring positive patient outcomes in emergency departments.

To cater to the needs of the nursing workforce, the program delivers courses in a format that blends synchronous online classes with on-campus intensives. Students engage in planned laboratory and simulation experiences to enhance their essential skill sets. The cost per credit is $682 regardless of residency.

4. University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - Houston, TX

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston offers a comprehensive ENP program that equips nurses with the skills and knowledge required in emergency care settings. With a blend of hands-on clinical training and theoretical education, students develop the confidence to handle diverse emergency cases. Graduates become proficient in delivering urgent care and making informed clinical decisions through this CCNE-accredited ENP program. 

The hybrid program spans two to three semesters for a total of ten credit requirements. Total tuition and fees are approximately $4,549 for In-State residents, excluding other fees.

5. University of Missouri - Columbia, MO

The University of Missouri's CCNE-accredited ENP program prepares nurses to excel in emergency care delivery. Through a blend of didactic instruction and practical experiences, students gain expertise in managing acute and critical conditions. The program emphasizes leadership skills, communication, and teamwork, ensuring graduates are well-prepared to lead during emergencies.

6. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

The University of Arizona's ENP hybrid program is accredited by the CCNE and emphasizes comprehensive training to provide expert care in emergency situations. Students learn to manage complex and urgent cases by focusing on evidence-based practice and critical thinking. The program also emphasizes cultural competence and patient-centered care, equipping graduates to deliver compassionate care to diverse populations.

The program requires 15 credit hours of coursework and 270 hours of direct patient care in a clinical setting for completion. The estimated tuition is $8,525 for 18 credit hours per semester. 

7. University of Nevada, Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, offers an ENP program that prepares nurses to excel in fast-paced emergency care environments. Through this CCNE-accredited program, students receive extensive clinical experiences in diverse emergency settings, enabling them to handle various acute conditions. The program emphasizes trauma care, critical decision-making, and collaborative teamwork.

The online Emergency Nurse Practitioner program employs interactive teaching strategies, emphasizing student engagement. There are mandatory orientation sessions, scheduled before each Spring semester, with required on-campus sessions. The cost per credit is $321.75 plus fees.

8. Western University of Health Sciences - Pomona, CA

Western University of Health Sciences' CCNE-accredited ENP program focuses on developing advanced clinical skills and expertise in emergency care. Students gain confidence in managing time-sensitive and critical cases through theoretical education and practical training. The program emphasizes ethical practice and patient advocacy, ensuring graduates deliver patient-centered care in emergency settings.

The Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) program features a hybrid/online learning approach with two campus-based procedural intensives. The estimated tuition fee is $1,022 per credit hour or a total of $12,264 for an 8-month program.

ENP Job Description

An ENP is an APRN who specializes in providing comprehensive and specialized care to patients in emergency and urgent care settings. They're highly trained and skilled healthcare professionals with advanced emergency medicine knowledge and expertise.

ENPs work collaboratively with interdisciplinary healthcare teams, including emergency physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, to deliver prompt and efficient care to patients with acute and critical conditions. They play a crucial role in the initial assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients.

ENP Responsibilities

Common ENP responsibilities include:

  • Conducting Comprehensive Assessments: ENPs perform thorough patient assessments, including medical history review, physical examinations, and interpretation of diagnostic tests, to determine the severity and urgency of the patient's condition.
  • Diagnosing and Treating Acute Conditions: ENPs are skilled in diagnosing and managing many acute medical conditions, such as injuries, cardiac events, respiratory distress, severe infections, and other urgent medical situations.
  • Ordering and Interpreting Diagnostic Tests: ENPs have the authority to order and interpret various diagnostic tests, including laboratory tests, imaging studies (such as X-rays or CT scans), and electrocardiograms (ECGs) to aid in the diagnosis and evaluation of patients.
  • Prescribing Medications: ENPs can prescribe medications, including analgesics, antibiotics, anticoagulants, and other necessary medications, to manage pain, control symptoms, and treat acute conditions.
  • Performing Procedures: ENPs are trained to perform various procedures, such as wound suturing, splinting, minor surgical procedures, and insertion of intravenous (IV) lines, to address acute injuries or stabilize patients in emergency situations.
  • Initiating and Managing Treatment Plans: ENPs develop and implement appropriate treatment plans based on the patient's condition, collaborating with the healthcare team to ensure timely interventions and optimize patient outcomes.
  • Providing Emergency Care and Stabilization: ENPs deliver immediate care and stabilization to critically ill or injured patients, initiating resuscitation measures, providing life-saving interventions, and coordinating with other healthcare providers for emergent procedures or surgeries.
  • Patient Education and Counseling: ENPs provide important health education to their patients. ENPs educate and counsel patients and their families about their conditions, treatment options, medications, self-care instructions, and follow-up care requirements. They provide information on managing symptoms, promoting recovery, and preventing future emergencies.
  • Collaborating with Interdisciplinary Teams: ENPs collaborate with other healthcare professionals, including emergency physicians, nurses, paramedics, radiologists, and specialists, to ensure coordinated and comprehensive patient care.
  • Participating in Emergency Preparedness: ENPs contribute to emergency preparedness efforts, such as disaster response planning, emergency drills, and community education on emergency preparedness measures.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Reevaluation: ENPs closely monitor patient progress, reassessing their condition, evaluating treatment effectiveness, and making adjustments to the treatment plan as necessary. They help determine if a patient can safely be discharged home or if they must be admitted to a hospital.
  • Documentation and Charting: ENPs maintain accurate and detailed medical records, documenting assessments, treatments, medications, procedures, and patient responses to interventions following legal and regulatory requirements.

It's important to note that the specific responsibilities of ENPs may vary based on state regulations, practice settings, and the level of collaboration with other healthcare providers.

How to Become an ENP

To become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP), follow these steps:

  1. Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
  2. Become a licensed Registered Nurse (RN) by passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
  3. Gain at least two years of experience as an RN in an acute care setting.
  4. Obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a specialization in emergency care. This can include programs for Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Pediatric Acute Care NP, or Acute Care NP
  5. Obtain national Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification.
  6. Obtain national ENP certification through an ENP-focused program or by meeting specific experience and education requirements.
  7. Apply for Nurse Practitioner (NP) state licensure.

Requirements may vary, so it's important to research and follow the specific guidelines in your area.

ENP Program Costs

Investing in an Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) program entails various financial factors. Here is a detailed overview of the costs you might encounter:

  • Tuition Fees: In-state students typically benefit from reduced tuition rates in comparison to out-of-state peers. Furthermore, public or state-affiliated institutions often present a more affordable tuition structure than their private counterparts.
  • Study Materials and Equipment: Budgeting for study materials is essential, with expenses including but not limited to textbooks, clinical tools, and miscellaneous study aids. These costs can range significantly based on course requirements.
  • Technology and Resources: Online or hybrid ENP programs may necessitate additional expenses for necessary technology and virtual learning resources.
  • Administrative Expenses: This includes a gamut of fees such as those for applications, administrative processing, and end-of-program costs like graduation.
  • Living Expenses: Non-working students or those relocating for the program need to account for living expenses, which encompass everyday costs from groceries to housing utilities.
  • Certification: Beyond educational expenses, there are also fees for ENP board certification after program completion.

ENP Salary Expectations

The salary of an ENP can vary widely depending on factors such as geographical location, years of experience, type of practice setting, and level of education and certification. ENPs often have the option to work full-time, part-time, or pro re nata (PRN), and can work in various geographical locations.

Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for NPs was $124,680 or $59.94 hourly.

The top-paying states are:

  • California: $158.130
  • New Jersey: $143,250
  • Massachusetts: $138,700
  • Oregon: $136,250
  • Nevada: $136,230

Meanwhile, the top three paying industries are as follows:

  1. Home Health Care Services: $148,960
  2. Vocational Rehabilitation Services: $139,640
  3. Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations: $137,310

However, the BLS does not provide detailed information on various types of NP specialties. On the other hand, ZipRecruiter reports that the national average salary for ENPs is $257,515 or $124 per hour. ZipRecruiter also states the hourly wages for ENPs, ranging from $53.61 to $192.31. The majority falls between $61.06 (25th percentile) and $192.31 (75th percentile) in the United States. This wide pay range, up to $131.25, indicates potential for advancement based on skills, location, and experience.

ENP Scope of Practice & Certification

The boundaries and authority of Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENPs) are deeply influenced by the laws of each state, which establish an NP's scope of practice. While some states grant ENPs the liberty to practice autonomously, others mandate collaborative agreements or supervision by physicians.

Prospective ENP students should thoroughly investigate these state-specific legal frameworks. It's important to recognize that not all ENP programs may prepare graduates for practice in every state. Aligning your career goals with the appropriate ENP role necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the relevant scope of practice laws where you intend to work. This includes a clear grasp of the duties and responsibilities inherent to the ENP specialty of your choice. This foresight is crucial for ensuring the ENP program you select is congruent with your professional goals.

Consider these pivotal factors:

  • State Licensure: Licensure in the state of practice is mandatory for ENPs. Relocation may require new state licensure, entailing an application process specific to that jurisdiction.
  • Practice Environment Classification: The American Associaton of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) classifies states by the level of practice autonomy afforded to ENPs:
    • Full Practice: In some states, like Colorado, New York, and Maryland, ENPs can autonomously conduct patient evaluations, make diagnoses, interpret diagnostic tests, and develop treatment plans, including prescribing medications.
    • Reduced Practice: In other locales, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey ENPs are limited in one or more aspects of practice and must have a collaborative agreement or supervision to provide patient care.
    • Restricted Practice: Certain states, such as California and Texas, impose significant limitations on ENP practice, requiring comprehensive supervision or team management by physicians for patient care.

For those aiming to practice as an ENP in a different state from where they were educated, it's imperative to research the specific practice scope and requirements through that state's Nursing Board or equivalent regulatory entity.

ENP Certification

The primary pathway to becoming a certified Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) is through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB). Eligibility for the ENP certification typically requires passing the Family Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (FNP-BC) exam and accumulating relevant experience. However, graduates of an approved graduate or post-graduate emergency care nurse practitioner program may directly qualify to sit for this certification exam.

Additionally, prospective ENPs have the option to pursue certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. This can be done through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN-CC) for adult or older adult patient populations or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) for Pediatric Acute Care NP certification. While there are multiple certification avenues for Emergency Room NPs, the ENP-BC certification is considered the most direct and comprehensive route to specializing in emergency nursing.

ENP Program Accreditatioon 

For Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) programs, accreditation is critical for several reasons:

  • Quality Education: Accreditation verifies that an ENP program meets the national nursing education standards, ensuring a robust curriculum, qualified faculty, and quality clinical training.
  • Skills Mastery: It ensures that students of ENP programs gain the extensive skills required to excel in emergency healthcare settings.
  • Innovation: Accredited ENP programs incorporate the latest research and advancements, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation.
  • Clinical Experience: They guarantee that students complete the necessary clinical hours, a key component of ENP training.
  • Professional Eligibility: Graduation from an accredited program is often mandatory for certification and state licensure, critical for ENP practice.
  • Employment Prospects: Graduates from accredited programs are preferred by employers, signifying a high-quality education aligned with national standards.
  • Educational Progression: Credits from accredited programs are more readily transferable, facilitating further academic pursuits in nursing.
  • Professional Reputation: Accredited program completion enhances professional standing, indicating adherence to national nursing education standards.
  • Financial Aid Access: It often qualifies students for federal financial support, essential for those requiring educational funding.

Prospective ENPs should verify that their chosen program is accredited by entities like the CCNE or ACEN to ensure these benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What education and certification are required to become an ENP?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and nursing experience are required before becoming an ENP. To become an ENP, one must typically complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program specializing in emergency care. Additionally, ENPs may pursue certification through organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) for pediatric-focused ENPs. Continuing education can be obtained through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

What skills are essential for a successful career as an ENP?

Strong clinical assessment skills, critical thinking abilities, effective communication skills, the ability to work well under pressure, and the capacity to make rapid and accurate decisions are essential for ENPs. ENPs should be proficient in their advanced clinical skills and procedures. They should also have excellent teamwork and collaboration skills to work effectively with interdisciplinary healthcare teams.

How does the role of an ENP differ from that of an emergency room physician?

ENPs and emergency room physicians work collaboratively in the emergency department. While physicians have overall medical responsibility, ENPs play a crucial role in patient assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management. ENPs often handle less complex cases independently, allowing physicians to focus on more critical patients.


Lindsey Gram has 16 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCRN.

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