Working as a critical care transport nurse

June 12, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A gap medics student spending time in the airport.Critical care transport nurses provide direct patient care as a person is moved from one location to another. This may involve going to the scene of an accident or injury in order to transport a patient to the hospital. It can also involve transporting a patient who is already hospitalized to another healthcare facility.


Nurses who work in critical care transport will often work as part of a team along with a paramedic or emergency medical technician. Nurses will assess patients and provide emergency care to stabilize the patient while they are being transported. Stabilization will involve monitoring vital signs, administering medication and providing other emergency care as needed. Critical care transport nurses work under the direction of a physician, which means they have standard orders and protocols they can perform without the doctor being present. 

Training and requirements

After graduating from an accredited registered nursing program, those interested in critical care transport should gain at least a few years of experience working in a hospital emergency room or intensive care unit. Optional certifications are also available through professional nursing associations, such as the Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses. Certification may give you the edge during your job search.

There are a few different certifications you can obtain including the certified transport registered nurse credential, which is intended for those doing ground transport. The certified flight registered nurse credential is also an option for those interested in doing air transport.

In addition to education and credentials, critical care transport nurses will usually need to be in good physical condition. In some situations, they may need to lift, hoist or carry various types of equipment to the patient’s location. For some types of air transports, a weight limit may be required due to safety regulations.


Salary will often vary depending on the credentials a nurse has and geographic location. In the United States, the average salary for a critical care transport nurse is about $70,000. Critical care transport nurses may work for hospitals, fire departments, private ambulance companies and air transport companies.


If you are the adventurous type, critical care transport nursing may be an environment you will thrive in. There is a great deal of variety for a critical care transport nurse. No two days will be the same, and you may get a chance to treat patients of all ages with various illnesses and injuries.

Critical care transport nurses also have the opportunity to work independently and need to be able to make quick assessments and decisions regarding treatment. Those who enjoy the adrenaline rush of a fast paced environment may be well suited for this nursing specialty.

Working as a critical care transport nurse is also a good choice for people who are interested in working in an environment other than a hospital. Transport nurses are in different locations every day.  

Keep in mind, because the field can be so exciting and interesting, competition for jobs often exists. Those with certifications and at least a few years of emergency room nursing will have the advantage when landing a job.