4 Best Trauma Nurse Practitioner Programs – 2024

Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

Are you someone who works well under pressure? Does the idea of caring for people with advanced illnesses or traumatic injuries sound like a role you can see yourself performing? Maybe you are an advanced practice registered nurse who wants to focus more on trauma and emergency situations. If this describes you at all, a trauma nurse practitioner program could be the perfect way to help you transition to that role. Trauma nurse practitioner programs prepare students to become competent, well-equipped nurse practitioners who provide care for patients in emergency settings or with traumatic injuries or illnesses. This article will share four of the popular trauma nurse practitioner programs for 2024, including two post-master's trauma NP programs and two residency programs.

What Is the Goal of a Trauma Nurse Practitioner Program?

The primary goal of trauma nurse practitioner programs is to provide students with the education and clinical skills necessary to help them perform competently as nurse practitioners in trauma settings. Students in these programs learn to practice with confidence as leaders in emergency situations, performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to improve patient outcomes.

Top 5 Benefits of Trauma Nurse Practitioner Programs

If you want to become a trauma nurse practitioner but are unsure if trauma nurse practitioner programs are worth the time or effort, think again. There are several benefits of enrolling in and completing a trauma NP program. Here are five benefits to consider.

1. You will learn to accept the challenge of a fast-paced work environment with confidence.

Many people feel overwhelmed when faced with having to work at a fast pace or have to multi-task. Trauma nurse practitioners often make this look effortless. They can do this because trauma nurse practitioner programs prepare students for these situations by offering simulations and clinical experiences to help them build skills and confidence.

2. Good income-earning potential:

Because the job requires excellent communication, multi-tasking, and decision-making skills, employers are willing to pay well for well-qualified trauma nurse practitioners. In most settings, as a trauma NP you can expect to earn at least $100,000 yearly.

3. A wide variety of work settings:

At one time, trauma nurse practitioners worked primarily in hospital settings. While many still do, there is a broad range of opportunities when it comes to choosing where you want to work as a trauma NP. From hospitals, emergency departments, trauma centers, and urgent care clinics, the possibilities are endless.

4. You will learn to provide life-saving care to patients.

Although all nurse practitioner programs offer training on how to address acute care, trauma NP programs prepare students for emergency and trauma-related situations and to provide care that is instrumental in saving patients' lives.

5. Job Security:

With over three million injuries and 150,000 deaths related to trauma yearly, it is reasonable to believe that graduates of trauma nurse practitioner programs can find employment opportunities that include long-term job security.

How Long Are Trauma Nurse Practitioner Programs?

The length of time it takes to complete trauma nurse practitioner programs varies among schools and depends on the type of program offered. Certificate programs typically take less time than residencies or fellowships. The table below shows the programs featured in this article and how long each takes.

School Offering the ProgramType of ProgramLength of Program
Drexel UniversityCertificate9 months
University of Texas Health Science CenterPost-Graduate Certificate9 months
Intermountain HealthcareFellowship12 months
University of MarylandFellowship9 months

How Much Do Trauma Nurse Practitioner Programs Cost?

The cost of trauma nurse practitioner programs will vary depending on the type of program you choose. Post-master's or post-graduate certificate programs range from $5,000 up to $30,000. Like the trauma or emergency care nurse practitioner fellowships mentioned below, fellowship programs are typically focused on specialty care and are administered by large healthcare systems or hospitals. Individuals who are offered a fellowship position receive a salary and benefits comparable to a regular facility employee. The following list includes the cost of the trauma nurse practitioner programs mentioned in this article.

Drexel University’s

tuition rate is $1,037 per credit hour. With twenty-five credit hours required, the average cost of the program is $25,925.


University of Texas Health Science Center’s

Post-Graduate Nursing Emergency/Trauma Care NP program costs $5,549.

Intermountain Healthcare’s

Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship for Advanced Practice Providers offers a generous salary and benefits package. Salary and benefits for the one-year program include a $52,000 per year salary, medical and dental insurance, disability and malpractice insurance, CME allowance of $2,500 yearly, and ten paid vacation days.

The Critical Care and Trauma Nurse Practitioner Fellowship at the

University of Maryland School of Medicine

offers participants full-time employment benefits, including salary, insurance, paid vacation and sick days, and a continuing education stipend. Additionally, after completing the program, the university offers networking and job-placement assistance.

What Is the Curriculum Like?

The curriculum for trauma nurse practitioner programs is designed to prepare nurses with advanced practice skills to provide emergency and trauma care across the lifespan. The required classes may vary depending on whether you enroll in a certificate program or are accepted to a residency or fellowship. Most programs include classwork or lectures, simulations, and clinical experiences. Some of the curricula may consist of classes including advanced pathophysiology, diagnostic reasoning, health assessment, and pharmacology. Additional, emergency and trauma assessment across the lifespan is a typical class.

The following are examples of coursework at each one of our featured trauma NP programs.

The Emergency/Trauma Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate program at

Drexel University

includes a total of twenty-five credit hours of coursework. The coursework is broken down into support courses and concentration courses. Credit transfer is determined on a case-by-case basis. Students also participated in on-campus intensives, which involve learning experiences, simulation, and evaluation. Five hundred faculty-supervised clinical practicum hours are required for completion of the program.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Advanced Pathophysiology
◦ Advanced Pharmacology
◦ Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
◦ Emergency/Trauma Care Across the Lifespan I and II
◦ Emergency/Trauma Caring for Trauma and Critically Ill Patients


University of Texas Health Science Center

offers another of our featured trauma nurse practitioner programs. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and consists of ten credit hours, including three hundred sixty clinical hours. After completing the program, graduates will receive recognition of achievement issued by the School of Nursing and a transcript noting the courses taken during the program.

Sample Coursework:

◦ Emergency/Trauma Care I
◦ Emergency/Trauma Care I Clinical
◦ Emergency/Trauma Care II
◦ Emergency/Trauma Care II Clinical

Intermountain Healthcare

provides specialty training for post-graduate physician assistants and nurse practitioners through its Post-Graduate Fellowship for Advanced Practice Providers in Trauma and Critical Care. The primary focus of the fellowship is on trauma and critical care. The fellowship includes didactic and clinical components. Didactic components include daily trauma morning report, weekly trauma grand rounds, didactic trauma, critical care lectures, morbidity and mortality conferences, emergency medicine residency conference, and one CME conference.

Clinical Rotation Curriculum:

◦ Neurosurgery
◦ Neurocritical Care
◦ Orthopedic Surgery
◦ Pulmonary Critical Care
◦ Ultrasound & Radiology
◦ Anesthesia
◦ Pediatric Trauma & Acute Care Surgery
◦ Pharmacy


University of Maryland School of Medicine

offers a fast-paced Critical Care and Trauma Nurse Practitioner Fellowship. The fellowship is structured with didactic work, laboratory simulations, and precepted clinical rotations to help students develop the advanced skills necessary to manage critically ill clients. Weekly lectures and critical care courses allow participants to earn over ninety hours of continuing education units.

Direct Care Clinical Rotations in Critical Care/ICU Settings Include:

◦ Neuro-Critical Care
◦ Medical Intensive Care Unit
◦ Surgical Intensive Care Unit
◦ Trauma Intensive Care Unit
◦ Lung Rescue Unit
◦ Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit
◦ Neuro-Trauma ICU
◦ Acute Emergency Surgery Service

What Are the Admission Requirements?

While admission criteria for trauma nurse practitioner programs may vary somewhat, general requirements are similar among most programs. The most common admission criteria for these programs include the following.

◦ Possess an active, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
◦ Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended
◦ Letters of recommendation (two or three)
◦ Statement of Intent explaining why the applicant has chosen the trauma nurse practitioner track, how their current work experience will contribute to success in this program, and career plans after completing the program
◦ Professional Resume and/or Curriculum Vitae


Drexel University

, the Emergency/Trauma Nurse Practitioner Post-master's online certificate program is designed for family nurse practitioners who are either currently working in an emergency or trauma setting or desire to change their work environment and work in an emergency care setting.

Admission Criteria:

◦ Applicant must possess a Master of Science in Nursing and/or Doctor of Nursing Practice from a program accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and/or the National League of Nursing (NLN)
◦ Cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from master’s and/or doctorate programs
◦ Two years experience in an emergency department, urgent care, critical care, and trauma experience as an RN or APRN
◦ National certification and licensure as a Family Nurse Practitioner

Advanced practice registered nurses who wish to complete the post-master’s Nursing Emergency/Trauma Care program at the

University of Texas Health Sciences Center

should submit an online application for admission as a non-degree student. Candidates for post-master's entry must be nationally certified by the AANPCP or ANCC as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Admission Criteria:

◦ Official MSN transcript
◦ Three academic/professional references
◦ Documentation of BCLS and ACLS
◦ Professional Resume or Curriculum vitae
◦ Qualified applicants will be required to participate in an interview with program faculty. The interview is by invitation only.

Intermountain Healthcare

uses a formal selection process that begins in the Spring of each year. The selection of an applicant is based on the submission of a complete application and an in-person interview. Because admission is competitive, candidates should have a genuine interest in Critical Care and Trauma medicine, clinical research, and the ability to demonstrate strong leadership skills.

Admission Criteria:

◦ Two letters of professional recommendation
◦ Copy of Curriculum Vitae
◦ Personal letter of intent
◦ Proof of Board Certification
◦ Proof of graduation from an accredited nurse practitioner or physician assistant program

Applicants who wish to participate in the Critical Care and Trauma Fellowship at the

University of Maryland

School of Medicine must be willing and able to work in a fast-paced, often unpredictable, environment. They must commit to working up to 60-hour workweeks, working nights and weekends, and attending lab simulations, all lectures, and clinical rotations.

Admission Criteria:

◦ Applicant must be a graduate of an accredited Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program (NLN or CCNE)
◦ Must be nationally board certified by the AACN or ANCC
◦ Must possess or obtain a Maryland RN and CRNP license
◦ Submit a personal statement of interest
◦ Submit professional resume
◦ If chosen, participate in a two-day in-person interview with program faculty


(The following Certificates, Fellowships, and Residency Training Programs are ideal for individuals who aspire to become a Trauma Nurse Practitioner.)

1. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Program Type:

Emergency/Trauma Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate

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

Program Type:

Post-Graduate Certificate (Nursing Emergency/Trauma Care)

3. Intermountain Healthcare - Salt Lake City, UT

Program Type:

Trauma and Surgical Critical Care Fellowship

4. University of Maryland School of Medicine -Baltimore, MD

Program Type:

Fellowship (Critical Care and Trauma)

What Kinds of Career Opportunities Exist for Trauma Nurse Practitioners?

Trauma nurse practitioner programs prepare graduates for a variety of career opportunities in diverse settings. Trauma NPs may work in urgent care centers, emergency departments, surgery centers. Some job duties, depending on where a trauma nurse practitioner works, include providing direct patient care, performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, ordering laboratory tests or x-rays, evaluating the results, and providing professional consultations.

Average Salary for Trauma Nurse Practitioners

Many sources give estimates of potential incomes for graduates of trauma nurse practitioner programs. According to PayScale, trauma NPs earn an average of $99,123 yearly. Some trauma nurse practitioners earn $300,000 or more annually. When you begin to negotiate your salary, a few things to consider are how much demand there is for trauma nurse practitioners where you live and plan to work, the cost of living, and the distance you may need to commute to work. Also, many employers offer benefits packages that include insurance benefits, paid vacation and sick time, and opportunities for continuing education stipends. Benefits packages can be worth thousands of dollars and are an excellent way for employers to make their offers of employment more attractive and for you to have more money in the end.

Per Hour$47.66
Per Month$8,260
Per Year$99,123
(Source: Payscale.Com)

Job Outlook for Trauma Nurse Practitioners

The National Study of the Emergency Physician Workforce, 2020 reports the shortage of emergency care practitioners will worsen in the next decade. According to the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, over three million non-fatal injuries occur each year in the United States. Trauma nurse practitioner programs prepare healthcare practitioners equipped with the knowledge and clinical skills necessary to provide care when emergency situations occur. Because trauma nurse practitioners are prepared to provide emergency and trauma care and can fill the void created by the emergency practitioner shortage, the outlook for trauma nurse practitioner jobs is favorable.


A career as a trauma nurse practitioner is not for the faint of heart. However, if you have a genuine desire to care for people when they most need it and do not mind the fast-paced, unpredictable environment associated with trauma nursing, the popular trauma nurse practitioner programs for 2024 discussed in this article may be what you have been searching for.


Are there nursing organizations that students in trauma NP programs should consider joining?

There are many nurse practitioner organizations and associations. Some programs, especially nurse practitioner fellowships, require participants to join these associations. A few examples include the Trauma Practice Professional-Orthopedic Trauma Association, Emergency Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Can I get financial aid to help pay for a trauma nurse practitioner program?

Yes, there are several ways to get financial assistance to help offset the cost of the trauma NP program. The Nurse Practitioner Health Association offers several types of scholarships. Some employers provide an education stipend for nurse practitioners who wish to specialize in a subspecialty like trauma nursing care. Also, anyone who plans to enroll in any college or university program should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Other Nurse Practitioner Programs

Best Nurse Practitioner Schools in Your State