Er doped ZnO (Er:ZnO) thin films with Er concentration from 0.1 to 3.6 at. % were prepared by dual beam ion beam sputter deposition at room temperature. Experimental results show that as Er concentration increases from 0.1 to 1.1 at. %, the resistivity of the as-deposited Er:ZnO film decreases from 560 Ω·cm to a minimum of 0.23 Ω·cm, while further increasing Er concentration to 3.6 at. % results in increase of the resistivity to 4.2 kΩ·cm. The as-deposited Er:ZnO with Er concentration of 1.1 at.% also exhibits the highest carrier concentration of 2.3×1019 cm-3. None of the as-deposited Er:ZnO films show 1.5 μm emission without post-growth annealing. Er:ZnO film with Er concentration at 0.5~1.1 at.% shows the strongest 1.5 μm emission after annealing at 700 ~ 900°C, while all the Er:ZnO film becomes semi-insulating after annealing. The discrepancy between the processing conditions for optimized carrier concentration and optimized optically activated Er ions may due to the formation of the pseudo-octahedral structure after annealing that favors the 1.5 μm emission.