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Nurse Practitioner Salary in California for 2021

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Suppose you are considering a career as a nurse practitioner and live in or are thinking of moving to California. In that case, one question you may be asking yourself is, “How much does a nurse practitioner make in California?” From the lowest-paid cities to the highest-paying metro areas, nurse practitioner salaries in California are among some of the highest in the country. In this article, we will discuss the nurse practitioner salary in California and look at potential earnings in various cities in the state.

What is the Starting Salary of a Nurse Practitioner in California?

Entry-level nurse practitioner salary in California refers to the rate of pay a person can earn when they begin their career as an NP in the Golden State. Some employers consider a person entry-level if they have three years or less experience. However, this varies, and you should verify with a potential employer how much experience you need before you graduate from entry-level earnings. In California, nurse practitioners' beginning salary averages almost $9,000 monthly, which is about $105,000 annual income.

Monthly $8,740
Annual $104,890
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

What is the Average Nurse Practitioner Salary in California?

There are several factors that may play a role in the average salary a nurse practitioner is offered. For example, geographical location, the type of setting where a nurse practitioner works, the shift they work, and years of experience may all impact nurse practitioner salary in California, as well as other places. Additionally, advanced practice registered nurses may choose to focus on a specialty area and their area of concentration can influence the salary they are offered. While there are quite a few factors that influence the salary a nurse practitioner may be offered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average nurse practitioner salary in California is approximately $138,660. This is equivalent to $66.66 per hour or $11,560 monthly.

Monthly $11,560
Annual $138,660
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Nurse Practitioner Salary in California by Years of Experience

One of the most influential factors in determining a nurse practitioner’s salary in California is the years of experience that he or she has. For example, the average nurse practitioner salary per hour in California for an entry-level nurse practitioner is $50.43 or almost $105,000 annually. In as little as five years, a nurse practitioner practicing in California may see an increase of nearly twenty-five thousand dollars yearly. A nurse practitioner with twenty or more years of experience may make close to $200,000 annually ($189,950).

Years of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
Starting (Entry-Level) $50.43 $8,740 $104,890
1-4 Years of Experience $55.17 $9,560 $114,750
5-9 Years of Experience $62.48 $10,830 $129,960
10-19 Years of Experience $74.99 $13,000 $155,980
20 Years or More Experience $91.32 $15,830 $189,950
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Total Annual Nurse Practitioner Compensation (Including Other Benefits) in California

Nurse practitioners not only have the ability to negotiate considerable salaries for themselves, but benefits packages are also something that can impact a nurse practitioner's total compensation positively. According to a survey of nurse practitioners conducted by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the five most common benefits are:

1. Paid vacation
2. Allowance for continuing education
3. Health insurance
4. Employer-sponsored retirement plan
5. Professional liability insurance

Benefits packages for nurse practitioners in California can boost a nurse practitioner's total compensation anywhere from $59,000 in a private industry to over $81,000 in state and local government positions.

Component Private Industry State and Local Government
Paid Leave $14,474 $16,218
Supplemental Pay $6,741 $2,162
Insurance $15,862 $25,301
Retirement and Savings $6,940 $26,166
Legally Required $15,267 $11,893
Total Benefits $59,284 $81,524
Average Annual Salary $138,990 $134,720
Total Compensation $198,274 $216,244
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Nurse Practitioner Salary in California by Practice Setting

There are some pay differences in pay for nurse practitioners, depending on the practice setting. Typically, jobs that require shift work or higher risk pay higher salaries and positions that offer more freedom and less risk pay a bit less. For instance, in California, nurse practitioners who work in colleges, universities, or other learning schools often earn on the lower end of the income spectrum at about $130,000 yearly. Nurse practitioners who work in hospitals or outpatient centers make anywhere from $143,000 to almost $150,000 annually.

Type of Practice Setting Hourly Annual
Outpatient Care Centers$12,390$148,680
Offices of Physicians$11,250$135,050
Offices of Other Health Practitioners $11,230$134,720
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools$10,880$130,560

Nurse Practitioner Salary in California by Specialty

Nurse practitioners may choose to specialize in a particular practice area, depending on their personal interests and goals. Some specialty areas that nurse practitioners may choose from include gerontology, pediatrics, psychiatry, dermatology, and family care. There are several options for nurse practitioner programs in California. Below is a list of several nurse practitioner specialty areas and the average salary associated with each.

1. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner: An adult-gerontology nurse practitioner is an APRN who has been trained to treat patients from the age of adolescence to older adults. However, their focus is centered on the care of older adults. In California, an adult gerontology nurse practitioner's average wage is about $63 per hour or approximately $131,000 yearly.

Hourly $62.99
Annual $131,020

2. Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner: Aesthetic is a term used when referring to things that make something beautiful. Aesthetic nurse practitioners are often called cosmetic nurse practitioners. Aesthetic NPs may work with dermatologists, plastic surgeons, or other doctors who specialize in aesthetic treatments. The average income for an aesthetic nurse practitioner in California is $59.68 hourly or $124,130 yearly.

Hourly $59.68
Annual $124,130

3. Dermatology Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners who specialize in dermatology treat medical issues and diseases that affect the skin. Usually, dermatology nurse practitioners enjoy the benefit and flexibility of working clinic hours. The average nurse practitioner salary in California for those working in the area of dermatology comes to around $138,000 annually

Hourly $66.24
Annual $137,770

4. Emergency Nurse Practitioner: Emergency nurse practitioners are trained to treat conditions that require urgent medical conditions. Emergency NPs may work in trauma centers, critical care hospitals, emergency rooms, or urgent care clinics. The average emergency nurse practitioner salary in California is about $68 hourly, or $140,820 each year.

Hourly $67.70
Annual $140,820

5. Family Nurse Practitioner: One of the broadest practice areas for a nurse practitioner is that of a family nurse practitioner. A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is trained to provide comprehensive care to children and adults. FNPs offer a wide range of healthcare-related services, including disease prevention, health promotion, and education. They may work autonomously or in a direct relationship with a primary care physician. The geographical area where a person works is often a significant factor when determining a person's salary. With that in mind, you may be wondering how much does a family nurse practitioner make in California?. The average FNP salary in California is approximately $137,030 annually.

Hourly $65.88
Annual $137,030

6. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: The National Association of Neonatal Nurses recognizes neonatal nurse practitioners as clinical leaders and experts in providing care for newborns and their families. They may work in acute and nonacute settings alongside neonatologists to assist with the delivery and treatment of newborns and infants up to the age of two years. Some neonatal nurse practitioners work in neonatal intensive care units to help oversee round the clock care for newborns who are born with any health condition requiring intensive care. The salary for a neonatal nurse practitioner in California averages around $147,000 yearly. With experience, perks, and other benefits, a neonatal nurse practitioner may expect to earn an even higher salary.

Hourly $70.72
Annual $147,100

7. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner: Pediatric nurse practitioners provide both primary and secondary care to patients from infancy to young adulthood. Pediatric nurse practitioners provide primary and preventive healthcare. They monitor a patient's growth and development and manage chronic and acute illnesses. Although some states allow nurse practitioners to work independently, California requires nurse practitioners to work in collaboration with a licensed physician. However, their work does not have to be signed by a supervising physician. Pediatric nurse practitioners in California can earn a significant income. In fact, the average pediatric nurse practitioner salary in California is almost $63 per hour, which is the equivalent of a little more than $130,000 each year.

Hourly $62.75
Annual $130,530

8. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP): Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners care for the emotional and mental well-being of patients and families. They work in a variety of settings that may include primary care facilities, private physician practices, outpatient clinics, community health centers, and hospitals. PMHNPs diagnose and treat various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and dementia. According to, psychiatric nurse practitioners are in high demand in California, with about two hundred job openings currently listed on the website. The psychiatric nurse practitioner salary in California annually is approximately $144,000, making it one of the state's highest paying nurse practitioner specialties.

Hourly $69.38
Annual $144,310

9. Women's Health Nurse Practitioner: A women's health nurse practitioner is an advanced practice RN who has achieved specialty training to provide care for various women's health issues. They typically focus on gynecological, obstetric, and reproductive health issues. They provide diagnostic care and treatment as well as preventive health efforts. Women's health practitioners in California can expect to earn a yearly salary above $130,000.

Hourly $63.81
Annual $132,720

Nurse Practitioner Salary in California by City

1. Los Angeles: The average entry-level nurse practitioner salary in Los Angeles, California, is approximately $90,000. With ten or more years of experience, NPs may earn a salary of over $160,00. According to salary reports submitted to Glassdoor, the average nurse practitioner income in Los Angeles is $138,000. This is an average of over $66 per hour. This rate is approximately fifteen percent higher than the average nurse practitioner salary in the United States. In many cases, nurse practitioners in Los Angeles may earn an average annual bonus of close to $3,000.

Hourly $66.51
Annual $138,340

2. San Diego: San Diego, California, is known for its great weather, sandy beaches, and major attractions. The city is known worldwide as a great tourist destination and a lovely place for locals who choose to reside there. All of this is great, but you’re wondering how much does a nurse practitioner make in San Diego, CA, right? Nurse practitioners in San Diego earn about $60 per hour, which is equivalent to a little over $125,000 yearly.

Hourly $60.36
Annual $125,550

3. San Jose: The San Jose Museum of Art, the Tech Interactive, and Santana Row are some amusement and attractions that bring many people to visit the city. U.S. News reported an unemployment rate in San Jose that is lower than other cities in the United States, at approximately 2.6%. The state is home to over twenty-six thousand nurse practitioners, 481 of whom have an overall rating of 4.1 stars. The average salary for nurse practitioners in San Jose is $136,630.

Hourly $65.69
Annual $136,630

4. San Francisco: Close to Napa Valley, also known as wine country, San Francisco, California offers a taste of world-class wine and beautiful countrywide views with pleasant weather most of the year. According to, nurse practitioners are in high demand in San Francisco. There are positions available such as psychiatric nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners, and telemedicine nurse practitioners, to name a few. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioner salary in San Francisco, CA, is approximately $75.55 per hour, or $157,000 yearly.

Hourly $75.55
Annual $157,150

5. Fresno: Fresno, California, is approximately seventy-eight miles from Yosemite National Park, which includes almost 1,200 square miles of scenery, including deep valleys, high cliffs, waterfalls, and wilderness. The areas surrounding Fresno boast great appeal for travelers and residents alike. With the number of people who come to this area, the need for nurse practitioners is ever-growing. As reported by, there are almost six hundred nurse practitioners practicing in Fresno, California. Nurse practitioners practicing in Fresno can anticipate an average annual salary of around $132,000.

Hourly $63.70
Annual $132,510

Comparing Nurse Practitioner Salary in California VS. Other Careers

If you are considering a career as a nurse practitioner in the state of California, you may want to consider how your expected income may compare to other career opportunities. Comparing the salary, you can expect to earn with that of other nursing careers or other healthcare occupations may help you decide what career path is best suited to your future goals.

NP Pay in California VS. Other Nursing Careers: The nursing industry offers many opportunities for individuals with varying degree levels. Nursing assistants in California typically earn an average annual salary of a little less than $36,000. On the other hand, nurse anesthetists are some of the highest-paid nurse specialists with an average income of over $227,000. Nurse practitioners who practice in the state of California are ranked the third-highest income earners with an average yearly salary of just less than $137,000.

Occupation Average Annual Salary
Nurse Anesthetist $227,290
Nurse Midwife $154,500
Nurse Practitioner $138,660
Registered Nurse $113,240
Nursing Instructor and Teachers, Postsecondary $101,930
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse $60,240
Nursing Assistant $36,630
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

NP Pay in California VS. Similar Healthcare Occupations: Nurse practitioners are among the top three income earners in California when compared to other healthcare occupations. With an average annual income of $138,660, nurse practitioners make more than occupational therapists, physician assistants, optometrists, and audiologists. Dentists and pharmacists are among the few healthcare occupations that pay more than nurse practitioners.

Occupation Average Annual Salary
Dentist $155,670
Pharmacist $144,050
Nurse Practitioner $138,660
Optometrist $132,950
Physician Assistant $127,520
Veterinarian $116,440
Podiatrist $102,040
Audiologist $101,540
Physical Therapist $99,920
Occupational Therapist $98,450
Speech-Language Pathologist $92,740
Chiropractor $71,890
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Why is the Outlook Bright for Nurse Practitioner Salary in California?

Several factors influence the job outlook for various industries. Nurse practitioners find themselves with a bit of an advantage when it comes to the overall long-term outlook for employment opportunities. As baby boomers grow older and live longer, they require the care of dedicated health care practitioners like nurse practitioners to help manage both acute and chronic health conditions. Because California is a state with many attractions for retirement-age people, the impact on job outlook is positive. Additionally, there are many tourist attractions and Hollywood-hopefuls who choose to visit or relocate to California. Increased population means an increased need for qualified healthcare providers.


There are several reasons that practicing as a nurse practitioner in California has its perks. Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons is the generous nurse practitioner salary in California. With some nurse practitioners in the state earning almost $180,000 annually, it may be safe to say that if income potential is a determining factor on where you practice, California may be a good choice for you!

Top Questions Answered by Our Expert

1. How many nurse practitioners are currently employed in California?

Presently there are almost fourteen thousand nurse practitioners employed in the state of California. With an estimated job growth of over thirty-five percent between 2018 and 2028, this number is expected to grow quickly.


2. How does the average Nurse Practitioner salary in California compare to the average NP salary in the U.S?

While the average nurse practitioner salary in the United States is over $111,000 yearly, California's average is around $26,000 more, with an income of approximately $138,660. This is greater than nineteen percent higher than the average of other states in the country.

California United States Difference
Number %
$138,660 $111,840 +$26,820 +19.34%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

3. How much does a family nurse practitioner make in California?

California pays its NPs quite well compared to most other states, and it’s no different with family nurse practitioners as well. Here, FNPs earn an average annual salary of $137,030 which is equivalent to an hourly wage of $65.88 or a monthly pay of $11,420.


4. How much does a psychiatric nurse practitioner make in California?

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are highly in demand across the state of California and this growth translates into most PNPs earning handsome salaries. As an NP who treats mental health patients, you can expect to earn an average salary of $144,310, which amounts to around $69.38 an hour and $12,030 per month.


5. What are the 5 highest paid Nurse Practitioners in California?

Are you wondering which NP specialty is the highest paid in California? For aspiring NPs who are keen on earning the highest salary, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner will prove to be a befitting choice as you can earn the state’s highest NP salary at $147,100. On the other hand, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners earn the second-highest pay at $144,820. In California, FNPs earn the lowest NP salary at $137,030, whereas an emergency NP earns 140,820 and an NP working in dermatology takes home a pay of $137,770.

Rank Type of NP Annual
1Neonatal Nurse Practitioner$147,100
2Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)$144,310
3Emergency Nurse Practitioner$140,820
4Dermatology Nurse Practitioner$137,770
5Family Nurse Practitioner$137,030

6. What are the 5 highest paying cities for Nurse Practitioners in California?

Modesto, Salinas, Redding, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, and Vallejo-Fairfield are the cities/metro areas paying the highest nurse practitioners salaries California. Even the fifth ranking city, Modesto, offers nurse practitioners a handsome salary of over $143,000 yearly.

Rank City Average Annual Salary
1 Vallejo-Fairfield $175,060
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $157,150
3 Redding $145,690
4 Salinas $145,060
5 Modesto $143,530
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

7. How much do Nurse Practitioners earn in the various metros of California?

A metropolitan area often called a metro, is an area that is densely populated. It includes a core area and smaller, less-populated surrounding regions. California is home to several metro areas. Nurse practitioner salaries in various metro areas are often influenced by the number of residents and the need for qualified health care providers. For instance, in the Hanford-Corcoran metro area, there are about thirty nurse practitioners who make about $122,000 each year. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, on the other hand, is home to over four hundred thousand nurse practitioners who earn an average annual salary of over $138,000. The Vallejo-Fairfield metro area has about one hundred fifty nurse practitioners who make over $175,000 each year.

Metro Employment Per Hour Per Year
Bakersfield 220 $64.96 $135,130
Chico 60 $62.81 $130,650
El Centro 30 $59.53 $123,830
Fresno 580 $63.70 $132,510
Hanford-Corcoran 30 $58.50 $121,670
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 4,090 $66.51 $138,340
Merced 50 $63.77 $132,630
Modesto 200 $69.00 $143,530
Napa 30 $59.65 $124,080
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura 150 $65.24 $135,700
Redding 70 $70.04 $145,690
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 1,540 $67.60 $140,600
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 890 $64.49 $134,130
Salinas 100 $69.74 $145,060
San Diego-Carlsbad 1,540 $60.36 $125,550
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 1,930 $75.55 $157,150
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 950 $65.69 $136,630
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande 120 $58.84 $122,400
Santa Cruz-Watsonville110 $66.23 $137,750
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara 150 $66.51 $138,350
Santa Rosa 190 $65.10 $135,410
Stockton-Lodi 180 $59.17 $123,060
Vallejo-Fairfield 150 $84.16 $175,060
Visalia-Porterville 150 $62.31 $129,610
Yuba City 40 $63.44 $131,960
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

8. Where do the majority of the Nurse Practitioners practice in California?

As with most healthcare positions, nurse practitioners work in various settings. In California, about one thousand NPs work in colleges, universities, professional schools, or offices of other health care professionals. Over one thousand work in outpatient care centers. Twice as many work in hospital settings. The majority of nurse practitioners practicing in California, almost seven thousand, work in physician offices.

Type of Practice Setting Number of Nurse Practitioners
Offices of Physicians 6,640
Hospitals 3,290
Outpatient Care Centers 1,300
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools 460
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 430
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

9. What are the annual job openings for Nurse Practitioners in California?

There are approximately twelve hundred job openings for nurse practitioners in the state of California each year. As the population grows and as people live longer and require health care services for longer periods of time, new jobs are created. Additionally, over seven hundred replacement jobs are produced yearly. Replacement jobs are positions that become available when someone retires or if they change career paths or employment positions.

New Jobs Replacement Jobs Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
460 740 1,200

10. What is the job outlook for NPs in California?

The job outlook for nurse practitioners in the state of California is quite promising. According to, there is an expected increase in job opportunities of 35.11 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Employment New Job Growth (2018-2028)
2018 2028 Number %
13,100 17,700 4,600 35.11%

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.