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2020 California Registered Nurse Salary + Job Outlook


In California, registered nurses (RNs) earn more than in any other state at $102,700, and they enjoy an above-average job outlook thanks to greater availability of medical coverage and advances in medicine. It is expected that some 20,637 new RN positions will become available in CA in 2019, and most of these positions will be in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Riverside-San Bernardino area. To become an RN in California, you need an ADN or BSN degree from a nursing school approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. You must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam to practice as a nurse in this state.

What is The Average Salary of a Registered Nurse in California?


RNs in California earn an average of $102,700 each year or $8,560 monthly or $49.37 hourly. This figure can fluctuate based on your city of residence, your employer, and your overall nursing experience.

Type Average Salary
Hourly $49.37
Monthly $8,560
Annual $102,700
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


How Much Will I Earn as an RN in California?


RNs in this state earn between $64,430 and $151,210 depending on several unique factors. Around 10% of RNs earn above $151,210, which is the highest pay rate in the state. About 10% of RNs earn under $64,430, which is considered an entry-level salary. If you have more experience, and if you work for the same employer for many years, you can earn a salary at the higher end of the scale. You will also earn more if you work in highly-populated areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco. If you are new to the nursing career, you will earn a salary on the lower end of this scale.

Percentile Wage Estimates of all RN Workers in CA
Percent of RN's Number of RN's Annual Salary
10% 28,229 Under $64,430
15% 42,344 $64,430 - $80,210
25% 70,573 $80,210 - $100,730
25% 70,573 $100,730 - $125,430
15% 42,344 $125,430 - $151,210
10% 28,229 Above $151,210
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


ADN VS BSN Salary


RNs in California who hold BSN degrees earn an average $8,910 more than nurses with ADN degrees. This is because the BSN degree provides more education and takes longer to complete, thus signifying your level of skill. Employers in California prefer nurses with more education.

BSN Salary ADN Salary How Much More Does BSN Earn
$109,900 $100,990 $8,910
(Source: In-House Research, May 2018)


California RN Salary Comparison


RN California VS National


RNs in California earn on an average 39% more compared to the average RN salary nationally.

Type California RN United States RN Difference % Difference
Average Hourly Wage $49.37 $35.36 $14.01 39.62%
Average Annual Salary $102,700 $73,550 $29,150 39.63%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


VS All Occupations in CA


$0 $50,000 $1,00,000 $1,50,000 $2,00,000 $2,50,000 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Nursing Asstant Licensed Practical and Licensed Vacational Nursing Instructor and Teachers Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner Nurse Midwive Assistant Nurse Anesthetist $33,560 $53,600 $94,670 $1,02,700 $1,26,770 $1,32,480 $2,17,230



VS Similar Healthcare Occupations in CA


$0 $20,000 $40,000 $60,000 $80,000 $100,000 $120,000 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) Emergency Medical Technicia & Paramedic Medical Assistant Social Worker Cardiovascular Technologist and Technician Occupational Therapist Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Dental Hygienist Registered Nurse Physician Assistant $36,370 $36,630 $66,300 $72,750 $89,870 $91,700 $97,420 $102,700 $112,930



Salary Growth Trend (2013-2017)


Salary for an RN in this state grew 9.12% between 2013 and 2017. This is due to the higher demand for skilled RNs, particularly in facilities providing state-of-the-art medical care. Expanding healthcare coverage means more people in CA seek medical care each year, and as the number of patients continues to rise, the number of RNs needed to care for them rises, as well.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $96,980 $2,860 3.04%
2014 $98,400 $1,420 1.46%
2015 $101,260 $2,860 2.91%
2016 $101,750 $490 0.48%
2017 $102,700 $950 0.93%
Overall Growth in Last Five Years $8,580 9.12%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Salary Growth Projection (2018-2022)


RN salary growth in the state of California is expected to follow the previous years' trends. In fact, in 2022, RNs across the state will earn an average of $113,420 annually. Factors that will drive salary increases for RNs in California vary, but supply versus demand is by far the biggest contributor. Many employers struggle to find skilled nurses, and they are willing to pay their RNs more each year. What's more, information from the California Board of Registered Nursing suggests that the number of RN graduates has been on the decline in recent years, which means there are fewer people entering the field despite higher demand.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2018 $104,510 $1,810 1.76%
2019 $106,410 $1,900 1.82%
2020 $108,560 $2,150 2.02%
2021 $111,250 $2,690 2.48%
2022 $113,420 $2,170 1.95%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years $10,720 10.44%
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Registered Nurse Salary in Major Cities of California


The city where you work can have a huge influence on your salary as a whole. RNs who work in heavily-populated parts of CA tend to earn significantly more than their counterparts.

Los Angeles


In Los Angeles, RNs earn between $58,260 and $130,060 each year with an average annual salary of $93,800. Los Angeles is the most heavily-populated city in California, which means its hospitals, emergency rooms, and long-term care facilities remain busy and demand quality nursing staff. Hospitals like Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, and the UCLA Medical Center are some of the biggest employers of RNs in CA. Other employers that are more common in LA than other parts of the state include drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities and cosmetic surgeons' offices.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $90,860 $3,850 4.42%
2014 $93,180 $2,320 2.55%
2015 $95,260 $2,080 2.23%
2016 $93,930 -$1,330 -1.40%
2017 $93,800 -$130 -0.14%


San Diego


RNs working in San Diego earn between $65,530 and $128,410 with an average annual salary of $94,740. Much like LA, San Diego is also heavily populated and home to some of the state's biggest and best hospitals. The biggest employers in this city include hospitals like Scripps Mercy, Sharp Memorial, and Alvarado Hospital. Aside from hospitals, medical clinics and long-term care facilities employ a significant number of the city's RNs.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $84,450 -$2,950 -3.38%
2014 $85,770 $1,320 1.56%
2015 $88,660 $2,890 3.37%
2016 $92,480 $3,820 4.31%
2017 $94,740 $2,260 2.44%


San Jose


If you will work in San Jose, CA, you can expect to earn a salary between $76,020 and $168,740, or an average of $129,140 each year. San Jose is one of the highest-paying cities in the state, mainly because it is the very heart of the Silicon Valley and the state's technology industry. There are numerous affluent neighborhoods here, and hospitals like Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara, Stanford, and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital pay their nurses well. Other facilities, and especially long-term care facilities like nursing homes, also help boost the average salary in San Jose.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $123,190 $200 0.16%
2014 $121,820 -$1,370 -1.11%
2015 $121,610 -$210 -0.17%
2016 $120,680 -$930 -0.76%
2017 $129,140 $8,460 7.01%


San Francisco


RNs in San Francisco earn between $75,380 and $168,580, or an average of $124,970 each year. In fact, RNs in San Francisco are among the highest-paid in the country. This has much to do with the cost of living in the area, which is much higher than in other metro areas across the state, especially when it is considered that rent in San Francisco is higher than anywhere else in the country.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $123,830 $11,690 10.42%
2014 $124,980 $1,150 0.93%
2015 $128,070 $3,090 2.47%
2016 $125,560 -$2,510 -1.96%
2017 $124,970 -$590 -0.47%


Fresno


If you will work as an RN in Fresno, CA, you can expect to earn between $65,180 and $124,450 or an average of $91,010 each year. Fresno is home to numerous community hospitals that pay their RNs well, including Community Regional Medical Center, Fresno Surgical Hospital, and the VA Medical Center. Fresno is also home to some of the state's most well-known nursing homes, including Pacific Gardens and Oakwood Gardens Care Center, which also employ highly-paid RNs.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $80,020 $2,700 3.49%
2014 $84,190 $4,170 5.21%
2015 $88,380 $4,190 4.98%
2016 $88,060 -$320 -0.36%
2017 $91,010 $2,950 3.35%


Sacramento


RNs who choose to work at one of many medical facilities in Sacramento, CA earn between $69,990 and $160,840, which averages out to $116,170 each year. Sacramento is home to the prestigious Shriners Hospital for Children, and it also boasts Sutter Memorial Hospital, which offers one of the best birth centers in the nation. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities like New Dawn Treatment Center are also large employers of RNs in the area, and nurses working here tend to receive salaries on the higher end of the scale.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $108,340 $630 0.58%
2014 $105,390 -$2,950 -2.72%
2015 $113,000 $7,610 7.22%
2016 $113,440 $440 0.39%
2017 $116,170 $2,730 2.41%


Long Beach


If you will work as an RN in Long Beach, CA, you will earn between $58,260 and $130,060 each year for an average of $93,800 annually. Long Beach is home to mainly community hospitals, but others, such as St. Mary and Miller Children's and Women's Hospitals, pay their RNs quite well. Long Beach is home to multiple rehabilitation facilities and cosmetic surgeons, including the Southern California Plastic Surgery Group, and these also employ large numbers of well-paid RNs in the area.


Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $90,860 $3,850 4.42%
2014 $93,180 $2,320 2.55%
2015 $95,260 $2,080 2.23%
2016 $93,930 -$1,330 -1.40%
2017 $93,800 -$130 -0.14%


Oakland


As an RN in the Oakland, California area, you can expect to earn between $75,380 and $168,580 a year, or an average of $124,970, which rivals the average annual salary of San Francisco. Oakland is home to many of the state's best and most well-known hospitals and medical centers. These include Alameda Hospital, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, UCSF Benoiff Children's Hospital, and Highland Hospital, among others. Oakland is highly populated, and it is a very popular city for retirement, which means there are also many private long-term care facilities here. There are plenty of opportunities for RNs in Oakland, and the starting salary is quite attractive.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $123,830 $11,690 10.42%
2014 $124,980 $1,150 0.93%
2015 $128,070 $3,090 2.47%
2016 $125,560 -$2,510 -1.96%
2017 $124,970 -$590 -0.47%


Bakersfield


Bakersfield, CA RNs earn between $66,410 and $122,300 for an average of $90,610 each year. If you will work in the Bakersfield area, consider employers like Mercy Hospital Downtown, Bakersfield Heart Hospital, and Memorial Hospital, all of which regularly hire RNs and pay competitive wages. Other employment options to consider include Parkview Julian Convalescent Hospital, Lifehouse Bakersfield, and AGAPE In-Home Care, all of which have a high demand for RNs and pay accordingly.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2013 $80,280 -$5,580 -6.50%
2014 $83,390 $3,110 3.87%
2015 $85,940 $2,550 3.06%
2016 $88,400 $2,460 2.86%
2017 $90,610 $2,210 2.50%


Anaheim


If you will work in the city of Anaheim, you will earn between $58,260 and $130,060. RNs throughout the city earn an average of $93,800 annually, as well. Anaheim Regional Medical Center, Anaheim Global Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital, and Garden Grove Hospital are some of the city's biggest employers of RNs. However, if you are interested in the highest-paid positions in the city, consider becoming an RN Case Manager for a home health group like Memorial Care Home Health or Five Star Home Health.

Year Annual Salary Growth % Growth
2016 $93,930 -$1,330 -1.40%
2017 $93,800 -$130 -0.14%



City Wise RN Salary in California
City Name Hourly Wage Annual Salary Range Annual Average Salary
Anaheim $45.10 $58,260 - $130,060 $93,800
Arden-Arcade $55.85 $69,990 - $160,840 $116,170
Arroyo Grande $48.42 $74,850 - $127,350 $100,710
Bakersfield $43.56 $66,410 - $122,300 $90,610
Carlsbad $45.55 $65,530 - $128,410 $94,740
Chico $39.49 $53,270 - $104,060 $82,140
Corcoran $39.97 $54,830 - $115,910 $83,140
El Centro $42.03 $60,270 - $113,330 $87,420
Fairfield $57.61 $69,160 - $164,780 $119,830
Fresno $43.76 $65,180 - $124,450 $91,010
Hayward $60.08 $75,380 - $168,580 $124,970
Lodi $52.03 $74,030 - $141,990 $108,230
Long Beach $45.10 $58,260 - $130,060 $93,800
Los Angeles $45.10 $58,260 - $130,060 $93,800
Merced $47.57 $46,640 - $153,930 $98,940
Modesto $51.18 $68,910 - $152,990 $106,460
Napa $54.68 $90,640 - $137,400 $113,740
Oakland $60.08 $75,380 - $168,580 $124,970
Ontario $46.88 $68,220 - $131,880 $97,520
Oxnard $40.34 $54,950 - $123,320 $83,910
Paso Robles $48.42 $74,850 - $127,350 $100,710
Porterville $41.97 $66,670 - $114,830 $87,310
Redding $46.26 $64,840 - $127,500 $96,220
Riverside $46.88 $68,220 - $131,880 $97,520
Roseville $55.85 $69,990 - $160,840 $116,170
Sacramento $55.85 $69,990 - $160,840 $116,170
Salinas $62.47 $83,550 - $175,490 $129,940
San Bernardino $46.88 $68,220 - $131,880 $97,520
San Diego $45.55 $65,530 - $128,410 $94,740
San Francisco $60.08 $75,380 - $168,580 $124,970
San Jose $62.09 $76,020 - $168,740 $129,140
San Luis Obispo $48.42 $74,850 - $127,350 $100,710
Santa Barbara $49.00 $75,630 - $134,750 $101,920
Santa Clara $62.09 $76,020 - $168,740 $129,140
Santa Cruz $59.84 $67,940 - $175,450 $124,470
Santa Maria $49.00 $75,630 - $134,750 $101,920
Santa Rosa $53.62 $72,060 - $158,420 $111,530
Stockton $52.03 $74,030 - $141,990 $108,230
Sunnyvale $62.09 $76,020 - $168,740 $129,140
Thousand Oaks $40.34 $54,950 - $123,320 $83,910
Vallejo $57.61 $69,160 - $164,780 $119,830
Ventura $40.34 $54,950 - $123,320 $83,910
Visalia $41.97 $66,670 - $114,830 $87,310
Watsonville $59.84 $67,940 - $175,450 $124,470
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


RN Employment & Pay in Different Healthcare Facilities of CA


The demand for RNs across the state of California varies depending on the type of facility, and this can also have an effect on your overall salary. Hospitals across CA employ the largest number of RNs, and collectively, RNs who work in hospitals earn an average of $105,870 each year. Outpatient care centers hire the fewest number of RNs, but they also pay the most at $105,670 each year.

Industry Employment Hourly Wage Annual Salary
Hospitals 163,710 $50.89 $105,870
Physician's Offices 19,040 $44.90 $93,400
Home Health Care 17,410 $47.15 $98,060
Nursing Care Facilities 15,100 $44.11 $91,750
Outpatient Care Centers 12,830 $50.81 $105,670
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Employment Trend (2013-2017)


Between the years of 2013 and 2017, the number of RNs employed across the state of CA grew steadily. Overall during this 5-year period well over 32,000 new RN jobs were created. The largest increase in employment occurred between 2015 and 2016 when some 19,640 new positions were added, representing an increase of 7.7%.

Year Employment Growth % Growth
2013 252,940 2,960 1.18%
2014 253,310 370 0.15%
2015 255,010 1,700 0.67%
2016 274,650 19,640 7.70%
2017 282,290 7,640 2.78%
Overall Growth in Last Five Years 32,310 12.93%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook (2018-2022)


Overall, as an RN in California, you can enjoy outstanding job security for many years to come. Data suggests that in the coming years between 2018 and 2022, well over 22,000 jobs positions will be created, representing a 7.85% increase in the number of RNs across the state. Though the demand for RNs is high, you can expect a competitive field as more and more students choose nursing as their careers. The state's largest hospitals and most prestigious long-term care facilities, cosmetic surgery offices, and even rehabilitation centers will continue to grow, adding to the demand for RNs.

Year Employment Growth % Growth
2018 286,670 4,380 1.55%
2019 291,000 4,330 1.51%
2020 295,350 4,350 1.49%
2021 300,010 4,660 1.58%
2022 304,460 4,450 1.48%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years 22,170 7.85%
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Projected Annual RN Job Openings (New + Replacement) in California


Each year across the state, new job openings become available as employers expand their staff to include new RNs and existing RNs retire. It is expected that the number of positions opening up each year will rise steadily between 2018 and 2022, with far more replacement positions becoming available than new positions.

Year New Jobs Replacement Jobs Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
2018 4,377 16,260 20,637
2019 4,332 17,190 21,522
2020 4,355 18,210 22,565
2021 4,659 19,310 23,969
2022 4,446 20,500 24,946
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Areas with Highest Registered Nurse Employment


California is a heavily-populated state, and because of this, it is home to thousands of hospitals, tens of thousands of doctors offices, and numerous nursing homes, home care agencies, rehabilitation facilities, and other medical centers. Across CA, the cities with the largest populations are also those with the biggest demand for RNs. For example, Los Angeles, which has the largest population in the state at 4.03 million, employs nearly three times more RNs than any other city at 102,330. San Francisco, with a population of 870,887, employs 35,480 RNs. Emergency rooms and ICUs have the biggest demand for RNs, so cities with more of these will naturally employ more nurses.

Rank Area Name # Employed
1 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 102,330
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 35,480
3 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 27,720
4 San Diego-Carlsbad 23,100
5 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 18,240
6 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 15,990
7 Fresno 7,560
8 Bakersfield 5,340
9 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura 4,440
10 Stockton-Lodi 4,270
11 Modesto 4,140
12 Santa Rosa 3,170
13 Vallejo-Fairfield 3,170
14 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara 3,050
15 Salinas 2,470
16 Visalia-Porterville 2,230
17 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande 1,790
18 Redding 1,720
19 Santa Cruz-Watsonville 1,520
20 Napa 1,430
21 Hanford-Corcoran 940
22 El Centro 880
23 Merced 860
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)