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Registered Nurse Salary in California + Job Outlook – 2022


In California, registered nurses (RNs) earn more than in any other state at $124,000, and they enjoy an above-average job outlook thanks to greater availability of medical coverage and advances in medicine. It is expected that some 30,133 new RN positions will become available in CA in 2026, 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.


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


RNs in California earn an average of $124,000 each year or $10,330 monthly or $59.62 hourly. This figure can fluctuate based on your city of residence, your employer, and your overall nursing experience.

TypeAverage Salary
Hourly$59.62
Monthly $10,330
Annual $124,000
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


How Much Will I Earn as an RN in California?


RNs in this state earn between $78,070 and $165,620 depending on several unique factors. Around 10% of RNs earn above $165,620, which is the highest pay rate in the state. About 10% of RNs earn under $78,070, 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% 32,440Under $78,070
15% 48,660$78,070 - $98,960
25% 81,100$98,960 - $125,340
25% 81,100$125,340 - $155,930
15% 48,660$155,930 - $165,620
10% 32,440Above $165,620
(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 $10,580 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
$130,530 $119,950 $10,580
(Source: In-House Research, May 2018)


California RN Salary Comparison


RN California VS National


RNs in California earn on an average 49% more compared to the average RN salary nationally.

Type California RN United States RN Difference % Difference
Average Hourly Wage $59.62$39.78$19.8449.87%
Average Annual Salary $124,000$82,750$41,25049.85%
(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 (2017-2021)


Salary for an RN in this state grew 21.87% between 2017 and 2021. 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
2017$102,700$9500.93%
2018$106,950$4,2504.14%
2019$113,240$6,2905.88%
2020$120,560$7,3206.46%
2021$124,000$3,4402.85%
Overall Growth in Last Five Years $22,25021.87%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Salary Growth Projection (2022-2026)


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 $124,000 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
2022$128,280 $4,280 3.45%
2023$132,870 $4,590 3.58%
2024$137,760 $4,890 3.68%
2025$143,550 $5,790 4.20%
2026$151,370 $7,820 5.45%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years $27,370 22.07%
(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 $77,580 - $161,880 each year with an average annual salary of $116,110. 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
2017$93,800-$130-0.14%
2018$99,930$6,1306.54%
2019$106,190$6,2606.26%
2020$113,120$6,9306.53%
2021$116,110$2,9902.64%


San Diego


RNs working in San Diego earn between $75,380 - $160,850 with an average annual salary of $113,150. 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
2017$94,740$2,2602.44%
2018$98,440$3,7003.91%
2019$104,860$6,4206.52%
2020$111,620$6,7606.45%
2021$113,150$1,5301.37%


San Jose


If you will work in San Jose, CA, you can expect to earn a salary between $98,660 and $204,520, or an average of $155,230 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
2017 $129,140 $8,460 7.01%
2018 $128,610 -$530 -0.41%
2019 $140,740 $12,130 9.43%
2020 $146,870 $6,130 4.36%
2021 $155,230 $8,360 5.69%


San Francisco


RNs in San Francisco earn between $98,260 and $205,260, or an average of $151,640 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
2017 $124,970 -$590 -0.47%
2018 $128,990 $4,020 3.22%
2019 $138,000 $9,010 6.99%
2020 $149,200 $11,200 8.12%
2021 $151,640 $2,440 1.64%


Fresno


If you will work as an RN in Fresno, CA, you can expect to earn between $78,010 and $159,940 or an average of $119,830 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
2017 $91,010 $2,950 3.35%
2018 $96,900 $5,890 6.47%
2019 $105,880 $8,980 9.27%
2020 $110,330 $4,450 4.20%
2021 $119,830 $9,500 8.61%


Sacramento


RNs who choose to work at one of many medical facilities in Sacramento, CA earn between $81,490 and $167,370, which averages out to $135,490 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
2017 $116,170 $2,730 2.41%
2018 $120,530 $4,360 3.75%
2019 $126,560 $6,030 5.00%
2020 $134,350 $7,790 6.16%
2021 $135,490 $1,140 0.85%


Long Beach


If you will work as an RN in Long Beach, CA, you will earn between $77,580 and $161,880 each year for an average of $116,110 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
2017 $93,800 -$130 -0.14%
2018 $99,930 $6,130 6.54%
2019 $106,190 $6,260 6.26%
2020 $113,120 $6,930 6.53%
2021 $116,110 $2,990 2.64%


Oakland


As an RN in the Oakland, California area, you can expect to earn between $98,260 and $205,260 a year, or an average of $151,640, 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
2017 $124,970 -$590 -0.47%
2018 $128,990 $4,020 3.22%
2019 $138,000 $9,010 6.99%
2020 $149,200 $11,200 8.12%
2021 $151,640 $2,440 1.64%


Bakersfield


Bakersfield, CA RNs earn between $75,040 and $149,610 for an average of $107,090 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
2017 $90,610 $2,210 2.50%
2018 $92,110 $1,500 1.66%
2019 $92,440 $330 0.36%
2020 $95,960 $3,520 3.81%
2021 $107,090 $11,130 11.60%


Anaheim


If you will work in the city of Anaheim, you will earn between $77,580 and $161,880. RNs throughout the city earn an average of $116,110 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
2017 $93,800 -$130 -0.14%
2018 $99,930 $6,130 6.54%
2019 $106,190 $6,260 6.26%
2020 $113,120 $6,930 6.53%
2021 $116,110 $2,990 2.64%


City Wise RN Salary in California
City Name Hourly Wage Annual
Salary Range
Annual
Average Salary
Anaheim $55.82 $77,580 - $161,880 $116,110
Arden-Arcade $65.14 $81,490 - $167,370 $135,490
Arroyo Grande $59.00 $78,670 - $161,720 $122,730
Bakersfield $51.49 $75,040 - $149,610 $107,090
Carlsbad $54.40 $75,380 - $160,850 $113,150
Chico $51.58 $75,130 - $150,430 $107,290
Corcoran $60.00 $98,580 - $157,780 $124,790
El Centro $43.81 $62,850 - $121,960 $91,120
Fairfield $70.37 $85,610 - $206,580 $146,360
Fresno $57.61 $78,010 - $159,940 $119,830
Hayward $72.90 $98,260 - $205,260 $151,640
Lodi $57.50 $78,600 - $160,690 $119,600
Long Beach $55.82 $77,580 - $161,880 $116,110
Los Angeles $55.82 $77,580 - $161,880 $116,110
Merced $51.81 $76,270 - $125,920 $107,760
Modesto $61.41 $89,800 - $189,790 $127,730
Napa $67.15 $97,440 - $195,310 $139,680
Oakland $72.90 $98,260 - $205,260 $151,640
Ontario $53.70 $76,400 - $158,520 $111,700
Oxnard $55.06 $78,070 - $161,920 $114,530
Paso Robles $59.00 $78,670 - $161,720 $122,730
Porterville $49.20 $75,700 - $126,730 $102,330
Redding $53.25 $75,000 - $127,860 $110,760
Riverside $53.70 $76,400 - $158,520 $111,700
Roseville $65.14 $81,490 - $167,370 $135,490
Sacramento $65.14 $81,490 - $167,370 $135,490
Salinas $62.75 $79,360 - $188,270 $130,520
San Bernardino $53.70 $76,400 - $158,520 $111,700
San Diego $54.40 $75,380 - $160,850 $113,150
San Francisco $72.90 $98,260 - $205,260 $151,640
San Jose $74.63 $98,660 - $204,520 $155,230
San Luis Obispo $59.00 $78,670 - $161,720 $122,730
Santa Barbara $48.45 $49,090 - $150,430 $100,770
Santa Clara $74.63 $98,660 - $204,520 $155,230
Santa Cruz $67.11 $84,570 - $164,710 $139,590
Santa Maria $48.45 $49,090 - $150,430 $100,770
Santa Rosa $68.00 $95,220 - $193,160 $141,440
Stockton $57.50 $78,600 - $160,690 $119,600
Sunnyvale $74.63 $98,660 - $204,520 $155,230
Thousand Oaks $55.06 $78,070 - $161,920 $114,530
Vallejo $70.37 $85,610 - $206,580 $146,360
Ventura $55.06 $78,070 - $161,920 $114,530
Visalia $49.20 $75,700 - $126,730 $102,330
Watsonville $67.11 $84,570 - $164,710 $139,590
(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 $127,400 each year. Outpatient care centers hire the fewest number of RNs, but they also pay the most at $108,280 each year.

Industry Employment Hourly Wage Annual Salary
Hospitals 186,520$61.27$127,400
Physician's Offices 21,200$53.22$110,680
Home Health Care 18,500$56.34$117,170
Outpatient Care Centers15,720$67.05$139,460
Nursing Care Facilities13,980$52.07$108,280
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Employment Trend (2017-2021)


Between the years of 2017 and 2021, the number of RNs employed across the state of CA grew steadily. Overall during this 5-year period well over 49,750 new RN jobs were created. The largest increase in employment occurred between 2020 and 2021 when some 17,340 new positions were added, representing an increase of 5.65%.

Year Employment Growth % Growth
2017282,2907,6402.78%
2018294,51012,2204.33%
2019302,7708,2602.80%
2020307,0604,2901.42%
2021324,40017,3405.65%
Overall Growth in Last Five Years49,75018.11%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook (2022-2026)


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 2022 and 2026, well over 35,850 jobs positions will be created, representing a 11.05% 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
2022329,7405,3401.65%
2023335,5105,7701.75%
2024342,5607,0502.10%
2025350,9508,3902.45%
2026360,2509,3002.65%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years35,85011.05%
(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 2022 and 2026, with far more replacement positions becoming available than new positions.

Year New Jobs Replacement
Jobs
Annual Job Openings
(New + Replacement)
20225,34018,51023,850
20235,77018,55724,327
20247,05018,73725,787
20258,39019,35627,746
20269,30020,83330,133
(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 113,890. San Francisco, with a population of 870,887, employs 41,160 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 113,890
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 41,160
3 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario 30,570
4 San Diego-Carlsbad 27,200
5 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 21,770
6 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 20,640
7 Fresno 8,140
8 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura 5,520
9 Bakersfield 5,310
10 Modesto 4,900
11 Stockton-Lodi 4,820
12 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara 4,540
13 Vallejo-Fairfield 3,530
14 Santa Rosa 3,510
15 Salinas 3,250
16 Visalia-Porterville 2,800
17 Chico 1,980
18 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande 1,920
19 Redding 1,690
20 Napa 1,520
21 Santa Cruz-Watsonville 1,520
22 Hanford-Corcoran 970
23 Yuba City 950
24 Merced 820
25 El Centro 770
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)