November 20, 2023

How Much Nurses Make in California

A California nurse in scrubs smiles as she speaks to another nurse off camera.

California, the Golden State, isn't just famous for its breathtaking scenery and diverse culture. It's also a hotspot for the healthcare industry. With the demand for top-notch medical care on the rise, nurses in California are making waves with their salaries. 

In this article, we're diving into the average nurse salary in California, checking out what different nursing occupations bring in the bank. So, whether you're a nurse thinking about a move to the Golden State or you're just curious about nursing in California, we've got you covered.

Did you know that California is a top-paying state for Registered Nurses?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the top paying state for Registered Nurses, boasting an average annual salary of $133,340. 

Just how much do nurses make in California?

Like anywhere, compensation for nursing professionals in California varies based on occupation and specialization. Below are some of the top reported nursing occupations and their average hourly and annual pay in California according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupation Average hourly pay in CA Average annual pay in CA
Registered Nurses $64.10 $133,340
Nurse Anesthetists $118.52 $246,510
Nurse Midwives $81.50 $169,530
Nurse Practitioners $76.02 $158,130
LPNs and LVNs $33.62 $69,930
Nursing Assistants $20.95 $43,570

How much do Registered Nurses make in California?

The average Registered Nurse salary in California is $133,340 per year or $64.10 per hour. These averages come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and include all clinical nurse specialties. Depending on specialty, years of experience, and many other factors, actual wages may vary from this average. 

Working as a registered nurse in California requires licensure in that state. California is not currently a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state. In other words, a compact nursing license is not sufficient to practice in the state of California.

How much do Nurse Anesthetists make in California?

The average Nurse Anesthetist salary in California is $246,510 per year, or $118.52 per hour*. Nurse Anesthetists administer anesthesia and monitor patients during surgical procedures, ensuring their safety and comfort.

How much do Nurse Midwives make in California?

The average Nurse Midwife salary in California is $169,530 per year, or $81.50 per hour*. Nurse midwives provide comprehensive prenatal, labor, and postpartum care, ensuring the health and well-being of both expectant mothers and their infants throughout the childbirth process.

How much do Nurse Practitioners make in California?

The average Nurse Practitioner salary in California is $158,130, equivalent to $76.02 per hour*. These healthcare professionals diagnose and manage various medical conditions, offer medication prescriptions, and deliver comprehensive healthcare services, frequently serving as primary care providers for patients of all age groups.

How much does an LVN make in California?

The average LVN salary in California is $69,930, or $33.62 per hour*. Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) assist registered nurses and physicians by providing basic nursing care, administering medications, and monitoring patients' vital signs in various healthcare settings.

How much does a CNA make in California?

The average Nursing Assistant salary in California is $43,570, or $20.95 per hour*. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) support patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding, while also assisting with vital signs monitoring and providing emotional support in healthcare facilities.

Finding nursing jobs in California

Now that you know California is the top-paying state in the U.S. for nurses, how can you land a job there? 

  • The first step is to obtain your California nursing license
  • Check online job portals and websites specializing in healthcare and nursing job listings, such as Indeed, Monster, or LinkedIn.
  • Explore job opportunities on the websites of major healthcare systems in California, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Stanford Medicine, and Community Regional Medical Center.
  • Reach out to local nursing staffing agencies or recruitment firms that focus on healthcare placements in California.
  • Use an App for nurses like CareRev to find shifts in California. CareRev connects nurses and healthcare facilities in states across the United States. Check out available nursing shifts in California.

*The salary figures in this article do not reflect rates found on the CareRev app. Salary figures above reflect 2022 mean wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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