Finding the Highest Paying CNA Jobs in California: A Guide

Finding the Highest Paying CNA Jobs in California

California is currently in need of more quality nursing assistants.  The Higher Education for a Strong Economy reports that there are 13,000 unfilled CNA vacancies every year. Even without this shortage, healthcare facilities need quality CNAs in every team, if they want to operate effectively. Thanks to all these factors, and an aging population, CNA demand is only continuing to rise. Whether you are a fresh nursing assistant looking for their first job or someone who wants to get into the healthcare industry, this article will go over how to find the highest paying nurse jobs in California.

How do you acquire your California CNA license?

Before you start looking for the best CNA jobs in California, you need your CNA license at the bare minimum. Unlike other nursing roles, CNA licenses are not as difficult or costly to acquire. Provided that you follow all the requirements listed below, you should be able to become a nursing assistant without much hassle:

  • Are physically fit to work and can present up-to-date immunization records
  • Can pass a criminal background check
  • Graduated from an accredited California-based CNA program
  • Graduated from high school or have a general education diploma (GED.)
  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Take and pass the state exam to achieve certified status

For reference, the California Board of Nursing has a comprehensive list of accredited CNA schools, for your convenience. You can choose between on-campus and online options, though you will have to complete your clinical requirements onsite either way. The state of California requires CNAs to complete at least 150 hours of training, which is split between 50 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of clinical rotations. This usually takes 6 to 15 weeks to complete, although certain accelerated programs allow you to finish your training in just 4 months.

Once you have finished your training, you have to apply for certification and take the state exam at a verified testing center. These are the approved CDPH testing locations, for reference. Once you pass, you can claim your CNA certificate. Now that you are certified, you can start searching for “the highest paying CNA jobs near me.”

Can school resources help me?

Finding new travel CNA jobs in California can be a tricky proposition. Luckily, there are things you can do early to start hunting for job opportunities. Schools offer a host of career resources to their students, to aid them in their job search.

  • Career presentations from representatives of various healthcare facilities
  • Faculty who will help you find entry-level opportunities.
  • Career fairs where you can ask questions to potential employers, inquire about feeder internships or present your CV.
  • Alumni networks made up of graduate nurses where you can build connections that may lead to entry-level opportunities.

In California, you should not have much problems looking for in-state CNA opportunities. If you came from a different state, consult with faculty members or career counselors regarding how to go about finding CNA jobs in California.

How does location affect my CNA offer?

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics currently has California as the third highest compensating state for CNAS, at around $ 39,760 annually (on average.) Because of demographic and economic factors, certain cities in California will compensate better than others.  For the highest paying travel nursing jobs or full time RN roles, you want to turn your attention to California’s metropolitan areas:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara: $47,690
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward: $47,500
  • Salinas: $44,210
  • Napa: $42,310
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville: $41,070
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade: $135,490
  • Santa Rosa: $40,770

Keep in mind that your salary does not exist in a vacuum. When you choose a place to settle down, you also want to consider living expenses such as cost of living and travel expenses. In addition, the application process is naturally competitive in these active areas. While you are job searching, however, the places listed above are as good a place to start as any.

What are the highest paying CNA roles?

Specialized CNAs in certain fields have the opportunity to earn more than their other counterparts. If this is a serious consideration for you, then consider this list of CNA specialties with the highest demand:

  • ICU
  • Operating Room
  • Telemetry
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Emergency Room

How do I find CNA jobs in California online?

Job listing websites are a good place to start, as they allow you to filter by location. Hospitals also post their job listings and application requirements directly on their website, which is something to consider if you are interested in a particular facility. You can also link up with staffing agencies online who will sign you to the highest paying travel nursing jobs. Just be sure to scan through reviews to get a sense of an agency’s reputation or how they treat the nurses under their watch. Onboarding and submitting your documents is also a lengthy process that can take two weeks or more, which is cumbersome compared to alternatives like VitaWerks.

Book per diem nursing shifts

While it is not a speciality, Per Diem RN jobs have grown in recent years as a valuable alternative. Per Diem nursing serves as a valuable stop gap solution to the nurse shortages that have affected healthcare facilities. Since demand is at an all time high, their salaries are highly competitive with many full time rates. Platforms like VitaWerks will link you with the highest paying CNA jobs in CA, with the help of advanced AI-matching technology. With the flexibility to set your own schedules and work in different facilities, all while earning more than some traditionally-employed nurses, CNAs can enjoy unparalleled personal and professional freedom.

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