How to Search For RN Jobs in California

California is among the top destinations for registered nurses. Per California Board of Registered Nursing, it currently accounts for 458,717 registered nursing jobs. For reference, the BLS reports that there are 3 million nursing jobs in America. As the top paying state for RNs, it is not hard to see why. Currently, the RN average salary in California is as high as $124,000. This article will go over everything you need to know about finding the best possible RN positions in the Land of Milk And Honey.

Further Your Education

You can currently become a Registered Nurse with your Associate’s Degree in Nursing. However, getting at least your Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing makes finding RN jobs in California far easier. Nurses with BSNs are tied to higher success, and lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates. As the nursing world grows more competitive, healthcare facilities are looking to staff the best personnel available. In particular, Magnet hospitals looking to retain their status will be looking for nurses with a higher educational background. The Institute of Medicine has even recommended that 80% of RN positions should be filled with BSN graduates by 2020.

Acquire your California License

CA is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, nurses who operate there must have a license authorized by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN). This is the case for part time RN jobs and full time positions alike. Do not expect to start your RN job straight away, since the process of acquiring your license can take a long time. The board has to collect and analyze documents from agencies, schools, other states or countries. On average, it will take around 10 to 16 weeks to acquire your license, while the renewal process is a 2 to 8 week affair. Do not be surprised if it takes even longer.

If you are obtaining your first RN license, you can acquire your license by examination. For nurses from other states, apply licensure by endorsement before applying for RN jobs in California. Both routes have an application packet you must fill out and submit, along with a list of requirements.

Finally, you can acquire a 6-month temporary license for a fee of $50. Simply fill out the endorsement packet, sans college transcripts. This lets you fill an RN position while waiting for your permanent license.

Refer to school resources

Finding new grad RN jobs 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 RN job opportunities.
  • Feeder internships with an affiliated healthcare program. This lets you gain experience with the chance of integration.
  • I-person career fairs where you can present your CV or answer questions to prospective employers.
  • Alumni networks made up of graduate nurses where you can build connections that may lead to entry-level opportunities.

If you study in California, you should be able to search for an RN position in-state without much issue. If you are from a different state, consult with clinical instructors or career counselors finding entry level jobs in CA.

Account for Location

Some areas in California have more career opportunities than others. In general, most RN employment is concentrated in major city areas. According to the BLS, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area alone has the second highest employment level in the country with 113,890 jobs and a median salary of $ 116,110. Within the San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles metro areas alone, there are around 500 hospitals. As a bonus, the 10 highest paying metropolitan areas for RN positions are all in California:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara: $ 155,230
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward: $151,640
  • Vallejo-Fairfield: $146,360
  • Santa Rosa: $141,440
  • Napa: $139,680
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville: $139,590
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade: $135,490
  • Salinas: $130,520
  • Modesto: $127,730
  • Hanford-Corcoran: $124,790

An RN job offer’s salary is not the only concern. Cost of living, travel and other miscellaneous expenses need to be considered, and applications for jobs in these areas can get competitive. Between the high pay and large number of employment opportunities, however, California’s metropolitan areas are a good place to start your search.

Search Online

There are a number of online job searching sites RNs can use. Indeed, Onward Healthcare, and Nursing Network are just a few examples of sites that list a host of full time and part time RN job offers. However, there are often so many job listings that it can be hard to sift through them all. Visiting the websites for facilities or hospitals in order to find open RN positions is a viable alternative.

Consider the Highest Paying Specializations

Some RN positions are more on-demand than others, in California. These nurses tend to find employment and higher salaries easier, as a result. At the time of writing, these are the most highly-demanded Registered Nursing specialities:

  • ICU
  • Emergency
  • Labor & Delivery
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Oncology
  • Adult-Gerontology
  • Legal Nursing
  • Operating Room
  • Progressive Care
  • Telemetry

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 shifts in California, 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, per diem nursing is a bold and promising way to find the best RN jobs in the Golden State.