California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Registered Nurses in California

May also be called: Nurse Practitioners; Clinical Nurse Specialists; Certified Nurse Midwives; Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists; Nurse Administrators; Nurse Supervisors; Nurse Educators; Staff Nurses; Charge Nurses

Specialties within this occupation include: Hospital Nurses; Critical Care Nurses; Emergency or Trauma Nurses; Operating Room Nurses; Pediatric Nurses; Psychiatric Nurses; Office Nurses; Home Health Care Nurses; Public Health Nurses; Addictions Nurses; Cardiac and Vascular Nurses; Gynecology Nurses; and Holistic Nurses

What Would I Do?

Registered Nurses (RN) are the largest group among all the health care occupations. Most RNs work in acute care hospitals but some of them care for patients in private clinics or work in private homes. They evaluate patient’s health problems and needs and provide nursing care to ill, injured, convalescing, and/or disabled patients.

Nurses generally work in well-lit, comfortable health care facilities. They may work nights, weekends, holidays, per diem (per day), on call, or as a Travel Nurse. In addition, Nurses need the physical strength and stamina in order to lift or move patients and must be able to cope with human suffering and frequent emergencies.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Registered Nurse will appeal to you if you enjoy activities that involve assisting others and promoting learning and personal development. This occupation satisfies those with social interests. Social occupations involve teaching, offering advice, helping, and being of service to people.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2022 for Registered Nurses in California is $129,851 annually, or $62.43 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2022Low
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(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2022 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefit packages vary among employers. Generally, RNs receive medical, dental, and retirement benefits. In addition, most employers provide vision, life, vacation, and sick leave to RNs that work full-time.

What is the Job Outlook?

The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) reports that there are more than 330,000 Nurses and over 14,000 Nurse Practitioners with an active RN license. Despite this large number, shortages still exist and are expected to occur over the next ten years.

How Do I Qualify?

Registered Nurses must be licensed to practice in California by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). They have to meet educational requirements, pass a criminal background check, obtain a fingerprint clearance, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Nursing schools graduate placement service links RNs and Nurse Practitioners to jobs. Newspaper ads also have job leads. State, county, city, and federal personnel administration offices provide announcements of jobs and requirements.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Registered Nurses