CA Nursing Pay.............the way to go!!

Specialties Travel


I have been traveling to Northern CA as a nurse for 11 years......from the South. I have finally realized that, if you really want to make some serious money, you need to be a staff nurse there!! no doubt about it.

Even in the small town hospital, the nurses are paid around $60/hr, more depending on experience. The larger hospitals pay much more! I personally know some staff nurses who make $75/hr base salary! And they get those shift diffs also, that travelers dont get!

A 24 month stint in CA, and a nurse could pocket some serious change! That's what I plan to do after the first of the year. "Get busy living or get busy dieing"......that's what the man said! That's damn (that's what the other guy said)

If two nurses went and shared expenses, that's just more money for both of them. Something to seriously to think about.

I have made up my mind, see u there in Jan!

I lived in northern california for 5years and while the wages were higher i dont regret moving back home, the cost of living is very high, so i considered myself lucky by breaking even. I moved back home and see more money now than i did then. I came to realize that nursing is not just about how you can profit financially. It really irks me when i constantly read comments about pay and low wages, advice to all if it was pay that you were intetested in then you should have choosen a different profession

Well,, I have worked and lived in CA for at least ten years. You know what makes the cost of living high is land and gas. I aint gonna buy any land, and my car gets good gas mileage and I am not tourist.

I am telling you, a certain product at a Wal Mart in CA, costs less or the same as a Wal Mart in S. Mississippi or Louisiana. As far as rent.......I have checked. A 1 br, very nice area apartment in Sacramento is cheaper than Bilxoi MS or Baton Rouge, LA. Hurricane Katrina was a built-in excuse for everything to be priced extremelty high in the South!

Groceries cost about the same in CA, or less than the South now! I have checked.............believe me.! The wages are triple more than the South! It is well worth it. I have worked my last shift as a nurse in the South, getting $22/hr and not getting a lunch break on a 12 hour shift! It aint gonna happen again!

But for travelers who get about $30/hr.......and spend all their money as a tourist having fun........they cant keep a dime. And that roundtrip travel to CA is very expensive.......about one of your paychecks. So, on a 13 week contract, you get 12 paychecks.

I am headed to CA after the holidays and will keep everyone updated!


Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

ShuShu - when you say "northern California" I thought of San Francisco and above on the coast. Most people don't think of Sacramento and "northern California" to be in the same places (: The central valley is powerfully hot in the summer so, naturally, you're not paying the real estate costs of the coastal mountains where the weather is lovely.

It is possible to come out ahead in California if you rent (or share in the really high priced areas). Much of the produce sold country-wide comes from the Central Valley and not surprisingly, it is cheaper in California. Taxes are higher, but the higher wages compensate for that.

I'm often tempted to go staff in California, but I do manage to get above average paying assignments in California and I've crunched the numbers and for me it is a wash. So I keep my independence and keep traveling. But for most people, especially financially prudent people who don't feel the need to own their own home, staff positions in Northern California are the way to go. It can be difficult to find staff positions though. I'm doing an assignment on the Northern Coast and there are several nurses here from the Bay area who couldn't find jobs there and took a significant pay cut to come here.

It is nice that some people are paid well in this area but not everyone who wants to work in northern CA, can get a job in CA, anywhere in CA.

Now, I did not say.....move to CA indefinitely! Just wanna go there for about 24 months and save a little money. I allready have a home that I own and it is paid for. So, with that, and my years of makes it easier for me to do.

Oh, then you should be fine. Is your home in California? I know that the pay rates are higher but generally, the cost of living is higher. I am currently living in the bay area and pay 1450.00 for small apartment. I am originally from the south so this took some getting used to. I think if living expenses aren't an issue you should go for it!

Specializes in Trauma-Surgical, Case Management, Clinic.

You all are so right about working in CA. I'm from the south and there's no way I'd ever go back and work as hard as I was for the little pay that I made. They can keep that $600 a week with 7-9 pts and no breaks! I'll stay right here.

which part of california in particular?I am looking to travel soon and i want to go to california and if i make more money to be a staff , i will definitely do that

I like the Sacramento or Modesto areas. How long have you been a nurse? I think it is the way to go! I am in S. Louisiana.....u?

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