Is this correct information on San Diego area pay?

by JustWandering78 JustWandering78 (New) New

Hey, I have looked at archives and not found what I am looking for.

I am thinking about moving to San Diego area from North Carolina. To be honest it is just an idea for a life experience move so that is why I am gathering some information to make my decision.

I am a single mom so cost of living vs pay is at the top of the list of deciding factors.

My question is, I am seeing average pay in the area as $47/hr. Then I read in another article that shift differentials are between $0.50 - $2.50. Is this correct? I have 9 years experience in my specialty (Neonatal ICU). With the shift differential I get here in NC, the pay in San Diego is not more than my current pay. I always thought NC was one of the lowest paying states as well. So I am wondering if I am getting the wrong information.



88 Posts

Yes, $47/hr is correct for San Diego.. just moved from there after working there for 3 years.  UCSD is union so if you want raises thats where to go.  Shift diff is between $3.50-$5/hr.  I have 7 yrs exp in ER.  Housing is MEGA $$ and if you have a pet, good luck. I paid $2150 for a 1 bedroom with a dog and found limited options for my golden retriever. 


FullGlass, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care. Has 4 years experience. 2 Articles; 1,403 Posts

San Diego pay for healthcare sucks.  This is because a lot of people want to live here due to the great weather, beaches, etc.  In addition, we have a lot of military spouses that are RNs and looking for work.  And on top of that, a lot of retired Navy and Marine Corps that stay here (they can retire in their early 40s).  So there is too much healthcare workforce for the available jobs.  This is true from Medical Assistants to MDs. 

In addition to UCSD, also look at Kaiser, as Kaiser RNs have a union.  Actually, I think all California RNs have unions.  

If you can get a job with the State of California, go for that.  They provide great benefits.  You are eligible for retirement benefits after 5 years.  State jobs include:  school nurse, community colleges, Calif State colleges and universities (SDSU, San Marcos State) and the UC system (UCSD, UC Irvine if you live in North San Diego County), and also county-level hospitals and clinics.  Good luck

While San Diego County is expensive, it is still cheaper than the rest of coastal California, like Orange County, LA, SF.  The inland areas are cheaper - the further from the ocean you are, the cheaper it is.  Also, North County is cheaper than the areas close to San Diego.

Jordynn akins

Jordynn akins

1 Post

JustWandering78 would you mind giving me an estimate of what I might make in North carolina? I am a Nicu nurse as well in denver with a base pay of $35/hr with 4 years experience. I am trying to get a sense of how much nurses make in north carolina and I cant find anything. 

Thank you!



7 Posts

@Jordynn akins I worked in Raleigh, 9 years NICU and I made $32/hr. However, I only have ADN so I think that is medium to low end of the range. Also, I know from hospital to hospital pay can range significantly. Some of the bigger hospitals don't necessarily pay the best. Or at least that used to be the case. 

It seems most places around here are willing to negotiate. They offer and are willing to hear a counter offer. So if they don't offer you $34 or the amount you are wanting then you can always counter. That said, NC cost of living is way less than Denver so even if you stay at $34, depending on area, you can still do OK.

One last thing, hospitals here seem to have a big range in their shift differentials too so that is something to ask when you get an offer as well.