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Moving California. Insight on pay scale etc?

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by Nurse4lifeNC Nurse4lifeNC (New Member) New Member

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Hey everyone!  I am currently a nurse in NC.  I have decided to make a life change.  I've always wanted to live in California and so I've decided to take the plunge and go for it.  Can anyone shed some light on nursing in this state?  I have heard it is quite different than here in NC.  A little about me I have been a RN for 6 years.  I have my ADN and BSN.  I have been a med surge RN mostly, but the last two years I have been a resource RN so I work in all departments except ICU.  I go where they have a need for that night I work.  I have been a charge RN pretty much everywhere I have worked and previous clinical supervisor.  With my experience what are the the average pay rates for nurses in CA?  I'm just trying to get an idea of how much I would be making so I will know how much I would be able to afford as far as a home, etc.  Thank you for any info you can provide.    

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HomeBound has 20 years experience and specializes in ED, ICU, Prehospital.

1 Follower; 1,178 Visitors; 227 Posts

Before you do anything, have a job before you go. It's the most saturated market in the US besides the PNW and Boston/NYC areas.

The reason is that the shops are unionized and the pay is high.

California is very expensive. The high paying jobs are the mid valley--Sacramento, Roseville, SFB, Napa.  They are all on the same union contract and it's very good. The RNs make ~55-75/hr. depending on where you snag a job.

Remember union dues. Each facility in that area takes $120/mo for them.

Southern CA is not high paying, but some are unionized. COL is atrocious, and I mean beyond belief in SoCal. You can get something decent in Inland Empire like Bakersfield---as long as you want to live in the desert with oil derricks and fracking going on all around you. It's the most toxic atmosphere I've seen since going through the Gulf states.

SoCal has the worst traffic, air quality and quality of life in general that I've seen. Everywhere you want to go---it takes an hour. And that's local. If you want to go to SF---people fly. It's cheaper, less time consuming and easier all around. The cost of housing in SoCal ---$2800-$3500 for a 2br that you could get for $1100 in Raleigh. The pay is NOT commensurate with the cost of living.

Mid valley--Sac and SFB is as bad on housing. SFB you have to have a roommate or 5 to live in a decent place. It's easy to drop $4000/mo on a 1 br in a decent neighborhood. SF has a tax for working in the city--and they rely on outsiders not knowing about that---and you get stuck financially because you think you're making a bundle---but you're taxed out the ying yang.

No parking in any of the bigger cities on the coastline. Don't bring a car.

Inland--Sac/Redding/Roseville---are all pretty much on fire every year. It's getting worse and worse. Last year people were walking around with masks on because the air quality was so poor from the fires.

NorCal has a different contract than Sac/SFB and SoCal. The pay is crap. The housing is just as expensive as Sacramento.

Sac/Redding housing--$1700-2000 for a 2br in a "safe" neighborhood. It's so hit and miss in that area...you just don't know what you're getting.

Don't even think about Modesto, Fresno, Stockton. Go watch the documentary on Fresno by a guy named Thoreaux. It's the most accurate depiction of what is really going on in that area with the meth problem.

Homeless and meth. Pretty much a staple in the entire state. It's a real problem and they're everywhere.

NorCal---like I said---read up on the fires. You'll understand why there is a mass exodus OUT of California.

The pay in SoCal is pretty much like NC. $28-35/hr. Same with NorCal. Sac and SFB are the players. If you can get in. The nurses there have it pretty much locked down---they all have 3 jobs so that there is no excess to be had.

It's hot. I mean---HOT. Unless you are on the coast, inland it gets to the 105-107 degree mark for a month or two at a time. Going outside is a prospect similar like jumping into a volcano. You have to spend all of the money you make at your high paying job to get OUT of the area and towards something resembling normal.  Most of my friends spent their money and their time driving to Tahoe or to Oregon. It was the only relief that they had from the hot, dry, stifling, horrible air quality and crime.

It does NOT rain. You'd think that's impossible, but it's not. Everything is dead or you are paying out the arse for your water bill.

A friend's water bill at her humble 2br rancher with her and her husband was $400/mo. And she had no grass.

The state income tax is the highest in the country I think--asides from NYC. Your "high pay" is knocked down by 45% after all of the state, local and federal taxes you pay. The gas tax is the highest--you pay double what you pay in NC.

Fees for nursing licensure just tripled.

Everything is monetized. Everything. And it's always twice or three times what you'd pay elsewhere.

Property taxes are the high---very similar to NY and NJ. Gun laws are so prohibitive--don't even bother bringing a personal weapon. They'll confiscate it.

NC---the pay is low, but you are leaving because of that---what I'd advise you to do is leave for a year---go traveling to CA just to get that "high pay" delusion out of your system---and then go back to NC.

Leaving and going back gets you a $5-8/hr bump in any of the hospitals in NC. Especially if you started at one of those hospitals as a new grad---and you're struggling to break the national median salary of $32/hr.

Just my advice. Because I did exactly what you are thinking of doing.

If you do it---have a place to go back to--don't burn your bridges. You just might need it.

Good luck to you.

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WestCoastSunRN has 20 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CVICU, MICU, Burn ICU.

1 Follower; 4,663 Visitors; 420 Posts

NC is a great state and the research triangle a good place to be in.  I agree with what the above poster said --- if you are looking for adventure, by all means travel!  You'll make bank doing that and get to see parts of the country you'd like to see.  You may decide, after awhile, that NC isn't too bad.  I'll be surprised if you say that about Cali, though, unless you meet your soul mate there or something.

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

5 Followers; 32,064 Visitors; 2,740 Posts

6 hours ago, HomeBound said:

Before you do anything, have a job before you go. It's the most saturated market in the US besides the PNW and Boston/NYC areas.

The reason is that the shops are unionized and the pay is high.

California is very expensive. The high paying jobs are the mid valley--Sacramento, Roseville, SFB, Napa.  They are all on the same union contract and it's very good. The RNs make ~55-75/hr. depending on where you snag a job.

Remember union dues. Each facility in that area takes $120/mo for them.

Southern CA is not high paying, but some are unionized. COL is atrocious, and I mean beyond belief in SoCal. You can get something decent in Inland Empire like Bakersfield---as long as you want to live in the desert with oil derricks and fracking going on all around you. It's the most toxic atmosphere I've seen since going through the Gulf states.

SoCal has the worst traffic, air quality and quality of life in general that I've seen. Everywhere you want to go---it takes an hour. And that's local. If you want to go to SF---people fly. It's cheaper, less time consuming and easier all around. The cost of housing in SoCal ---$2800-$3500 for a 2br that you could get for $1100 in Raleigh. The pay is NOT commensurate with the cost of living.

Mid valley--Sac and SFB is as bad on housing. SFB you have to have a roommate or 5 to live in a decent place. It's easy to drop $4000/mo on a 1 br in a decent neighborhood. SF has a tax for working in the city--and they rely on outsiders not knowing about that---and you get stuck financially because you think you're making a bundle---but you're taxed out the ying yang.

No parking in any of the bigger cities on the coastline. Don't bring a car.

Inland--Sac/Redding/Roseville---are all pretty much on fire every year. It's getting worse and worse. Last year people were walking around with masks on because the air quality was so poor from the fires.

NorCal has a different contract than Sac/SFB and SoCal. The pay is crap. The housing is just as expensive as Sacramento.

Sac/Redding housing--$1700-2000 for a 2br in a "safe" neighborhood. It's so hit and miss in that area...you just don't know what you're getting.

Don't even think about Modesto, Fresno, Stockton. Go watch the documentary on Fresno by a guy named Thoreaux. It's the most accurate depiction of what is really going on in that area with the meth problem.

Homeless and meth. Pretty much a staple in the entire state. It's a real problem and they're everywhere.

NorCal---like I said---read up on the fires. You'll understand why there is a mass exodus OUT of California.

The pay in SoCal is pretty much like NC. $28-35/hr. Same with NorCal. Sac and SFB are the players. If you can get in. The nurses there have it pretty much locked down---they all have 3 jobs so that there is no excess to be had.

It's hot. I mean---HOT. Unless you are on the coast, inland it gets to the 105-107 degree mark for a month or two at a time. Going outside is a prospect similar like jumping into a volcano. You have to spend all of the money you make at your high paying job to get OUT of the area and towards something resembling normal.  Most of my friends spent their money and their time driving to Tahoe or to Oregon. It was the only relief that they had from the hot, dry, stifling, horrible air quality and crime.

It does NOT rain. You'd think that's impossible, but it's not. Everything is dead or you are paying out the arse for your water bill.

A friend's water bill at her humble 2br rancher with her and her husband was $400/mo. And she had no grass.

The state income tax is the highest in the country I think--asides from NYC. Your "high pay" is knocked down by 45% after all of the state, local and federal taxes you pay. The gas tax is the highest--you pay double what you pay in NC.

Fees for nursing licensure just tripled.

Everything is monetized. Everything. And it's always twice or three times what you'd pay elsewhere.

Property taxes are the high---very similar to NY and NJ. Gun laws are so prohibitive--don't even bother bringing a personal weapon. They'll confiscate it.

NC---the pay is low, but you are leaving because of that---what I'd advise you to do is leave for a year---go traveling to CA just to get that "high pay" delusion out of your system---and then go back to NC.

Leaving and going back gets you a $5-8/hr bump in any of the hospitals in NC. Especially if you started at one of those hospitals as a new grad---and you're struggling to break the national median salary of $32/hr.

Just my advice. Because I did exactly what you are thinking of doing.

If you do it---have a place to go back to--don't burn your bridges. You just might need it.

Good luck to you.

Thanks for the glowing description of California - That should keep people away nicely. I have lived and traveled all over the world and nothing compares. It's the only place I know where you can walk on the beach in the morning, play a round of golf in the afternoon and cap of the day with night snow skiing in the mountains. 

Yes it's crowed, expensive and hot. The nursing market is saturated unless you are in a specialty that's off the beaten path.  I will leave CA eventually just to get away from all the people but I will miss the climate.

Hppy 

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 64,807 Visitors; 2,803 Posts

Don't move to California.  I'm so glad I left. Don't believe what you see on TV!

NC is awesome. My son lives in Asheville, it's gorgeous and has all the hip culture you could ask for. 

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I moved from KY to CA last summer. Before moving, I landed the job via video interview. The worst part of the job hunting process was the long wait for the CA nursing license to be endorsed (@4 mo).

My job is in San Diego. I live in Coronado. I drive to work and brought two cars with me- the extra is for my teen son. There is plenty of on street parking outside our apt building in Cornonado and the hospital charges $2.50/mo to park in a roomy, safe, close, new parking structure (compared to $36/mo to park in a lot with frequent gunfire in the ghetto in KY). The job pays $20 more per hour than my job in KY which covers the higher cost of living IME. The commute is great as I am going opposite Naval base traffic over the SD-Coronado bridge- clear sailing 20ish minute drive for 12 hour day shift hours.  The apt is 2100/mo for a two bedroom- really basic only one bathroom and not modernized (no dishwasher, but I bought a portable dw online which serves).

Coronado residents are often heard to comment, "another beautiful day in paradise". I have not seen any homeless here on the island but it is true that there is a high homeless population in SD and Chula Vista, etc. Coronado is not a hipster happening place however. It's quiet- small town feel.  I walk 3 blocks to the beach to watch the sunset whenever I can. I like to boogie board and was able to do so with a wetsuit through Dec. Jan-Mar was too cold. I'm going to try my hand at kayaking- there are numerous spots for it @ the area.  All my commuting around the island is on a beach cruiser bike. 

My worst experience in CA was the Department of Motor Vehicles- I've registered cars in about 8 different states in my lifetime and nowhere is it such a nightmare and so poorly managed as CA. The cost of car registration and gasoline is high. But auto insurance is about the same IME (always high with teen sons).  I'm not a fan of the politics here- they have such a regressive property tax system where an owner of a mansion on the beach is paying peanuts for taxes- look up Prop 13. I'll never be a homeowner in Cali.

I can get a bonus for referring nurses to my hospital so if you want to PM me and tell me your specialty, I can give you more info.

All that said, I may eventually move back to the East Coast because I would like to own a place near the beach and I understand that Florida is much kinder taxwise to retirees than Cali.  I was surprised how cool and rainy San Diego was for the winter months. Florida weather definitely wins from Jan-April (and maybe May and June when we have May Gray and June Gloom here, but FL might lose for overly hot and humid).

I visited LA once and I don't see the appeal. Traffic, smog, expensive, and most of LA is not even near the beach.

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 64,807 Visitors; 2,803 Posts

29 minutes ago, 2Ask said:

I moved from KY to CA last summer. Before moving, I landed the job via video interview. The worst part of the job hunting process was the long wait for the CA nursing license to be endorsed (@4 mo).

My job is in San Diego. I live in Coronado. I drive to work and brought two cars with me- the extra is for my teen son. There is plenty of on street parking outside our apt building in Cornonado and the hospital charges $2.50/mo to park in a roomy, safe, close, new parking structure (compared to $36/mo to park in a lot with frequent gunfire in the ghetto in KY). The job pays $20 more per hour than my job in KY which covers the higher cost of living IME. The commute is great as I am going opposite Naval base traffic over the SD-Coronado bridge- clear sailing 20ish minute drive for 12 hour day shift hours.  The apt is 2100/mo for a two bedroom- really basic only one bathroom and not modernized (no dishwasher, but I bought a portable dw online which serves).

Coronado residents are often heard to comment, "another beautiful day in paradise". I have not seen any homeless here on the island but it is true that there is a high homeless population in SD and Chula Vista, etc. Coronado is not a hipster happening place however. It's quiet- small town feel.  I walk 3 blocks to the beach to watch the sunset whenever I can. I like to boogie board and was able to do so with a wetsuit through Dec. Jan-Mar was too cold. I'm going to try my hand at kayaking- there are numerous spots for it @ the area.  All my commuting around the island is on a beach cruiser bike. 

My worst experience in CA was the Department of Motor Vehicles- I've registered cars in about 8 different states in my lifetime and nowhere is it such a nightmare and so poorly managed as CA. The cost of car registration and gasoline is high. But auto insurance is about the same IME (always high with teen sons).  I'm not a fan of the politics here- they have such a regressive property tax system where an owner of a mansion on the beach is paying peanuts for taxes- look up Prop 13. I'll never be a homeowner in Cali.

I can get a bonus for referring nurses to my hospital so if you want to PM me and tell me your specialty, I can give you more info.

All that said, I may eventually move back to the East Coast because I would like to own a place near the beach and I understand that Florida is much kinder taxwise to retirees than Cali.  I was surprised how cool and rainy San Diego was for the winter months. Florida weather definitely wins from Jan-April (and maybe May and June when we have May Gray and June Gloom here, but FL might lose for overly hot and humid).

I visited LA once and I don't see the appeal. Traffic, smog, expensive, and most of LA is not even near the beach.

Coronado is awesome. My Uncle Norm used to summer there, he lived in Palm Springs the rest of the year.

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3 Followers; 96,582 Visitors; 36,686 Posts

HomeBound, you did an excellent job of striking the nail squarely on the head about California.  Anybody who reads that post can't complain that no one gave them an accurate description of what awaits them.

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

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That said, there are some of us who moved to CA from another state, got through the initial state of shock from the high cost of living, homelessness, rudeness of some people, ultra-liberal politics, and whatever "only in California" you can name, and have now established our residence here, expensive mortgage and all. I actually would never live anywhere else and I'm in the much maligned, outrageously expensive San Francisco Bay area.

What I love? aside from the natural beauty of the area, great hospital environment with really talented team of nurses and physicians, unions...

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

5 Followers; 32,064 Visitors; 2,740 Posts

Let me clarify that I am a California Native. I have spent most of my life off an on here. Have also lived in Oregon (beautiful country super chill lifestyle) Arizona, New Mexico, several border states in Old Mexico and a brief but enlightening experience stranded in Greece. 

People wanting to come to California often watch to much TV it is not all "Real Housewives" and "Keeping up with the Kardashian's" those are the lifestyles of the super rich and require huge incomes. California is rated as having the third highest cost of living in the country, but there are affordable places to build a life a raise a family. Traffic and taxes are a nightmare. For those of us who benefit from Prop 13,  a break is afforded to long term residents and their children. My husband and I live in  the home he grew up in which remains at the original taxed value his parents had when they bought the property in the 60's however we cannot remodel or update our home without losing that tax break. 

The politics is a bit too liberal for me - but I endure. The climate keeps me here as I have fibromyalgia and don't do well in super cold or humid environments. Still I do yearn for a country life as I grew up on a subsistence farm and getting my food from a grocery store will always feel a bit strange to me. Farming is such hard work though!

My only advice is to really understand the cost of living aspect - You might actually have a better situation in a state with lower taxes and COL. 

Hppy

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887 Visitors; 315 Posts

Pay scale for acute might start around $40-47/hour roughly but will vary.  The state is huge, and it would be helpful if you know WHERE in CA you are considering.  I could not afford to live in SF, Napa or parts of So California without giving up a lot!  

Please look at the housing prices, commute times, gas prices, utility prices  etc.  It is crazy expensive and people are leaving CA for Oregon, Idaho, etc.

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695 Visitors; 80 Posts

Not where I work but your qualifications from this search engine http://hr.ucsd.edu/tpp/ would put you at least at Clinical Nurse 2 if not 3 or 4. This gives you an idea of pay in SD. Other hospitals might be slightly lower but not vastly. Kaiser pays more but is hard to get into.

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