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Last Reviewed: September 28th, 2022
In California, the average annual wage for a nurse practitioner is $151,830 (Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021), which is the highest average in the country. This is well above the national average salary for NPs, which falls at roughly $118,040.
It is also projected that nurse practitioners in California are projected to to grow 30.5% from 2018 to 2028, making it an attractive option for current and prospective nurse practitioners. However, there are still ways by which you can ensure that you maximize your earnings as a nurse practitioner in California.
|Metro Area||# Employed||Mean Salary|
|El Centro, CA||70||$147,080|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||5,490||$144,930|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||190||$132,180|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||1,300||$145,250|
|San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||2,110||$130,240|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||2,550||$177,160|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||1,220||$197,870|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA||140||$153,300|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||150||$150,280|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA||330||$133,060|
|Santa Rosa, CA||180||$152,150|
|Yuba City, CA||30||$159,260||Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021|
|Metro Area||# Employed||Mean Salary|
|North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area||110||$136,150|
|North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area||80||$136,510||Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - 2021|
Nurse practitioners (NPs) play a vital role in their field as caregivers for patients of all ages. The high demand for NPs across the healthcare industry promises strong, steady wages for NPs of all backgrounds and education levels. However, there is still plenty that you can do to maximize your potential or current earnings as an NP.
Whether you are just beginning to research whether you would like to become a nurse practitioner, are still in school, or are currently a practicing NP, learning how to increase your salary might be of interest to you.
To become an NP in California, you are required to obtain at least a master’s degree, participate in hands-on training, and obtain national and state certifications. This comprehensive training prepares you for the daily duties of an NP. It also gives you the foundational and supplemental experience and skills necessary to ensure that you can boost your earning potential.
Data shows that NPs who possess a higher degree tend to earn significantly more at all points in their careers in California, making education one of the surest ways to increase your income. The average salary of an NP with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) often have even higher salaries than NPs who only hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Obtaining certifications in specialty areas is another way to supplement your training background and thus increase your wages as an NP. These certifications can cover practice areas such as allergy, hospice, urology, gynecology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, dermatologic care, and more. These certification courses are typically done online and vary in terms of their requirements.
Diversifying your professional experiences can make you more valuable to your employer and give you the leverage to increase your current or prospective salary. To add to your resume and maximize your ability to ask for a higher salary, you can gain experience in different specialty practice areas or work in different nursing roles.
NPs can choose to offer a specific type of care. Some specialty practice areas pay more than others. For example, pediatric and emergency nurse practitioners tend to earn more than an aesthetic NP.
If you are newer to the NP field or are not yet a certified NP, you can also gain experience as a nurse administrator. A nurse administrator’s managerial and interpersonal duties can supplement your experience with patients and make you a stronger candidate for future NP positions.
Although the average annual salary for nurses in California is significantly higher than the rest of the country, NPs in the state should note that the cost of living in California tends to also be higher. Therefore, if you are looking to maximize your salary as an NP and decrease your cost of living, you may want to consider moving to another state.
NPs in California should note that the state is a “restricted practice” state and does not allow NPs to prescribe, administer, and dispense prescription medication independently. There are many states across the US that implement a “full practice” policy and allow for NPs to prescribe and administer prescription medication, which can increase your potential earnings.
Before starting the salary negotiation process, it’s important to understand the average earnings of other NPs with similar educational backgrounds and experience. With this knowledge in mind, you can increase your bargaining power and ensure that you are maximizing your potential salary.