California Nursing PhD Careers

A Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Nursing PhD) prepares registered nurses or students with experience in the field to become educators, researchers, program evaluators, and leaders in health care organizations, government health departments, schools of nursing, clinical agencies, research centers, or other settings. In most cases, PhD-prepared nurses do not work in direct patient care. Just a few popular job titles include nursing faculty member, advanced nursing professor, clinical nursing professor, registered nursing professor, director of nursing research, and director of clinical services.

While PhD-prepared nurses work in all cities, towns, and villages across the U.S., one of the largest populations can be found in the State of California.

Nursing PhD Education and Training Programs

Admissions requirements for nursing PhD programs may vary by school, but in general schools prefer to admit active registered nurses or exceptional students with experience in the field. Applicants must have no less than a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related field and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Once admitted to the program, students can expect to take courses such as Leadership in Health Care, Research and Writing, Implementation Science, Research Design in Nursing and Health Care, Health Status and Care Systems, Applied Health Informatics, Methods for Teaching Nursing and Health Sciences, Enhancing Patient Safety, and Improving Quality Health Care.

Admission to nursing PhD programs is competitive and many schools accept just a few students each year. In most cases, students are expected to complete the program in 4 years, full-time, with a maximum allowable time for completion of 7 years.

Nursing PhD Schools and Training Programs in California

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing lists 7 accredited Nursing PhD programs in the State of California as of fall 2013. They include:

Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
University of California-Davis, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, Sacramento, CA
University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA
University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
University of San Diego, San Diego, CA

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Nursing PhD Professionals

As stated earlier, PhD-prepared nurses work in a variety of fields from education to research and many work in the State of California. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not offer salary and employment information for many of the job titles listed earlier. However, the BLS does offer information for nurse educators nationwide (and by state) as well as registered nurses (RNs). Let’s start with postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers.

The State of California is home to 3,300 nursing instructors and teachers averaging $89,060, down from 3,470 in 2008, when the average salary was $74,440. Although employment decreased slightly between 2008 and today, California still has the 4th    
highest employment level for this occupation.  The State also offers the nations
2nd highest salary for nursing instructors.

Of the Top 10 Metro Areas for Postsecondary Nursing Instructors and Teachers, California is home to the 3rd highest paying metro area for this occupation and the metro area with the 4th highest employment level. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metropolitan area is home to 820 postsecondary nursing instructors and teachers averaging $96,680 per year.

The U.S. is home to 56,220 nursing instructors and teachers averaging $68,640 per year. In 2008, the nation was home to 46,890 professionals in this field averaging $62,660 per year.

Registered Nurses (RNs)

For the 2012-2022 decade, employment for registered nurses (RNs) is expected to increase by 19% or 526,800 jobs. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report (January 8, 2014), the U.S. is home to 2,711,500 registered nurses (RNs), averaging $65,470 per year, up from 2,542,760 averaging $65,130 in 2008. In 2012, the top 10% of RNs averaged $94,720 per year, and the bottom 10% averaged $45,040 per year.

The State of California is home to 249,980 RNs averaging $94,120 per year, up from $83,040 in 2008 when the state was home to 240,470 RNs. California has the nation’s highest employment level for RNs, with the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metro Area leading the pack. Home to 69,540 RNS, this metro area has the 3rd highest employment level for this occupation (among metro areas).

California also offers the nation’s highest average salary for RNs and it is home to the Top 10 Highest Paying Metro Areas for this occupation. The areas include:

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, $122,990 per year
2. Vallejo-Fairfield, $119,310
3. Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, $113,520
4. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, $110,630
5. Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, $107,710
6. Salinas, $105,610
7. Napa, $104,440
8. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, $102,990
9. Modesto, $100,780
10. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, $98,050

Schools Programs Nursing
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