California Nursing Science Careers

Nursing science graduates at the baccalaureate level are prepared to sit for the California Board of Registered Nursing NCLEX-RN exam. Upon passing the exam, these individuals typically enter the field of registered nursing (RN). At the Master’s level, graduate RNs may choose to enroll in a doctorate program and/or become an advanced practice clinician, administrator, or educator. These advanced leadership positions are in high demand, with a projected increase in employment of between 23% and 35% for the 2012-2022 decade.

At the Doctorate level, the University of California Irvine says graduates are equipped to advance the science of nursing as well as to address the critical shortage of nursing faculty with Ph.D. degrees.

Regardless of degree level, nursing science professionals work in all regions across the U.S., in all health care environments, and academic settings. They work for (or with) colleges and universities, hospitals, offices of physicians, skilled nursing facilities, home health care services, outpatient care centers, and more. While nursing science professionals 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 Science Education and Training Programs

Depending on the degree level, a nursing science education will prepare you for a career as an RN, advanced practice clinician, administrator, educator, researcher, and more. At the undergraduate level, courses may include everything from biomedical sciences to critical thinking. At the Master’s level, courses may range from Advanced Pathophysiology to Frameworks for Advanced Professional Practice in Nursing. At the doctorate level, courses may include everything from Philosophy of Science & Theory Development in Nursing Science to University Teaching.

The length of each individual nursing science program will depend on the degree level, but in general, an undergraduate degree takes a minimum of 4 years to complete, a Master’s degree takes a minimum of 2 years to complete, and a PhD program may take up to 5 years or more to complete.

Nursing Science Schools and Training Programs in California

California is home to two top-tier universities that offer nursing science programs. Both are part of the coveted University of California system. They include:

University of California-Irvine (UC Irvine), Irvine, CA
University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA

UC Irvine offers a Baccalaureate in Nursing Science (B.S.), a Master of Science in Nursing Science (M.S.), and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Science. UCLA offers a Master of Science in Nursing Science (M.S.).

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Nursing Science Professionals

The employment and earnings outlook will depend on the career field you choose. The information below details employment and salary information for registered nurses (RNs) and Nurse Administrators.

Registered Nurses (RNs), Nation and California

The U.S. is home to 2,711,500 registered nurses (RNs), averaging $65,470 per year, and the field is growing. In 2008, the nation was home to 2,542,760 RNs averaging $65,130 per year. For the 2012-2022 decade, employment for RNs is expected to increase by 19% or 526,800 jobs.

The State of California is home to 249,980 RNs averaging around $94,120 per year, up from $83,040 in 2008 when the state was home to 240,470 RNs. As stated earlier, 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

Nurse Administrators, Nation and California

Nurse administrators earn one of the highest salaries in the nursing industry. These medical and health service managers average $88,580 per year (median), up from a median average salary of $80,240 in 2008. The top 10 percent average more than $150,560 per year.

In addition to rising salaries, the number of nurse administration jobs is growing. The U.S. is home to 315,500 medical and health service managers, up from 258,130 in 2008. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 23% increase in employment (or 73,300 jobs) for the 2012-2022 decade. This 23% increase is much faster than average for all occupations.

In the State of California, nurse administrators fare even better than the rest of the nation. With a population of 26,690 medical and health service managers, the State has the highest employment level in this occupation and it’s growing. In 2008, California was home to 25,470 medical and health service managers, averaging $101,870 per year.  Today, California-based managers average $113,810 per year—the nation’s 2nd highest salary for this occupation. New York offers the highest average salary at $114,550.

Within the State of California, the Los-Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metropolitan Area offers the 3rd highest employment level among metro areas across the U.S. This metro area is home to 7,160 medical and health service managers. In addition, 3 California metro areas made the list of the nation’s Top 10 Metro Areas for Medical and Health Service Managers. They include:

#1: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, average $133,390 per year
#4: Santa Cruz-Watsonville, $125,590 per year
#8: Vallejo-Fairfield, $123,340 per year

To review employment and salary information for other popular career fields for nursing science graduates, follow the links below:

Adult Clinical Nurse Specialists (insert link to Californiahealthcarecareers article)
Clinical Nurse Leaders (insert link to CHC article)
Nurse Educators (insert link to CHC article)
Nursing PhD (insert link to CHC article)

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Schools Programs Nursing