We connect care by staffing amazing healthcare facilities in California with talented and dedicated Travel Nurses.

All about Travel Nursing in California

California is one of the highest paying states for travel nursing jobs. For this reason travel nursing jobs in California can be the most sought after with higher than average wait times for candidates. Medical solutions can help you cut through that red tape and expedite the process for travel nurses looking to work in the Golden State.

What Travel Nursing is like in California

California is the most popular state for travel nurse and travel allied health jobs with Medical Solutions! Travel nursing jobs here are as varied and abundant as the state’s many geographic features and attractions. All that variety makes The Golden State a consistent traveler favorite. California offers everything from beaches to skiing, plus some of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities and some its most unspoiled nature.

California boasts a population of more than 39 million yet has one of the nation’s lowest numbers of nurses per capita. California also has some of the country’s most stringent nurse-to-patient ratio laws. Combine this with overall staffing protections and the demand for healthcare travelers is always relatively high at California facilities.

Average Salaries for Travel Nurses in California

When it comes to travel nursing opportunities, California stands out not only for its diverse landscapes and lifestyles but also for its competitive compensation. Travel nurses venturing into the Golden State can anticipate an average weekly salary between $1,800 to $3,000, contingent upon their area of expertise, years of experience, and the specific contracts of healthcare facilities. Driving this lucrative pay range is California’s vast healthcare network, spanning from high-tech hospitals in Silicon Valley to community clinics in its agricultural heartland. Furthermore, California’s sheer population size, coupled with its progressive healthcare mandates, ensures a continuous demand for nursing professionals across specialties. While California’s cost of living is notoriously high, especially in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, the substantial salaries often make up for it, rendering the state a profitable choice for travel nurses. More on salary further down.

Best Hospitals in California

U.S. News & World Report’s 2020/2021 Best Hospitals list evaluated 409 hospitals in California. The top three includes #1-ranked UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, #2-ranked Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and #3-ranked UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. There are many other hospitals and non-hospital healthcare facilities throughout the state as well. U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best States list ranked California at #24 overall, #5 for healthcare, and #10 for economy. California is a top location for travelers to work in healthcare, explore exciting cities, enjoy beautiful nature, and earn great wages!

California Nurse Licensure

California is not currently in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) but had legislation pending in 2021. The NLC allows nurses to practice in other NLC states without having to get additional state licenses. New states are frequently joining so keep an eye on the latest NLC map. In the meantime, our team is happy to help you with any California state licensing questions.

To Do and See in California

There’s so much variety in California, your only problem will be trying to do and see it all!

Some of the more well known metropolitan attractions include the Golden Gate Bridge, Disneyland, Universal Studios, The Getty Center, San Diego Zoo, Hollywood, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, and Alcatraz.

If the great outdoors are more your speed there are so many beautiful sites to see such as Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, Joshua Tree National Park, Lake Tahoe, the Big Sur coastline, Redwood National and State Parks, wine country in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Lassen Volcanic National Park, La Jolla Sea Caves, and Catalina Island.

If architecture interests you there’s also Hearst Castle which is located off Highway 1 in San Simeon near Estero Bluffs State Park.

Must See

  • Santa Monica
    • Activity: Beach Exploration
    • Description: Wander around Santa Monica Pier, shop at the Promenade, and sunbathe on the iconic beaches.
  • Los Angeles
    • Activity: Hollywood and Griffith Observatory
    • Description: Discover Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theatre, and get a panoramic view from Griffith.
  • Napa Valley
    • Activity: Wine Tasting
    • Description: Explore California’s premier wine region with vineyard tours and tastings.
  • Yosemite
    • Activity: Yosemite National Park
    • Description: Dive into nature with hikes and sightseeing in this iconic national park.
  • San Francisco
    • Activity: Golden Gate Bridge & Alcatraz
    • Description: Walk the famous bridge and take a ferry to the historic Alcatraz Island.
  • Big Sur
    • Activity: Coastal Drive
    • Description: Experience one of the world’s most scenic drives along the Pacific Coast Highway.
  • San Diego
    • Activity: Surfing & Relaxation
    • Description: Catch waves in the morning and relax in trendy cafes by the afternoon.

Due to California’s massive size and diversity of locations California is generally a great state for several fun activities. Shopping, dining, golf, wine-tasting, and relaxing at the beach are among some of the most popular choices. As an outdoor enthusiast you might enjoy hiking, biking, boating, skiing, kayaking, or camping along the coast or in one of Californias famous state parks. If sightseeing is more your speed whale watching, seaside drives, and road trips offer a great number of spectacles to behold. There’s a reason California is so popular. If you can imagine it, California probably has it.

Must Try Food

  • Santa Monica
    • Restaurant Name: Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
    • Cuisine Type: Italian Deli
    • Description: Famous for its “Godmother” sandwich, a local lunch favorite.
  • Los Angeles
    • Restaurant Name: Guelaguetza
    • Cuisine Type: Oaxacan
    • Description: Award-winning restaurant celebrated for its authentic Oaxacan flavors and mole dishes.
  • Napa Valley
    • Restaurant Name: The French Laundry
    • Cuisine Type: French
    • Description: A three-star Michelin restaurant offering an exquisite tasting menu by Chef Thomas Keller.
  • Yosemite
    • Restaurant Name: Ahwahnee Dining Room
    • Cuisine Type: American
    • Description: Enjoy fine dining with a stunning view of Yosemite’s granite cliffs.
  • San Francisco
    • Restaurant Name: Swan Oyster Depot
    • Cuisine Type: Seafood
    • Description: A century-old seafood counter serving the freshest oysters, crab legs, and clam chowder.
  • Big Sur
    • Restaurant Name: Nepenthe
    • Cuisine Type: Californian
    • Description: Known for its Ambrosia Burger and mesmerizing cliffside views of the Pacific.
  • San Diego
    • Restaurant Name: Las Cuatro Milpas
    • Cuisine Type: Mexican
    • Description: A popular spot for traditional tacos, tamales, and burritos in Barrio Logan.

With California growing so much of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, you know it’s going to be a great spot for foodies! Seafood is also big business here. California has many iconic foods, some more famous than others depending on region. Citrus fruits are big in the San Joaquin Valley. Boudin Bakery is known for their sourdough bread in San Francisco. Fish tacos and Cioppino are popular all along the coast but are especially appreciated by foodies in Monterey. The famous California cobb salad is a fan favorite in Los Angeles. There are so many delicious treats to taste. From mission-style burritos to fusion dishes. Artichokes and avocado everything. And, of course, do not forget the humble California roll and In-N-Out burgers. Wash it all down with a mimosa or a refreshing Arnold Palmer and you’ll be living the California dream.

California Travel Nurse Salary

Base salaries for Registered Nurses in California average about $2,196/week with an average of about $15,000 of overtime per year.

The median base salary for California Registered Nurses is about $71,500/year according to salary.com. The average hourly rate for Registered Nurses in California starts at $42.10/hr which is 14% higher than the national average according to Indeed.com.

There are many factors that can affect travel nurse salaries in California. First of all, not all travel nurses are registered nurses. Nurse practitioners, LVNs (Licensed Vocational Nurses), and other clinical care providers may have different average salaries. The hospital system where you get your travel nursing assignments can affect nurse pay.

Other major factors that affect nurse pay in California is location. Because the state is so massive and population density ranges so vastly demand also varies.  Salaries in Northern California could be very different from salaries in Southern California. Sometimes more remote locations pay higher than contracts near population centers like the Bay Area or Los Angeles. Many times the opposite is true as well.

Lastly, your nursing specialty also makes a huge difference in pay. Some specialties are more approachable requiring fewer certifications & less experience. These specialties, such as Medical Surgical Registered Nurses may have lower average salaries than specialties that require more certifications/experience. Working with a travel nursing agency you’ll be able to get a better idea about where you have the most opportunity to get the best base pay while travel nursing in California.

California travel nurse

Quick Facts About California

  • State Nickname: The Golden State
  • Capital City: Sacramento
  • Largest Cities: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno
  • Charming Towns: Truckee, Arcata, Pismo Beach, Nevada City, Sonoma
  • Random Trivia: California is the only state that’s hosted both the Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics. This is a testament to the state’s geographic diversity.

Find Travel Nursing jobs in California

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about California Travel Nursing Jobs with Medical Solutions and Travel Nursing in general.

Simply apply here. You can also call us at 1.866.633.3548 and speak with a recruiter, who can answer your questions and send you an information packet. All we need to begin is your application and resume. Once we receive your information, we can begin discussing potential assignments that fit your profile. When you find a job you want, your recruiter will submit you for the job and walk you through the process from there.
Most assignments are 13 weeks in length, but we’ve seen them as short as four weeks and as long as 24. You are obligated to finish your assignment as contracted, but there is no contract binding you to work more assignments afterward. You can take a new assignment right after your last or take a break. It’s all up to you!
Many states are in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows you reciprocal rights to practice in compact states. If you need to obtain a new state license, your Recruiter can tell you exactly how much time is necessary to apply for it and the cost. If a new license is required for your assignment, Medical Solutions will reimburse you for the cost!