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BSN Salaries in the California

Many nursing students are choosing to earn a BSN because of the higher earning opportunities that this path to RN licensure affords. In addition, many employers in California are now requiring that new staff RN positions go to job candidates that hold a BSN.

New RN graduates in California reported the lack of a BSN as the third most common reason for not being hired, according to the results of a survey published in the January 2015 newsletter of the California Institute for Nursing & Health Care.

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While some students opt to obtain a BSN as their initial degree, many licensed nurses enroll in RN to BSN or LVN to BSN programs so they can improve their salaries and job prospects. In 2013, there were some 15,606 students enrolled in BSN programs in California according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

There has been a movement in California to streamline the RN to BSN process so that nurses can more quickly obtain their BSN degree and take advantage of enhanced job opportunities. Characteristically ahead of the curve, the California Collaborative Model of Nursing Education was enacted in 2008 to improve the efficiency of the RN-BSN process, even before the Institute of Medicine report came out that called for 80% of the country’s RNs to hold BSNs by 2020.

Level of Nursing Education Determines Salary Levels in California

In 2013, the median salary for BSN-educated RNs in California was 82.8% higher than that of licensed vocational nurses that same year. According to the US Department of Labor, the median income among California’s LVNs was $51,600 versus $94,300 for BSN-educated RNs.

Further, RNs with an ADN earned an average of $76,731 yearly ($36.89 an hour) in 2014 according to the California Employment Development Department, nearly $18,000 less than their BSN-educated coworkers.

California’s BSN–educated RNs are the most highly paid in the nation. Data from the US Department of Labor reveals salaries for the highest earning BSNs in the 90th and 75th percentiles in 2013:

90th Percentile
Annual Salary
$141030
Hourly Wage
$67.80

BSN-Prepared RN Salaries in Key Regions of California

Though BSN-educated RNs are the highest earning in the nation, on average, salaries among BSNs in within California still vary widely based on location. The US Department of Labor provides an analysis of BSN salaries for a number of different areas of the state (2013):

Area name
Employment
Hourly 90th percentile wage
Bakersfield-Delano CA
4210
51.62
Chico CA
2390
53.99
El Centro CA
820
49.18
Fresno CA
5340
58.72
Hanford-Corcoran CA
1250
53.02
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA Metropolitan Division
69610
58.41
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA
88120
58.33
Merced CA
790
46.83
Modesto CA
3670
69.64
Napa CA
1660
64.29
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA Metropolitan Division
20070
77.17
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura CA
3730
46.91
Redding CA
1550
45.53
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA
23610
56.99
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville CA
16060
72.35
Salinas CA
2360
63.05
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA
23670
55.50
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont CA
34710
77.37
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA Metropolitan Division
14630
77.63
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA
14230
76.51
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles CA
1160
54.58
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA Metropolitan Division
18510
58.01
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta CA
3010
53.08
Santa Cruz-Watsonville CA
1380
67.84
Santa Rosa-Petaluma CA
3580
69.41
Stockton CA
3570
56.74
Vallejo-Fairfield CA
3230
80.71
Visalia-Porterville CA
1830
45.81
Yuba City CA
680
45.82
Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area
770
58.52
Eastern Sierra Region of California nonmetropolitan area
230
48.34
North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area
1800
45.58
North Valley Region of California nonmetropolitan area
270
56.68
Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area
1140
56.32

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