Destination Spotlight: Travel Nursing in California!

By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN

It is home to Disneyland, Hollywood, the “Governator”, and spectacular mountain, desert and coastal scenery. California also features a never ending roadmap of hospitals, large and small, in need of nurses. California, our third largest state, offers travel nurses some of the most diverse job opportunities and ways to spend leisure time of any state. It should come as no surprise that California travel nursing jobs top the list of career destinations most often searched for by travel RNs.

According to US News & World Report, 3 of America’s top 19 hospitals are located in California (UCLA, Cedars-Sinai, and Stanford). The average annual salary for travel nurses in California is $62,000*. With a large and rapidly growing state population of patients to care for, the 59 California counties which play host to small, medium and large sized medical centers are undoubtedly seeing the need for registered nurses skilled in a variety of specialty areas.

As a travel nurse looking for your next assignment, how do you know which part of the vast land mass that is California, is right for you? Here’s a quick guide.

Northern California: For those who prefer cooler temperatures, beautiful natural scenery including the famous redwood trees and national monuments.

San Francisco Bay Area: For those drawn to a setting with more hustle and bustle, an emphasis on individuality, freedom of expression, arts and culture; Also a strong public health component in this area

Central California Valley: Features wide open spaces dominated by the agriculture industry; a hot Mediterranean climate is the dominate climate in the valley. A strong public and mental health component exists in this area.

Central California Coast: Over on the coast, in well-known areas like Santa Barbara, enjoy cooler temperatures, fresh strawberries, more tourist activities for your time off and many California historical landmarks.

Southern California: Anchored by the movie and television industry in Hollywood, and leisure hotspots such as Disneyland, many other business industries are also booming in Los Angeles, the highly industrialized Orange County areas all the way south to San Diego, a city that combines historic, military and modern. Do I even need to mention the notoriously warm, sunny weather, surfing and other leisure activities for your days off?

Resources to help you get started:

Search for California Hospitals by County/Region:

California Board of Nursing:

California Nurses Association:

As a travel nurse, you also have the benefit of using your travel company recruiter to learn more about various destinations, the hospitals hiring in those areas and which assignment best meets your goals. Happy exploring!


Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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