Through 2028, healthcare will be one of the fastest-growing sectors of the American economy, expanding by nearly 2 million jobs and climbing by a 14% rate, almost three times the expected growth in all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Continued job growth is one big reason why the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree continues to be in high demand. In just a one-year period (2017-18), enrollment in DNP programs rose by 12%, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported.
The state of California, as the most populous in the nation, is likely to be a hotspot of high wages and job availability for those with DNP degrees, which could include job titles such as nurse administrator, nursing instructor, midwife, registered nurse, nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetists.
Average Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP Salaries in California
In fact, according to BLS data, all six of those job titles enjoy six-figure wages here in California. Here’s a summary of DNP job statistics in our state:
How Much Does a DNP Make in California?
The average salary ranges from $101,320 to $212,210, and all six jobs have six-figure wages in California.
Average annual California salary
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||$101,320|
Registered nursing jobs are most prominent, and nurse midwife jobs are the least common.
California employment per 1,000 jobs
|Postsecondary Nursing Instructors||0.199|
Taking an average across cities and metro areas, the Vallejo-Fairfield area has the highest typical salary.
Average salary by city, top 5
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara||$133,583|
Jump to a Career
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Nurse
- Nurse Administrator
- Post Secondary Nurse Instructor
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
The most common job title for DNP graduates is nurse practitioner, which in all states allows the DNP graduate to perform many of the same functions as a doctor, though California has one of the most restrictive practice environments in the U.S. Still, wages for this job are quite high across the state.
Average annual nurse practitioner wage by city/metro area, top 10
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||$135,230|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara||$134,700|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara||$133,710|
Nurse practitioner jobs are most common in Madera, followed by Redding and Fresno.
Nurse practitioner employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande||0.941|
While registered nurse jobs don’t usually require a DNP degree, many nurses may seek jobs as RNs or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, or APRNs. Wages for RNs are high in most California cities, peaking in Salinas at $131,710.
Average annual registered nurse wage by city/metro area, top 10
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara||$128,610|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara||$104,680|
Among all six DNP jobs we studied, RN positions are the most plentiful across California and the rest of the U.S. Chico has the highest concentration of these jobs, and all cities in the top 10 have RN employment rates of at least 18 per 1,000 jobs.
Registered nurse employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
DNP graduates who want to work in healthcare leadership positions may be interested in positions as nurse administrators, or medical and healthcare managers, which is how the BLS classifies this job. These positions are generally expansive within healthcare organizations, which helps push typical salaries up. In California, the Vallejo-Fairfield area offers the highest wage for nurse administrators, $157,240.
Average annual nurse administrator wage by city/metro area, top 10
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara||$137,440|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara||$125,650|
Nurse administrator is the second most-common DNP job among the six we analyzed in California, and these jobs are most plentiful in the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area.
Nurse administrator employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area, top 10
The rapid growth in DNP enrollment and nursing education generally means that qualified instructors in postsecondary nursing programs will continue to be in high demand. While data was not available in every California city, nursing instructors can expect to earn six figures in at least four California metro areas, led by the San Diego-Carlsbad area.
Average annual postsecondary nursing instructor wage by city/metro area
Postsecondary nursing instructor jobs are the fourth-most common of the jobs we studied, and they are most prevalent in Napa.
Postsecondary nursing instructor employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||0.219|
With the highest overall California wage, nurse anesthetists are likely to be the highest-paid DNP degree-holders. Their expected salary level is highest in the San Francisco metro area, where they make nearly a quarter-million dollars per year.
Average annual nurse anesthetist wage by city/metro area
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||$187,930|
Generally, these jobs will be challenging to find, but in California, they are most prevalent in the Vallejo area.
Nurse anesthetist employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||0.075|
Many DNP programs offer an education track in midwifery, which is the practice of assisting women through pregnancy, labor and after birth. Given the importance of the role in helping bring new life into the world, nurse midwives have the second-highest typical salary in California, and while the sample size is limited, wages are high from Southern to Northern California.
Average annual nurse midwife wage by city/metro area
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||$129,130|
Of the two metro areas with data, nurse midwife jobs are more common in San Francisco than Los Angeles.
Nurse midwife employment per 1,000 jobs by city/metro area
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim||0.035|
As the American population continues aging and laws extend healthcare coverage to people who previously couldn’t afford it, the need for healthcare professionals will continue to grow, and for those with a DNP degree or an interest in pursuing one, California is an ideal place to launch a career.
Our analysis of BLS data consisted of the average annual wage and employment per 1,000 jobs for California and metro areas for six DNP-related job titles: medical and health services manager, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, postsecondary nursing instructor and registered nurse. We used a custom table function, which can be accessed here.
Indeed.com data was culled from the site in mid-February 2020, including job titles, employers, locations, employer ratings and salaries (where available).
All other sources are linked directly in the text.