Searching for Medical Jobs: Going Where the Money Is

Despite the modern workforce wanting more than just good pay and benefits, there is no getting around the fact that people want to be paid what they feel they are worth. Healthcare workers are not an exception to the rule. It is with that in mind that looking at the top job markets for healthcare workers gets interesting. Some markets definitely pay more than others.

 Becker’s Hospital Review recently released a list of the highest paying job markets for healthcare workers in the U.S., based on data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). Most of what the data shows isn’t surprising. But there are a few hidden gems in the numbers.

 It is reasonable to assume that job seekers on the hunt for medical jobs might consider salary and benefits first. After that, they might look at things like location and work environment. Moreover, it could be that the majority of American workers do not necessarily want to pick up and move just to make more money.

 Top Locations for Nurses

 The first category examined by Becker’s was registered nurses (RNs). We already know that RNs are in high demand across the country. But where do they earn the most money? Apparently, it’s in California. All the top spots on the Becker’s list are found in the Golden State. Here they are:

  •  San Jose – $155,230
  • San Francisco – $151,640
  • Vallejo-Fairfield – $146,360
  • Santa Rosa – $141,440
  • Napa – $139,680.

 California seems like the place to be if you are a registered nurse hoping to maximize your paycheck. That’s curious, considering that supply and demand heavily influences salary and benefits. What is it about California that appears to make it more difficult to recruit registered nurses there?

 Advanced Practice Nurses

 Becker’s Hospital Review took the approach of dividing advanced practice nurses into two categories: nurse practitioners and physician assistants. That could be due to the fact that the top paying locations for both are different. NPs are paid most in four of the same five cities listed in the RN category. For the fifth city, just remove Santa Rosa and insert Yuba City. San Jose keeps the top spot at $197,870.

 PAs apparently make the most in the joint cities of Portsmouth, NH and Portsmouth, ME. There, they earn roughly $167,240. The remaining four of the top five cities for PAs are:

  •  Panama City, FL – $165,000
  • San Francisco – $164,150
  • San Jose – $163,720
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $162,030.
  •  California still commands three of the top five spots for physician assistants. So far, the Golden State appears to be the destination of choice for high paying medical jobs.

 Top Locations for Pharmacists

 Last on the list for Becker’s are pharmacists. If you are guessing that California jobs pay the most, you are spot on. Here are the numbers:

  •  San Jose – $168,640
  • San Francisco – $163,840
  • Santa Rosa – $158,420
  • Vallejo-Fairfield – $156,850
  • Santa Cruz – $152,770.

 It is clear that medical jobs pay extremely well in California. We just don’t quite know why. We cannot discount supply and demand but getting a clear picture would also require looking at things like median income, cost of living, and so forth. Just because healthcare workers make more money in California doesn’t mean they enjoy a higher standard of living. Things cost more on the West coast as well.

 At any rate, if you are in the hunt for medical jobs, California has plenty to offer. So do most other states. Take a good look around our job board and see what you can find. With so many jobs available in nearly every healthcare sector, you’re bound to find something that suits you.


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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