With a large population of 23,610 registered nurses (RNs) averaging $87,160 per year, 6,140 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) averaging $45,570 per year, and 8,160 nursing assistants (CNAs) averaging $26,130 per year, California’s Inland Empire is one of the nation’s best places to start a nursing career. While the opportunity for success is promising in Riverside and other Inland Empire cities, the industry here is competitive. To stand out, aspiring nurses must have a degree, they must be licensed, and they must demonstrate the ability to juggle a variety of demanding tasks.

California nursing programs and career opportunities are plentiful in California’s Ventura County, which includes the cities of Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura. However, it still takes hard work and the right education to succeed. Some of the most in-demand positions in the area include registered nurses (RNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and nursing assistants (CNAs). Ventura County is home to 3,730 RNs averaging $74,550 per year, 760 LVNs averaging $48,830 per year, and 1,480 CNAs averaging $27,400 per year.

Orange County is home to an impressive 18,510 registered nurses (RNs), 8,450 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and 6,120 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). These professionals earn some of the most competitive salaries in the healthcare industry. Orange County-based RNs average $85,400 per year, LVNs average $48,690 per year, and CNAs average $27,450 per year.

California’s Inland Empire is home to an impressive 23,610 registered nurses (RNs). The area, which consists of cities such as Ontario, Riverside, and San Bernardino, is also home to 6,140 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and 8,160 certified nursing assistants (CNAs). While opportunities for nurses are plentiful in Ontario, the field is still very competitive.

Oakland is located in California’s East Bay area, and it is the eighth-largest city in the state. The East Bay is home to 20,070 registered nurses (RNs), 7,280 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and 4,260 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). These professionals earn some of the highest salaries in the healthcare field. East Bay-based RNs earn an average of $127,930 per year, LVNs average $61,700 in annual salary, and CNAs earn $34,180 annually.

If you are interested in becoming a nurse in Modesto, California, you’re in luck. The city of more than 200,000 residents offers some of the highest nursing salaries in the United States. Modesto’s 3,670 registered nurses (RNs) earn an average annual salary of $104,180 per year. The city’s 600 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) average $54,770 per year, while its 740 nursing assistants (CNAs) average $25,120 per year.

Merced is home to a small community of registered nurses (RNs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and nursing assistants (CNAs) that make a big impact on the city’s healthcare scene. With just 790 RNs, 240 LVNs, and 560 CNAs, hospitals and health centers such as Mercy Medical Center, Sutter Health Memorial Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Central California are able to deliver exceptional healthcare to a population of more than 80,000.

California is home to 97,420 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), 61,050 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), and a whopping 252,940 registered nurses (RNs). Although these professionals reside in every city across the state, the largest populations are found in Los Angeles County. Home to 31,030 CNAs, 20,010 LVNs, and 69,610 RNs, LA County offers some of the best career opportunities and the nation’s highest salaries for nursing professionals. As of 2013, Los Angeles County-based RNs averaged $92,230 per year, LVNs averaged $51,340 per year, and CNAs averaged $27,330 per year.

With a population of more than 250,000 registered nurses and hundreds of renowned nursing schools, California is one of the most promising places to start a nursing career, with Los Angeles leading the pack. While California nursing programs and career opportunities are plentiful, it still takes a lot of work and the right education to obtain a lucrative position in this competitive field.