What Is the Average Salary in California?

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California is a state with limitless possibilities. From Silicon Valley to Hollywood, the state gives you various opportunities to key in. If you’d love to work in California and you’re itching to know what the average salary in the state is, you can benefit from this article.

In this article, you’ll discover the average salary in California based on different careers.

If this sounds like what you’ve been searching for, then read on.

What Are the Benefits of Working in California?

The state of California soars on the wings of productivity. With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.87 trillion U.S. dollars in 2021, it ranks as the wealthiest state in the United States—and in the world. This speaks volumes about Californians, their work ethics, and the work environment.

Californians are adventurous, creative, and progressive; working with them promises to be quite exhilarating. And that is just one of the upsides of working in California.

Here are other benefits you’d get from working in California.

1.   You’d Work Alongside Innovative People

Innovation is at the heart of California. Think of the internet, Google and Tesla; they all have their roots in California. Californians are always thinking of new grounds to break. Their progressive nature spurs creativity and innovation.

These are the caliber of people you’d be working with. And you know what they say? Iron sharpens iron. So expect your creative and innovative side to get super active in California.

2.   Labour Laws in California are Employee-Focused

California is progressive with law-making. The state’s labor laws which are employee-centric, provide employees with more rights and protection than the federal laws. From less pressing issues like meal breaks to termination of employment, the labor laws make extensive provisions in favor of employees.

The most amazing aspect of these laws is that employers cannot force you to waive your rights by inserting terms in the employment contract that run contrary to these laws.

3.   Meal and Rest Breaks

Yes, California cares about your health too. As a non-exempt employee, you’re entitled to meal and rest breaks. If you work more than five hours in a day, you’re entitled to an unpaid 30 minutes meal break before the end of the fifth hour. However, you’re free to waive this right if you won’t work more than six hours in a day.

In addition, you’d be entitled to a second unpaid thirty minutes meal break if you’d work more than ten hours in a day. Again, you can waive this right. But you can only do so if you didn’t waive the first break and won’t work longer than twelve hours.

Rest breaks are different from meal breaks. While meal breaks are unpaid, every rest break is a work hour. For every four hours you work, you’d be entitled to ten minutes of rest. However, the rest break wouldn’t apply to employees who work for less than three and a half hours a day.

4.   You Get Paid Whenever You Work Overtime

In California, eight hours of labor amounts to a day’s work, while six days of labor constitutes a week’s work. Anything above that is deemed to be overtime. You’re entitled to compensation as a non-exempt worker for each hour you spend working overtime.

For every work day, you labor more than eight hours up to twelve hours. After this, you’d be entitled to be paid one and half times the regular rate of pay for all hours you spent working overtime.

To find out more about overtime rates in California, the state of California’s Director of Industrial Relations will come in handy.

Average Salaries in California

Did you know that the average salary in California is 18% higher than the federal average salary? While the average salary in the state of California is 112,000 USD, the federal average salary is 94,700 USD.

Notwithstanding the general average salary, the amount you’d earn in California depends on several factors. The city you live in, your educational qualifications, and your career are the major determinants of your paycheck in California.

Here is a list of average salaries in California based on profession.

ProfessionsAverage Salary in California
Information Technology Manager$173,000
Human Resource Manager$158,000
Art Director$111,000
Chartered Accountant$93,100
Travel agent$67,400


Now that you know what to expect while working in California, all that’s left is for you to decide. Start applying for jobs you’re qualified for or get more training if need be.

I’ll be here cheering you on!

Recommended Read- Pros and Cons of Living in California

Frequently Asked Questions About Working in California

Is Getting a Job in California Hard?

Yes, it is. After Hawaii, California is the 2nd toughest place to find a job in the United States. This is largely caused by the high level of unemployment in the state, which makes the labor market quite competitive.

However, don’t let this discourage you. While you send in applications, keep developing yourself and building the necessary connections. They will go a long way in making your job hunt easier.

What Makes an Employee Non-Exempt in California?

There are two types of employees in California- exempt and non-exempt. Exempt and non-exempt employees are differentiated based on their job title, duties, and payment structure.

Non-exempt employees are entitled to rest and meal breaks, overtime compensation, minimum wage, and hourly payments and are largely protected by law. Entry-level employees and junior employees in need of close supervision usually fall within the non-exempt category. However, an endless list of jobs falls within the non-exempt category.

On the other hand, exempt employees are not entitled to the benefits of a non-exempt worker. To determine if you’re an exempt employee, check if your job specification meets the following conditions:

  • You’re required to use discretion and individual judgment
  • Your work consists of administrative, executive, and professional tasks
  • You’re paid a salary that is at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment.

What Are the Fastest Growing Jobs in California?

According to Forbes, these are some of the fastest-growing jobs in California:

  • Home health and personal care aides
  • Software developers
  • Software quality assurance analysts and testers
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Commercial drivers
  • Airfield operations specialists
  • Food preparation and serving related workers
  • Laborer and freight, stock and material movers

How much is taken From my paycheck in California?

The state of California operates a progressive task system. This simply means that the more your paycheck grows, the higher the tax rate becomes. However, before you receive your paycheck, your employer deducts the social security and medicare taxes from it.

What Is the Average Cost of Living in California?

The average cost of living in California is $46,636 per annum. That means you’d have to earn approximately $3,886 monthly to live comfortably in California. However, the cost of living differs based on the city. Some cities in California are costlier than others.

Here are some of the cheapest cities in California you could check out:

  • Oxnard
  • Ventura
  • Simi Valley
  • Camarillo
  • Sacramento
  • Oakdale
  • Fontana