Aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Top 15 Healthcare Employers in the Bay Area

Discover Some of the Best Employers for Medical Professionals.

Aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

So, you’ve completed your nursing program and passed the NCLEX exam. Now what? It’s time to find a job in a location that’s right for you. On the West Coast, you’ll find a growing landscape of employment opportunities in the healthcare sector.

The Bay Area in California is home to a diverse culture, gorgeous climate, and booming medical industry. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that the Bay Area has some of the highest-paying cities for LVNs and RNs in the entire country.

Our guide will provide you with more information about the top 15 healthcare employers in the Bay Area. Continue reading to learn about the rich history, key benefits, and unique qualities of each organization on our list.

(Click here to learn how to choose the best nursing school in the Bay Area.)

The Healthcare Industry in the Bay Area

In the Bay Area, there are vital components of the healthcare infrastructure. These include hospitals, research institutions, medical schools, and more. The Employment Development Department (EDD) of California has said that the healthcare industry is a significant and growing component of the state’s economy.

Furthermore, healthcare-related occupations represent more than seven percent of California’s total employment. This rate may even increase over the next few years due to the aging population and technological advances, creating more employment opportunities for healthcare professionals.

This booming healthcare landscape has created a rewarding culture for aspiring nurses. According to the BLS, some of the top paying metropolitan areas for LVNs and RNs include Bay Area cities like San Jose, San Francisco, Hayward, and Oakland.


Kaiser Permanente logo

This image belongs to Kaiser Permanente and was taken from their website.

1. Kaiser Permanente

Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is one of the country’s biggest not-for-profit health plans. They currently serve 12.7 million members in 40 hospitals around the United States. Not only do they maintain 618 medical offices, but they employ over 23,000 physicians and 68,000 nurses. Altogether, their community includes more than 215,000 employees in the country.

Kaiser Permanente strives to provide the public with affordable healthcare services, improve the health of its members, and enrich the communities they serve. While they serve more than 734 locations in eight states, they are headquartered in the Bay Area city of Oakland, California.

Why Kaiser Permanente is a Top Healthcare Employer

Kaiser Permanente has consistently ranked among the top healthcare employers in the Bay Area. In 2023, they were named one of 27 Bay Area Healthtech Companies to Watch. They also bring in billions of dollars in revenue, allowing them to provide their employees with competitive salaries and various benefits.

According to Kaiser, no matter what kind of career you want to build, they can offer you the opportunity to “help redefine what a mind-and-body health system means.” In addition, Kaiser is an award-winning military employer. They also provide disability accommodations. At Kaiser, you can invest in not just yourself but your community, working to help ensure equity for all, and promoting policies that improve health. Learn about Kaiser’s impact here and their employee rating on Glassdoor here.


Sutter Health logo

This image belongs to Sutter Health and was taken from their website.

2. Sutter Health

Like Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health is one of the largest healthcare employers in the Bay Area. They are a not-for-profit organization that reinvests their resources back into the community. According to their website, Sutter hospitals have served “more of the Medi-Cal patient population in Northern California than any other health system.”

While the Sutter Health of today was created in 1996, this organization actually dates back to the 1800s. They began to take shape when independent hospitals opened their doors to meet the needs of each community. In fact, Sutter Health first started as a way to aid local populations with epidemics and natural disasters. Now, they manage over 10,000 employees in 28 locations, generating five to ten billion dollars in revenue. Sutter Health strives to give its members a personalized, high-value healthcare experience through an initiative called “We Plus You.”

Why Sutter Health is a Top Healthcare Employer

Sutter Health provides various employment opportunities due to their network of hospitals in Northern California. Their services include ambulatory surgery, cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, and more. Not only does Sutter Health support acute care hospitals, but they also assist home health, hospice, long-term care centers, and occupational health networks.

This organization also employs a diverse workforce. According to Zippia, 58.1% of Sutter Health employees are female, and 50.8% are ethnic minorities. Additionally, their employees earn a median salary of around $68,000 per year. You can learn more about Sutter Health overall and their 3.8-star rating on Glassdoor.


UnitedHealth Group logo

This image belongs to UnitedHealth Group and was taken from their website.

3. UnitedHealth Group

With more than 400,000 employees worldwide, UnitedHealth Group operates in the United States, Brazil, India, Ireland, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Colombia. Currently, they maintain offices in all 50 states of the U.S. and in 33 other countries. Their goal is to help build a modern, high-quality health system through improved access for all.

UnitedHealth Group strives to help others live healthier lives by focusing on five strategic growth priorities: value-based care, health benefits, health technology, health financial services, and pharmacy services. In short, they concentrate on consumer needs, collaboration between systems, and the use of technology to make healthcare easier to navigate. You can learn more about their approach to advancing a modern health system here.

Why UnitedHealth Group is a Top Healthcare Employer

In addition to disability inclusion programs, UnitedHealth Group offers military and veteran programs. They also foster several philanthropic partnerships by collaborating with community partners and performing a variety of outreach efforts. According to their website, the “United Health Foundation has committed more than $700 million to programs and communities around the world.”

As they say, the proof is in the pudding—check out reviews from real employees on Glassdoor to learn more about UnitedHealth Group. Overall, they earn a respectable 3.7 stars with high ratings for diversity and inclusion, culture and values, and work/life balance.


Dignity Health logo

This image belongs to Dignity Health and was taken from their website.

4. Dignity Health

Headquartered in the heart of the Bay Area, Dignity Health delivers affordable, compassionate healthcare services that are designed to meet each patient’s physical, mental, and spiritual needs. They employ more than 62,000 people and staff over 400 care centers in 22 states, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, home health, and primary care clinics.

This not-for-profit organization is devoted to providing their patients with kindness and respect. Their values are rooted in faith, dignity, and charitable care. They have also made it their mission to advance social justice for all. Although the Dignity Health as we know it was founded in 1986, their organization actually began as a single hospital. In 1854, eight “Sisters of Mercy” arrived in San Francisco and cared for residents with cholera, then typhoid and influenza.

Their vision has largely remained the same: “Through teamwork and innovation, faith and compassion, advocacy and action, we endeavor every day to keep our patients happy, healthy, and whole. Hello human kindness.”

Why Dignity Health is a Top Healthcare Employer

Dignity Health fosters an outstanding culture of giving back to the community. In their own words, they want to give a voice to those without one. They strive to bridge the gap between healthcare advancement and the needs of the individual. Their values include dignity, collaboration, justice, stewardship, and excellence.

If you’d like to give Dignity Health a test run, they offer several volunteer programs, including a summer program for student volunteers. They also offer their employees a total rewards program. In addition to traditional benefits like medical, dental, and vision coverage, Dignity Health offers maternity/paternity leave, military leave, and family medical leave. Did we mention they have a competitive PTO policy and tuition reimbursement program, too? Check out their Glassdoor reviews for a closer inside look.


Optum logo

This image belongs to Optum and was taken from their website.

5. Optum

Founded in 2011, Optum is a division of UnitedHealth Group and employs about 310,000 employees worldwide. This organization helps remove barriers for local communities by supporting 20,000 charities with donations and volunteer hours. Like many of the groups on this list, Optum strives to provide their communities with affordable, personalized healthcare. One of their ultimate goals is to make healthcare smarter and simpler across the board.

UnitedHealth Group, the parent of Optum, provides people with medical benefits in all 50 states of the U.S. as well as 130 other countries. This is a company that’s dedicated to building a better health system for everyone. As they say in their own words: “Here, your contributions matter as they will help transform health care for years to come. Make an impact with a diverse team that shares your passion for helping others.”

Why Optum is a Top Healthcare Employer

Optum and UnitedHealth Group go the extra mile to foster a diverse work environment. They want to represent the communities they serve while helping to solve the world’s most complex healthcare issues. In this area, some of their milestones include the following:

  • In 2022, the Disability Equality Index® (DEI) named UnitedHealth Group as one of the best places to work for disability inclusion.
  • Prospanica gave UnitedHealth Group the 2021 Brillante Award for Corporate Excellence to recognize their exceptional contributions to the Hispanic community.
  • In 2022, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index provided UnitedHealth Group with a perfect score of 100, calling them one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

Optum also provides its employees with a number of benefits. They offer programs and resources to help you improve your health and overall costs. They also strive to build healthier communities, minimize their impact on environmental health, and provide health rewards programs and mental health support services. For more information, check out their ratings on Glassdoor.


UCSF Health logo

This image belongs to UCSF Medical Center and was taken from their website.

6. UCSF Medical Center

UCSF Medical Center is a part of the UCSF Health family of care. They belong to UC San Francisco, which is one of the top universities in the country for higher education and health sciences research. Because they bring world experts together, this organization can lead advancements in treatment that help benefit patients across the globe.

UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals were both founded in 1907. Together, they employ thousands of people and generate anywhere from 25 to 100 million dollars in annual revenue. They are known throughout the world for their advanced technology, innovative care, and collaboration between clinicians and scientists. According to the UCSF team, the U.S. News & World Report ranks the UCSF Medical Center as the number one hospital in California and fifth in the nation.

Why UCSF Medical Center is a Top Healthcare Employer

This impressive medical center is a research and teaching hospital in San Francisco. Not only is education a priority, but they specialize in areas like cancer, heart disorders, neurological disorders, organ transplants, orthopedics, pregnancy, and more. The professional and educational opportunities at UCSF Medical Center are seemingly endless.

In addition, the organization maintains 64.1% female employees. Their employees are also made up of 54.4% ethnic minorities. Plus, they have great employee retention rates with staff members typically staying for about 4.5 years. Employees have even given UCSF the coveted 4-star rating on Glassdoor.


Alameda Health System logo

This image belongs to Alameda Health System and was taken from their website.

7. Highland Hospital (Alameda Health System)

Highland Hospital is operated by the Alameda Health System in Oakland, California. It acts as the primary trauma center for Alameda County. Furthermore, it has served as an adult Level I trauma center since August 2017. Although the Alameda Health System began as an infirmary in 1864, Highland Hospital was first established in 1927.

Highland Hospital is also affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). They’re home to the UCSF East Bay Surgery Program, not to mention medical residency programs that are some of the most competitive and sought-after in the U.S. Did we mention that they have been nationally recognized as one of the best teaching hospitals in the country? They are particularly known for their multi-specialty care. One of their primary goals is to eliminate disparities and optimize “the health of a diverse East Bay.”

Why Highland Hospital is a Top Healthcare Employer

The reputation of an organization can say a lot, and Highland Hospital (Alameda Health System) has been recognized for its world-class system of care. They focus on comprehensive medical treatment, disease prevention, and health maintenance. Because they are a growing organization, Alameda Health System offers a wide range of career paths at most levels of healthcare employment. Not only are they a teaching institution, but they employ nationally recognized physicians and teachers.

In addition to traditional benefits, this organization may also offer accommodations like the following:

  • Educational Stipends
  • Vision Reimbursement
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Family Activity Discounts
  • Auto, Home, and Pet Insurance Discounts
  • Wellness Program
  • Employee Discount Club
  • Employee Awards & Recognition Program
  • Shuttle services for both Highland and Fairmont campuses

You know the drill: Check out Glassdoor for reviews and ratings from actual employees at Alameda Health System.


Stanford Health Care logo

This image belongs to Stanford Health Care and was taken from their website.

8. Stanford Health Care

Stanford Health Care is located in the Bay Area city of Palo Alto, California. Not only do they employ thousands of people, but they generate about one to five billion dollars in revenue every year. This means that they have a significant impact on the local economy as well as the healthcare industry.

For more than 160 years, Stanford Health Care has advanced medicine and advocated for patients. They are known as one of the nation’s best hospitals, a trailblazing team that brings medical research and patient care to the communities they serve. Their mission is “to care, to educate, and to discover.”

Why Stanford Health Care is a Top Healthcare Employer

This might go without saying, but Stanford Health Care has won numerous awards and designations over the years. Recently, they were recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as one of the top three hospitals in California and the best in the San Jose metropolitan area. They have also been ranked number one in the country for ear, nose, and throat, and they’ve earned high rankings for cardiology, obstetrics, gynecology, and more.

In addition, Stanford Health Care offers a number of benefits to their employees, including but not limited to the following:

  • Competitive salaries
  • Wide range of benefits, both standard and elective
  • Generous paid time off
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Excellent retirement programs
  • Credit union and employee discounts
  • Backup care, maternity services, and on-site childcare
  • Rewards and recognition programs
  • Health and fitness programs

On Glassdoor, Standford Health Care maintains a 4-star rating with more than 1,500 reviews, which is impressive!


University of California Davis Medical Center logo

This image belongs to University of California, Davis Medical Center and was taken from their website.

9. University of California, Davis Medical Center

The UC Davis Medical Center cares for a 65,000-square-mile area that encompasses 33 counties and six million residents in Northern and Central California. This acute-care teaching hospital is home to more than 645 beds and admits around 30,000 patients each year. In total, the UC Davis Medical Center oversees about 900,000 annual visits.

This not-for-profit organization is the region’s only academic health center. Not only do they focus on improving the lives of others, but they strive to be a hub of innovation that transforms healthcare. They provide outstanding patient care, perform groundbreaking research, foster interprofessional education, and produce long-lasting partnerships within their community.

Why University of California, Davis Medical Center is a Top Healthcare Employer

Let’s start with their stats on Glassdoor: UC Davis Medical Center has earned a very respectable 3.9-star rating with almost 1,000 reviews. They have also issued various pledges and certifications, such as a veteran hiring commitment, tech hiring commitment, diversity commitment, social responsibility pledge, pay equality pledge, and a career advancement program.

Furthermore, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized for their quality and safety from a variety of observers, including government agencies, patients, industry groups, and more. They have also ranked among the nation’s best hospitals and children’s hospitals. In addition, U.S. News ranked the UC Davis Medical Center as the number one hospital in Sacramento from 2023 to 2024. It’s safe to say that a job at this organization would certainly be a coveted one.


John Muir Health logo

This image belongs to John Muir Health and was taken from their website.

10. John Muir Health

Founded in 1958, John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit organization that’s located east of San Francisco. This healthcare company serves patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda, and southern Solano counties. While they maintain eight locations, their network includes about 950 primary care and specialty physicians and more than 6,500 employees. They also offer medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, which includes the county’s only trauma center.

At John Muir Health, you’ll find a wide range of medical services. This organization has been recognized as a leader in several specialties, such as neurosciences, orthopedics, cardiovascular, oncology, emergency care, and high-risk obstetrics care. John Muir Health is devoted to improving the communities they serve with high-quality, compassionate care.

Why John Muir Health is a Top Healthcare Employer

Like the other standouts on our list, John Muir Health provides their employees with various benefits, such as compensation, programs, plans, and more. Some of their incentive programs include but are not limited to public recognition and monetary rewards, formal dinners and gifts, cash bonuses, and employee referral bonuses. They have also implemented numerous safety programs that include commuting and parking benefits. Check out their Glassdoor reviews for even more information from current and former employees.

Last but certainly not least, employees can find career-development opportunities at John Muir Health. Below are some of the pathways that nurses may pursue:

  • Specialty nurse training program
  • Tuition reimbursement and schedule flexibility
  • Certification stipend
  • Life safety education
  • Paid education leave
  • Nursing education funds for learning opportunities
  • Specialty training
  • Job shadow program
  • Certification review support
  • Free continuing education opportunities


Santa Clara Valley Medical Center logo

This image belongs to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and was taken from their website.

11. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) was formed all the way back in 1876. A pillar of the public healthcare system in Santa Clara County, this organization focuses on teaching, research, and innovation. Above all else, they care about positive patient experiences. The mission of SCVMC “has been to provide high-quality, accessible healthcare and excellent service to all persons in Santa Clara County regardless of their socio-economic status and ability to pay.”

As a tertiary-level acute care hospital, SCVMC has thousands of employees and more than 730 licensed beds. They provide their patients with facilities like a high-risk neonatal intensive care unit, a primary stroke center, an ACS-verified burn trauma center, and an accredited rehabilitation center. SCVMC is a part of the second-largest, county-owned health and hospital system in the state: the County of Santa Clara Health System (COSCHS).

Why Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is a Top Healthcare Employer

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Recognition matters. It usually speaks to an organization’s effectiveness, reputation, and longevity. All these things are important to consider when you look at potential employers. SCVMC has earned a plethora of awards in various areas. In addition to their baby-friendly certification, the U.S. News & World Report has called SCVMC “the only high-performing hospital in California for rehabilitation.” You can learn more about their recognitions here.

SCVMC offers their employees a number of health benefits, life, and financial benefits, time away from work, competitive-retirement programs, gym discounts, and employee discounts. Additionally, they offer a VTA Eco Pass, which provides transportation support to help create a stress-free commute. Employees on Glassdoor have even given SCVMC a high rating of 3.9 stars. Below are just some of the career paths you can pursue at this organization:


Maxim Healthcare Services logo

This image belongs to Maxim Healthcare Services and was taken from their website.

12. Maxim Healthcare Services

For over 30 years, Maxim Healthcare Services has been changing the lives of their patients. They provide care to 25 locations with their dedicated team of therapists, nurses, and home health aides, serving patients from the comfort of their own homes. They offer a compassionate service as one of the most trusted home healthcare providers in the country.

Some of their services focus on pediatrics and autism. For the latter, they use therapy with a flexible, empathy-based approach that is tailored to each child’s needs. Maxim Healthcare Services also helps adult patients maintain their independence while receiving the care they need. In addition, a board of employees created the Maxim Charitable Foundation. They provide assistance to employees of Maxim Healthcare Services and other locals who are facing financial hardships. Ultimately, they seek to expand their offerings and perform volunteer work for the community.

Why Maxim Healthcare Services is a Top Healthcare Employer

Maxim Healthcare Services provides various communities with a valuable service. They also recognize their outstanding caregivers and empower the future leaders of healthcare. How, you might ask? Every year, Maxim’s Caregiver of the Year program acknowledges healthcare professionals who represent their values and demonstrate excellence. When it comes to the leaders of tomorrow, the Maxim Charitable Foundation awards The Future of Healthcare Educational Scholarships.

These opportunities are available to high school graduates, current college students, or non-traditional students “pursuing an education in a clinical field or the healthcare field in general.” The scholarships can be used for things like course costs, tuition, books, and on-campus housing expenses. Above all else, Maxim seems to truly care about their employees and the community around them. Learn more about this organization on Glassdoor.


NorthBay Health logo

This image belongs to NorthBay Health and was taken from their website.

13. NorthBay Health

In 1959, local physicians and civic leaders joined forces in Solano County. They opened a not-for-profit healthcare provider that was locally managed and provided residents with an alternative choice. Today, NorthBay Health maintains two Magnet-designated hospitals in Fairfield and Vacaville, California. They also maintain several other facilities, such as an ambulatory surgery center, an urgent care center, a specialty pharmacy, and two imaging centers. From open heart surgery to oncology, NorthBay Health employs teams of medical experts to better assist their patients.

In addition, NorthBay has been recognized by several organizations. Some of these distinctions include the Guardian of Excellence award by Press Ganey for their NICU services, the Gold-plus award by the American Heart Association for Stroke Care, and the Gold Performance Award from the American Association of Cardiology. Plus, NorthBay Health is the only Northern California facility to be a part of the Mayo Clinic Network.

Why NorthBay Health is a Top Healthcare Employer

At NorthBay Health, autonomy in the field of nursing is encouraged. Within the last ten years, they have enhanced their medical services to include components like the following:

  • The only TAVR program in Solano County
  • A neuroscience and neurosurgery program
  • Robotic surgery
  • Tertiary ICU
  • Emergency Department with a Level II Trauma verification
  • Two hospitals with Magnet status for nurses
  • Clinical advancement program

You can learn more about NorthBay Health, their reviews, and star ranking at Glassdoor.


Alta Bates Summit Medical Center logo

This image belongs to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and was taken from their website.

14. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

The Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is an affiliate of Sutter Health. In addition, they are the largest, not-for-profit medical center in the East Bay. The center provides services that are tailored to meet the healthcare needs of diverse communities in the Bay Area. Founded in 1906, Alta Bates is known as one of the top hospitals in the nation for clinical excellence and patient safety.

This hospital system spans three campuses in Berkeley and Oakland, California. Not only does Alta Bates specialize in clinical and community outreach, but they offer advanced medical services through 30 programs, including behavioral health, orthopedics, oncology, cardiovascular, rehabilitation, neuroscience, women’s services, and more. The facilities house more than 1,000 beds and physicians.

Why Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is a Top Healthcare Employer

In addition to their awards and hospital honors, Alta Bates is known for providing their employees with a number of services. They maintain a Sutter employee hotline, a Team Sutter app, a Focused Recognition app, employee wellness programs, and several personal resources. Some of these resources include:

Learn more about the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and their 3.8-star rating on Glassdoor.


California Pacific Medical Center logo

This image belongs to California Pacific Medical Center and was taken from their website.

15. California Pacific Medical Center

Another affiliate of Sutter Health, the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), is one of the largest not-for-profit medical centers in the state. The center maintains four campuses in San Francisco, where they provide specialized care for women and children, pioneering orthopedic treatments, and organ transplant programs.

Founded in 1885, the CPMC houses over 1,300 beds and thousands of employees. Not only do they offer acute and specialty care, but they conduct “professional education and biomedical, clinical, and behavioral research.”

Why California Pacific Medical Center is a Top Healthcare Employer

Like the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, the CPMC provides their employees with numerous career paths and benefits. Some of their most popular benefits include maternity and paternity leave, a pension plan, and a 401k plan. Regarding career paths, CPMC employees can choose from one of the varied categories below:

  • Allied health
  • Nursing and advanced practice
  • Leadership
  • Business professional
  • Administrative services
  • Support services and facilities

Furthermore, the CPMC supports pride, military and veterans, multicultural ethnicities, women, and disability inclusion. Check out their Glassdoor page to learn why they’ve earned a respectable 3.8-star rating.


Diverse group of people giving a thumbs up sign

Your Journey into Nursing Starts Here

During your journey, it’s vital that you find the right employer for you. We focused on the top 15 healthcare employers in the Bay Area because we think this location is home to a growing number of employment opportunities. Not only is the tech and healthcare industry booming, but the Bay Area continues to rank highly on the BLS’s list of highest-paying cities for LVNs and RNs in the country.

As you search for the right employer, remember to explore all your career opportunities. It’s also important to look at the ongoing contributions of these organizations to the Bay Area’s healthcare excellence. At the end of the day, you want to be proud of the organization you represent. This is why we focused on elements like the history and unique qualities of each organization on our list.

So, are you interested in nursing education? Unitek College offers several campuses with Bay Area healthcare programs to help you become a nurse in a shorter duration of time. Start by checking out the Vocational Nursing program. Unitek also offers an LVN to BSN Advanced Placement Option for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. You can also learn more about the best entry-level medical jobs.

The programs and pathways at Unitek College are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful nursing career. Pursue your career goals today!