The healthcare industry offers a number of dynamic employment opportunities to qualified professionals of all educational levels. With a workforce of over 14.3 million jobs, and recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicting an additional 2 million job openings for qualified healthcare workers through 2031, the health care system offers stable, secure employment to those just entering the industry and those seeking to propel their careers.
Growth within the health care industry is due largely to reform and changes necessary to accommodate an aging population, advancing technology, and medical breakthroughs. Specific geographic areas within the United States – the best cities for health jobs – offer individuals in the field increased employability, based upon factors like education, experience, and healthcare services specialization.
Ranking the Top Cities With the Most Health Care Jobs
Here is a list of the Top 10 Cities With The Most Health Care Jobs based the top medical facilities within the nation, job availability, unemployment rates, population growth, and industrial growth in the medical field.
1. Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas is home to the world-famous Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest group of research and healthcare institutions. As a non-profit organization, the Texas Medical Center is comprised of 49 member health care organizations focused upon improving patient and preventative care, education, research, and local, national, and global public health and wellness. The Texas Medical Center employs one of the very largest health care workforces, numbering over 73,600 individuals. As a leader in the industry, Houston is home to the world’s best medical schools, cancer care clinics, psychiatric treatment centers, air emergency services, and long-term acute care providers in the U.S. There are hospital and healthcare jobs from all these major healthcare employers.
2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of the largest cities defined as a hub for biomedical and pharmaceutical firms. Local economies have seen rapid growth in health, research, and education sectors and relatively low unemployment rates in recent years in comparison to other cities of the same demographics. As home to the Academy and College of Philadelphia founded by Benjamin Franklin as the first medical school during 1749, Philadelphia has a longstanding legacy as a leader in medical and pharmaceutical industries. The city’s extensive medical system also features the University of Pennsylvania’s largest teaching hospital with affiliations based in the Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Philadelphia also supports numerous pharmaceutical organizations like GlaxoSmith Kline, Wyeth, Merck, Johnson and Johnson as well as numerous professional medical association headquarters.
3. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland has some of the lowest unemployment rates due to its proximity to Washington, DC. Individuals with an educational background in health care fields are expected to find a number of employment opportunities within public and governmental organizations. During 2003, the Governor’s Healthcare Workforce Summit secured $2.5 million dollars in federal funding to establish the Center for Industry Initiatives designed to expand employment within the State’s health care with successful results for current and prospective health care workers. The combined efforts of the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Defense, allied state agencies, health care industry employers, educational representatives, and state licensing boards have assisted in decreasing workforce shortages and raise best practice standards in the field.
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Health care workers find world-class medical facilities and research universities offering numerous job prospects in Boston, Massachusetts. The Cambridge-Qunicy area has one of the most thriving health care industries within the U.S. due in part to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) federally funded programs. Backed by $2 billion dollars in NIH monies, the Boston area offers educated workers, researchers, and health care facilities low unemployment rates, strong economic growth, and secure employment. There are also a number of university health system jobs, thanks to Boston’s history as a higher education powerhouse.
5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin is one of the best cities for health jobs due to the number of expanding health care systems within its economy. Milwaukee has a number of public, private, and non-profit health care businesses affiliated with local and federal organizations. The Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex, Aurora Health Care, and Thedacare are just a few of many facilities which give health practitioners, social workers, and other professionals the ability to gain employment within thriving, dynamic organizations based upon providing the industry’s best patient care.
6. Denver, Colorado
Since 1990, Denver, Colorado has offered health care workers sustainable and secure employment through its Health Care and Social Assistance program. The industry has added thousands of jobs every year since implementing the program with an increase in job availability, decrease in unemployment rates, lower labor turnover rates and layoffs, and numerous thriving organizations in the field of health care. The Colorado Labor Market reports the city is home to a number of the nation’s top health care employers, like: the Medical Center of Aurora, Quest Diagnostics, Bonfils Blood Center, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the Columbine Physicians Group.
7. Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota has been historically based in agricultural sectors of the economy due to its abundant dominance in the field though recent trends lean toward manufacturing, technology, higher education, and health care opportunities. Some of the nation’s largest non-governmental based agencies have headquarters located in Fargo including: Blue Cross/Blue Shield/ Inovis Health, and Sanford Health. With over 23% of the work force employed in educational, research, or health care based jobs, Forbes magazine has listed Fargo as the 7th best small city in the U.S. to establish or advance a career or business.
8. New York, New York
As one of the most expensive cities within the U.S., New York, New York receives over $1.2 billion dollars in NIH funding to focus on expanding medical care and research since 2009. Despite faltering finance and banking industries, New York is home to rapid and far reaching growth in public and private health care sectors, medical research, and medical technologies. With one of the largest populations of residents aged 65 or older, New York is one of the best places for health care workers to gain employment within medical research, medical technology, non-profit institutions, and universities as the City develops means of expansion and advancement.
9. Cleveland, Ohio
The Cleveland Clinic, located within Cleveland, Ohio, is one of America’s best hospitals per the U.S. News and World report. As one of the city’s largest private employers, the Cleveland Clinic offers dynamic employment opportunities within its University Hospitals of Cleveland and MetroHealth medical centers. The city is home to world renowned centers for cancer treatment, fuel cell research, biotechnology, and innovation. Cleveland has supported consistent job growth for providers of health care, the pharmaceutical industry and research, as well as health care support and service industries since 2005 per the Center For Economic Development.
10. Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia is one of the most prominent locations within the United States offering internationally renown research, education, and specialized roles within the health care industry. The Eastern Virginia Medical School, Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center, V.A. Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters provide health care professionals sustainable employment, training, research, and continuing education opportunities based upon grants provided by the National Institutes of Health and other federal programs. Additionally, Norfolk is the headquarters for international non-profit organizations like Operation Smile and Physicians for Peace to assist patients within developing countries. As one of the top ten states with the lowest unemployment rates and strong economy based in diversity, culture, and commerce, Norfolk is a great location to build a career in health care.
What is the Healthcare Job Market Like Today?
The demand for healthcare in the United States is reaching new heights. Even before Covid arrived and put the world on pause, increasing lifespans and an overall aging population had already begun pushing demand levels for healthcare to new heights.
In a McKinsey 2022 report, it is estimated that healthcare costs in the U.S. could exceed $5.8 trillion by the year 2027. As such, there can be no doubt that the medical sector represents one of the largest economic sectors in the economy. With impressive projections like these, it appears that now is a lucrative time to start your healthcare career.
The BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook notes that overall employment within the healthcare sector is anticipated to grow by 13% over the next decade (2021-2031). This expected average growth across the healthcare marketplace is considered much faster than the average of other sectors and occupations. Part of the reason is expanded healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. The aging Baby Boom generation supply a lot of patients.
In real numbers, the BLS’s anticipated job growth translates to more than 2 million new jobs by 2031. And, each year, with workers retiring (or leaving their jobs permanently for other reasons), there are about 1.9 million job openings each year as well based on personnel turnover.
But how do you know which are the best cities for healthcare jobs? You might think healthcare opportunities are found in the cities with best healthcare in the world. But not all cities with best healthcare systems offer affordable living arrangements, for example.
There are many variables to weigh when considering the cities with best medical care employment opportunities as a part of your career decision. These essential factors are discussed below.
What Makes Some Cities Better for Healthcare Jobs?
The decision to take a job, especially if the job offer involves the need to relocate, is a life-changing decision. If a job offer involves relocating, it is important to understand how the area or city measures up in terms of your other life and family needs.
One of the many complexities involved in finding a healthcare job is finding a town or city you want to live in AND one that supports your medical specialty or career aspirations. Search for open healthcare jobs. And because the market and economy are constantly in flux, some of the best cities for public health jobs now may not be as desirable in the near future.
As a result, healthcare professionals must be able to recognize that there is a delicate balance to strike when facing this type of employment dilemma. If they decide to live in a city they love where their medical specialty is not widely practiced, job opportunities will likely be reduced. Conversely, if they follow their career aspirations to one of the best cities for medical care employment opportunities, they might need to compromise based on their living or city preferences.
As you can see, meeting your personal and career needs requires a subtle balance of several essential factors that impact your ultimate decision. So, keep an open mind when you consider the large and small cities with best healthcare job opportunities.
Do Lots of Healthcare Jobs Mean Good Healthcare?
The answer to this question is tricky. If a city has many healthcare jobs to offer, this alone does not speak to the quality of healthcare offered in those locations, although it may.
While it is true that more jobs typically mean more opportunities, this logic fails to consider other important factors involved in deciding to accept a job offer. Cities with many healthcare job opportunities and a great healthcare system may not work or meet your other goals and objectives.
As a barometer of the quality of health care, job numbers are not an accurate predictor. So, given this uncertainty, it is ill-advised to base an important career decision by using only the number of available jobs.
Finding the best city for healthcare requires a more in-depth analysis and approach.
How Do You Know a City is Good for Healthcare Jobs?
Begin by determining where the city falls in relation to the national average for the healthcare sector overall.
In general, and according to the Occupation Outlook Handbook, healthcare practitioners and related technical jobs (like dental hygienists, etc.) had a median yearly wage in 2021 of $58,750, which translates to $28.25. But this refers to many healthcare jobs. If you can, take the time to refine this information and delve into the BLS data bank for your specific healthcare specialty. The following is a small list of examples of the many healthcare-related occupations currently tracked by the statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics –
- Physicians & Surgeons – median annual salary exceeds $208,000 (2021).
- Registered Nurses (RN) – median annual salary of $77,600 (2021).
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) – median annual salary of $123,780 (2021).
- Physical Therapists – median annual salary of $95,620 (2021).
- Dentists – median annual salary of $163,220 (2021).
- Orthodontists – median annual salary of $267,280 (2021).
- Psychologists – median annual salary of $81,040, to name just a few.
Factors to Consider
There are many healthcare jobs and specialties available throughout the country. However, it is important to analyze the various and relevant factors that will likely impact your or your family’s life. When making a career decision, consider these factors and compare them to metrics from other areas or the national average –
- Healthcare Salaries
- Population Trends
- Per Capita Healthcare Spending (National Healthcare Expenditure Data NHE)
- The Concentration Of Healthcare Employment/ Employment per 1,000 Jobs – this metric indicates how robust and popular the healthcare field is in a specific area but doesn’t refer to wage data. For example, four of the five top metro areas with the highest concentration of healthcare practitioners/technical workers are in Louisiana; however, none of these locations make the top-paying metro areas.
- The Average Cost Of Living (MIT Living Wage Calculator)
- The average rent for 1 bedroom or studio (US Census)
- The Number of hospitals in the area. The American Hospital Association notes in 2022, in the U.S., 6,093 hospitals were categorized as follows –
Source – AHA
It is further noted that approximately 2/3 of community hospitals (which account for more than 8 out of 10 of all hospitals) are located in urban locations, with the remainder serving rural populations.
When facing a significant and often life-changing decision regarding a job offer, it is important to consider other factors that impact your and your family’s life. Take the time you need to ensure you make a well-informed choice by researching the factors that matter most to you.