Healthiest Locations for Healthcare Careers

Healthcare careers are lava hot these days. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the healthcare industry will generate 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other sector, due largely to the growth in the elderly population.

But are there plentiful healthcare jobs in every town? Not exactly. Some towns are richer with job openings and solid wages than others. That's why PayScale created it's latest special report for job seekers, Healthcare Hotspots.

PayScale’s data team scoured its database of job and salary information and came up with a list of the top 10 towns in the U.S. for not only pay, but job availability in the healthcare industry. And, the results may surprise you. Small towns dominate the list. Why? They have a better chance of having a greater percentage of their population working in well-paid healthcare gigs. Bigger towns have a higher diversity of jobs.

This is a great situation, when you factor in cost of living. For example, a registered nurse with four years of experience can earn $67,700 per year in New York City and may only earn $49,400 in Augusta, Georgia. But, if you consider the cost of living in each town, then add in the great job security in the Augusta, the smaller town is a better option. See PayScale’s methodology for the study to find out about how the rankings were determined.

Who were the winning towns? The top three were McAllen, Texas, Fort Meyers, Fla. and New Haven, Conn. When asked why these town stand out, PayScale’s director of quantitative analysis, Al Lee, had the following thoughts to share.

1. McAllen, Texas: “If you’re not working in healthcare in McAllen, Texas, you’re not working. The number of people employed in healthcare, per capita, in McAllen is higher than anywhere else in the nation, and nearly double the national average. The pay isn’t super high but the prevalence of healthcare jobs is what makes it a winner.”

2. Ft. Meyers, Fla.: “Here is another town where nearly everyone works in healthcare.”

3. New Haven, Conn.: “You have a major medical center, Yale-New Haven Medical Center, but in a small town so the number of healthcare jobs per capita is well above average, and the pay is a little better than most places. This would be different than Seattle, for example, where there is a major medical center but there are also a lot more people and types of jobs available. You don’t have healthcare dominating the job market in the same way.”

See the full list of Healthcare Hotspots below and explore whether your healthcare career could use a boost in a new town.

Hotspots for Healthcare Jobs
These 10 towns offer the most and best-paid healthcare occupations, according to PayScale.
Rank Metro Area Median Annual Pay –
Healthcare Occupations
Healthcare Hotspot Score*
1 McAllen, TX $54,300 1.91
2 Fort Myers, FL $51,800 1.72
3 New Haven, CT $56,200 1.53
4 Modesto, CA $63,500 1.49
5 Riverside, CA $58,700 1.46
6 Sarasota, FL $48,500 1.43
7 Augusta, GA $45,300 1.41
8 Lakeland, FL $45,800 1.4
9 Poughkeepsie, NY $53,800 1.39
10 Youngstown, OH $45,000 1.39