Jobs in Demand: Best Places for Health Practitioners

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NerdWallet looked at the top jobs in demand across the United States—jobs that have a larger number of openings than other occupations—and found that health practitioners were the most in-demand.  Health practitioners appeared as one of the top 10 occupations with the highest job availability in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

So which places have the largest share of job openings available to health practitioners?  We ranked the top 10 metros for health practitioners according to job availability.

Top Metro Areas for Health Practitioners

1.    El Paso, TX

Almost a quarter of El Paso’s job openings in 2012 were for health diagnosing and treating practitioners.  El Paso is a medical hub and is home to several top hospitals, including the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and the El Paso Children’s Hospital.    The Medical Center of the Americas, an integrated complex associated with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, provides many healthcare jobs to El Paso residents.  The city’s diverse economy is built on tourism, oil and gas, and healthcare, and the area has a large military presence as well.

2.    Lakeland, FL

More than one-fifth of Lakeland’s 2012 job openings were for health practitioner positions.  Lakeland is home to one of the state’s largest hospitals, the Lakeland Regional Medical Center. In addition to the thriving medical industry, Lakeland also employs many in transportation—FedEx is a large employer in the area.

3.    North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL

The area has several well-regarded hospitals, including the Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. The Florida State University College of Medicine has a campus in Sarasota, offering students a well-rounded education. Sarasota is a popular golf destination as well.

4.    Fresno, CA

The Community Regional Medical Center is a top employer in the metro area.  There are several other hospitals in the area, including Saint Agnes Medical Center.    The University of California, San Francisco, has a Fresno campus, so many of the city’s hospitals function as teaching hospitals, contributing to the education of future doctors.

5.    McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX

More than 15% of the area’s job openings in 2012 were in the healthcare industry.  Although McAllen has faced criticism for its healthcare spending, the city is expanding its healthcare offerings and has already seen increased hiring for healthcare positions.

6.    Bakersfield, CA

Bakersfield’s diverse economy is based on oil, agriculture and manufacturing.   Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield are two of the top employers in the region, and students at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine can study at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.

7.    Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

The area has several hospitals, hospices and urgent care facilities, including the Holmes Regional Medical Center, which received the Get with the Guidelines Gold Award from the American Stroke Association.

8.    Modesto, CA

Known for its wineries and rich agriculture, Modesto also has a thriving healthcare industry.  The Memorial Medical Center is a large employer in the region, and 14.5% of Modesto’s job openings in 2012 were for health practitioners.

9.    Augusta-Richmond County, GA

Augusta is a regional hub for medicine and biotechnology.  The area is home to Georgia Regents University, a public health sciences graduate university.  Additionally, the University Health Care System in Augusta offers classes and events, contributing to the health and wellbeing of the community.

10. Columbia, SC

Columbia is home to the Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals, which includes four hospitals.  Those interested in health can get an excellent education in Columbia at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, and the metro are has plenty of health-related jobs.  13.9% of the 2012 job openings in the metro area were for health practitioners.


Rank Metro area Percent of metro area’s total job openings that are for health practitioners
1 El Paso, TX 23.6%
2 Lakeland, FL 21.1%
3 North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL 15.3%
4 Fresno, CA 15.2%
5 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 15.1%
6 Bakersfield, CA 14.9%
7 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 14.8%
8 Modesto, CA 14.5%
9 Augusta-Richmond County, GA 14.2%
10 Columbia, SC 13.9%

Data came from the Brookings Institute, year 2012.