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Best Cities and Jobs in Northern Virginia (NOVA)
Understanding NOVA and Metropolitan Areas
Northern Virginia is one of the Top 25 Best Large Cities for jobs and business in America according to experts at economic firms like Forbes and CNNMoney. However, it is not a city.
Confusion exists about cites, metropolitan areas, metroplexes, and official Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) use for government labor statistics. This is all part of workforce terminology.
By federal definition, Northern Virginia is currently a Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA that acts like a large city. It includes the counties of Arlington and Fairfax, with the addition of a few independent cities that are not part of any county.
This region is is also a part of the larger Washington DC area labor statistics unit. Northern Virginia is in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a group of counties in the northern part of the state. It thereby contains many major cities and metropolitan areas.
A metropolitan area, or metro, is often called "The Greater ___ (city name) Area" and includes much of a county or parts of several counties or several whole counties.The metro area can be quite large!
All of these units can be confusing, but are valuable for labor statistics tracking and especially for state and federal forecasting of the Top 10 Jobs of an MSA, decade by decade.
NOVA is home to almost 1/3 of Virginia's total residents.
Major Cities and Towns in NOVA
Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church independent cities; and
Tyson's Corners Shopping Mega-Mall, area once named Seven Corners in the 1800s;
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Largest mega-mall in the region.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into MSAs that contain workforce and business statistics used in tracking occupational and industrial trends in the state and its cities. Since the advent of the Workforce Investment Act, we also call some of these areas "WIA regions."
Northern Virginia contains several counties and is a part of the larger Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) of "Washington DC - Baltimore - Virginia." This CMSA was redefined as larger area after considering the significantly increased populations found here in the 2000 US Census ("Census2000").
A full eight out of the Top 10 Cities for Living in NOVA that are recommended by the website NerdWallet are all in Northern Virginia.
These cities are close to hundreds of tourist attractions that are recreational and historically educational, and are near to government jobs and facilities in Washington, DC. These facilities include at least three major federal intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, NASA Commercial Crew companies, military bases, and huge regional shopping malls like Pentagon City and Tyson's Corners (successful since 1968).
Best Eight Cities in Northern Virginia
Top 10 Jobs in Northern Virginia
While the percentage of growth for each of the following occupations sounds small, it reflects a percentage of a large number and is thus larger in number than might be at first recognized.
Top 10 High-Growth Jobs to 2024:
- Physical Therapists and Assistants
- Personal Financial Advisors
- Home Health Aides (HHAs)
- Nurse Practitioners (NPs)
- Interpreters and Translators
- Physician Assistants (PAs)
- Operations Research Analysts
- Ophthalmic Medical Technicians (eye care) and Optometrists
- Industrial-Organizational (work related) Psychologists
Additional Top Jobs:
- Forensic Science Technicians
- Occupational Therapists
- Cartographers (Mapmakers) and Photography-based Surveyors & Mapmakers
- Medical Assistants
Information comes from the author's consolidation of data from the Chambers of Commerce of major NOVA cities, along with state and federal estimates.
Washington DC Area wages/salaries and benefits rose to surpass that of the average American between 2014 and 2016 under the Obama Administration years (Please see charts below.).
Major NOVA Employers
- AES Corporation: NASA Commercial Crew (NCC)
- Booz Allen Hamilton: NCC
- Capital One- Financial services and products.
- Computer Sciences Corporation or CSC: NCC
- Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)
- Gannett Company/Tegna, Inc.
- General Dynamics: NCC
- NII Holdings
- Northrop Grumman: NCC
- Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC):NCC
Notice that most of these companies are part of the NASA Commercial Crew and involved in aviation, aerospace, and national defense activities.
Information was gathered from associates in the Active USAF Civil Air Patrol and NASA.
Top 10 Largest NOVA Employers
- US Department of Commerce
- US. Department of Defense
- City of Alexandria
- Alexandria City Public Schools
- Inova Health System
- Washington Metro Area Transit Authority
- Institute for Defense Analysis
- Grant Thornton LLP
- US. Department of Agriculture
- Northern Virginia Community College
Careers in Tourism and Travel
The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the original Thirteen Colonies and The New Nation, first settled in the mid-1600s.
The commonwealth is the locale of some of the country's oldest schools and churches as well as national Revolutionary War and Civil War historical sites. Virginia is near to the nation's capital, Washington DC, and not far from New York City and its sights and sounds.
Altogether, Tourism and its sister industry, Hospitality, are healthy contributors to the economy of Northern Virginia. Specifically, the following cities provide both seasonal and rewarding long term employment to large numbers of workers every year.
Over 80,000 workers are employed yearly in this industry sector in NOVA..
Tourist Dollars per county in Northern Virginia is increasing:
- Alexandria: $517,065,297; $738 Million in 2013.
- Arlington: $1,959,810,556; $3.06 Billion in 2015.
- Fairfax: $1,991,816,170; $2.85 Billion in 2014.
- Loudoun: $1,060,226,119; $1.6 Billion in 2014.
- Prince William: $331,208,748; $541.5 Million in 2015.
Tourism Promotes Business in Virginia
Careers in Health and Medical
Healthcare is an industry that is robust and growing in Northern Virginia and wil continue to growth for a full century.
Since the Millennial Generation born between roughly 1980 to 2000 is nearly as large as the Baby Boomer Generation, healthcare jobs will increase through at least 2100, considering longer life spans.
Our 2000 AD babies will be 80 years old at that time and Healthcare will still be important.
Major Medical and Health Related Employers:
Information Technology (IT) is noticeably successful in Northern Virginia as well. The substantial numbers of healthcare facilities, insurers, schools, post-secondary institutions, and government employers and contractors, as well as other employers, provide many openings in the computer programming, systems, and data analysis realms. For example:
- All health and medical care and research facilities use IT personnel.
- All insurers and financial products purveyors use IT.
- Federal, State, County, City and other governments use IT services.
- School systems and individual institutions at all levels employ IT Professionals.
Careers at Minority Businesses
The Manahoac Nation is originally from Northern Virgina and some descendants live there today. The tribal name means "They are very merry."
The tribal nation includes six subdivisions in Northern Virginia and all are related to the Sioux Nation. They conduct successful businesses and hire non-tribal people as well as members of their nation.
Monacan Nation is related to the Manahoacs. Their name means "digging stick." They and the Nahyssan are also related to the Sioux. The Local Native Americans contribute to the Travel and Tourism Industry, as well as owning some other businesses,
The Pamunkey Nation Reservation, located in King William, Virginia and the Mattaponi Nation Reservation, located in West Point, Virginia are just southeast of Northern Virginia. These Native Americans operate museums and other businesses such as fisheries and agricultural concerns that contribute to the area's economy, including travel and tourism associations.
Minority & Woman-Owned Businesses in Northern Virginia
- Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise: http://egov1.virginia.gov/aboutus.html
- Northern Virginia Megaprojects: Contractors needed by VDIOT for hundreds of transportation projects.
- Business for Diversity, Minority, Multicultural, and Female/Women Non-Profit
Education for Well Paying Jobs
Colleges, Universities, Vocational Schools, Career Colleges and Apprenticeship Programs are offered at the following list of high quality institutions in the region:
Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia Community College (email@example.com): Six campuses and three additional learning centers in NOVA cities offer many program credentialing services in business, engineering, information technology, automotive careers, the arts, science technologies, medical technologies, nursing, and several others designed to match local and wide reaching employment opportunities.
Northern Virginia Health Care Workforce Alliance: This group trains professionals systematically to reduce the health and medical workforce shortage in NOVA and the country. Members include:
- George Mason University, Loudoun
- George Washington University, Virginia
- Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences
- Marymount University's Loudoun Academic Center
National Center for Technology & Law:
- Patrick Henry College
Prince George's County Community College:
- Shenandoah University's Northern Virginia Campus
- University of Virginia in Northern Virginia
- Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work
- Virginia Tech Alumni Association, NOVA Chapter
Sports Opportunities in Northern Virginia
Not only does the variety and range of participant and spectator sports offer fine recreation, exercise, and entertainment, but also employment options and career potential.
Many of the following organizations and clubs offer job listings on their websites. In addition to direct jobs, these entities link with Tourism and Hospitality around the institutions and venues associate with sporting activities.
Sports Teams in Northern Virginia
College Level Sports Teams
League Sports Teams
- Northern Virginia Women's Rugby: NoVA Piranhas WRFC
- IFFL flag football in Northern Virginia & Maryland
- Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League
Professional Sports Teams
- Potomac Nationals Baseball
- Northern Virginia Majestics Soccer
- Northern Virginia Royals Soccer
Recreational Sports Options
- Northern Virginia Rugby Club: NOVArugby.com
- Northern Virginia Running Club
- NOVA Wrestling for all ages.
- Northern Virginia Biking
- Northern Virginia Ice Dogs Hockey Club
- Welcome to VADA/Nova : Dressage
- NVSO - Senior Olympics
- Northern Virginia Swimming League
- Various biking and hiking clubs, increasing rapidly.
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics
- US Bureau of Labor Department of Education and Training (ETA)
- US Department of Labor Job Projections: https://www.bls.gov/emp/
- US Office of Management and Budget (OMB): Over 350 MSAs
- US Occupational Outlook Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
© 2008 Patty Inglish