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Northern Virginia (NOVA) For Jobs and Opportunity

Updated on January 24, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is an award-winning Employment & Training pro with regional records and tens of thousands placed into gainful employment.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Pope-Leighey House, Alexandria VA


Northern Virginia and How to Understand Metro Areas

Confusion exists in the minds of some job seekers about cites, metropolitan areas, metroplexes, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for labor statistics, as well as related workforce terminology. Northern Virgina is one of the Top 25 Best (large) Cities for Jobs and Business in the America. However, it is not a city.

By definition (one that has changed over time) Northern Virginia is a Metropolitan Statistical Area that stands in for what can be taken together as a functioning workforce-related region that acts like a large city. It is also a part of the larger Washington DC area labor statistics unit.

Northern Virginia is a region in the Commonwealth of Virginia (a US State) that is taken together as an MSA. This unit of examination is a group of counties in the northern part of the state, along with its major cities and metropolitan areas. A metropolitan (or metro) area is usually called The Greater ___ (city name) Area and includes much of a county or parts of several counties or whole counties. All of these units can be confusing, but are valuable for labor statistics tracking and especially for forecasting the Top 10 Jobs of the MSA through 2025.

Northern Virginia

NOVA As An Official Metro Area

The US Federal Government has established MSAs for just such tracking. The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into MSAs containing workforce and business statistics that are use din tracking occupational and industrial trends in the state.

Northern Virginia contains several counties, as shown on the map to the right, and is also a part of the larger Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) of Washington DC - Baltimore - Virginia. This CMSA was redefined as as larger area after considering the 2000 US Census.

The following major cities or metropolitan areas and towns are located in Northern Virginia: Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park; Herndon, Clifton, Dumfries, Middleburg, and Leesburg


Careers in Tourism & 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 in 2004:

  • Alexandria: $517,065,297
  • Arlington: $1,959,810,556
  • Fairfax: $1,991,816,170
  • Loudoun: $1,060,226,119
  • Prince William: $331,208,748
  • Total: $5,860,126,890 [almost $6 Billion]

Tourism Promotes Business in Virginia

NOVA is very near Washington DC.
NOVA is very near Washington DC.

Health & Medical Jobs Increasing Through 2100 AD

Healthcare is an industry that is robust and growing in Northern Virginia.

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

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.

An Inova product.
An Inova product.

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 and Percentage of Growth to 2016

  1. Forensic Science Technicians 5.31%
  2. Home Health Aides 5.13%
  3. Network Systems and Data Communications 5.10%
  4. Crossing Guards 4.88%
  5. Fire Fighters 4.68%
  6. Computer Software Engineers, Applications 4.53%
  7. Bailiffs 4.37%
  8. Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other 4.34%
  9. Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software 4.31%
  10. Network and Computer Systems Administrators 3.93%

Top Jobs Numbers 11 - 20 in NOVA:

  • Residential Advisors 3.96%
  • First-Line Supervisors/Mgrs of Fire Fighting/Prevention Workers 3.92%
  • Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and System Operators 3.90%
  • Animal Control Workers 3.90%
  • Medical Assistants 3.85%
  • Physician Assistants 3.83%
  • Personal and Home Care Aides 3.81%
  • Database Administrators 3.77%
  • Mental Health Counselors 3.75%
  • Amusement and Recreation Attendants 3.64%

Largest Employers in Northern Virginia

A sample of the largest employers in the counties of Northern Virgina include:

  • US Department of Defense
  • Institute for Defense Analyses
  • Center for Naval Analyses
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • US Energy Information Administration
  • Federal Highway Administration / Eastern Fed. Lands Highway Division
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • SAIC - Science Applications International Corporation - supplies statistics and technologies to major US federal divisions.
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation - Federal contractor, works 120,000+ employees at any time. Also a leader in Aerospace.
  • Inova Health System - Regional health care and IT staff needed.
  • Lockheed Martin
  • iDirect Technologies
  • First Command Financial Planning
  • General Dynamics
  • General Electric Company - Energy Engineering Division
  • Marriott International
  • LanceSoft
  • STG International
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Cardinal Management Group, Inc.
  • CGI - $3 billion IT consulting firm.
  • DCS Corporation
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • John Hancock Financial Network
  • MetLife
  • Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
  • Precept Life Sciences - Clinical Research

Post-Secondary Education Options

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

Northern Virginia Healthforce

American School of Professional Psychology

GMU, Continuing Professional Education/PWC

  • 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
  • Strayer University
  • University of Virginia in Northern Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work

Virginia Tech

  • 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 NOVA

College Level Sports Teams

League Sports Teams

Professional Sports Teams

  • Potomac Nationals Baseball
  • Northern Virginia Majestics Soccer
  • Northern Virginia Royals Soccer

Recreational Sports Options

National Pow Wow in DC, near Northern Virginia

Native American 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 actually has 6 subdivisions in Northern Virginia and all are relateed to the Sioux that were forced west.

Monacan Nation is related to the Manahoacs. Their name means "digging stick." . They and the Nahyssan are also related to the Sioux. The native Americans of Northern Virgina contribute to the Travel and Tourism Industry, as well as owning some of their own businesses,

The Pamunkey Nation Reservation, located in King William, Virginia and the Mattaponi Nation Reservation, located in West Point, Virginia are just souitheast of Northern Virgina. 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

Fancy Dancers - National Pow Wow, 2007

© 2008 Patty Inglish


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