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Working and Living in "The OC" - Orange County, California

Updated on April 12, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is successful at employment & training, with regional records of tens of thousands placed and retained in gainful employment.

Crescent Bay Wave Barrel Shot Laguna Beach
Crescent Bay Wave Barrel Shot Laguna Beach | Source

Economy and People in The OC

Orange County is officially part of the Los Angeles Media Market, since it is just one county southeast of LA. This particular multi-city market is the largest media market in the United States.

The result of the size, reach, and effects of this media market and its advertising and information distribution is a high level of business growth other than in retail sales, along with increasing numbers of jobs in current and emerging occupational fields.

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach | Source

Best Occupations for Jobs in The OC

These occupations include Healthcare and Information Technology. In the 21st century, some workers left retail sales in the first decade to make the transition to other Services, IT, Healthcare, and additional fast-growth jobs, but some turned to fine and casual dining as servers in a rise in jobs since 2003 in the Dining Industry. Wages in the fastest-growing jobs are high overall (see tables below for the Top Jobs).

According to Orange County government records, the median price of a family home in the county as of February 2008 was $520,000.00. With a population well over three million people, nearly two billion Orange County building permits were issued in 2006 alone.

Over 1,000,000 workers live and work in Orange County, while another 200,000 commute out to Los Angeles County. However, 250,000 individuals commute into Orange from three other counties: Los Angeles and San Bernardino/Riverside Counties, the last two making up the Inland Empire. Orange County supports over 1,250,000 jobs with numerous openings.

Emerging Industries that are increasing job postings from 2015 - 2020 include Energy, Environment, Green Technologies, and Biotechnology/Nanotechnology. Transportation is also particularly increasing jobs - especially Truck Driving, which has maintained nearly one million openings during 2015 across the United States.

Road Map of The OC Area

Top 10 Fastest Growing Jobs in Orange County

The following list is of fast-growing jobs through 2020, available through public records. Employment opportunities in Orange County exist for many high school and college graduates.

Young and Mid-Career Professionals will find the most opportunities for employment, although Seniors are working longer into the life span and seeking additional work in retirement years. These types of jobs are also available, both part-time and full-time.

Three of the Top 10 jobs are in Information Technology (IT) and provide high salaries and abundant benefits than many other types of jobs. However, the Healthcare Industry offers more job openings than several other industries combined in Orange County, California.

The predicted job-listing leaders are:

  1. Physicians and Medical Assistants
  2. Nurse Practitioners
  3. Physical and Occupational Therapists, especially in Pediatrics.
  4. Speech Therapists
  5. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
  6. Home Health Aides - (Agency owners are high-paid and private duty and live-in aides earn higher than average wages.)
  7. Gaming Service Workers
  8. Special Education Teachers, Preschool, Kindergarten, and Middle School
  9. Biomedical Engineers; Computer Software Engineers
  10. Database Administrators

NOTE: Most of the occupations on the above list increased job listings in Orange county from 2010 - 2015. Occupations in numbers one through six above most noticeably increased advertised jobs.

Top Listed Jobs

BusinessWeek found that Anaheim in Orange County was the fastest growing city in the entire state.

Highest In-Demand Jobs:

  1. Warehouse Jobs
  2. Salespeople
  3. Interns - Interns in a wide range of industries.
  4. Front Desk Staff
  5. Engineers
  6. Sales Representatives
  7. Store Managers
  8. Physical Therapists
  9. Manufacturing Jobs
  10. Occupational Therapists
  11. Registered Nurses (RNs) - includes Travel Nursing.
  12. Merchandisers

Other Fast Growing Jobs

Quite a variety of additional occupations are predicted as fast-growing in Orange County. They include additional IT, Healthcare (including Veterinary), Education, Entertainment, Criminology, and others. Each of these positions requires a high school diploma and some additional training or college and certifications.

  • Entertainment and other Attendants.
  • Computer Systems Software Engineers
  • Special Education Teachers, Secondary School (high school level)
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Teachers - Read about the range of positions.
  • Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary

The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove near Anaheim.
The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove near Anaheim. | Source

OC Higher Education Directory

This list contains many of the major institutions of higher learning throughout Orange County. In addition, county residents commute short distances into surrounding counties to attend other schools. Higher education is prolific in the region and offers some unique opportunities.

Community Colleges


  • Alliant International University - Professional schools of psychology and forensics/criminology as well as a range of undergraduate programs.
  • Biola University - Bible College of Los Angeles. Innovative BOLD adult degree program offered, along with undergraduate and masters degrees. Music conservatory and sports teams.
  • California State University Fullerton - 100 degree programs, nearly half being Graduate Programs.
  • Chapman University- Ranked consistent in the Top Universities in the US, Chapman specializes in liberal arts and professions.
  • Hope International University- Christian university set in the aerospace-age designed buildings from the 1960s and 1970s: Pacific Christian College, School of Professional Studies (working adults, on-line/distance learning), and Graduate School.
  • Soka University of America - Attracts international students and seeks to make global citizens of them. Its Pacific Basin Research Institute pursues peace and other social enhancements.
  • Law School, Trinity International University- Non-profit Law School in Santa Ana.
  • Vanguard University - Next to the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Christian University owned by the Assemblies of God. Undergraduate and graduate programs and sports teams.
  • University of California, Irvine- A prestigious member of the 63 Universities elected to the American Association of Universities.
  • Whittier College and Law School- Diverse programs and diverse students from all parts of society. Sports teams are called the Whittier College Poets. Names after Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Its Orthogonian Society is a fraternity that was started by Richard M. Nixon as a student.

Arts and Design

  • Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) - State-of-the-art computer technology labs for all types of arts and design projects and study programs. Fine arts, animation, sculpture, technical illustration, graphic design. Located in an artists hub dating back over 100 years.
  • Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Well known, with a high percentage of graduate employment.

Early American roller derby.
Early American roller derby.

Sports Opportunities in Orange County

There are several sports teams in The OC and some are becoming very popular, including Roller Derby and Rugby. Job opportunities exist in some of these organizations regularly, as listed on their web sites, including Pro, League, High School, and College sports as well as in the various stadiums and arena that host them. Some arenas also host music concerts and other events.

Sports Opportunities in Orange County

  • American Basketball Association -Orange County Gladiators, since 2007 - at Fieldhouse Gym, San Juan Capistrano
  • Major League Baseball - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • National Hockey League - Anaheim Ducks - Winners of the Stanley Cup in 2007.
  • NBA D-League Basketball - Anaheim Arsenal - Anaheim Convention Center
  • USL Premier Development League Soccer -Orange County Blue Star - at Orange Coast College

Other Entertaining Sports

  • All Female Flat Track Roller Derby League, founded 2006 - Orange County Rollergirls
  • Amateur Australian Rules Football - Southern California Australian Football League (Men's) - Orange County Bombers
  • Women's Australian Football Association - Orange County Bombshells. - "Chicks play footy too!"

Sports Museums

Mission San Juan Capistrano Juaneno Hut or Kiicha.
Mission San Juan Capistrano Juaneno Hut or Kiicha. | Source

Native American Business and Education

The Native American population has increased approximately 45% in the southern areas of Orange County since 1980, as well as in a few northeastern cities. Numerous Native American business and social agencies have grown in that time as well.

19 federally-recognized Nations, Tribes, and Bands in Orange County and Adjacent counties (nearby San Diego County supports at least 18 reservations alone):

  • Barona, Cahuilla, La Posta, Los Coyotes, Mesa Grande, Pauma, Bands of Mission Indians
  • Campo Kumeyaay Nation and Ewiiaapaayp Band, Manzanita Band,Sycuan Band, and Viejas Band; Jamul Indian Village (Juaneno Band)
  • Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
  • Inaja-Cosmit Band of Indians
  • La Jolla Band and Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians
  • Pala Band of Cupeño Indians
  • San Pasqual Band of Diegueño Mission Indians of California
  • Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel

US Federal documents still refer to Native North Americans residing in the USA as "Indians." However, legal names often include the word Nation rather than Indian. Bands are smaller groups of larger nations or tribes.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


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