A prime vacation destination, Clearwater, FL has much more than beautiful water and beaches to offer those who live here! Clearwater is in Pinellas County, Florida. Population of the area is 107, 685. However, during the tourist season, expect to see even more crowds in this area! Due to being located on the coast, having those clear waters and white beaches that the area is known for, many people come to school in this area, and then stay. After all, who doesn’t want to call a tourist location that is considered paradise their home.
One of the best aspects about this area is that it is not considered a Spring Break location. Or those who are considering a beach school that also has a calm and safe neighborhood. This is what you will find here. This area is known for its beauty, along with is old world charm that makes everyone feel at home! With this being said, let’s look at what the area must offer a student and a working professional.
There are several colleges and secondary education institutions that are calling Clearwater home. Here are some of the more common ones in which people are attending:
St. Petersburg College (SPC)
This college was founded in 1927, SPC was one of the first colleges in Florida to offer bachelor’s degrees. For many students, the history of the school is why they decide to attend here. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. However, US News does not rank this school. The schools mission is to provide an open door, learning centered education that is accessible to students throughout the area.
A few interesting facts about the college:
- The colleges serve around 32,681 students
- Only 28% of the students are full time
- 81% of students receive some sort of financial aid from the college
- For those who want to go here, they are going to find that tuition rates are around 50% lower than other colleges in the Florida area. They decide the costs of their tuition according to the lower or upper division classes a person is taking.
o Lower division courses are going to cost residents $111.75, while out of state residents will pay $386.90
o Upper division courses will cost residents $122.70 and out of state residents $425.79
- The college does offer an interest free tuition payment plan through Nelnet Campus Commerce
It should be noted that the college does offer several of their own scholarships to those students who qualify. St. Petersburg College offers several different Associates and certificate programs for those who are interested. However, they offer just as many Bachelor’s degrees. They offer numerous Bachelors in the education sector, along with degrees in Veterinary Technology, Public Safety, Policy and Legal Studies, Nursing, Science and Environmental Technology, Health Sciences, Information Technology, and Business. This is one of the larger universities that people can go to in the area.
Zion Christian University
There are several students who come to this area for this particular college. This college is devoted to the theology. They also offer their programs via distance learning. The school offers a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and Theology. The cost of the degree will depend upon what degree you get. However, the average cost is around $9,000. To be admitted into this school, a person not only needs a high school diplomat, but they must have a recommendation from a clergy members to be admitted. The school has recently opened a Graduate School of Theology for those who are interested in receiving a Master of Biblical Studies, Theological Studies or Divinity. This school does attract many people throughout the world to attend, as they do offer online and traditional in-class instruction.
Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. They award associates, bachelor’s, masters and even doctorate levels of degrees, along with certifications and specialist degrees. This is a private institution that was founded in 1977. A few interesting stats about this school:
- Undergraduate enrollment is around 15,110 students
- According to US News, the school is ranked as #23 in the Regional Colleges South
- Ranked as #11 in terms of best value schools
- 93% of those who attend receive some type of financial aid
- The tuition for the school is $17,664 per year
- On average, the school has an 83% retention rate for freshman’s
The school offers several bachelors, associates and master’s degree in a wide variety of fields. However, some of the more popular options for students who attend here include Business Administration and Management, Criminal Justice/Safety Studies, Multidisciplinary Studies, Legal Professions and Studies, and Health Services Administration.
There are some very interesting educational facts in the Clearwater FL area. For example:
1. The most common major that students are pursuing throughout the entire city is Medical Office Assistant, followed by nursing assistance and then dental assisting.
2. Business degrees are a close second with many students specializing in hospitality services.
3. 27.6% of those who live in the area have a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
4. Those who have a degree in the area, almost always double their income potential with this degree.
5. Many of the schools in the Clearwater FL area are offering some type of career assistance in which they help their graduates have a great resume and possibly find a career in the area.
Scholarships in Clearwater FL
For those who attend a college in Clearwater, FL, there are several scholarships that are offered through the school’s themselves, along with local scholarships given to students in the area, if they qualify. A few of these scholarships include:
1. Suncoast Credit Union Scholarship
This scholarship is open to those who graduating high school in the area. To be awarded this scholarship, a student must be planning to attend a local college in Florida. It is open to all students in the Suncoast Credit Union service area, which does include Clearwater. The scholarship awards $10,000 each year.
2. FOWA Scholarship Program
This scholarship is given to students who are pursuing a career in outdoor communications. In order to be considered for this scholarship, there are several requirements a student must meet. For one, the person must be attending a college or university in Florida, and they must be endorsed by a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. The association awards $1,000.
3. Myra McDaniel Endowed Scholarship
For those who are going to be in an accredited occupational therapy program, they are eligible to receive this scholarship. The award varies based on the need and resources of the scholarship.
4. Costas G. Lemonpoulos Scholarship
This is provided by the National Association of Letter Carriers. It is only open to students who are children of members of this association. The awards varies from year to year.
5. NEWH Sunshine Chapter Scholarship
This is awarded to current college students who are pursuing a degree in hospitality. It is open to those in Florida and Mississippi. The award amounts vary from year to year. To be eligible, a student must have already completed around half of their requirements to get their degree in this industry.
Top Industries in Clearwater FL
Given the tourism in Clearwater, FL, it comes as no surprise that the leading industry in the area is tourism and hospitality. There are also numerous careers in the financial, health care, technology, manufacturing, education and media industries in the area as well. Those who receive business degrees, healthcare degrees, education degrees and technology based degrees are going to find that they could easily make Clearwater their home after graduation.
Some of the top private employers in the area according to the Regional Chamber of Commerce for Clearwater include:
1. Home Shopping Network: This is an inbound and outbound sales and services company. They employ approximately 4,000 people.
2. Time Publishing Corp: This is a newspaper publisher, that employs 3,187 people.
3. Raymond James and Associates: This is a corporate/subsidiary/regional management firm that employs 3,022 people.
4. Nielsen Media Research, Inc: A market research and public opinion business. This business employs 2,669 people.
5. Morton Plant Hospital: This is a general medicine and surgical hospital that employs 2,448 employees.
6. Raytheon: This is a company that provides search, detection, navigation, guidance, aeronautical and nautical systems and instruments. The company employs 2,200 people.
7. All Children’s Health Systems Inc: This is a general medical and surgical hospital dedicated to children. The location employs over 3,000 people.
8. Bayfront Medical Center, Inc: This is a general medical and surgical center who employs 2,000 people.
9. Duke Energy: This is an electric utility holding company that employ 1,870 professionals.
10. Tech Data Corp: This is a computer and software store that employs 1,800 people.
11. Honeywell, Inc: This company provides instrument, aeronautical and guidance systems. The company employs 1,800 people.
12. Jabil Circuit Co: This is a manufacturer of circuit boards who employs 1,630 professionals.
13. Special Data Processing, Inc: This is a telemarking company that employ 1,600 people.
14. Essilor of America: this company provides ophthalmic goods and employs 1,397
15. Western Reserve Life Assurance: This is a life insurance company. They employ 1,200 professionals.
16. Crum Resources: This is an employee leasing service company who employ 1,150 professionals.
17. Walgreens: This is a pharmacy and drugstore that employs 1,150 people in the area.
18. Franklin Resources Inc: This is a securities brokerage firm that employs 1,129.
19. Danka Business Systems: This company provides automated office systems and employ 1,000 people.
20. Ceridian: This is a credit card issuing firm that employs 750 people.
21. Talk America: This is a wired communications carrier that employs 550 professionals.
There are several public employers that are considered main industries in the Clearwater FL area. These public employers include:
1. Pinellas County School District who employs around 13,905 people, with many of these belonging to the Clearwater area.
2. Pinellas County Government: The government of the area employ 4,000 people.
3. Bay Pines VA Medical Center: While it may be located in Bay Vines, several people of Clearwater call this their place of employment. There are approximately 2,330 people employed here.
Due to the tourism that is in the area, there are several hotels and hospitality businesses that are always looking for new graduates to bring into their family. There are 29 hotels in the area, and 14 motels. For those who graduate with a hospitality degree, they are going to find that these are some of the best places to find employment. Due to the tourism in the area, other types of employment can be found via these tourism hotspots. For example, being a manager at one of the golf resorts in the area, or even being involved with the aquatic offerings of the area.
When looking at the number of industries and employers in the area, the industries share in the area includes:
- Healthcare and Social Assistance makes up 15.2% of the market
- Retail Trade: 14.6%
- Professional Scientific, Technology and the like makeup 8.8%
- Accommodation and Food Services (including hospitality) makes up 7.9%
- Manufacturing accounts for 6.6% of the industry
- Administrative, Management and the like makes up 6.4%
- Education Services make up 6.3%
- Other services minus public administration make up 5.8%
- Finance and Insurance accounts for 5.7% of the industry
- Construction accounts for 5.6%
- Public Administration accounts for 3.1% of the industry
- Wholesale trade accounts for 2.8%
- Transportation accounts for 2.8%
- Real Estate accounts for 2.6%
- Arts, entertainment and recreation accounts for 2.3%
- Information accounts for 2.2% of the industry
- Agriculture, Forestry and the like accounts for only .6%
- Utilities accounts for .6%
Top Careers in Clearwater
While there are several employers and industries within Clearwater, FL, there are several different types of careers which can be found here.
The most common jobs in the area deal with Administrative careers, sales and management. There are over 7,000 people who are in the administrative line of work. Food and serving, along with other business related careers round out the top five careers in the area. It should also be noted that Clearwater has a high number of specialized careers when compared to other areas of Florida. These highly specialized careers include health technicians, legal, healthcare support, sales, installation, maintenance and repair careers.
For those who are looking for the best paid careers in the area, they are going to find these include:
- Legal professions who on average make over $70k per year
- Computer and mathematical fields for over $70k per year
- Health Practitioners who earn over $70k per year
- Management careers earn over $60k per year
- Architecture and Engineering careers earn over $60k per year
- Dentists in the area often earn over $100,000 per year
- Nurse anesthetists earn over $100,000 in the Clearwater area
When looking at the number of open positions throughout the city, there are several jobs that are standing out due to how many companies in the area are looking for a person who can perform these duties. These jobs include:
1. Administrative Assistant aka Secretary aka Receptionist
In most instances, an administrative assistant is going to provide support for various business tasks. The person may answer phone calls, send emails, organize files, prepare documents, edit documents and schedule appointments for someone else. The job growth for this field is expected to be 3% in the upcoming years. On average, a person earns $35,200 per year for this work. However, for those who have a four-year degree they are considered to have a specialized training which can result in a higher salary, along with more in-depth job functions.
2. Financial Managers
This career is going to require at a minimum a four-year Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or another related field. Almost every business has a financial manager, and many bigger companies have more than one. In terms of how fast this type of career will grow, it is expected to continue to grow as more businesses are coming into the area.
3. Computer and Information Systems Manager
With the amount of technology that we all rely on, it comes as no surprise that this is one of the rising career fields in the Clearwater area, as it is one profession that tends to increase in almost every city in the country. Those who wish to enter into the career field are going to find that a four-year degree is the minimal education that is needed. However, those who continue to rise in this career often go back and get their Master’s degree in some technology related industry.
4. Marketing Managers
Those who are in the marketing field will find that Clearwater has some of the best job opportunities. Why is this? Given that this is a tourism town, there are tons of marketing potential for getting more tourists to come to the area. Almost every hospitality business in the area is going to have a marketing manager who will handle getting out the word about what the area must offer. Marketing managers are going to be responsible for print material, online material and communicating with numerous departments in a business to make this work.
5. Insurance Sales
The insurance industry is alive and well in the Clearwater, FL area. In most cases, insurance sales personnel have some sort of four-year degree in business or some related field. While many people would think that having a degree would not be needed. However, this degree is needed for the ultimate success in sales, marketing the insurance and providing customer service. In addition, there are numerous technologies that are used in the field to make this job easier and more organized, why is why a few computer courses from an accredited college can be of great use.
The healthcare field has numerous positions within it that a person can enter into. Many of those who graduate from the area are going into the nursing field. However, there are several other who complete their basic training here and then go on to other colleges to complete their medical degree in order to practice legally within the area. This is one field that is going to continue to grow, as healthcare is always a stable career to enter into!
There are several other careers that are being seen in the Clearwater area that could be of interest to those students who going to college in order to get a degree. These jobs are often considered a great supplement while going to college, as these businesses often work around the schedule of the student. Due to the tourism that is seen in the area, waiters and waitresses are also jobs that can be found. In addition, retail stores are often looking to hire those who can provide part time and full time employment to manage these tourist stores. Due to the high number of hotels in the area as well, many of those who live here find that being employed via this hotel as a maid or something similar is relatively easy to find while attending college in the area.
For those who are looking to go to school in this area and perhaps live here, they are going to find that for many people, this is what they consider paradise. With the white beaches, water and numerous activities that call this area home, many people find that they go to work during the week, and then feel as though they are on vacation come the weekend. A few tidbits about the community of Clearwater, FL:
1. The median age for those who live here is 47 years of age.
2. The average household income in the area is $46,344 which is slightly lower than the Florida state average.
3. The average rent in the area is $984.
4. Most average homes are valued at $173,600.
5. Approximately 28% of those who live in this area attend post-secondary schools and receive a bachelor’s degree or higher.
6. The unemployed number is at 4.1%, which is a lower rate than the rest of the state.
Those who live here are going to find that there is always something to do. Why is this? Thanks to this location being one of the tourist destinations of Florida, there are tons of attractions and things to do in the area. While they may be catering to tourists, these are still great adventures for those who live here. A few of tourist attractions that you must see while living here or going to college here:
- Be sure to interact at the Dolphin Encounter! This is a boat excursion to the Gulf of Mexico that is organized by Tropics Boat Tours, who guarantees dolphin sightings.
- Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise is more than just a sightseeing adventure. They have treasure hunts, stories, dancing and live music on board.
- The Segway Adventure is great for those who love to be outdoors! They are going to find that this will allow for a clear view of what all Clearwater has to offer.
- For dinner and dining, MurderS She Wrote Dinner Theater is a must attend! There are several shows performed throughout the year, ensuring that even if you live here, there is always something different to see!
- Relax at the beach during the weekend, as you will find that this is one of the locations that will continue to be a great recreation for you and your future family!
- There are over 600 restaurants that are considered part of the Clearwater area, thus, no person should ever go hungry while they are here!
- Clearwater Beach is the most popular beach in the area for a reason, and on the weekends, you will find several students and families who are enjoying the sun and sand.
- The Beach Walk is one of the most historical things to do in the area, and is one thing that everyone must do while they are in the Clearwater area.
Clearwater is more than just a tourist attraction! It is home to several great colleges that can get you started in a lucrative career in the area. The ability to find work in Clearwater, FL is going to be relatively simple, as most every profession is being represented in this area. However, to make yourself more competitive, a college education can drastically help a candidate to stand out and to get hired. And for those who are interested, Clearwater has some great colleges that are going to prepare you for whatever your professional life may end up being.
Clearwater Florida Regional Chamber - http://www.clearwaterflorida.org/Relocation/education.aspx