Corpus Christi, Texas is located in southeastern Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. The city is nicknamed the Riviera of Texas and Sparking City by the Sea for its stunning location on the Gulf. However, this is not simply a resort or tourist town, Corpus Christi is one of the major metropolises in southern Texas. In terms of population numbers, the city ranks 8th in Texas, and Corpus Christi is the 58th largest city among U.S. cities for total population. Today, Corpus Christi has a permanent population of roughly 320,430 people, and is slowly growing in size.
The limits of Corpus Christi cross four different counties in Texas, which are Nueces, Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. However, despite the geographic reach, Corpus Christi is centered in Nueces and is the county seat. This means Corpus Christi is the location for a number of county offices, divisions, and administrative departments for Nueces County. In addition to being a municipality in its own right, Corpus Christi is the center point for the Corpus-Christi-Kingsville-Alice Combined Statistical Area. The population of this entire area numbers over 516,000. Corpus Christi is by far the most important urban area within this region, and has the economic and population strength to prove it.
This mid-sized city is an ideal place to start a college education or professional career. There is a healthy mix of academic institutions and trade schools that offer programs as diverse and exciting as the people who call Corpus Christi home.
Corpus Christi, Texas is a diverse and interesting city for college and trade school students. The population is slowly, but steadily growing since 2010, and this equates to additional job opportunities, access to arts and culture, and increase in vibrancy throughout the city. Only 20% of adults in Corpus Christi hold degrees of higher education from accredited two or four-year colleges, and this opens the door for those who do attend university or trade school to make an impact and find good jobs. There is a lot to offer young professionals in terms of job opportunities, room for promotion, and connections to other parts of southern Texas.
There are well over 45,000 businesses that are established within the limits of Corpus Christi, Texas. That is over 45,000 employers who are in need for reliable, skilled, and knowledgeable employees. The bet way to connect and begin a relationship with these employers is by attending a university, college, or other institution in the area. This will introduce students to industry leaders, the young professional community, and the best opportunities for jobs down the road.Nearly the entire population of Corpus Christi lives in urban areas, with only 1% identifying as rural as of 2014. The urban center leads to a strong emphasis on the arts and cultural activities of the diverse demographic groups and communities who call Corpus Christi home. There is a large Hispanic population, naval base, and long-time tradesmen who all call Corpus Christi home, when combined with a strong tourism sector it is obvious that there is a lot of flavor and life happening across the city.
The universities and community colleges in Corpus Christi recognize the potential for students to access jobs and build careers in some of the niche markets in the area. For this reason, many of the stronger programs at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, and South Texas Vocational Technical Institute are focused on these areas. For example, The universities in the area and employers also take advantage of Corpus Christi’s location on the Gulf of Mexico. The United States Navy is the largest employer in the area. The Naval Air Station – Corpus Christi is just six miles from central Corpus Christi, and is the home of an 18-month training program for Navy Air pilots. It is also a training base for the Coast Guard and Marines. There are a number of Navy aircraft on the base, a medium range search and rescue vessel and helicopters for the Coast Guard, and two drones operated by the U.S. Border and Customs Protection, which are used to patrol the border.
The Naval Air Station is also the site of another large employer in Corpus Christi, the Corpus Christi Army Depot is the largest helicopter repair facility in the world, and requires new civilian and military employees every year. The area is also known for its marine biology research. There is also a focus on maritime research that hasn’t developed elsewhere in Texas or the United States. Both of these areas provide unique opportunities for students or technicians interested in the field. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi has two campuses dedicated to the study and research of marine biology. Both of these campuses are located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, which provides students, professors, and other academic employees access to the biodiversity of the Gulf.
Of the over 46,000 businesses located in Corpus Christi more than 32,000 businesses have 10 employees or fewer. While this might appear to limit the number of job opportunities within the area, it is actually a good thing for trade school and university students. This large amount of small businesses shows a healthy amount of entrepreneurship. This means students who eventually want to be self-employed will receive support and resources within Corpus Christi. There will be other small business owners who can offer advice, and an effort from the community to buy, hire, and support local startups. Corpus Christi offers programing through a multitude of organizations for small businesses, such as those at the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, Texas Economic Development Council, Texas Association of Manufacturers, and Small Business Administration – Texas.
Top Industries in Corpus Christi, Texas
It is a coastal town located near other large metropolitan areas in south Texas; the city is filled with a culturally and economically diverse population that brings many different skills and talents to the table; and it is the home to one of the U.S. Navy’s most integral air bases. The location and population size of Corpus Christi make it a hub for a number of different industries and companies.
Large-Scale Fabrication. One of the top industries in Corpus Christi, Texas is large-scale fabrication. Some of the largest employers in the area need engineers, business representatives, and skilled tradespeople to manage and effectuate this work. This includes employees at the Port of Corpus Christi and Corpus Christi Army Depot, in addition to other private employers.
Petrochemical manufacturing. This industry is time intensive and the particular training and skills needed to work in petrochemical manufacturing begin with a strong university, college, or trade school certification. One of the largest employers in Corpus Christi has an extensive history in refining, chemical and petrochemical manufacturing, gas processing and transmission, offshore exploration and production and refined products storage and transmission, which all fall under this industry. There is no better place to study, learn about, or begin a career in petrochemical manufacturing than Corpus Christi.
Tourism and Hospitality. The hospitality industry thrives in Corpus Christi, with a number of bars, restaurants, and hotels dedicated to people on holiday to the Gulf of Mexico. The islands just outside central Corpus Christi receive much of this tourist activity but the waterfront is also lively with visitors. Due to warmer weather patterns, tourism continues for much of the year. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi offers a bachelors degree in hospitality management that sets many graduates on track for management and upper level roles in the tourism and hospitality industries.
Maritime Shipping. Corpus Christi’s maritime history was the spark that grew and sustained this city. The Port of Corpus Christi continues to be one of the most important in the country, and the industry shows no sign of slowing with container shipping one of the most cost effective ways to import and export goods. In terms of tonnage of goods moved in and out, the Port of Corpus Christi is currently the fifth largest port in America.However, through Corpus Christi moves more than clothing and produce. Texas is the most important source of wind energy in the United States. This has increased the demand for wind turbines in Texas in recent years, and most of those turbines and their parts come in and out through the Port of Corpus Christi. It is also a major port of the movement of oil and gas due to the city’s proximity to the oil and gas hub of Houston.
Healthcare. The healthcare industry has an extremely large presence in the Corpus Christi area. Several of the biggest employers operate within different aspects of this industry, including a large-scale hospital and insurance provider. The importance of this industry in Corpus Christi is recognized by several of the educational institutions located here. Southern Careers Institute offers several certifications and training courses in the health care and medical field, and the nursing program at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is one of the university’s finest.
Educational Services. Higher education has become more than a draw card for young people to Corpus Christi it is also a great reason to continue living in the area. Del Mar College is not only one of the institutions of higher education in Corpus Christi, it is also one of the biggest employers in the region. Several graduates of Del Mar College and other institutions find employment at the college each year and the number of staff is only growing.
Construction. There are opportunities in industrial jobs and commercial construction throughout Corpus Christi. A number of civilians are employed in this capacity at the Naval Air Station and Corpus Christi Amy Depot, as well as on private property in the area. As the population grows in the future and new infrastructure is required, the need for engineers, project managers, and contractors will only increase in and around Corpus Christi. Certificates and degrees in these areas can be obtained from several of the local institutions.
Government. As Corpus Christi is the county seat for Nueces County there are several positions for those interested in local or county government. Many of the employees who fill administrative roles and manager positions come from Texas A&M – Corpus Christi and Southern Careers Institute where they earned degrees or certificates in business administration, as an administrative assistant, city planning, or business accounting specializations. The federal government also employs a number of people in Corpus Christi in connection with border protection, Coast Guard activities, and the naval base.
Professional, Technical and Scientific Services. Several engineering companies are based in Corpus Christi, Texas. These companies and smaller engineering firms are attracted to the plethora of defense and contracting opportunities, with the local government, federal government and military, that are available in the city. There is a specific focus on civil engineering connected to businesses on land and great need for oil and gas engineers at the Port of Corpus Christi and with the companies that operate drilling and rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi – The Corpus Christi branch of Texas A&M has one of the more unique locations of any college in the United States. The campus of this four-year university is located on Ward Island, giving it the nickname The Island University. The college is part of the Texas A&M University system, which is one the largest in the United States with 11 different campuses. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi offers 33 undergraduate majors, including eight different majors in business and two different nursing degrees. The campus also has courses for 25 graduate degrees across a wide range of disciplines. There are also five doctoral programs taught on the campus. The average tuition is $11,530, which is nearly $4,000 below the national average.
Del Mar College – Del Mar College is a 2-year community college that first opened its doors back in 1935. It has remained a vital part of the Corpus Christi community ever since. There are two main campuses, both located within Corpus Christi. The college offers associate degrees in over 50 majors accepted for university transfer. The full-time student enrollment is roughly 11,400 students with nearly 11,000 more students enrolled on a part-time basis. Del Mar College has a student teacher ratio of 18:1. The average cost of tuition is $1,181 per 12-credit hour semester.
South Texas Vocational Technical Institute – South Texas Vocational Technical Institute is an accredited college and trade school with a number of various programs offered on the Corpus Christi campus. The programs range from the health care and wellness industry to skilled trades, such as welding. The focus at South Texas Vocational Technical Institute is on practical training and hands on experience, which helps prepare college students and skilled tradesmen for their careers.
Southern Careers Institute – Southern Careers Institute has seven campuses throughout Southern Texas, with the primary branch located in Austin, Texas. It is a career training school that focuses on preparing students for careers in business, computers, cosmetology, medical trades, and technology. The Corpus Christi campus offers programs in the business and medical fields. It provides training and hands on experience for careers as a medical assistant, administrative assistant, pharmacy technician, and business accounting specialist.
Currently, Corpus Christi is seeing steady growth in a number of sectors. There are roughly 213,200 people in the workforce in Corpus Christi, and of those over 200,000 are gainfully employed. This leaves the unemployment rate for the city at 6.1%, which is a 0.1% drop in unemployment between December 2015 and December 2016. Several industries saw a positive grain in number of workers over the course of 2016. The number of jobs in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, education and health services, and government jobs all increased throughout the year, with many other industries retaining the same number of employees and jobs.
This indicates that there is growth within the Corpus Christi job market, and the industries that did not see the same growth are maintaining, not in decline. While the unemployment rate is above the national average, the prospect for a skilled worker or university graduate to obtain a job within the Corpus Christi area is better than in most other major cities in Texas or the southern United States.
The top employers in Corpus Christi are from a wide range of industries and sectors. There is a strong military, defense and government services sector that is driven by the naval base located in Corpus Christi, and employers in the medical field are quick to hire qualified graduates of the university and college programs in the city. Another well-paid and substantial industry in the area is real property design and construction. These employers need skilled tradespeople, engineers, and business graduates to effectively and efficiently run the business. This creates a number of opportunities for everyone from licensed tradespeople to individuals earning a masters degree.
Another major source of employment in Corpus Christi is the Port of Corpus Christi. The waterfront location brings in a number of tourist and their dollars, but it also supports the fifth largest port in the United States. There is a lot of maritime shipping and container shipping that takes place in the Port of Corpus Christi, and many residents employed by the private companies or Coast Guard to keep it all running. The Port of Corpus Christi is known as the Energy Port of America, and it is constantly looking for new talent to participate in their on the job training or grow a career. There are 6,000 vessels and over 80,000,000 tons of cargo handled annually at the Port of Corpus Christi. This includes shipment of everything from oil and gas, project cargo, agricultural products, and container cargo.
Things to Do in Corpus Christi
There are a number of interesting things for college students to do in Corpus Christi, Texas. Water is never far away in this seaside city. There are several beaches nearby and easily accessible from the city center. North Packery Beach and South Packery Channel Beach have some of the best surfing on the Gulf of Mexico or head to the Padre Island National Seashore to reconvene with nature among the many different birds and sea turtles that occupy these shores. Padre Island becomes a spring break hotpot in March and April, but students in Corpus Christi are already in the heart of the action, with the island and its spring fun close by.
Even as a civilian it is possible to visit the USS Lexington, a World World II vessel with a lot of history. This is a big ship that has been converted into a museum that covers naval history and its important integration with airplanes and flight. There is also an IMAX theatre on board. The ship is a tangible example of the important relationship between Corpus Christi, the Navy, and its location on the Gulf of Mexico. As both of these aspects of the city continue to be major influences on industry and jobs, a visit to the USS Lexington is a great way to know more about why and how Corpus Christi great to be a thriving metropolitan.
There is a steady nightlife in Corpus Christi. Much of it is driven by the tourism industry, but local favorites along the waterfront and on Ward Island make it easy for college-aged students to enjoy a vibrant social scene while attending the several institutions in the city. Plus, the cities of San Antonio, Houston, and Austin are all within driving distance of Corpus Christi, for weekends or school breaks away.
Bureau of Labor Statistics – https://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/summary/blssummary_corpuschristi.pdf