Jacksonville, Florida is home to a population of over 860,000 residents with the larger metro area housing over 1.5 million residents total. Its coastal location supports multiple military installations as well as the third largest seaport in the state, the Port of Jacksonville. Both of these presences help maintain two of the city’s largest industries: defense operations and transportation. The metro area boasts a young population and an improving quality of life. It’s the largest city in the state of Florida, so access to amenities is often a short ride away. You can enjoy everything from unique shops and dining options in downtown to sunny beaches and beautiful parks all without having the leave the city metro area.
Many people mistakenly believe that tourism is the only industry within the state of Florida. But it’s Jacksonville’s diverse economy that has helped in weather the storm of economic instability that raced through the nation during the Great Recession. Notable companies from a wide range of industries all call the area home, including two Fortune 500 companies focused on financial services. The unemployment rate in Jacksonville sits near the national average, and the cost of living is comparable as well. That makes it a strong destination for those interested in starting or furthering their career.
The Jacksonville area also ranks in the top 100 in regards to education and provides highly rated options at both the K-12 and the college or university level. The wide selection also means educational options exist for students interested in almost every subject under the sun.
Being the largest city in the state of Florida, Jacksonville offers a wide range of educational opportunities to local residents and out-of-state students from across the country. With the combination of sunny days, warm temperatures, and high-quality education options, it’s no surprise that so many seek their degrees in the bustling seaport city.
University of North Florida
The University of North Florida is a mid-sized, public, four-year university located within the city of Jacksonville. Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees from one of the major colleges on campus including:
• Brookes College of Health
• Coggin College of Business
• College of Arts and Sciences
• College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction
• College of Education and Human Services
• Hicks Honors College
Approximately 13,000 undergraduates attend classes at the University of North Florida, and the graduate enrollment sits around 1,800.
Offering over 70 undergraduate majors, Jacksonville University is a medium-sized, private college featuring suburban-style living within Jacksonville. Master’s degrees are also available through the university’s graduate program. The school is home to just over 3,000 undergraduates and just over 1,000 graduate students. One of the unique features of the school is the onsite marine science research institute, making it an ideal choice for those interested in pursuing degrees related to the marine science field.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Florida State College at Jacksonville is a public community college offering a variety of certificate and diploma programs, as well as associate and bachelor’s degrees. The college is considered a large educational institution with an undergraduate population of over 26,000 students. Over 150 programs are available in a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to:
• Construction & Manufacturing
• Culinary Arts & Hospitality
• Health & Human Services
• Transportation & Logistics
The student population is as diverse as the available educational programs, with students representing more than 140 countries and with ages ranging from 15 to 77 years of age.
Edward Waters College
A four-year, private college, Edward Waters College is comprised of just over 900 undergraduate students. The college is the oldest independent higher educational institution in Florida and is also the first institution established for the education of African-American students in the state. Students can choose from one of eight bachelor’s degree programs at this historic institution, including:
• Business Administration
• Criminal Justice
• Elementary Education
Florida Coastal School of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law focused on preparing students for passing the bar exam and ultimately practicing law. While the school focuses solely on law degrees, they also partner with Jacksonville University to provide dual degree options to students interested in exploring courses in business and public policy. Successful students of the dual degree program will complete degrees from the Florida Coastal School of Law and Jacksonville University within a single four-year time period. The school also offers a variety of certificate programs in specific areas of the law including:
• Business and Transactional Practice
• Criminal Law
• Civil Litigation
• Family Law
• Government and Public Interest Law
• International and Comparative Law
• Legal Drafting, Research, and Writing
• Real Estate and Environmental Sustainability
Jacksonville is diverse in regards to the top industries in the area. Aside from the previously mentioned defense and transportation industries, banking and finance, manufacturing and production, and tourism all play vital roles in the local economy.
Banking and Finance
The city of Jacksonville has strong roots in the banking and finance industry. And that legacy continues as the city continues to host the operations of two Fortune 500 companies in the financial service industry: Fidelity National Financial and FIS.
Other financial services companies operate in the area, including the second largest Deutsche Bank operation in the U.S. Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo have a substantial local presence, and the city is the home of the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Military and Defense
Jacksonville has the third largest military presence in the nation. Only Norfolk, Virginia and San Diego, California have higher numbers of military members working in the area. Some of the military facilities that call the Jacksonville area home are:
• Blount Island Command
• Naval Air Station Jacksonville
• Naval Station Mayport
• Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
It is estimated that the financial impact of the military facilities in the area totals over $6 billion annually.
The deep-water port in Jacksonville ranks alongside facilities in New York as one of the top two ports for vehicle-handling in the country. A total of three seaports and four airports support the transportation industry by sea and air. The city also provides easy access to three major interstates, and the local rail system provides services to three major railroad companies. This logistical network attracts attention from multiple industrial corporations. Automotive parts and accessories are manufactured in the area, and multiple large automotive distribution sites put down roots in Jacksonville, including Southeast Toyota, to take advantage of the breadth of transportation options. With regular access to skilled former military personnel skilled in aviation, the aviation industry is well-served in the Jacksonville area. Former military pilots and maintenance personnel who retire in the area provide a wealth of knowledge to area companies looking to hire.
Manufacturing and Production
The strong transportation resources attract a wide variety of manufacturing and industrial companies to the Jacksonville area. This includes the world’s largest cigar factory operated by Swisher International, Inc., and a facility representing one of the largest unsaturated polyester resin suppliers for composites, Reichhold LLC.
Tourism & Hospitality Industry
It’s no surprise that tourism is a big industry in Jacksonville. Notable tourism increases were experienced in 2015, including a record-setting third quarter of 25.5 million visitors statewide. As an industry, tourism is fairly diverse. Recreational facilities, hotels, restaurants, and tour guide services can all qualify. Local beaches bring in a large number of visitors throughout the year thanks to the overall average high temperature of almost 80 degrees and average lows almost reaching 60 degrees, though it can stay below 70 degrees from December to February.
As the largest city in the state of Florida, Jacksonville provides a vast array of career opportunities to those interested in settling in the area. Whether you are looking for entry-level positions in the large tourism industry, have an interest in aviation or transportation, or have focused your studies on banking and finance, opportunities abound. With unemployment low in the city, the demand for skilled workers is high. This means opportunities to start or advance a career may all be available. Though almost every sector is represented within the city metro area, some industries are experiencing notable growth and higher demand than others. Here is a sampling of what Jacksonville is looking for today.
Aviation and Aerospace
The longstanding relationship with the military brings many skilled aviation and aerospace specialists into the area. And that has led many companies operating in the industry to choose Jacksonville as their home. Multiple airports make up the aviation infrastructure and increase the need for aviation maintenance personnel, trained pilots, and all of the support personnel required to keep the operations running.
Banking and Finance
With such a wide variety of large- and small-scale financial institutions established in the area, individuals with the skills, experience, and education to work in the bustling banking and financial services sector are almost always in demand. In fact, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi and JPMorgan Chase are three of the largest employers in the city.
A large population means there is a high demand for teachers. In fact, the Duval County Public School district is one of the largest employers in the area and is considered the 15th largest school district in the country. The need for skilled K-12 teachers is high, as well as employees to meet the other needs associated with school operations. That includes everything from bus drivers to administrative personnel, and from school nurses to facilities maintenance personnel.
Education isn’t the only area where a large population increases demand. City government employees are also needed to help the area keep pace with the demands set forth by residents and local employers. Positions in government include a variety of professions including, but not limited to, accountants, information technology specialists, marketing and media professionals, as well as a full complement of standard policy and legislative positions.
Healthcare and Medical
The healthcare sector is booming across the nation, and Jacksonville is no exception. Baptist Health is one of the largest employers in the city and includes numerous hospitals, specialty clinics, and home health services. A Mayo Clinic NPO hospital is also located in the city and is considered the leading liver transplant facility in the country. Medical professionals in all major fields can likely find employment in the city, as well as the support personnel needed to keep office operations running.
Logistics and Transportation
The large transportation network in the city makes it an ideal location for distribution centers, and that keeps the supply chain management personnel in high demand. Everything from entry-level warehouse workers to commercial truck drivers can also find opportunities with these large scale facilities. There is also a need for skilled employees who can help maintain all of the transportation infrastructures as well as the equipment used to keep good moving in and out of the city. This brings opportunities for maintenance mechanics, equipment operators, civil engineers, and more.
Tourism and Hospitality
It takes a lot of people to keep large-scale hotels, popular restaurants, and various attractions running efficiently. People with education and experience in areas like hospitality management, event coordination, recreation employees, and bartending may all find opportunities in the area. Those who are familiar with the local scene may also do well as a tour guide or concierge. Cruise ships also operate in the area, providing a range of hospitality opportunities for those who want to spend their days at sea.
Resources in Jacksonville