Orlando, Florida is a beautiful, vibrant, and family friendly city. The wonderful weather throughout the year as well as its job market are two great reasons that people move to Orlando. Orlando has a population of approximately 255,000 residents. Around one-third of the adult residents in Orlando, Florida have a college education. Only around 1% of Orlando’s quarter-million residents live in a rural area.
On average, the rental price of a one bedroom apartment in Orlando is around $1,000. However, there are some areas in Orlando that are less expensive to live in. If you’re thinking about buying a home in Orlando, the 2016 average price for home sales was $225,000. While this is a bit higher than the majority of Florida, Orlando’s economic growth makes the area a contender for a great living experience. Orlando, Florida was established in 1875 as a town and then as a city in 1885. The United States Army initially built Fort Gatlin near present day Orlando in an effort to protect settlers from attack by natives. There are several accounts on how Orlando, Florida got its name.
Although many visitors see Orlando, Florida as a family destination because of its theme parks and other tourist attractions, Orlando has a booming economy and multiple educational opportunities for people looking to improve their life.
Orlando, Florida is a vacation destination for people from all over the world. It’s no surprise with all of its family-friendly activities and bustling nightlife. Although 10,000 jobs were lost to the recession between 2007 and 2010, the area has not just grown. It’s grown in such a way that it’s attracted some of the top industries and businesses in the world. However, Orlando remains a top vacation destination for people all over the world. That makes tourism one of the top industries in Orlando, Florida. Hotels, resorts, water parks, theme parks, and museums are just some of the options if you want to work in tourism. Orlando is a fantastic place if you’re interested in hospitality management or fine cuisine. Major resorts, such as Wyndham, Marriott, Disney, and Hilton, have their headquarters located in Orlando. Then, you have more family friendly resorts that cater specifically to children, such as the Nickelodeon Resorts. As a whole, travel and tourism is the single largest industry in Orlando. Keep in mind that hotels, resorts, amusement parks, and even museums all need IT workers and business professionals.
More interested in business than tourism? No problem. Orlando has plenty of job opportunities in management at all levels. Corporate headquarters for many companies, including Universal, are in Orlando. Orlando Economic Development rates Orlando was one of the most competitive U.S. locations for businesses. Orlando is also the world leader in modeling, simulation, and training. It’s also a hot spot for advanced manufacturing, engineering, and research. In fact, the average yearly salary for those involved in the tech industry is around $70,000 per year. That’s fantastic when you consider that the median salary for Orlando is only around $46,000. Orlando has more than 1,000 software companies that call the area home. Because of the exponential growth and Orlando’s proximity to major IT players Symantec and Oracle, it is a fantastic location for people interested in the computer industry. Additionally, if you’re looking to enter into computer graphics, gaming, or digital media, Disney and Universal are in Orlando. They are both two of the largest employers in the area and are always looking for talented people to join their teams.
Another top industry in Orlando that you may not know about is aerospace and aviation. Flight training in Orlando has been common since World War II. Several top aerospace and aviation companies, including Lockheed Martin, have established their presence in Orlando and look to hire top talent. Additionally, Orlando is also the home of Northrup Guman, one of the nation’s most respected and profitable defense industry companies. Since there are more than 2,000 aerospace and aviation companies in Orlando, it is the perfect place for people who are interested in the industry, plan to go to school for these industries, or with prior military training. These industries hundreds of thousands of people, but not everyone is involved in the manufacturing of equipment and airplanes. These companies, like all others, also need business savvy workers and people with IT skills and training.
Media companies are also present in Orlando. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in entertainment, Orlando is the place to be. Film and television production is a $9 billion industry in the area. Orlando is one of the top 12 locations in the United States for digital media. There are more than 30,000 workers in this area and there are more than 1,000 media companies seeking new talent.
If you’re looking for something traditional, Orlando has more than 2,000 manufacturing and distribution plants including Tupperware and Whirlpool. There is always a need for drivers, assembly workers, maintenance workers, and warehouse workers. Farming is another major industry in Orlando. If you’re looking to get involved in living off the land, Orlando is a great choice. Farming and agriculture is a top industry because of the weather. The growing season in Orlando is between 100 and 200 days longer than for farmers in other parts of the nation. In 2014, the top farming options included oranges, dairy, and sugar cane. Florida provides 40% of orange juice for the entire world. Further, more than 80% of the vegetables that are eaten in the United States from January through March are grown in Florida.
According to Forbes.com, Orlando is #17 in job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Orlando, Florida has an unemployment rate of 4.5%. There is less unemployment in Orlando than there is in Tampa. It is estimated that the national unemployment rating is 4.9%. With an unemployment rating that is lower than the national average along with the growing job market, Orlando is a great place to start your career.
In 2015, the Department of Labor listed Orlando as one of the cities with the fastest job growth in the United States. Orlando had a job growth rate of 4.6% in 2015 which made it the fastest growing area in the region. According to the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC), this averaged out to around 150 jobs each day that were added to the market in 2015. The business sector added around 44 new jobs each day in 2015. Tourism, one of Florida’s largest employment sectors, added around 30 new jobs each day in 2015. According to the EDC, only the information services industry saw a decline.
Economists speculate that the job market will continue to grow over the next several years. Construction is expected to grow by 9%. The business sector will grow by another 3.5%. Utilities and transportation will grow by 3%. Health and education are expected to grow by almost 2%. Bigger projects have been made and are available for download from Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Orlando, Florida is located in Orange County. Based on industry, the State of Florida expects to see the following growth by 2024:
Agriculture – 13.7%
Construction – 20%
Manufacturing – 1.9%
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities – 11%
Information – 3%
Financial – 11.3%
Professional and Business – 15.7%
Education and Healthcare – 23.9%
Leisure and Hospitality – 14.1%
Of course, a booming job market is nice, but we also have to look at the average salaries for the area. Salaries can depend on a lot of factors including your experience, your education, skills, and talent. Payscale.com, a website devoted to salary and career information, has median salaries for several careers in Orlando. The salaries can be segmented in several ways: yearly salary, hourly rate, bonuses, by company, and by certifications.
When we review median salaries in Orlando, Florida, we learn that:
Software engineers make, on average, around $67k.
Financial analysts make, on average, around $52k.
Office managers make, on average, around $40k.
RNs make an average wage of $25.84 per hour.
Administrative assistants make an average wage of $13.57 per hour.
LPNs make an average wage of $18.77 per hour.
Medical Assistants make an average wage of $13.17 per hour.
Again, you could make more or less money depending on several factors. It’s also important that we talk about the cost of living in the area. Payscale.com has another fantastic feature that measures cost of living for Orlando with the rest of the nation and with other major cities throughout the United States. When compared at a national level, Orlando has a higher cost for utilities, but is around 5% less expensive for healthcare and around 10% less expensive for housing. Groceries and transportation are similar when compared on a national average.
The cost of living in Orlando is around 3% more expensive than Phoenix, but it is also 11% less expensive than living in Miami, Florida. It is 120% less expensive to live in Orlando, Florida than it is to live in similar housing in New York City.
Top Employers in Orlando, FL
Each year, various Orlando media outlets put together a list of top employers in the area. Those lists are fantastic informational sources. The EDC, mentioned earlier in this article, also develops and distributes a list of the top employers in the area. When we examine the available resources, we learn that many of the best employers in the area are in the hospitality and tourism industries:
- Walt Disney World Resort
- Universal Orlando
- Westgate Resorts
- Rosen Hotels & Resorts
- Wyndham Worldwide
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Marriott Vacations Worldwide
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Keep in mind that even if you don’t want to necessarily work in this industry, they need professionals in IT, business, marketing, and more. Don’t discount these organizations simply because you’re not interested in hospitality or tourism as an industry. With that being said, Orlando is the home of many growing professional employers who are ranked as some of the top employers:
JP Morgan Chase
Hospital Corporation of America
Walgreens Customer Care Center
CNL Financial Group
As you can see from this massive list, Orlando is full of great employers. This list doesn’t include organizations, such as Bank of America and Symantic, that are not in Orlando, but they are within driving distance. Check out the companies that you’re interested in and find their employment opportunities. Learn what they want and need out of their employees along with the benefits that you’d receive by becoming part of their family. Remember, Orlando is slated to keep growing. It’s likely that more great companies will be encouraged to grow in Orlando and they’ll be ready to take on even more talent.
With all the job growth in Orlando and its relatively low cost of living, you may be thinking about your options when it comes to preparing for a job with one of the top employers in the area. This list of colleges, trade schools, and vocational schools is by no means meant to be all-inclusive. Make sure that you do your research on the programs that you’re interested in before you make a decision.
DeVry University – DeVry University has provided educational programs since 1931. They have a campus located in Orlando, Florida. They also have several online options. DeVry has a College of Business & Management, College of Engineering & Information Sciences, College of Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and a College of Media Arts & Technology. They have more than 40 programs in total. They offer both two-year and four-year degrees as well as a couple of Master’s programs.
Orange Technical College – Orange Technical College has an Orlando campus as well as offering some programs online. They also have apprenticeship options, career certificates, continuing education, and they offer a way for people to finish their high school education. Their career certificates include, but are not limited to, HVAC, construction, culinary arts, digital media, medical assisting, network systems administration, and welding. Apprenticeship programs are available for HVAC, construction, and electrical.
Florida Technical College – Florida Technical College offers both ground courses and online courses. Florida Technical College offers programs with completion certifications, two-year degrees, and four-year degree programs. Their two-year degree programs include criminal justice, medical assisting, and network administration. Their four-year degree programs include criminal justice with an emphasis on homeland security, and IT networking, web design, and programming. For completion certificates, students can choose either medical assistant technician or medical billing and coding.
Southern Technical College – Southern Technical College has eight locations throughout Florida. They emphasize education that is mixed with hands-on training. They have both ground and online programs. Southern Technical programs grant a two-year degree, a four-year degree, or a diploma certifying that you’ve completed the course. They have options in allied health (including sonography, health information management, and surgical tech), business (there is a four-year degree option for healthcare administration management), design (both digital and interior), education (including a four-year degree for elementary education), IT, legal studies, and nursing. Southern Technical College also has a good selection of technical trades including applied electronics in HVAC, electrical trades, and welding.
Florida Career College – Florida Career College has several options. Many are great for the hospitality and tourism industries. However, they also have technical programs, IT, nursing, dental, and business. They have something for everyone. Their School of Allied Health has both an x-ray tech and pharmacy tech option (and they have many other traditional allied health options). Keep in mind that healthcare is an area that is expected to grow over the next several years.
Aviation Institute of Maintenance – The aerospace industry is booming in Orlando, Florida and there is no sign of it stopping. Aviation Institute of Maintenance offers several programs: Aviation Maintenance Technical Engineer, Aviation Maintenance Technician, Aircraft Dispatcher Certification, Aircraft HVAC. This school has several accreditations and appears to be one of the few technical schools in the area that provides programs specific to the aviation industry.
Keiser University – Keiser University has both ground and online options for Orlando students. They offer both undergraduate and graduate studies. Keiser has programs for business, chiropractic medicine, criminal justice, culinary arts, education, fire science, general studies, health, IT, nursing, psychology, sports management, automotive, and aviation.
Full Sail University – Full Sail University is another education option available for people living in or looking to move to Orlando. They offer both ground and online programs. One unique program is their Bachelor’s degree in audio production. This degree would be a good consideration since Disney and Universal (as well as 1,000 other media companies) are headquartered in Orlando. They also have a Bachelor’s program in cloud technology and computer animation. They also provide programs for creative writing, cinematography, digital arts, and entertainment. Full Sail University also has degree programs in game development.