9 Reasons to Live and Learn in the Greater Baltimore Area
The Greater Baltimore region is made up of Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, and Howard. With the region's location along the Northeast Corridor and its close proximity to Washington, D.C., the area offers its residents a lot of exciting opportunities. You could be the next person to take advantage of all that the city has to offer by attending one of the colleges or trade schools in Baltimore or the surrounding area.
A thriving port, along with multiple rail lines, airports, and highways, has attracted many different industries to the Baltimore area. And major institutions like Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System fuel research, development, and investment initiatives throughout the region. In fact, Johns Hopkins University leads the nation in research and development spending with over $2.2 billion spent in 2014 alone.1 That is a substantial boost to the city's economy and only one of many reasons why Baltimore is an appealing place to attend school. Keep reading to discover the other major benefits that can come with living here and learning at Baltimore colleges and universities.
1. The BLocal Initiative
A group of Baltimore organizations have committed to helping the Greater Baltimore area flourish, and that is good news for budding professionals like you who want to start their careers here. Twenty-five businesses have come together to create new initiatives—and develop existing ones—in order to promote investing, building, hiring, and buying locally.
As of April 2016, BLocal partners have committed to providing at least $69 million in funding to support businesses that are local, disadvantaged, and women- or minority-owned. The money is slated to be spent over three years from 2016 to 2019.2 However, the available funding is expected to grow, and project timelines could be extended as more partners come on board and existing partners add to their original funding commitments.
Baltimore organizations are taking a collective approach to make sweeping changes that are intended to fuel the city's economy and create more job opportunities for Baltimoreans. That's why now might be a great time to attend a Baltimore college so that you can prepare to take advantage of the possibilities.
2. Diverse Economy
Baltimore has a variety of organizations and businesses operating in almost every sector. The city is considered a bioscience hub, has eight business incubators, and is home to Johns Hopkins, which is the third-best hospital in the U.S. It also has four other major hospitals, dozens of federal agencies, Medicare and Medicaid service centers, PayPal and Bank of America corporate operations centers, and other large companies like McCormick and General Motors.3
The economy is not only diverse, but also vibrant. Strong growth is expected in many sectors. Although Baltimore-specific industry projections are not available, solid growth is projected throughout Maryland. And considering that the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area is home to approximately 46 percent of Maryland's population, it is likely that the city's industrial growth will be similar to that of the whole state.4
The following industries are expecting substantial employment growth across the state during the decade from 2014 to 2024, according to data from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR).5
- Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction—98.8 percent
- Management of companies and enterprises—68.9 percent
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation—32.7 percent
- Professional, scientific, and technical services—28.9 percent
- Administrative and support services—28.4 percent
- Healthcare and social assistance—27.6 percent
- Educational services—27.5 percent
- Transportation and warehousing—18.1 percent
- Construction—12.5 percent
- Finance and insurance—7.4 percent
- Wholesale trade—6.6 percent
- Information—2.1 percent
Although the information sector is not expecting large growth overall, it is worth mentioning that certain IT sub-sectors are projecting significant increases. The largest three are:
- Data processing, hosting, and related services—35.8 percent
- Other information services (includes online news syndicates, libraries, archives, Internet publishers and broadcasters, and Internet search portals)—15.2 percent
- Motion picture and sound recording—10.3 percent
3. Strong Job Growth
It is a safe bet that a strong economy will bring solid job opportunities. And that is exactly what the current projections show. There could be thousands of jobs available throughout all sectors, and many of those jobs will require at least some post-secondary education. That could include anything from a certificate to a bachelor's degree or higher. So take a look at the career possibilities that appeal to you, and think about attending a Baltimore trade school or college to start building your skills so that you can be ready for the opportunities.
Below are some of the highest job-opening projections within the Baltimore City workforce region for the 2012-2022 period.5
- Registered nurses—2,096
- Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians—379
- Nursing assistants—367
- Medical secretaries—214
- Medical records and health information technicians—169
- Surgical technologists—141
- Personal care aides—130
- Pharmacy technicians—122
- Healthcare social workers—120
- Licensed practical nurses—109
- Diagnostic medical sonographers—103
- Software developers—356
- Computer systems analysts—346
- Computer support specialists—248
- Information security analysts—165
- Network and computer systems administrators—111
- Security guards—317
- Delivery truck drivers—308
- Truck drivers—241
- General and operations managers—477
- Medical and health services managers—164
- Computer and information systems managers—158
- Financial managers—97
- Administrative assistants—324
- Accountants and auditors—300
- Market research analysts and marketing specialists—264
- Sales representatives—198
- Personal financial advisors—184
- Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks—183
- Financial analysts—129
- Event planners—118
4. Higher-Than-Average Wages
If attending college in Baltimore wasn't already sounding appealing, then how do you feel about the possibility of earning higher-than-average wages? That is a reality that many Baltimoreans enjoy. In fact, the median wage of all occupations for the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area is almost 15 percent higher than the national median wage. Take a look at some of the occupations below that offer Baltimore-area residents wages that are higher than the national median (based on May 2015 data).6
- Auto body repairers—46.9 percent higher
- Skincare specialists—27.4 percent higher
- Event planners—22.2 percent higher
- Network and computer systems administrators—21.7 percent higher
- Welders—21.6 percent higher
- Dental hygienists—20.3 percent higher
- Electronics engineers—20.1 percent higher
- HVAC mechanics—18.5 percent higher
- Delivery truck drivers—17.7 percent higher
- Software systems developers—17.4 percent higher
- Massage therapists—15.4 percent higher
- Information security analysts—12.6 percent higher
- Medical assistants—9.3 percent higher
- Computer network support specialists—7.5 percent higher
- Industrial engineers—6.5 percent higher
- Architectural and civil drafters—6.3 percent higher
- Construction managers—6.1 percent higher
5. Close Proximity to Other Major Urban Centers
Although Baltimore has a lot to offer, you can also take advantage of the opportunities available in other urban centers that are close by. Whether you need to travel for work or want to explore careers in outlying centers after you complete your training, you have options. You have access to major airports, including Baltimore/Washington International Airport, which is just minutes from downtown. And along with several highways, many commuters use Amtrak or the MARC commuter rail.
Check out the travel times to the three closest major cities:
- Baltimore to Washington, D.C.—One-hour drive or a 40-minute train ride
- Baltimore to Philadelphia—One-hour-and-50-minute drive or a one-hour-and-20-minute train ride
- Baltimore to New York City—Three-hour-and-50-minute drive or a two-hour-and-40-minute train ride
6. Affordable Real Estate
Another great advantage of going to school and starting your career in Baltimore is that real estate is affordable, especially when you compare home prices to other nearby cities. Becoming a home owner is a dream that you can easily achieve in Baltimore. That's particularly true if you get an education that helps you attain one of the city's higher-paying jobs.
The median sales price for all homes across the U.S. in May 2016 was $239,700. Baltimore's median home sales price for the first quarter of 2016 was actually lower, coming in at $229,200. And it compares quite well to the median sales prices of other neighboring cities in the same timeframe:7
- Washington, D.C.—$370,400
- New York—$467,900
7. Low Cost of Living
The people of Baltimore enjoy a relatively low cost of living when compared to other major cities in the region or even across the U.S. The real estate and public transportation is affordable. And there hasn't been a property tax increase since 1988 or an income tax increase since 1992. Plus, there are no corporate franchise taxes or separate school taxes.8
A low cost of living, combined with higher-than-average wages, often means more money in your pocket. Just compare the cost of living in Baltimore to other nearby cities. (Cost of living takes consumer prices into consideration for items like groceries, restaurants, utilities, transportation, and clothing.) In Baltimore, it is:9
- More than 17 percent lower than Washington, D.C.
- Over 22 percent lower than New York
- Almost six percent lower than Philadelphia
Additionally, Baltimoreans generally have better purchasing power than residents of neighboring cities. Purchasing power is determined by looking at an area's average wages and determining the amount of local goods and services that could be purchased with those wages. Residents of Baltimore enjoy purchasing power that is:9
- More than 33 percent higher than Washington, D.C.
- Over 45 percent higher than Philadelphia
- Over 58 percent higher than New York
8. Excellent Transit System
The Baltimore area offers numerous transportation options, and they are often cheaper than driving by car. There are also many park and ride areas within the city, as well as an airport shuttle so that you are able to avoid hefty parking fees when you are traveling by air. Whether you need to get around for school or work, here are some of the more popular options:
- MARC Train—This three-line commuter rail system is a favorite for travel to D.C., and it can take you as far as Martinsburg, West Virginia.
- Maryland Transit Administration—The MTA provides 57 different bus routes as well as a light rail line.
- Baltimore Metro Subway—There are over 15 miles of track connecting from Owing Mills to Johns Hopkins Hospital.
- Harbor Connector—This option provides free waterfront transportation between popular ports.
9. Abundant Activities for All Interests
When you are spending your days studying or working and get some much-needed downtime, it's good to know that there are lots of activities to partake in. Baltimore is an area rich in history, and there are no shortages of museums, art exhibits, and other cultural attractions. Sports enthusiasts can catch an Orioles or Ravens game, and the city offers an incredible culinary scene, lots of shopping options (from funky to chic), many fun nightlife spots, live music venues, and fairs and festivals for almost any interest. There are certainly lots of fun and interesting activities to fill your free time.
Your Future Begins Here
Now that you've seen why Baltimore is such a great place to go to school and start preparing for a promising new career, why not act on your ambitions today? Simply enter your zip code into the search box below to discover programs that colleges and trade schools in Baltimore are offering near you. The career of your dreams could be just around the corner!
1 National Science Foundation (NSF), "Higher Education Research and Development Survey Fiscal Year 2014," website last visited on July 6, 2016.
2 BLocal, Businesses Partnering for Baltimore, website last visited on July 6, 2016.
3 U.S. News & World Report, "Best Hospitals 2015-16: An Overview," website last visited on July 6, 2016.
4 United States Census Bureau, Quick Facts, website last visited on July 6, 2016.
5 Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR), Maryland Occupational and Industry Projections, website last visited on July 6, 2016.
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on July 7, 2016.
7 National Association of Realtors, Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Affordability, website last visited on December 6, 2016.
8 Baltimore County Government, Department of Economic and Workforce Development, website last visited on January 5, 2017.
9 Numbeo, Cost of Living, website last visited on July 7, 2016.