Houston is a large metropolis in southeastern Texas and home to 10 winding waterways, earning it the nickname The Bayou City. It’s the most populous city in the state and fourth-most populous in the nation, with nearly 2.3 million residents. Houston’s growing economy, affordable housing, cultural diversity and world-class attractions often lure healthcare workers, especially those with school-age children. The city boasts 247 public elementary, middle and high schools, plus 13 colleges or universities for those wanting to continue their education.
It’s also home to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical campus, with more than 50 healthcare, research and educational institutions providing lots of allied health and RN jobs in Houston. If you’re considering a permanent or temporary move to the Lone Star State, use this location guide to explore what it’s like to live and work in Houston, Texas.
Top Hospitals in Houston, TX
Several award-winning hospitals and health systems operate within Houston and the surrounding suburbs, offering numerous career opportunities for nursing, allied health and advanced practice professionals. Employer reviews are a great place to begin researching local hospitals to help you determine your next career move. The following offers a glimpse of just a few top healthcare facilities in the Houston metro.
Houston Methodist Hospital
As the No. 1 hospital in Houston and Texas and No. 15 nationwide in 2022-2023, Houston Methodist is part of the Texas Medical Center campus and offers a full spectrum of care. The hospital boasts six Centers of Excellence, more than 900 beds and 7,200 employees providing care in over 35 medical specialties. It’s held Magnet designation for its excellence in nursing since 2002. Besides this nationally recognized academic medical center, the Houston Methodist health system comprises six community hospitals.
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
Ranked as the No. 2 hospital in Houston and No. 3 in Texas, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is part of the CHI St. Luke’s Health System and jointly owned by Baylor College of Medicine and CommonSpirit Health. It’s a recognized leader with 881 beds and received international recognition for research and clinical excellence for notable breakthroughs in transplantation, cardiovascular care, oncology and neuroscience, among others. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center was the first in Texas to be designated a Magnet hospital, which it’s held five times since 2001.
Memorial Hermann Hospital
As the No. 3 hospital in Houston and No. 5 in the state, Memorial Hermann also sits on the Texas Medical Center campus. It’s part of one of the largest nonprofit health systems in Southeast Texas, employing a portion of the 6,100 affiliated physicians and 29,000 medical staff members within this health system’s care delivery sites. Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Level 1 trauma center is one of the busiest in the nation, with Life Flight® service providing emergency rescue within a 150-mile radius. It earned its first Magnet designation in 2014.
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Average Nurse and Allied Health Pay Rates in Houston
Vivian had nearly 1,900 postings for various nursing or allied health jobs in Houston, TX, on May 23, 2023. Positions included staff, travel, per diem and local contract roles at top hospitals and other healthcare facilities in and around the metro. The following table demonstrates the average and maximum pay for allied health and RN jobs in Houston on this date.
|Discipline||Average Pay Rate||Max Pay Rate|
|Staff Registered Nurse||$48/hour||$66/hour|
|Travel Registered Nurse||$2,392/week||$3,652/week|
|Staff Allied Health Professional||$42/hour||$69/hour|
|Travel Allied Health Professional||$2,152/week||$3,080/week|
Top-paying staff RN salaries in Houston included positions for nurse managers, OR managers and ambulatory care nurses. Well-paid travel RN jobs in Houston contained pediatrics CVICU and PICU nursing roles. High-paying staff allied health positions included radiology technologist managers and MRI technologists. In-demand travel allied health jobs included lucrative CT technologist and cath lab technologist positions.
While the salaries listed on Vivian Health reflect the average of all professionals within a specific discipline, actual pay varies based on specialty, location, experience, work schedules, professional certifications and other factors employers deem essential to the role.
Cost of Living in Houston, TX
Houston’s cost of living is attractive compared to many cities of similar size. Per Sperling’s Best Places, its overall cost of living is about 4.5% less than the national average. While that may not sound like much, remember that Texas also doesn’t collect income taxes on the state level. While this could greatly benefit staff nurses and allied health workers, it may not be as beneficial to travelers who may still pay income taxes to their home state. Consult a tax professional for more information.
RELATED: Understanding 2022 Travel Nursing Tax Rules
Housing costs are also nearly 25% lower in Houston compared to national levels and about 8% less than the statewide average. These costs include data on buying and renting a home, potentially making the lower housing prices beneficial to staff and travel healthcare professionals alike.
Top Locations to Live in Houston, TX
Healthcare workers tend to prefer living in neighborhoods near their workplaces, making it easier to commute to allied health and RN jobs in Houston. Many of Houston’s neighborhoods are also popular among medical professionals due to their distinctive vibes, good schools and unique housing options at different price points. Houston boasts a wide range of housing choices, from cute bungalows to luxury high-rise apartments and everything in between. Some of the most popular neighborhoods include:
- Montrose: Dubbed an artsy, eclectic, Boho and lively neighborhood, Montrose is just west of Downtown Houston and full of trendy shops, quirky restaurants, live music and fabulous historic architecture. It’s also adjacent to the Museum District, packed with more than 50 cultural institutions, museums, galleries and more. The average commute to anywhere in Houston is about 20 minutes, and the area is home to three of Texas’ top 10 public high schools. Besides the fabulous 1920s mansions, healthcare professionals also find traditional single-family homes and slick condos and townhouses. Depending on your source, the average home sale price is around $600,000, and rentals run between $1,700 and $2,132 monthly for a one-bedroom.
- The Heights: Also called Houston Heights, this is the city’s largest neighborhood and the first master-planned community. It’s also one of the oldest neighborhoods, with historical architectural styles that appeal to history buffs and a vintage vibe. A growing number of businesses, shops, restaurants and bars combined with a vibrant arts and culture scene provide many local amenities, and it’s just a 10-minute drive to Downtown Houston. The Heights is one of the only neighborhoods with beautiful historic homes and bungalows, ranging from Queen Anne to Victorian, coupled with newer apartments and townhouses. The average home purchase price is about $500,000, with one-bedroom apartments renting for around $1,500 monthly.
- Downtown Houston: An excellent neighborhood for nightlife and an urban lifestyle, Downtown Houston in the heart of the city offers plenty to do with easy access to top attractions. Restaurants, cultural and entertainment venues, bars and public parks abound. It’s also where you’ll find Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros and the city’s theater district, and it’s just minutes from the Texas Medical Center. The Downtown neighborhood is well-connected to public transportation but also extremely walkable, making it easy to get around without a car. Although Downtown Houston is primarily a business district, it’s become a popular residential area. Single-family homes, townhouses, condos, apartments and lofts are the norm, but high-rise apartments and condos are probably the most common housing option. Although the cost of housing varies based on the type and location, the average rent for a one-bedroom runs between $1,600 and $2,121 per month. Home sale prices start around $200,000 but average between $340,000 and $365,000.
- Memorial: Rated as one of the best neighborhoods to raise a family in Houston, the Memorial neighborhood offers an ideal balance of urban city life and suburbia. Its highly-rated school system and desirable amenities, such as shopping centers, nightlife spots, quaint cafes and a country club, consistently make it a top neighborhood. The private residences in Memorial boast large lots and lush greenspaces and forested areas surround the entire community, yet it’s only a 20-minute drive to Downtown Houston. Housing options include a mix of traditional and contemporary single-family or attached townhouses, with some condos available. The average home sale price runs about $580,000, while a one-bedroom typically rents for around $1,753 per month.
Popular Houston, TX Attractions
Residents and visitors alike flock to Houston’s major attractions, including the Houston Zoo, the Museum District, Space Center Houston and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. You can also enjoy plenty of free attractions, such as the 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park west of Downtown Houston and the 7,800-acre George Bush Park on the far west side of the city, offering miles of hiking, biking and jogging trails. Houston is also home to some of the most popular theatres in the nation and numerous pro sports teams, including the Astros, Texans and Rockets, among others. Don’t miss these famous Houston, Texas hotspots.
Space Center Houston
Probably one of Houston’s most renowned attractions is Space Center Houston. It acts as the Official Visitor Center of the NASA Johnson Space Center, home to NASA’s historic Mission Control. This control center is where NASA led Apollo and Gemini missions, including the first lunar landing. Space Center Houston houses the most extensive collection of spaceflight memorabilia in the southwestern United States, with more than 400 space artifacts. From flown spacecraft to the only shuttle replica mounted on a shuttle carrier aircraft, plus the largest publicly displayed moon rock collection and numerous seasonal exhibits yearly, it offers exciting activities that appeal to visitors of all ages.
Animal lovers can’t resist Houston Zoo, where more than 6,000 animals live on a 55-acre oasis in the heart of the city. It’s home to wildlife from around the globe, including elephants, giraffes, gorillas and many more species and ecosystems that immerse visitors, young and old, in a fun and educational experience. For up-close animal encounters, book an exclusive interaction with cheetahs, rhinos, sea lions, elephants, sloths and more. Take a behind-the-scenes tour with a zookeeper to see what it’s like to care for the animals daily or stop by the giraffe feeding platform to feed these amazing long-necked mammals their lunch. Houston Zoo is committed to supporting wildlife conservation, with projects in more than 20 countries and a portion of every entry ticket and Zoo membership going toward vital conservation work.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of the most heavily attended museums in the nation. It features the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Foucault Pendulum and permanent or traveling exhibitions, including:
- The Cockrell Butterfly Center is home to a stunning exhibit showcasing 100s live butterflies in a natural rainforest setting.
- Moran Paleontology Hall with more than 450 fossils and fossil replicas offering a glimpse into the incredible 3.5-billion-year story of Earth.
- Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife features more than 425 specimens, representing over 250 species of Texas wildlife.
- Hall of Ancient Egypt with 100s of artifacts dating back more than 5,000 years divided up not by theme instead of by time period.
- Weiss Energy Hall spans an impressive 30,000 square feet and provides immersive excursions into the world of energy.
- Welch Chemistry Hall brings science to life through videos, holograms, computer touch screens, interactive displays, experiments and other creative installations.
- Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals houses the world’s finest display-quality collection of gems and minerals, with over 750 beautifully crystallized mineral specimens.
- Evelyn and Herbert Frensley Hall of African Wildlife features more than 120 specimens representing over 70 species native to Africa, including many rare and endangered.
Outdoorsy nurses and allied health professionals benefit from a plethora of parks in Houston, as it ranks first among the nation’s 10 most populous cities in total parkland acreage. The city boasts 52,912 acres of total park space, including the 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park running through the city. This urban park offers extensive walking and biking trails and a dog park, with the slow-moving Buffalo Bayou waters as its centerpiece. The 12-acre Discovery Green at the heart of Houston offers a playground and water fun for kids, free yoga classes, open-air reading rooms, free WiFi, a multi-use amphitheater and a one-acre lake open for kayaking. Also located in the heart of Houston is the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, an iconic landmark and centerpiece. Its towering oak trees provide a lush canopy that leads to a 64-foot-high semi-circular waterwall with an inner and outer fountain system that recycles more than 80,000 gallons of water, with 11,000 gallons cascading down the fountain’s walls per minute.
Houston’s Foodie Scene
Like the rest of the Lone Star State, barbeque is the number one food in Houston. The Bayou City is known for its barbeque and home to some of the country’s best brisket, ribs and sausage served by pitmasters who know how to create the most succulent, smoked-to-perfection meat. Unlike Kansas City or North Carolina barbeque that relies on sauce, Houston pitmasters use bold spices to develop their unique barbeque flavor.
Houston has a smorgasbord of traditional dishes, but its culinary scene is also known for a host of other cuisines thanks to its diverse population. Houston’s immigrant populations infuse the region with unique foods and flavors in a state that’s among the country’s most underrated dining destinations. Foodies looking to explore some of Houston’s most famous foods should seek Viet-Cajun crawfish, chicken and waffles, breakfast tacos and original Houston Tex-Mex. If you enjoy tempting your tastebuds with different cuisines, Houston is a veritable foodie paradise.
Getting Around the Bayou City
Houston didn’t skimp on public transportation, with more than 80 local METRO bus routes serving residents throughout the city to provide various options for getting to work or local attractions. If you live outside the 610 Loop but must commute to allied health or RN jobs in Houston at the Texas Medical Center or other downtown locations, Houston’s METRO Park & Ride express bus provides a comfortable, cost-effective option.
METRORail is the city’s light-rail network, offering convenient access to popular destinations, or opt for METRORapid, a combination of bus and light rail to deliver faster connections to where you need to go. Houston is also served by two major airports for those healthcare professionals needing long-distance transportation. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, located 23 miles north of Downtown Houston, and William P. Hobby Airport, located seven miles south of Downtown, offer various domestic or international flights.
Nurses and allied health professionals looking for permanent or travel positions in Houston or anywhere in Texas can count on Vivian Health to help them find their perfect job. Our platform connects healthcare professionals with top employers by focusing on salary transparency, a speedier hiring process and matching the ideal candidate with the ideal job to make finding healthcare jobs faster and easier than ever. We also provide career tips for Houston nurses and empower all healthcare workers to take the next step on their career journey.
Find your next healthcare job on Vivian Health by browsing our openings today.
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