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Maryland Healthcare Employment Location Guide

As one of the original 13 colonies, Maryland has long played a pivotal role in America’s history, including being home to the City of Baltimore, where the national anthem was inspired following the nonstop British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. Maryland is adjacent to Washington, D.C., so its proximity makes it an ideal location for more than 60 federal agencies, including branches of the CMS, NIH, SAMHSA, USDA, DOJ, NASA, FDA, FEMA, IRS and tons of other well-known acronyms. Besides its rich history and integral link to government affairs, Maryland also excels in education. WalletHub ranked the state fifth in the nation in 2023 for having safe, high-quality public schools for healthcare workers seeking a great place to raise a family. Overall, nurses and allied health professionals find lots to love about working in Maryland.

Top Hospitals in Maryland

The Johns Hopkins Hospital - Baltimore Maryland

The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Ranked as the No. 1 hospital in Maryland and No. 5 nationwide in 2022-23 by U.S. News & World Report, the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is a nonprofit academic medical center that sets the standard in education, research and patient care. Founded in 1889, the world-renowned facility features two emergency rooms, one for adults and the other for children, and excels in many medical specialties. It ranked nationally in 15 adult and 10 children’s specialties and earned high-performing ratings in 18 procedures or conditions. The Johns Hopkins Hospital is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, is a designated Level I Trauma Center and was the first Maryland hospital to earn Magnet designation for nursing excellence in 2003. It employs 2,506 full-time physicians and offers 16 specialties for staff nurses to explore. Besides its Baltimore locations, Johns Hopkins Medicine has hospitals in Bethesda and Columbia and healthcare and surgery centers in Lutherville, Nottingham and Odenton.

University of Maryland Medical Center: Ranked as the No. 2 hospital in Baltimore and Maryland, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) ranked nationally in one adult and one children’s specialty and rated high-performing in five adult specialties and 12 procedures or conditions in 2022-23. UMMC in downtown Baltimore is a teaching hospital providing a full range of healthcare to patients throughout Maryland. Established in 1823 through a partnership with the nation’s first public medical school, UMMC houses the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center and The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, the highest-volume trauma center in the country. It’s held Magnet designation since 2009 and staffs about 10,550 employees between its downtown and midtown locations.

Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center: As the third busiest hospital in Maryland, Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (LHAAMC) in Annapolis serves more than a million patients in the area. It ranked third in Baltimore and Maryland in 2022-23 and rated high performing in 13 procedures or conditions. LHAAMC is a research institute where medical residents come to further their training. It has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and offers specialty, emergency, primary and mental health care services. LHAAMC earned Magnet designation in 2014 and employs more than 1,800 medical staff members.

Average Nurse and Allied Health Pay Rates in Maryland

Vivian had nearly 3,800 postings for various nursing or allied health jobs in Maryland at the end of March 2023. Positions included staff and travel roles at top hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the state. The following table demonstrates the average and maximum pay for RNs and allied health workers during this period.

Discipline Average Pay Rate Max Pay Rate
Staff Registered Nurse $44/hour $48/hour
Travel Registered Nurse $2,428/week $4,755/week
Staff Allied Health Professional $40/hour $45/hour
Travel Allied Health Professional $2,374/week $3,416/week

Top recruited nursing specialties included ED, med-surg, telemetry, ICU, OR, intermediate care, stepdown, PCU, surgical stepdown, clinical, home health, dialysis and labor and delivery. In-demand allied health professionals included medical assistants, pharmacists, registered dieticians, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, medical technologists, radiology technologists and pharmacy, CT, surgical, cath lab, IR, X-ray, CVOR, MRI, patient care and ultrasound techs.

Cost of Living in Maryland

The overall cost of living in Maryland trends about 12% higher than the national average, including a 24% higher cost for housing, not including property taxes or utilities. While home prices and rental costs are above average statewide, certain cities within the state are more affordable than others.

Baltimore is the most populous city by far, but its cost of living is nearly 9% lower than the national average, and housing costs are 40% lower. However, utilities and transportation trend slightly higher at about 7% and 24% above the national average and 2% and 5% more than the state average, respectively.

By contrast, smaller cities like Frederick at 9%, Columbia at 18% and Annapolis at 22% above the national average have higher costs of living than Baltimore. Another smaller city, Bethesda, is one of the most expensive cities in Maryland, with the cost of living nearly 88% higher than the national average.

Top Locations to Live in Maryland

Although Maryland is one of the smaller states in the nation, it has 157 municipalities, per the state’s official government website, and many of these cities offer distinctive places to call home. However, two popular options, Bethesda and Columbia, aren’t incorporated, making them census-designated places (CDPs) but not official cities. The following cities/CDPs, along with many other Maryland cities and towns, offer several perks for those wanting to put down roots or simply take a temporary contract in a state with a rich history and spectacular natural surroundings.

Baltimore: Maryland’s largest city landed on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Live in the U.S. list in 2022-23, placing 84th out of 150 cities based on its desirability, quality of life, value, job market and net migration. Some of Baltimore’s desirability stems from the many things you can find to do in the city.

Baltimore Harbor

Located in the Chesapeake Bay region of eastern Maryland, Baltimore’s cultural offerings include an internationally recognized symphony orchestra, art museums and various performance venues, including the historic Hippodrome Theatre, formerly a vaudeville palace. It’s also home to the NFL’s Ravens and MLB’s Orioles for sports fans, the Maryland Zoo and the Inner Harbor for healthcare workers with families and Mount Vernon, Baltimore’s Washington Monument and Fort McHenry for history buffs.

Baltimore also has a solid job market, with numerous medical facilities, making it easy for nurses and allied health professionals to find employment. Top options include the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore VA Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Annapolis: Maryland’s capital city boasts impressive 400-year-old architecture and for being the location of the United States Naval Academy, founded on October 10, 1845. Annapolis once served as the capital of the United States for just under a year between 1783 and 1784 and is where the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Revolutionary War.

Annapolis Maryland

The small seaport entices visitors from around the world with its extensive history and cultural activities, exquisite tidewater cuisine and gracious hospitality. Visit the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts to see the resident ballet, opera, symphony and chorale perform in the 800-seat auditorium. Take a pleasant stroll along tree-lined streets to shop at some fabulous boutiques or grab a bite at one of the many fine restaurants. Or get out on the water, as Annapolis is known as the sailing capital of the world, with recreational sailing, boating and fishing taking place year-round.

Bethesda: Located just 8 miles outside Washington, D.C., Bethesda is the nearest suburb to the nation’s capital but technically part of Maryland. The charming city is renowned for being the go-to place for spectacular shopping, annual events, ethnic restaurants and hot spots in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It’s also home to the Smithsonian National Zoo and Strathmore, an esteemed cultural and artistic venue that hosts 100s of performances annually from top institutions such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and National Philharmonic.

National Institute of Health Bethesda Maryland

Many professionals living in Bethesda are biomedical engineers and healthcare professionals since it’s the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health, the country’s premier biomedical research facility. Bethesda also boasts significantly lower violent and property crime rates than state and national averages for those seeking a safer city to raise a family.

Columbia: Maryland’s second most populous city has about a fifth of the population of Baltimore but ranks as the 7th happiest city in America. In contrast, Baltimore ranks 150th out of the 182 cities analyzed by WalletHub in 2023. Columbia ranked 3rd for emotional and physical well-being and has ranked as the No. 1 safest city in America for five consecutive years.

Columbia Maryland

Located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Columbia is a planned community with 10 self-contained villages. It boasts a bustling music and entertainment scene centered around the Merriweather Post Pavilion, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and host to music legends for over 40 years. The Columbia Art Center is an iconic location providing art classes year-round, with exhibitions and a summer camp for kids. Outdoorsy healthcare professionals may enjoy Lake Kittamaqundi, a peaceful recreational area ideal for walking, running or biking around 2.5-mile-long paved trails. The Mall in Columbia, which houses more than 200 shops and restaurants, makes shopping and dining convenient.

Frederick: Situated along the Monocacy River and considered a hip and historic city, Frederick is small but full of big city amenities, including award-winning restaurants and breweries. Frederick is home to the Flying Dog Brewery, maker of uniquely Maryland beers and former Mid-Size Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. It also offers numerous cultural events and exquisite art galleries.

Frederick Maryland

Downtown Frederick is a pedestrian-friendly 50-block Historic District that earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The District features 100s of unique boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants, brewpubs, impressive museums and a Public Art Trail containing an amazing outdoor gallery of diverse artwork. The city has also earned recognition from the National Trust of Historic Preservation as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Established in 1745, Frederick has a rich history of American heritage and is home to notable people, from presidents to war heroes to Francis Scott Key, the lawyer and poet who penned the national anthem.

Popular Maryland Attractions

Maryland boasts a breathtaking collection of natural features. With trees covering 41% of the state, the Chesapeake Bay and sandy beaches dominating most of its eastern side and the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Mountains running through it, nature abounds in The Old Line State. It’s also home to numerous attractions, such as the following.

Assateague Island 

Assateague Island Wild Ponies

Listed as a National Seashore with the National Park Service, the northern two-thirds of this 37-mile-long barrier island is in Maryland, with the remainder in Virginia. Visitors can go camping, hiking, fishing, crabbing, swimming, shell collecting, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding and hunting. Besides its stunning natural beauty and numerous outdoor activities, Assateague Island’s claim to fame is a group of about 300 wild ponies that inhabit the remote island. The Assateague ponies are feral and should only be enjoyed and photographed from a distance.

The Inner Harbor

Inner Harbor - Baltimore

A popular tourist attraction and extremely family-friendly destination in Boston, the Inner Harbor has something for everyone. A leading favorite is the National Aquarium, where 20,000 animals live in award-winning habitats. For those into maritime history, visit the famous ships floating in the Harbor, including the USS Constellation (the last surviving ship from the Civil War) and the USS Submarine Torsk. There’s also a unique 1856 lighthouse. The Maryland Science Center has hands-on science-focused exhibits and demonstrations that fascinate kids and adults. Catch an outdoor concert at the MECU Pavilion, grab a bite at the many diverse restaurants peppering the Inner Harbor or get a view from the water on a guided cruise, water taxi or Chessie Dragon paddle boat.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Fort McHenry - Maryland

The famous fort where the national anthem came to life is a must-see destination whether you’ve moved to Maryland permanently or you’re just passing through on a travel gig. Completed in 1803 in Baltimore to guard its much-used harbor, Fort McHenry became an enduring American icon after withstanding constant bombardment by the British Navy for 24 hours during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. Francis Scott Key, the writer of the poem that inspired The Star-Spangled Banner, was held prisoner on one of the British ships throughout the attack and watched the gallant defenders bravely stand between the British and the City. You can learn the whole story and walk the ramparts at this historic location under the National Park Service’s care.

Ocean City Boardwalk

Ocean City Boardwalk Maryland

Visitors can enjoy 10 miles of free public beaches and a three-mile classic wooden boardwalk in Ocean City. As one of the most popular beaches on the mid-Atlantic coast, the Ocean City Boardwalk features many popular attractions, including a promenade lined with shops and delectable food kiosks, a saltwater tank housing exotic sea creatures and fun rides including a roller coaster, Ferris wheel and 1902 carousel.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Oriole Park Baltimore Maryland

Home of the Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball team, Oriole Park has the feel of retro ballparks like Boston’s Fenway Park but with the latest state-of-the-art facilities. Located in the heart of Downtown Baltimore within sight of the Inner Harbor, it’s easy to catch a game, then continue the fun at other nearby attractions. It’s also just two blocks from the birthplace of baseball legend Babe Ruth.

Maryland’s Foodie Scene

Steamed Maryland Blue Crab

Maryland wouldn’t be Maryland without its world-famous Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and equally famous crab cakes topped with Old Bay Seasoning, a blend of herbs and spices created in Baltimore. The unique seasoning remains so popular throughout the state that you’ll find it mixed in or topping everything from pizza to cupcakes and beer to Bloody Mary cocktails.

Award-winning dining isn’t hard to find in Baltimore and throughout the state. Besides its scrumptious seafood fare, Maryland also lays claim to famous pit beef sandwiches. You can find the sandwiches made of thinly sliced beef cooked over an open pit and served on a Kaiser roll with horseradish sauce at numerous roadside stands and barbeque hotspots across the state. Top off any meal with the state’s signature dessert, Berger cookies, an imperfectly shaped shortbread cookie topped with thick chocolate frosting.

Getting Around Maryland

As the largest city in the state, Baltimore has limited subway and light rail services, making buses and personal vehicles the preferred modes of transportation. However, commuter trains run to Washington, D.C., and Maryland locations, including the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Healthcare workers seeking local transit have access to an intricate public bus system that services most of the metro area. The Charm City Circulator offers free bus rides throughout the Downtown Baltimore area.

Nurses and allied health professionals looking for permanent or travel positions in Maryland can count on Vivian Health to help them find the perfect job. Our platform connects healthcare professionals with top employers in Maryland or any state by focusing on salary transparency, a speedier hiring process and matching the ideal candidate with the ideal job to make finding dream jobs faster and easier than ever.

Moira K. McGhee

Moira K. McGhee is Vivian’s Content Writer & Editor. As part of the Vivian Health team, she strives to help support the empowerment of nurses and other medical professionals in their pursuits to find top-notch travel, staff, per diem and local contract positions.

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