Texas is famous for its BBQ, longhorn steers, iconic live music events, scorching summers with pleasant winters (in most parts of the state) and massive size. The state’s famous slogan – Everything is Bigger in Texas – applies to lots of things, including healthcare job opportunities. Nurses and other medical professionals are in high demand and have loads of job options at top medical facilities throughout The Lone Star State. With so many nursing jobs and allied health jobs available in Texas, it might be overwhelming to try and balance employment options with personal desires when trying to choose the ideal place to live. This guide gives you a starting place in the great big State of Texas.
Top Hospitals in Texas
Healthcare is one of Texas’ top job sectors. Vivian Health had more than 10,000 permanent RN positions and over 7,500 travel nursing jobs in Texas listed on our job board in early December 2022. We also had nearly 700 permanent allied health jobs and more than 1,800 travel allied health jobs in Texas during this same period. These positions were available at top medical facilities across the state, including these:
Formed in 1968, Hospital Corporation America (HCA) was one of the first hospital companies in the U.S. It’s now one of the nation’s leading healthcare service providers with 182 hospitals and approximately 2,300 ambulatory sites of care, including urgent care centers, freestanding ERs, surgery centers, and physician clinics, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Headquartered in Nashville, HCA Healthcare employs more than 283,000 medical professionals. It currently has 47 hospital locations in Texas, including these top facilities:
- Medical City Dallas is an 899-bed Grade A hospital in Dallas recognized for its commitment to providing quality patient care in its cutting-edge medical facilities. It was regionally ranked #16 in Texas and #5 in Dallas/Fort Worth in 2022/2023 and has earned Magnet recognition for its nursing excellence since 2003.
- HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center is conveniently located in the heart of the Houston Museum District and has been meeting the growing health needs of the communities it serves since 1975. It’s a Grade A hospital with a 400,000-square-foot facility boasting an 18-bed emergency room open 24/7.
- Methodist Hospital in San Antonio opened in 1963 as the flagship hospital in the now internationally acclaimed South Texas Medical Center. It was regionally ranked #13 in Texas and #1 in San Antonio in 2022/2023 and rated high performing in 11 adult procedures and conditions, just one of several prestigious accreditations for clinical excellence it’s received.
Formed in 1919 as The Methodist Hospital with only 30 beds, Houston Methodist Hospital is now a leading academic medical system in the Texas Medical Center near Downtown Houston. It’s the flagship of the Houston Methodist health system, which has 334 locations throughout the Greater Houston Area. These locations include hospitals, outpatient clinics, cancer centers, emergency care centers, outpatient labs and specialty physician group offices. The eight hospitals scattered throughout Greater Houston have more than 2,000 beds, 24,000 employees and 6,700 affiliated physicians combined.
For the 10th consecutive year, Houston Methodist Hospital ranked as the #1 hospital in Texas and the Houston area. It’s also the only nationally ranked hospital in Texas, ranking #15 on America’s Best Hospitals 2022-23 Honor Roll. It achieved national rankings in 10 adult specialties and high-performing ratings in 18 adult procedures and conditions. Its nursing staff has earned Magnet status since 2002. Healthgrades recognized Houston Methodist Hospital as one of the top 50 hospitals nationwide and awarded the hospital its Patient Safety Excellence Award in 2021 and 2022.
As the flagship facility of the Baylor Scott & White Health system, Baylor University Medical Center is a major patient care, teaching and research center for the Southwest. From its humble opening in 1903 with just 25 beds, it’s now a nationally recognized center with 914 licensed beds, serving over 300,000 people yearly.
Baylor University Medical Center earned national ranking in one adult specialty and ranked regionally as the No. 4 hospital in Texas and No. 2 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It also rated high performing in 5 adult specialties and 13 procedures and conditions. Its nursing staff has achieved Magnet status since 2004.
Average Nurse and Allied Health Pay Rates in Texas
In early December 2022, Vivian Health had 1,000s of healthcare jobs posted on our jobs marketplace at hospitals and other healthcare facilities throughout Texas. The following table demonstrates the average rates for travel and staff jobs in nursing and allied health.
|Average Pay Rate
|Max Pay Rate
|Staff Registered Nurse
|Travel Registered Nurse
|Staff Allied Health
|Travel Allied Health
Within each discipline, certain specialties were in higher demand than others. In-demand RN roles included jobs in ED, OR, med surg, telemetry, ICU, labor and delivery, PICU, intermediate care, pediatric and stepdown nursing, and clinical nurse coordinators and nurse case managers. Top recruited allied health roles included CT techs, surgical techs, cath lab techs, radiology technologists, respiratory therapists, MRI techs, X-ray techs, ultrasound techs, pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, medical assistants, phlebotomists and mammography techs. While the salaries above reflect the average of all professionals within the discipline, actual pay varies based on specialty, location, the number of working hours, experience, professional certifications and other factors employers may find essential to the role.
Cost of Living in Texas
Although the average healthcare salary in Texas tends to be slightly lower than the average nationwide, Texas’s overall cost of living is about 6% lower than the national average. Essential items that cost less than the national average include groceries, healthcare, utilities and miscellaneous goods and services but housing costs make the most significant difference.
Average housing costs are 16.5% lower in Texas compared to the national average. However, nurses and allied health professionals considering buying a home must remember that the state had the seventh-highest median property tax rate nationwide in October 2019. On the flip side, Texas doesn’t collect state income tax, and most traditional grocery items, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and supplements, wound care products and many baby products are exempt from state sales taxes.
Top Locations to Live in Texas
Texas is the second-largest state by area and population. According to the 2021 Texas Relocation Report, the state has seen an influx of residents over the last decade for several reasons. Top motives to move to The Lone Star State include the numerous job opportunities in healthcare and many other industries, lower housing costs, below-average cost of living, lack of personal income taxes, great food, good schools, diverse outdoor activities year-round, vibrant culture and friendly people.
Medical professionals looking for a new place to call home in Texas should consider cities that topped the Best Places to Live in Texas list. These cities offer several perks for those wanting to put down roots or just take a temporary contract. Some top cities for consideration include the following.
Home to nearly 1.3 million residents and often referred to as the Big D, Dallas offers big-city excitement and affordability compared to many other metros of similar size. Dallas/Fort Worth ranked second on the Best Places to Live in Texas list in 2022-2023.
Nurses and allied health professionals looking for trendy shops and some of the best museums and galleries in the state find them in Dallas. They can easily find live music most nights of the week, and sports fans have plenty of pro teams to root for, including the Cowboys, Mavericks and Stars. Local cuisine tops the charts, and it’s home to some of the best parks, generally within a 10-minute walk for about 70% of the population.
Healthcare workers with children have access to more than 350 public elementary, middle and high schools. Kid-friendly activities include an indoor water park, a local zoo and Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, just 20 miles away. Dallas has 18 colleges and/or universities for continuing education opportunities.
With nearly 2.3 million residents, Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the nation. Located in southeastern Texas, Houston ranked third on the Best Places to Live in Texas list. It’s home to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical campus, with more than 50 healthcare, research and educational institutions providing lots of job opportunities for nurses and other healthcare workers.
Houston’s growing economy, affordable housing and an array of world-class attractions continually lure people to the city. Residents and visitors alike flock to major attractions, such as the Museum District, the Houston Zoo, Space Center Houston and NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Free attractions like the 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park west of downtown Houston and the 7,800-acre George Bush Park on the far west side of Houston offer various hiking, biking and/or jogging trails. Like Dallas, it’s home to numerous pro sports teams, including the Texans, Astros and Rockets, among others.
For healthcare professionals with children, Houston is also a great place to raise a family. It has 247 public elementary, middle and high schools. It also has 13 colleges and/or universities for those wanting to continue their education. The metropolis has one of the nation’s most racially and ethnically diverse populations, making it a more inclusive community than some.
More than 1.4 million residents call San Antonio home, where they enjoy a unique mix of big-city flair and small-town friendliness. San Antonio ranked fourth on the Best Places to Live in Texas list. It’s home to iconic attractions like the Alamo and the River Walk, excellent museums, thrilling theme parks and diverse restaurants and shops. San Antonio is also the gateway to the lush oasis dubbed the Texas Hill Country and hosts the San Antonio Spurs. The city strives to remain one of Texas’s most affordable major urban centers.
Home to around 965,000 residents, Austin is the smallest city in our guide. However, it’s significant for being the state’s capital and hosting several famous multi-day live music events. Austin is known as the Music Capital of the World, so healthcare professionals who enjoy live music should love living here. Noteworthy events include the annual 10-day South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and the Austin City Limits Music Festival held during two consecutive three-day weekends in October. The city’s many parks are popular for hiking and biking and race fans enjoy Formula One’s Circuit of the Americas raceway. Austin ranked first on the Best Places to Live in Texas list.
Popular Texas Attractions
Nurses and allied health professionals who make Texas their home on a temporary or permanent assignment find plenty of attractions to enjoy on their days off. Texas’s sheer diversity of attractions makes the state a stunning place to live, work, and play. No matter your favorite pastime, there’s probably one or more attractions you find appealing. From buried Cadillacs in Amarillo to pristine beaches all along the Gulf Shore and from stockyards in Fort Worth to spaceships in Houston, The Lone Star State has it all and more.
The Alamo: As the most important historical monument in Texas history, the Alamo remains one of the most popular destinations in San Antonio. It should be on everyone’s to-see list, even if history isn’t their thing. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836. Although Mexico outnumbered and brutally defeated Texas, it caused an impressive surge in the Texan army’s size and morale. The Battle became a symbol of heroic resistance in the struggle for independence. Visitors can read about the Alamo’s history on the illustrated Wall of History exhibit, walk through the Alamo Church and Long Barrack, see restored historic cannons and priceless artifacts and experience hands-on demonstrations and living history of the 1830s. The San Antonio Missions, including The Alamo, earned UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015, making them the first and only UNESCO site in Texas.
San Antonio River Walk: The 15-mile-long River Walk is frequently listed as the No. 1 attraction in Texas and flows through about five miles of Downtown San Antonio. The Downtown and Museum Reach sections of the River Walk remain open 24 hours a day. There’s no cost to walk along the River Walk, soaking up the history and ambiance, but certain activities require a fee. Visitors enjoy boat rides, fine dining, shopping, museums and leisurely strolls along lush paths lined with Cypress trees.
Padre Island National Seashore: Part of the National Park Service, Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, protecting one of the longest stretches of undeveloped barrier islands worldwide. It covers about 70 miles of coastline, tidal flats, dunes and prairies teeming with wildlife. The park provides a safe nesting ground for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and is home to around 380 bird species. Visitors enjoy a wide array of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, swimming, windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, birding, camping and communing with nature.
Fort Worth Zoo: Whether you’re an animal lover or you have kids who can’t get enough of the monkeys, giraffes, elephants and rhinos, Fort Worth Zoo is the place to be. Voted the Best Zoo in America in USA Today’s 2020 Reader’s Choice Awards, Fort Worth Zoo is home to over 540 animal species from around the globe. It’s also the oldest continuously operated zoo in Texas. The Fort Worth Zoo is open daily, year-round, with half-price admissions on Wednesdays.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Dubbed the Grand Canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon State Park features a canyon system of the Caprock Escarpment in the heart of the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo. It’s the second-largest canyon in the U.S., roughly 120 miles long with an average width of six miles but reaching 20 miles wide in some places. Visitors can explore the canyon in their car or on foot, mountain bike or horseback. It features 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails and offers outdoor musicals in the Pioneer Amphitheater during the summer.
Texas Foodie Scene
The massive size of Texas translates to a massive array of food choices to temp foodies’ taste buds. BBQ is a Texas staple, and Dallas is home to several of the state’s best barbecue joints. If you’ve never had Texas-style barbecue, you’re in for a treat. Texas BBQ often features brisket, beef ribs, sausages and pork ribs cooked over oak, mesquite, hickory or pecan. Dry rubs are the norm, with bases made of dry mustard and chili powder customized to the pitmaster’s preferences. Pitmasters also may use flavorful mop sauces for basting and/or marinating.
Houston offers some of the top culinary destinations in Texas, including mouth-watering burgers at myriad burger joints. It’s also known for having the best Tex-Mex, a regional version of Mexican cuisine with a Texas twist. However, some Houston eateries forego Tex-Mex and serve authentic Mexican dishes dubbed Mex-Mex.
Austin is a well-known foodies’ paradise with a wide range of food truck parks throughout the city serving everything from tacos to Korean cuisine. Great restaurants also line San Antonio’s famous River Walk for foodies to enjoy, including many fine dining establishments featuring chef-driven creations..
Getting Around The Lone Star State
Despite Texas’ large size, its metro areas suffer from traffic congestion, just like metro areas in more compact states. As the second-most populous state in the nation, Texas attempts to lower highway congestion and improve commute times and air quality through public transportation. Currently, the average one-way commute in Texas takes about 26 minutes, just under the national average. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the state has eight metropolitan transit authorities, 32 urban transit districts and 36 rural transit districts.
If you’re looking for a new job in The Lone Star State, Vivian Health can help. Our platform connects healthcare professionals with top employers in Texas or any state by focusing on information transparency, a speedier hiring process and matching the ideal candidate with the perfect job. We empower nurses and allied health workers to find top-notch job opportunities by creating a free profile and using our job board to make finding their dream job quicker and easier than ever.