Is Virginia a Good Place to Live? Exploring the Benefits of Living in VA

Is Virginia a Good Place to Live? Exploring the Benefits of Living in VA

If you’ve never visited Virginia, you might be surprised to learn that Virginia has a diverse landscape. This ranges from small, quaint towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains to bustling cities rich in culture, history, and energy.

It’s no wonder that healthcare professionals are moving to Virginia to grow their careers!

At On Board Virginia, we believe that you should love where you work and love where you live. We’re dedicated to showcasing the opportunities that Virginia has to offer for healthcare professionals.

Read on to learn more about:


    • Virginia’s Healthcare Job Market

    • Cost of Living in Virginia

    • Virginia’s Education & Schools

    • Virginia’s Natural Beauty & Outdoor Activities

    • Virginia’s Culture & History


Virginia has a lot to offer, and we’re sure that you’ll love our state as much as we do!


Virginia’s Healthcare Job Market

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics has reported steady growth in Virginia’s healthcare sectors, including:

    • Ambulatory services

    • Hospitals

    • Nursing and residential care facilities

    • Social assistance 


This upward trend is fueled by the growing need to care for aging populations, which has allowed for more professional opportunities.

In particular, healthcare support workers make up one of the largest segments in Virginia’s healthcare labor market, with close to 94,000 employees at a median annual wage of $31,550.

This makes them one of the highest positions that don’t require a college degree.

However, by completing formal training programs, you’ll have access to higher-paying healthcare support positions, such as:

    • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers ($70,960 annual wage)

    • Occupational Therapy Assistants ($64,790 annual wage)

    • Physical Therapist Assistants ($59,500 annual wage)

    • Dental Assistants ($42,850 annual wage)

    • Licensed Practical & Vocational Nurses ($42,550 annual wage)


Many hospital employers even provide tuition reimbursement and/or tuition assistance to support employees in furthering their education. 

On Board Virginia strives to match individuals with the right healthcare career. View our list of top-growing healthcare jobs in Virginia!

We have extensive resources and maintain a database of Virginia hospitals to help you find the right opportunities in healthcare.


Cost of Living in Virginia

The cost of living in Virginia is in line with the national average. While housing is about 4% higher than the national average, other basic necessities such as utilities, groceries, and clothing are comparable at only 1% higher.

In terms of healthcare services, doctor and dentist check-ups are about 2% higher than the national average.

That being said, your cost of living depends on where in the state you live.

The biggest cities in Virginia near Washington, DC like Arlington and Alexandria are notably higher than the national average at 41% and 37% respectively. 

Compare that to central and southern cities like Richmond (3% lower), Harrisonburg (6%), and Lynchburg (10% lower), which are far more affordable.


Virginia’s Education & Schools

Virginia’s educational system consistently ranks within the top 10 states according to the US Department of Education’s national assessment. Students often outperform the average in nearly all subjects and grade levels tested.

In the 2022–2023 year, US News ranked several Virginia universities within the nation’s top colleges. These establishments spanned Norfolk, Fredericksburg, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, and more.

Some notable colleges include:

    • University of Virginia (#25)

    • William & Mary (#41)

    • Virginia Tech (#62)

    • George Mason (#137)

    • James Madison University (#151)

    • Virginia Commonwealth University (#166)


Virginia’s focus on maintaining a high-level educational environment makes the state an ideal home, whether you’re looking to grow your professional career or start a family.


Virginia’s Natural Beauty & Outdoor Activities

Did you know that Virginia features five distinct regions, each with its own flavor? 

Virginia’s regions are:

    • Coastal Plain / Tidewater

    • Piedmont

    • Blue Ridge Mountains

    • Valley & Ridge

    • Appalachian Plateau


Thanks to Virginia’s diverse ecosystem and seasonal shifts, there’s no end to outdoor activities!

Hiking through Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Trail are great ways to appreciate the state’s natural beauty.

Shenandoah National Park is iconic for its camping grounds, and many people enjoy the park’s natural offerings year-round.

If camping isn’t your thing, there are several bike trails for the more active types. Those looking for a rush can experience paddling on Richmond’s Class IV rapids or the New River Water Trail in Giles County.

For people taking a slower (but equally fun!) approach, Virginia Beach is a popular summer destination. Virginia’s stunning lakes and waterfalls are also ideal spots to visit!


Virginia’s Culture & History

Living in Virginia allows you to experience the region’s deep ties to America’s formation as one of the 13 original American colonies to declare independence from the British.

The History

Jamestown was founded in 1607 as England’s first colony in America, with the state name “Virginia” being named after Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.

As the English expanded west, the colonists faced many conflicts between the Native Americans during the Anglo-Powhatan Wars and the French during the Seven Years’ War. The latter brought rise to the famed militia leader George Washington, better known as the first president of the United States.

Virginia was also a battleground for slavery as tensions rose between the agricultural South and the industrial North. Frictions came to a head during the American Civil War, though African-Americans wouldn’t gain civil rights until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

The Culture

Thanks to Virginia’s intense history and varied cultures, the state is a melting pot of charming small towns, urban cities, and natural landscapes. 

The bustling entertainment scene features:

    • Creative music and art festivals

    • Outdoor recreational activities

    • Exceptional Southern food and craft beer

    • Historic sites, museums, and landmarks


This mix makes Virginia an adaptable home for a variety of lifestyles!


Why Choose Virginia?

Is Virginia a nice place to live? We think so!

There’s a reason why Virginia is on the rise for healthcare professionals. Not only is the state’s healthcare market teeming with opportunities, but the exceptional educational system and affordable cost of living make it an ideal home for any lifestyle.

On top of that, a thriving cultural scene makes Virginia a joy to live in! History buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and foodies alike will find themselves up to their necks with activities. 

But don’t take our word for it—you have to experience it yourself!

Check out On Board Virginia’s resources to learn more about Virginia life. Your home in healthcare is waiting!

Eastern Virginia

Inviting beaches, fresh seafood, and coastal charm can all be found in the cities and counties along Virginia’s eastern seaboard where several rivers, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean converge. The cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk have rich history and a diverse mix of arts, entertainment, and cultural attractions. The state’s largest city, Virginia Beach, has a flourishing culinary scene, active nightlife, and an outdoor amphitheater that attracts summer music festivals and tour stops from some of music’s biggest headlining artists. Nearby is the city of Norfolk, a walkable, waterfront city with shopping, entertainment, and more. It is home to Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base on the planet – in fact, the entire region has a strong military presence, which is one of the area’s defining characteristics. A bit inland on the Hampton Roads Peninsula lies the historic triangle of Williamsburg-Yorktown-James City County where visitors can tour period-specific pre-Revolutionary War sites that showcase the earliest settlements on the American continent and the earliest formation of our system of government. Beyond history, Williamsburg boasts amusement parks, shopping, and cultural attractions in a small college city. The region has plenty of rural countryside to enjoy as well on the Eastern Shore, Chincoteague, Assateague, and Tangier Islands, which offer a relaxed coastal atmosphere. The region is home to the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, which offer riverfront access to water sports and outdoor activities, and more in a more countryside setting.

  Find hospital employers located in this region. Visit this link to learn more about Eastern Virginia and its many attractions.

Southwestern Virginia

If bluegrass, the towering mountains of the Appalachian region, and outdoor adventures are what you seek, then Southwest Virginia is the place to be. From the crossroads into Tennessee and Kentucky, to the charming Southside Virginia communities along the North Carolina border, Southwest Virginia offers plentiful venues to canoe and kayak, camp, and see wildlife in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city of Roanoke is a gateway to the region that features a lively downtown with restaurants, craft breweries, and museums. In the corner of the region is the inviting twin city of Bristol that straddles the Virginia and Tennessee state line and is home to a NASCAR track and the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The region is also home to Abingdon, a small town with history and local charm, and many other locales to explore.

  Find hospital employers located in this region. Visit this link to learn more about Southwest Virginia and its many attractions.

Southern Virginia

Southside Virginia is a region that lies southerly to the state’s largest aqueduct, the James River, a 340-mile waterway stretching from the mountains of Botetourt County east to the Chesapeake Bay. This diverse region boasts cities with lively main streets, an abundance of rich history, stunning scenic byways, and beautiful state parks and attractions. Breathtaking views abound along the James River, were there’s also room for rafting, fishing, boating, bird watching, and more. Moving inward from the shoreline, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in the lush countryside including hiking, biking, camping, and hunting. Beyond the region’s natural beauty, there’s plenty of charm to be found in Danville, a modest-sized city on the banks of the Dan River that is home to a lively downtown with a food and shopping district that features year-round outdoor festivals and events. Those who feel the need for speed will be right at home in what’s known as Virginia’s Racing Region where six speedways and raceways can be found. In addition to its famous Speedway, Martinsville offers plenty of options for art and music lovers, history buffs, and those who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle with access to sloping mountains and quiet lakes as a scenic backdrop to the region’s communities.

  Find hospital employers located in this region. Visit this link to learn more about Southern Virginia and its many attractions.

Central Virginia

Central Virginia is home to the Commonwealth’s capital city, Richmond, a mid-sized city with big city amenities that is overflowing with history and related attractions, as well as a museum district and flourishing arts and cultural scene. Richmond is home to America’s only urban class IV rapids, making it a destination for outdoor water activities. Due west is the city of Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia and Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s historic home and grounds) that has also gained recognition for the wineries that dot the agrarian countryside. South of Charlottesville near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the city of Lynchburg, a thriving college town that offers outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and plenty to do for families.

  Find hospital employers located in this region. Visit this link to learn more about Central Virginia and its many attractions.

Northwest Virginia & Shenandoah Valley

Northwest Virginia, is home to the Northern Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a section of the Appalachian Trail. People who enjoy scenic views can traverse picturesque Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. This is fertile territory for outdoor enthusiasts to hike, bike, fish, and camp, or enjoy a leisurely drive marveling at nature’s beauty and bounty. The historic downtown in Staunton, Virginia has a world-renowned Shakespeare theater and more than 100 unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants nestled against gorgeous mountains. The Shenandoah Valley has many natural wonders to explore such as Luray Caverns and Natural Bridge. For families, the Shenandoah Valley is replete with small town Southern charm as well as city amenities in places like Harrisonburg and Winchester. This region also boasts some of the nation’s top-rated schools and universities.

  Find hospital employers located in this region. Visit this link to learn more about Northwest Virginia and its many attractions.

Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia sits just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital but retains its own distinct character. For visitors and sightseers, Washington, D.C. is the national seat of government. It has professional sports teams, free access to many museums, and cultural amenities and attractions to rival any big city. Just across the water, Old Town Alexandria boasts rich history, boutique shopping, and a vibrant arts culture. Arlington County is home to many young professionals and is teeming with restaurants, attractions, and a lively, welcoming atmosphere. For history buffs, Northern Virginia is a must-see destination with so many sites to explore including the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, nearby Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon (George Washington’s historic home and property), and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Loudoun County is a short drive away and its noted for its idyllic greenscapes that are the perfect backdrop for its active equestrian culture and the more than 40 wineries and tasting rooms located in the community.

  Find hospital employers located in this region. Visit this link to learn more about Northern Virginia and its many attractions.

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