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A Closer Look: Living, Learning, and Working in Charlotte

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Two years ago, Syracuse native, Morgan Tanner, was drawn to the bustling energy and mild climate of Charlotte, North Carolina. Like many area professionals, she took the opportunity to earn her master’s degree at Northeastern University—Charlotte. 

“I wanted a city that was thriving, so that’s why I chose Charlotte,” says Tanner, who decided to study higher education in an effort to improve her marketability to the local educational institutions that were hiring. “More people [and] businesses are moving here every single day, [and] there are so many things to do.”

Alongside the social benefits of a growing city, a move to Charlotte may be strategic for students with specific areas of interest because of the many thriving industries in the area. Specifically, students pursuing business, education, government and civic engagement, healthcare, leadership and management, or science, technology, and engineering will likely find exciting, local opportunities for employment post-graduation.

Read on to learn more about what is drawing people to Charlotte, and how a degree from Northeastern University—Charlotte can provide you with the professional network and hands-on experience needed to stand out in a competitive job market.

Charlotte’s Appeal

Known as the Queen City, Charlotte is rich in activities. Locals enjoy everything from craft brews to outdoor marketplaces, international art exhibits, 17,600 acres of park space, plus a chance to cheer on the region’s professional basketball team, the Charlotte Hornets

“Charlotte has so much to offer, especially for young professionals,” Tanner says, and Kim Leaston, a member of Northeastern—Charlotte’s enrollment team, agrees.

“The city is so diverse and there’s no cookie-cutter anything,” Leaston explains. “You’re appreciated for who you are and what you bring to the city… and [that] diverse culture attracts students from around the world.”

A Glimpse at The Population: The popluation in Charlotte is leaning young, diverse, and educated as of 2019. Currently, 53 percent of residents are 18-34 years old, 52 percent are non-caucasian, and 44 percent have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“Charlotte has a great vibe,” Leaston adds. “We’re going through a huge scooter craze in the city so you can grab a scooter or jump on the light rail and check out anything, and many events are free. There are musicals and street performers almost every day.”

Perhaps the greatest appeal of the Charlotte area, however, is the wealth of varied career opportunities for local and transplant residents alike. “There are many opportunities to earn a degree or certificate program and get that independence and career you’ve been looking for here,” Leaston explains.


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Job Outlook

“In Charlotte, the job market is constantly growing,” Leaston says. “The joke is that our city flower should be the construction cone because new buildings are popping up everywhere.” The city has also attracted major employers in the last few years, a trend that is continuing unabated. According to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, 13 firms have recently announced expansion or relocation plans to Charlotte.

The financial and tech sectors are particularly strong in the region, as well. Charlotte is now the new home to Lowe’s Home Improvement global technology center and Duke Energy’s innovation center, and new Alliance Research data released in June 2019 also found that tech jobs in Charlotte increased by 30 percent since 2013, which is twice the national average rate.

Fast Facts: As of the second quarter of 2019, there were 5,914 net new jobs in Charlotte. This has contributed to the region’s high annualized net new job growth, which is outpacing the national average. What’s more, in 2018, Charlotte was identified as the third fastest-growing big city in the country, and also ranked as the third best metro area for STEM job growth.

Career Opportunities

Charlotte is the second-largest banking hub after Wall Street, and is home to Bank of America and Wells Fargo, alongside many smaller banks. More than 40 financial technology firms—including AvidXchange and Lending Tree—are based in the city as well, as are some top Fortune 500 companies, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, Duke Energy, Nucore, Bright House Financial, and Sonic Automotive

Northeastern—Charlotte affords students entry to this established business community by strategically aligning its programs with regional employers. “As a career-driven campus, Northeastern University—Charlotte offers students exceptional opportunities to get out into the workforce,” Leaston says.

Cost of Living in Charlotte

The low cost of living is another appealing aspect of this southern city.

“Charlotte is a metropolitan city with a big city feel, but the cost of living is affordable,” Leaston says. In fact, Yahoo Finance named Charlotte one of the top cities for high pay and low expenses. Charlotte also ranks as one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., with a cost of living that’s approximately 5 percent lower than the national average, based on the C2ER Cost of Living Index.

Did You Know: For students, Northeastern’s Office of Global Services estimates that cost of living expenses—such as room & board, books & supplies, and a health plan—to be roughly $13,214 for two semesters in Charlotte, compared to $18,296 in Boston and $19,121 in San Francisco | Bay Area. 

Studying with Northeastern University—Charlotte

There are many reasons students may choose to pursue their advanced education in Charlotte, but those who decide to enroll at Northeastern’s Charlotte location specifically will have exposure to an array of opportunities unique to the top university that will help set them on a direct path toward professional success.

Tailored Programs

Northeastern offers an array of programs for students in their Charlotte location that directly correlate with the top industries in the area. Some of the most common include the Master of Science in Computer Science degree, the Master of Science in Health Informatics degree, and the Master of Science in Engineering Management degree. By tailoring its program offerings to best fit with the top industries in the area, Northeastern is able to set its students up to succeed in the fields with the most hiring potential in the area.

Experiential Learning

Since moving to the area in 2004, CEO and Founding Regional Dean of Northeastern University—Charlotte, Cheryl Richards, PhD, has forged strong alliances throughout the business and research community. “One of the biggest advantages for students here is the network of connections that Dr. Richards has created,” Leaston says. 

Northeastern students can gain practical experience through career-related experiential learning opportunities as part of one of the university’s education partners across the city. Students can participate in co-op programs with well-known employers such as Amazon, Bose, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Clean Air Carolina. The rich pace of innovation across Charlotte also affords students the chance to acquire deep expertise in fields ranging from cybersecurity to robotics.

Consider Northeastern 

Could moving to Charlotte be the best move for your future? Consider earning a degree from Northeastern University—Charlotte and explore the dozens of ways that this region-specific location can strategically prepare your for professional success. 


Colleges in Charlotte NC