Workers welcome at the Crystal Coast - live where you vacation

Life in the Crystal Coast no doubt caters to recreation, but it's also a place that provides work and job opportunities for remote workers, educators, business owners and entrepreneurs, health care professionals, skilled artisans and builders, and more.

Posted Updated

Latisha Catchatoorian
, WRAL Digital Solutions
This article was written for our sponsor, Crystal Coast Economic Development Foundation.

People often think of the beach as a vacation or weekend destination — a place you go to get away from work demands and the rigors of everyday responsibilities. But what if you could have a successful career and enjoy a coastal lifestyle every single day?

For residents of Carteret County, home to beach communities Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores and Indian Beach, that's exactly what they get. Life in the Crystal Coast no doubt caters to recreation, but it's also a place that provides work and job opportunities for remote workers, educators, business owners and entrepreneurs, health care professionals, skilled artisans and builders, and more.

"Right now we have over 800 job openings. One of our biggest employers is Carteret Health Care, and the Carteret County Schools and Carteret Community College are also among the Crystal Coast’s largest employers," said Lindsay Gress, manager of the Carteret County NCWorks Career Center in Morehead City. "Some of the top 10 business sectors in Carteret County for the first quarter of the year were retail trade, accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, public administration, and educational services."

Carteret Health Care is one of the top 100 rural and community hospitals in the country, as awarded by the Chartis Group, "a comprehensive advisory and analytics services firm dedicated to the healthcare industry." It also earned a 2019 Women's Choice Award for America's Best Hospitals in Orthopedics and is a nationally recognized cancer care center, which partners with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and UNC Cancer Care for patient care.

"I'm a radiation oncologist. In 2015 I decided to start my own practice and relocated with my family to Morehead City. We chose Carteret County because we believed this community to be an ideal location to build a thriving radiation oncology practice," said Dr. Kyle Rusthoven, who also practices at Carteret Health Care. "The move to Morehead City turned out to be a great decision for our family. My practice, Eastern Radiation Oncology, has achieved remarkable growth over the past four years."

Carteret County's strong public education system coupled with its esteemed community college make it an attractive place for teachers, educators and administrators. The Carteret County Public School system is one of the best in the state, with high school students earning top ACT and SAT scores year after year.

The 2019 annual School Performance Grade Accountability report, released by the North Carolina State Board of Education, revealed that Carteret County public school students earned the number one test scores in the state for end-of-grade and end-of-course tests.

As Gress mentioned, there's also opportunities beyond health care and education. She emphasized large employers like Walmart, Handy Mart and Food Lion aren't just looking for retail or sales personnel, but also employees who can do human resources, payroll, accounting and management. The same can be said for many of the other retail businesses and restaurants in the area.

And of course, tourism is another industry with a strong foundation in Carteret County. Hotels, inns, restaurants, parks and other hospitality services are always looking for workers — and not just during the summer season. Many hotels, restaurants, attractions and retailers offer year-round employment with benefits.

Additionally, remote workers have found the Crystal Coast to be the perfect place to hang their hats. As several remote workers have expressed, if you're able to work from anywhere, why wouldn't you work at the coast? With great schools, excellent health care services and an amazing quality of life available in Carteret County, why fight the traffic, expense and congestion of living in a metro area?

"The laid back atmosphere in Carteret County is great for remote workers. They're able to get up and set their own schedules. When they're not working, they're going down to the waterfront, grabbing a coffee or eating at one of the local restaurants," Gress said. "Everybody here is very friendly; when you're going to pick up your coffee or going to a local restaurant, you're having conversations with people who want to know where you're from because everyone wants to know what brought you to the Crystal Coast."

Its location also makes Carteret County uniquely positioned for professionals in the marine and life sciences industry. The county is home to the marine sciences satellite campuses of Duke University, the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University, as well as the federal NOAA Beaufort Laboratory. Morehead City is also the headquarters of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and N.C. Division of Coastal Management.

Sloan Freeman is the CEO of Geodynamics, a marine mapping services company based in Morehead City. She moved to Carteret County in 1999 to finish her graduate school program at the Duke University Marine Lab located in Beaufort. She fell in love with the area and resolved to "find a way to stay."

When she started Geodynamics with her husband, a geologist, they initially considered Wilmington, but they realized the large concentration of marine scientists and researchers located in Carteret County, and the quality of life the Crystal Coast offered were a better fit for both their business and their desired lifestyle.

"Our work encompasses the entire Atlantic coast," Freeman said. "In our field of study, we attract people who want to spend a lot of time on the water. Being here helps us attract the kind of talent we want. A lot of people in our company not only spend part of the week working on the water, but then they spend their weekends surfing, paddle boarding, kiteboarding or fishing."

Water, no matter what kind of worker you are, is a way of life at the Crystal Coast. It's typically the reason why people are drawn to the area and usually the reason they stay.

Residents, along with those looking to relocate, can enlist resources like Gress suggests using the Reality Check feature to get a good idea of what you'll need to earn in order to live in Carteret County.

Additionally is a resource for individuals to search for jobs and employers to post jobs. The NCWorks Career Center also has career advisors available to work one-on-one with job seekers in their employment search and employers in their recruitment efforts.

Gress reiterated that Carteret County is a great place for families, remote workers, and others looking to have prosperous careers and also settle down in a place that will give them an amazing quality of life.

This article was written for our sponsor, Crystal Coast Economic Development Foundation.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.