For many, the first thing to pop into mind when thinking of Houston might be the phrase "Houston, we have a problem", the tagline of the 1995 film Apollo 13 (the line is based on the statement uttered by John Swigert, Jr., in April 1970 during the real Apollo 13 crisis, "Houston, we've had a problem.").
As home to NASA's Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located, Houston is well known for its aerospace and aeronautical industries.
Oil was discovered near Houston in 1901, spawning the petroleum industry in Texas, and shaping the city's vibrant and diverse culture.
Founded in 1836, Houston today is the largest city in Texas, and the fourth largest in the United States. The city also boasts the second largest number of Fortune 500 headquarters outside New York City.
The relatively low cost of living, first-class attractions in sports and the arts, and number of research universities, businesses, and medical centers make the city a prime choice for those seeking affordability and opportunity.
Industry and Employment in Houston
Space missions and related aeronautical engineering and product development are key to Houston's economy. In fact, according to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, 58% of Houston's populace is employed in the aerospace industry.
The Johnson Space Center in Houston is NASA's largest research and development facility, and employs about 3,000 workers . Related contract groups include defense giants Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, and other organizations such as Barrios Technology and Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., Texas Engineering Experiment Station and the Baylor College of Medicine, to name just a few.
Houston's economy has historically been driven by the energy sector, especially oil, though in recent years natural gas exploration and alternative energy have also made large inroads.
The city is one of the world's largest manufacturing centers for petrochemicals, and more than 230 companies in Houston manufacture plastic and rubber products.
Healthcare and biotechnology are also major employers in Houston. The Texas Medical Center in Houston, established in 1945, is the largest medical center in the world, and includes 49 medicine-related institutions, 13 hospitals, two medical schools, four nursing schools, and a variety of dental, public health, pharmacy and other schools. The center employs more than 65,000 health care professionals, and treats more than 5 million patients from around the world every year.
Education in Houston
Houston's higher education communities have been heavily involved in the city's economic development planning, according to Rebecca Flores of the Education and Workforce for the Greater Houston Partnership. She says, "Many institutions have established partnerships with the business community -- not only in the Houston area but internationally as well."
Houston's higher education institutions range dramatically in size. By far, the University of Houston System (UHS) is the largest and is the state's only metropolitan higher education system. Encompassing four universities and two multi-institution teaching centers, its annual enrollment exceeds 50,000 students.
For students seeking a small, private school, Rice University is a notable option. High admissions standards, top-rated programs in multiple disciplines, and prominent faculty place this school among the nation's elite research universities.
The Houston area also an abundance of choices for those seeking two-year, transfer, or workforce programs.
From large to small schools, traditional to transfer programs, students seeking higher education opportunities can find it all in Houston.
Private Colleges & Universities
- American InterContinental University - Houston
- Baylor College of Medicine
- DeVry University - Houston Campus
- ITT Technical Institute - Houston North Campus
- ITT Technical Institute - Houston South Campus
- ITT Technical Institute - Houston West Campus
- Houston Baptist University
- Rice University
- Sanford-Brown Institute - Houston
- Sanford-Brown College - Northloop West (Houston)
- Texas Southern University
- The Art Institute of Houston
- University of Phoenix, Houston Campus
- University of St. Thomas
- Westwood College - Houston Campus
Public Colleges & Universities
- Alvin Community College*
- Blinn College*
- College of the Mainland*
- Galveston College*
- Houston Community College System*
- Lee College*
- Prairie View A&M University
- Sam Houston State University
- San Jacinto College District*
- University of Houston
- University of Houston - Clear Lake
- University of Houston - Downtown
- University of Texas Health Science Center
- University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
- Wharton County Junior College*
Learn more about the Top Colleges in Houston.