Located along the Arkansas River, Wichita is best known for its contributions to the private and corporate aircraft industry. Originally incorporated in 1870 to serve the post-colonial trade route along the Chisholm Trail, Wichita profited from the oil boom of the early 20th century. Today, its economy is supported by the aircraft industry and health care sector. For recreation and arts, the metropolitan area supports more than 30 golf courses, botanical gardens, arts and history museums, the Kansas Aviation Museum, and a performing arts center. Students at Wichita colleges and universities enjoy nightlife in the Old Town Red-Brick District.
Studying at Colleges in Wichita, KS
With 42 schools, colleges, and universities in Wichita, you'll have a wide choice in associate's, bachelor's, master's, and PhD degree programs. There are also Wichita schools offering trade or vocational degrees, diplomas, or certificates. Wichita colleges include Wichita State University, Newman University, Friends University, and Wichita Area Technical College. Technical or engineering degree programs can prepare you to seek employment with aircraft support industries in Wichita.
Working in Wichita
Despite the recession, Wichita workers face a better-than-average job market. The city's unemployment rate was 8.5 percent in July 2010--a full point lower than the national average. According to the U. S. Department of Labor, Wichita's leading employers include:
- Spirit Aero Systems Inc.
- Cessna Aircraft Co.
- Via Christi Regional Medical Center
- Koch Industries Inc.
- Bombardier Aerospace
The mean annual wage for all Wichita workers in 2009 was $39,110, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which falls below the national average of $43,460. The wages are mitigated, however, by Wichita's cost of living. According to the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, cost of living in the city is about 8 percent lower than the national average cost of living and is lower than Midwest cities of St. Louis, Des Moines, Cincinnati, and Kansas City. Housing is 36 percent lower than the national median price. Given all that the city has to offer for the price, Wichita colleges and universities remain exceptionally attractive to students from across the United States.