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Nevada Colleges

Nevada Colleges


Nevada lies in a geographic formation known as the Great Basin, a southwestern area that is arid and dry.  The state is principally desert.  It differs in elevation where the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada crosses the state’s western border and does retain some mountainous, forested terrain.  But for the most part it is western desert.  Its principal water source is the Colorado River and water that is siphoned out of the Sierra Nevada.


Most Nevada rivers go nowhere, ending instead in desolate alkali sinks—except where they have been diverted for irrigation and reclamation, as by the Humboldt River project, and the Truckee River storage project.  The driest state in the nation, with an average annual rainfall of only about 7 in., much of Nevada is uninhabited, sagebrush-covered desert. The wettest part of the state (in the mountains) receives about 40 in. of precipitation per year, while the driest spot has less than 4 in. per year.


The principal cities are Las Vegas and Reno, today two of the fastest growing cities in the country.  In 1931, Nevada established what were to be its two principal industries for several decades: divorce and gambling.  Liberalized divorce laws in other states have dissolved that economic component, but gambling remains the major economic engine in the state.  Gambling taxes make up a third of the state’s budget.  The service industries that have grown up around the casinos and hotels employ nearly half of the state’s workforce.  While Nevada is no longer the state with the highest gambling revenues, it is by far the state with the highest per capita gambling dollars generated.


Mining was a major industry in the last industry and remains an active industrial center.  The incredible growth around Las Vegas and the attractive business tax scenario in the state are both factors that are drawing new industry into Nevada.  The state’s growth is phenomenal at the moment; the question is how many of the new jobs generated will lie outside of the service sector.


The state’s median income ranks 18th among the fifty states; surprisingly high given the number of service jobs that are included in the employment pool.  The public educational institutions in the state include the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and its other branch in Reno.  The University of Phoenix has a number of campuses in Nevada, as well as one of the most comprehensive online education programs in the country.


Nevada is undergoing a remarkable building boom, and most of those homes are selling quickly.  The inevitable result is going to be a diversified economy.  If the desert life is not too hard on you, Nevada would be a good place to go shopping for a career while gaining an education in the process. 


The Nevada Commission on Economic Development has an informative web page on jobs and careers in the state at  An economy in the throes of a boom of this magnitude might welcome energetic people who are willing to work while starting or completing their higher education.  
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