Top 10 reasons to live and work in Huntsville, AL

Why “Rocket City” is a great place to boost your career and quality of life

Huntsville, Alabama, earned that nickname for its close association with U.S. space research since 1950. And RTX has been here since the early years, having launched its Huntsville operations as the Raytheon Company in 1948.

Today, two RTX businesses – Raytheon and Collins Aerospace – operate six facilities here.   

Raytheon represents RTX's largest presence in Alabama’s most populous city. Its almost 600-strong workforce supports the design, testing, production and sustainment of missile and sensor systems. 

Its employees also give back to the community – mentoring through education partners, including the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering and the AUM Foundation, assisting veterans transitioning to civilian careers, and volunteering for organizations, such as U.S. Paralympics Cycling. 

Huntsville is a great place to live and work. Here are some of the top reasons:

    • Best place to live: In its 2022-23 list, U.S. News & World Report named Huntsville the best place to live in the U.S., saying the city’s “growing job opportunities, low cost of living and clean air help it take the top spot for the first time.”

    • Affordable: Huntsville rates well in cost-of-living analyses. U.S. News and World Report ranked it the third most affordable city in the U.S. and a 2023 survey by found its cost of living is about 5 percent under than the national average – with healthcare, housing, transportation, energy and food expenses significantly lower. Additionally, reports local salaries are about 8 percent higher than the national average.

    • Great outdoors: At the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Huntsville is known for its unique geologic features, dense forests and beautiful parks. Minutes from downtown, Monte Sano State Park is a popular destination for historical landmarks and recreation trails. To the city’s east is Lake Guntersville, renowned for its freshwater fishing. Plus, Huntsville’s temperate climate is ideal for many activities, such as hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, caving, off-roading, boating and swimming.

    • Rocket City: NASA has said “the path to the Moon has run through Alabama since the earliest days of our nation’s space program.” That legacy continues to this day as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Rocket City advances not only the agency’s Artemis program to send humans to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years but also its Mars exploration program. Make sure to visit the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, one of the world’s largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia.   

    • Beyond the celestial: Huntsville's space history is at the core of its identity. But there’s a lot more to see and do here, too. As U.S. News & World Report mentioned, the city center’s renaissance has spawned new restaurants, craft breweries, coffee shops and performance venues. Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, a one-time cotton mill, is now the country’s largest privately owned arts facility. Huntsvillians also love sports, including minor league teams Huntsville Havoc (hockey) and the Trash Pandas (baseball). And the city’s typically easy commute means it doesn’t take long to reach your destination.

    • Defense and aerospace hub: Huntsville is home to Redstone Arsenal and the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command. Redstone also hosts more than 60 other federal organizations, including NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, and it is the future headquarters of Space Command. Many aerospace and defense companies, such as RTX, also conduct operations in Redstone Arsenal.

    • High-tech hotbed: While aerospace and defense remains a key industry in Huntsville, STEM-related industries, such as biotechnology, are taking hold here, too. RTX and other companies have offices in Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the country and the fourth largest in the world. 

    • Smart city: According to Census data, Huntsville has an above-average percentage of people with college degrees. It also has the highest concentration of engineers in the U.S. In fact, Forbes magazine has called it the No. 1 city for engineers, noting that salaries are higher than average here while rents are relatively lower. NICHE, a national education research group, ranks nearby Madison City public schools at No. 1 in the state, which has top colleges, including the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

    • Strong economy: Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings have given Huntsville triple-A credit ratings in 2023, for the 11th year. These perfect ratings reflect the city’s economic development efforts, diverse and growing tax base, positive operating performance, strong reserves and more. Job and salary growth also contribute to the city’s economic strength, per a 2022 report by the Milken Institute.

    • Career growth: According to the financial technology company, SmartAsset, the Huntsville metro area is the second-best in the country for people pursuing career opportunities. Forbes has listed Huntsville in the top three for STEM careers and in the top five for the defense industry, while noting that the job scene is particularly favorable for engineers. 

Veterans Memorial Park in Huntsville, AL

Veterans Memorial Park in Huntsville, AL. Credit: Jeff White, courtesy of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, which also provided other images for this piece. 

So, is Huntsville, AL, the right fit for your life and work? To explore opportunities to join the Raytheon team in Rocket City, visit our careers page and contact us anytime. 

Our many benefits include relocation packages, flexible Fridays, tuition assistance and the chance to work on innovative technologies that protect citizens, soldiers and critical infrastructure around the world.