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Workforce & Education | Livability & Taxes | Transportation & Maps | Existing Businesses

Workforce & Education


Demographic profiles for Elizabethton and the Johnson City Metropolitan Area can be found in the table below. For additional or more detail demographic information, please contact us directly at 423-542-1503.

Primary EducationThe City of Elizabethton funds its own school system for families and students within its city limits. The Elizabethton City School System has a total enrollment of over 2,500 students and one Pre-K facility, three Elementary Schools, one Junior High School, and one High School. Elizabethton High School has a highly competitive athletic program and an award-winning band program. The Composite ACT score of Elizabethton High School graduates also makes the district one of the top 10 highest scoring school districts in Tennessee. Elizabethton High School also offers programs of study in 8 different career clusters -- Agriculture; Food & Natural Resources; Business Management & Administration; Finance; Health Sciences; Hospitality and Tourism; Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security; STEM; and Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics.

Higher Education

Milligan College

  • Selective, private liberal arts college founded in 1866 and located in the western side of Elizabethton and Carter County
  • Enrollment of over 1,200 students on a 195-acre campus.
  • Offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees, and concentrations in arts and humanities, business and technology, sciences and allied health, bible and ministry, and social science and education programs, along with graduate and adult degree completion program.
  • Been named one of the Top Ten Colleges in the South numerous times by U.S. News & World Report and is consistently named to Washington Monthly‘s list of top 25 baccalaureate colleges.
  • Athletics compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics with more than 40 conference regular season title wins.
Northeast State Community College - Elizabethton

  • Public community college offering comprehensive educational programming at a location more convenient to the citizens of Carter, Johnson, and Unicoi counties.
  • Provides day and evening classes and offers a variety of courses in liberal arts, technical and continuing education programs, which can be transferred to local and regional four-year colleges and universities.
  • Offers a large program in continuing education and professional development courses to help students update work skills and aid companies with workforce development.
Tennessee_Colleges_of_Applied_Technology_LogoTennessee College of Applied Technology - Elizabethton

  • Modern technical training provider for workers to obtain the technical skills and professional training.
  • Facilities area designed to simulate the occupational environment found in potential places of employment.
  • Training and courses are targeted to prepare individuals for useful and gainful occupations, thereby enhancing their potential for employment.
  • Equipment and course content are regularly updated to provide educational experiences necessary for an era of rapid technological change.
etsu-logofull-colorEast Tennessee State University

  • Less than a 20-minute drive from Elizabethton.
  • Houses 11 colleges and schools offering over 140 degree programs in the arts and sciences, business and technology, education, and the health sciences.
  • The fourth largest university in the state with a student enrollment of over 15,500 students.
  • Has 18 NCAA Division I sports and 14 conference titles in the last 6 seasons.
  • Many nationally recognized programs, including the Quillen College of Medicine, the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, and the recently formed College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.
Labor Force

Elizabethton's Labor Shed consists of a four county area surrounding the city -- Carter, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties.

Labor Shed Estimates (Qtr 3 2019)  
Labor Force 166,005
Employment 160,590
Unemployment 5,415
Unemployment Rate 3.3%

Workforce Age by Industry

Having skilled and experienced employees is key to the success of every business. In Elizabethton and Carter County, our experienced workforce give us a local competitive advantage in the fabricated metal product manufacturing, general manufacturing, and nursing and residential care facilities industries. This table breaks down the workforce in each industry by age group.


Local Education Program Completion

Having an educated workforce is important. To ensure that our local institutions are providing the appropriate workforce, we have included the number of local completions divided by their programs. The five institutions of higher education less than a 20-minute drive from Elizabethton combined graduated 6,680 students.

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Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Labor Costs

Elizabethton and Carter County are highly competitive when it comes to labor costs. Labor costs are commonly the most expensive part of any business, but because of Elizabethton's low cost of living, labor costs remain lower here than in other parts of Tennessee and the nation.


Livability & Taxes

Cost of Living

Elizabethton is a part of the Johnson City Metropolitan Area and the larger Tri-Cities Combined Statistical Area. A more rural portion of Tennessee allows Elizabethtonians to have a high standard of living at a lower cost while still retaining urban amenities.

Calculate your own Cost of Living in Tennessee.

Recognitions and Accolades

  • Ranked 1st for Tennessee’s Safest Cities from Severe Weather Damage by (2015)
  • Ranked 6th for 2015 Safest Places - Mid-Sized Cities in Tennessee by ValuePenguin (2015)
  • Ranked 8th Happiest Mountain Town by Blue Ridge Country Magazine (2016)
  • Ranked 12th for Suburbs with the Most Things To Do in Tennessee by Niche (2016)
  • Elizabethton City School System ranked 13th for 2017 Best School Districts in Tennessee by Niche (2017)
  • The Johnson City Metro area ranks in the top 75 for The Best Small Places For Business And Careers across the US by Forbes
  • The Watauga River in Elizabethton has been labeled The Best of the Best for Tennessee Trout by Game & Fish Magazine (2010)
  • Location of The Carter Mansion, the oldest building in the State of Tennessee according to Thrillist (2014)
  • Sycamore Shoals Historic Area in Elizabethton was named one of 8 Great Museums in East Tennessee by Blue Ridge Country magazine (2012)

Tax Structure

Property Taxes

  • Elizabethton - $1.80
  • Carter County - $2.45
  • Tennessee - None
  • Residential Assessment - 25%
  • Commercial/Industry Assessment - 40%
  • Business Personal Property Assessment - 30%
Sales Taxes

  • Elizabethton - 2.75% (sales taxes are paid in either city or county, not both)
  • Carter County - 2.75% (sales taxes are paid in either city or county, not both)
  • Tennessee - 7.0% (Note: The State of Tennessee does not have a state income tax on wages.)
Bond Rating & Debt

  • Elizabethton Debt - $871 per capita
  • Elizabethton Bond Rating - Moody's: A1; Standard & Poor's: A+
  • Carter County Debt - $507 per capita
  • Carter County Bond Rating - Moody's: Aaa
  • Tennessee - $956 per capita (lowest state in the US)
  • Tennessee Bond Rating - Moody's: Aaa; Standard & Poor's: AA+; Fitch: AAA

Elizabethton is home a many of Carter County's healthcare facilities including Sycamore Shoals Hospital. This 121-bed hospital offers a 24-hour emergency department, diagnostic imaging services, a Women's Diagnostic Center, cardiology services, an Intensive Care Unit, inpatient and outpatient surgical services, laboratory services, and a Regional Cancer Center.
Elizabethton is also uniquely located less than 20 minutes away from the Veterans Administration's Mountain Home Medical Center. This complex offers a wide variety of excellent medical, eye, extended care, and psychological services to current and former service members of our nation's military.
In addition to the hospital, Elizabethton has many different healthcare providers including family practitioners, internists, dentists, pediatricians, optometrists, gynecologist, orthopedists, physical therapy services, and rehabilitation services. Elizabethton is also home to many nursing homes and an assisting living center


Located in the Appalachian Mountain, Elizabethton enjoys mild winters and warms summers. Elizabethton's climate has become very attractive to those looking for a place to locate which is not too hot and not too cold, but still desire the beauty of all four seasons.


Leisure and Recreation

Elizabethton's location on the edge of the Cherokee National Forest give this city access to some of Nature's best recreational opportunities. Within minutes of Elizabethton you can be boating on Watauga or Wilbur Lake, chasing whitewater down the Watauga River on a kayak or raft, fly-fishing below Wilbur Dam, hiking on any of the 150-miles of the Appalachian Trail in Carter County, jumping off of a waterfall, or just enjoying some of the best views in East Tennessee from the Roan Mountain bald.

The City of Elizabethton also operates a full-service Library for residents and the Parks and Recreation Department keep citizens busy all year round with 12 different beautiful parks, a summer concert series, youth baseball leagues, a public community pool, various year-round adult athletic leagues, and other adult and children classes. Golfers can enjoy the one of East Tennessee's premier golf courses, the Elizabethton City Golf Course home to the East Tennessee Amateur golf tournament. Everyone can find something to enjoy!

Elizabethton also boasts a quaint downtown with restaurants and antique and boutique shops that will remind you of your childhood hometown. The city is home to Sycamore Shoals State Park where one of the first written constitutional governments west of the Appalachian Mountains was established in the late 1700s.

Transportation & Maps

Highways and Interstates

Elizabethton has two 4-lane US Routes through the city and is a short drive from two major Interstates. US Route 321 is a major east/west route through Elizabethton and Carter County. US Route 321 provides direct access to Interstate 26 from Elizabethton. US Route 19E provides a north/south route through the eastern portion of the city and is a direct route into North Carolina to the south and an indirect route to neighboring Bristol, Tennessee and Interstate 81. Much of the City's industrial property can be found along US Route 19E.

Interstate 26 is a short 15 minute drive west of Elizabethton. Interstate 26 provides additional access to Interstate 81 and Kingsport, Tennessee to the north and North Carolina, the South Carolina Inland Port, and the Port at Charleston to the south. Interstate 81 can also easily be accessed from Elizabethton in 25 minutes via US Route 19E. Interstate 81 provides access to Virginia and the Northeast US market to the north and provides additional access to Interstate 40 to the south.



Elizabethton Municipal Airport (LID: 0A9) is a public, general aviation airport that is located in, owned, and operated by the City of Elizabethton.

  • Runway: 4,529 ft x 75 ft
  • Fixed-base operator services: fuel, bulk hangers, T hangers, maintenance, rental cars, line service, crew cars, and vehicle care and storage
  • Full time flight training center that teaches private, instrument and commercial ratings
  • 29,000 aircraft operations per year
The Tri-Cities Regional Airport (LID: TRI) is a primary commercial service airport 35 minutes from Elizabethton serving East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

  • Primary runway: 5/23 – 8,000 feet by 150 feet
  • Upgraded Instrument Landing System, Mark 20 ILS, GPS compatible, remote maintenance and monitoring
  • More than 200,000 passenger boardings per year
  • Passenger Carriers: Allegiant Air, Delta, and US Airways Express
  • Foreign Trade Zone designation
  • Airborne Express and DHL provide guaranteed overnight delivery service, and freight services also are provided on passenger aircrafts
  • Elizabethton has direct access to the following markets via Tri-Cities Regional Airport:
    • Atlanta (average of 7 flights to Atlanta and 7 flight from Atlanta daily via Delta)
    • Charlotte (average of 10 flights to Charlotte and 10 flights from Charlotte daily via US Air)
    • Orlando
    • St. Petersburg, Florida

Access to Markets

View our Access to Markets map.

100 Miles    
Greenville, SC Knoxville, TN Charlotte, NC
200 Miles    
Raleigh, NC Columbia, SC Greensboro-High Point, NC
Winston-Salem, NC Chattanooga, TN Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
400 Miles    
Washington, DC Atlanta, GA Baltimore, MD
Pittsburgh, PA Cincinnati, OH Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH Indianapolis, IN Nashville, TN
Virginia Beach, VA Louisville, KY Richmond, VA
Birmingham, AL    
600 Miles    
New York, NY Chicago, IL Toronto, ON
Philadelphia, PA Detroit, MI Tampa, FL
St. Louis, MO Orlando, FL Milwaukee, WI
Jacksonville, FL Memphis, TN Buffalo, NY

Existing Businesses

Top 15 Employers

Employer Estimated Employee
Wal-Mart 400
Snap-On. Inc. 350
Sycamore Shoals Hospital, Inc. 350
Elizabethton City Schools 300
Summers-Taylor, Inc 250
Precipitator Service Group 245
Carter County Government 200
Elizabethton City Government 200
Carter County Bank 200
Milligan College 180
NCI Manufacturing Group 160
Star Building Systems 160
Grindstaff, Inc. 154
Lowe's Home Centers, LLC 150
Life Care Centers of America, Inc. 140


Manufacturers NAICS Code Estimated Employees
All Metals Fabricators & Millwright Services 332710 - Machine Shop 3
AYM, Inc 332913 - Plumbing fittings & brass goods 50
Blue Ridge Fabricators 339991 - Gaskets, packing & sealing devices 38
Colonial Machinery Sales 333243 - Woodworking machinery, rebuilding Classified
ColorWorks, Inc 313310 - Textile dyeing, finishing & coating 100
Edge Dental Lab 339116 - Dentures, crowns, etc 3
Folsom Printing Company 323111 - Printing, commercial 3
General Machine and Tool Company 332710 - Machine shop, CNC 9
Lewis Wood Products 321920 - Pallets and skids, wood 7
Mapes Piano String Company 339992 - Musical strings, Specialty wires 125
Matheson Machine Products 332710 - Machine shop, precision 7
NCI Building Systems 332312 - Steel buildings 130
Nor-Well Company, Inc 332410 - Boiler shop 60
Oliver's Woodworking, Inc 321920 - Pallets 11
One Way Manufacturing, Inc 335314 - Starters, auto & heavy equipment 1
RiteScreen Company 332321 - Screens, window & door Classified
Snap-On Tools Corporation 332216 - Hand & edge tools 350
Sossner Steel Stamps 332119 - Metal stampings 50
Tri-Cities Dental Laboratories 339116 - Dental appliances 3
Tri-City Plating Company, Inc. 332813 - Electroplating of car bumpers Classified