Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that there are lots of opportunities at Fort Hood. Check out these five things everyone should know about “The Great Place.”

1. It’s huge.

The installation covers 340 square miles and boasts the title of largest active duty armored post within the U.S. Armed Services. With III Corps Headquarters at the helm, the installation supports 21 major units, including 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Army Division West and U.S. Army Operational Test Command. More than 40,000 soldiers and 19,000 civilians and contractors work on Fort Hood. Adding to the population are about 260,000 retirees, survivors and family members. On post alone you’ll find seven child development centers, seven elementary schools, two middle schools, two commissaries, four youth centers and a full-service hospital. It’s nicknamed “The Great Place” for a reason.

2. defense contractors are hiring.

Top defense contractors like General Dynamics, CSC and Northrop Grumman employ people like assurance security engineers, Army finance instructors, systems administrators and senior logistics engineers. Lots of health care positions ranging from physicians to psychologists to nurses are also available and the number of jobs are likely to increase when the new hospital is completed in the summer of 2015. Varied positions are available in the surrounding areas of Killeen, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights where the unemployment rate ranges from 5-6 percent. Other defense contractor positions with companies like BAE Systems can be found in Austin, about an hour away from Fort Hood.

3. You can stretch a buck.

One of the benefits of living in Texas is that you can squeeze more out of every dollar. The median price for a house in the Killeen area is about $140,000 and the cost of living falls below the national average. Many local businesses also offer military discounts and it’s possible to save money on groceries using the commissary or the local Sam’s Club. Another benefit of living in Texas? Military retirement benefits aren’t taxed.

4. Entertainment is easy.

Within 15 minutes of post, you’ll find three movie theaters, a mall and countless restaurants and fast-food establishments. There are also several parks, pools and splash pads that are family friendly and affordable. Other outdoor options include hunting on and off post as well as a nearby lake and recreation area in Belton. If you’re willing to drive to either Austin or Waco, you’ll find museums, zoos, college football and other cultural events that come with being in a large city.

5. Higher education options abound.

Central Texas College is conveniently located in Killeen and offers more than 40 associate degrees. They also have a Fort Hood campus that caters to service members, retired military and civilians. For those interested in a bachelor’s or master’s degree, Texas A&M University – Central Texas also has a campus located a few minutes outside of post. Students willing to commute to nearby cities will find that the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University in Waco are great options for higher education.

Overall, there are a lot of benefits to moving to the Fort Hood area when it comes to employment, education and even entertainment. Top it off with a cost of living that falls below the national average and it may be time to consider “The Great Place” as a viable option for your next move.

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Jennifer Cary is a freelance writer, blogger and former government employee. You can visit her website here.