40 of the Best Jobs for People with Disabilities
40 of the Best Jobs for People with Disabilities
The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has traditionally been much higher than it is for other Americans. The pandemic appears to have exacerbated that trend, as the disabled unemployment rate rose from 2019’s 7.3% to more than 10% in 2021. Sadly, that means that the disabled jobless rate was roughly twice that of workers without a disability. Given that harsh reality, it is more important than ever for disabled Americans to understand the job opportunities that are out there for them.
In this post, we will explore some of the challenges impaired individuals can face when they are trying to return to the workforce, the impact on disability benefits of taking on employment, and the best jobs for people with disabilities—including those with mobility, visual, hearing, and mental or emotional impairments.
Disabilities are no barrier to work!
Tens of millions of Americans have some type of disability, but those impairments do not mean that they can no longer contribute to society. Unfortunately, society often forgets to include the disabled in conversations about the future of work. As a result, too little attention is paid to people with disabilities and their unique employment needs. And in an ever-evolving economy, disabled employees can struggle to keep pace with change and find the job they want.
Despite those challenges, disabilities should not stand in the way of anyone’s career dreams. There is a suitable job out there for just about everyone who wants to work, regardless of their impairments. The key is to help the disabled identify their best job options so that they can more effectively locate and secure the employment they need.
Do people with disabilities struggle to find employment?
Given the higher rate of unemployment for people with disabilities, it is obvious that many disabled workers are still struggling to overcome barriers. According to findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployed people with disabilities cited a number of challenges that made it difficult for them to secure employment:
Nearly 10% pointed to a lack of accommodations on job sites
More than 10% cited a lack of transportation
12% reported that they lacked the education needed to secure a job
79% cited their own disability as a significant barrier to getting the job they wanted
That last statistic is the most worrisome, since it may suggest that those workers are not getting the help they need to locate jobs that they can perform even with their disabilities. If you have found yourself stymied in your efforts to land a job because of your disability, there is a good chance that you are simply looking at the wrong job roles. Fortunately, there are a whole host of exciting and meaningful jobs that align well with almost every type of impairment.
Can you be on SSDI and still work?
One last thing that we should consider before we explore those job opportunities is the question of disability benefits. Some people with disabilities are loath to return to work for fear that they may lose access to needed Social Security Disability Insurance payments. There’s good news, though: even if you are currently receiving benefits for your disability, provisions in the law allow you to still engage in meaningful work and still receive your full benefits.
This is an important factor to consider if your disability involves any type of impairment that might prevent you from working full-time. For example, many people with autoimmune disorders that cause chronic fatigue qualify for disability but might still be able to work part-time. The SSDI rules allow some limited amount of work in those circumstances. There are caps on what you can earn in any given month, though, so be sure to contact your Social Security case manager to explore your options.
In addition, Social Security manages work incentive programs that can provide training and other services to help you attempt to transition back to gainful employment if you identify a job that can accommodate your disability. If the program successfully enables you to return to full-time employment, your benefits will stop. Of course, if your condition subsequently worsens to the point where you can no longer work, those benefits will resume.
Again, the important thing to remember is that you have options to return to work, whether part-time or full-time, even if you are receiving disability benefits. Contact your Social Security office to learn more about how the process can work for you. 40 of the Best Jobs for People with Disabilities
40 of the Best Jobs for People with Disabilities
10 Best jobs for the mobility impaired
If you suffer from some form of physical limitation due to disease or injury, there is a good chance that your mobility might be impaired. Mobility impairments can come in many forms, ranging from gait problems to partial or even total paralysis in certain areas of the body. Naturally, those types of physical disabilities might prevent you from engaging in various forms of manual labor. Fortunately, there are many well-paying jobs that require little physical movement. Here are ten that may be just what you’re looking for:
The median salary for an accountant is roughly $70,00, so this can be a good-paying desk job that is ideal for anyone with mobility impairments. Similar jobs like auditors can offer the same type of compensation and accommodations for people with disabilities.
2. Customer service
Customer service representatives earn an average salary of about $34,000 per year. However, this is another job that can be well-suited for anyone who cannot spend a lot of time moving around. Depending on where you choose to work, there may even be advancement opportunities that could lead to better-paying roles.
3. Bank teller
The average salary for a bank teller is more than $30,000 per year, but the job can provide an opportunity for disabled individuals to spend more time in public interacting with others. Larger banks may even offer significantly higher compensation, depending on the locale.
4. Human resources officer
Roles in human resources vary, depending on the job. An HR assistant can earn more than $40,000 per year, while specialists can make as much as $60,000. Human resource managers can expect significantly higher pay, with some earning in excess of $100,000.
5. Pharmacist jobs
Pharmacy assistants can expect to earn an average wage of more than $16 per hour, which can translate into more than $30,000 a year. Pharmacists make far more, with an average salary that can reach six figures.
6. IT professional
Depending on their certifications, an IT professional could earn anywhere from $50,000 to more than $90,000. In other words, the more effort you put into upgrading your skills and obtaining certifications, the better.
7. Web designer
According to Glassdoor, the average U.S. web designer earns more than $60,000 a year. If you have a creative streak, this desk job could be the ideal solution for your employment needs.
There are many different types of counseling roles, ranging from therapists that can earn in excess of $25 per hour to mental health and school counselors whose salaries can be anywhere from $50,000 to $90,000 per year.
9. Administrative assistant
This job has a base starting salary between $36,000 and $48,000. These jobs are usually well-suited for people with disabilities as well and can often offer opportunities for advancement.
10. Marketing Professional
Marketing specialists can earn as much as $73,000 per year, while managers can expect to receive salaries well into the six-figure range. Since these jobs tend to require mental skills rather than physical mobility, they can offer tremendous opportunities for anyone with a physical disability.
10 Best jobs for the visually impaired
Visual impairments can present a unique set of challenges to employment, but that doesn’t mean that there are no jobs for those with restricted vision. Today’s jobs require more than sight, and often require other more vital talents – like logic, brain power, and the ability to manage interpersonal relations. In addition, there are tools available to help the visually impaired interact with the technology that is so vital in many of the world’s most common jobs. These ten job options can serve as a starting point for any visually disabled person to find their career path.
1. Computer programmer
The average salary for computer programmers in the U.S. is more than $66,000 per year. With the right tools and knowledge, this brainy job can be a perfect option for the visually impaired.
2. Call center sales
On average, call center reps earn about $34,000 a year. While the pay may be on the lower end of the compensation scale, the job does provide a suitable environment for anyone with a sight impairment.
According to the BLS, the median annual earnings for writers is nearly $70,000. Fortunately, speech-to-text software and other tools can enable anyone with a visual impairment to translate their written communication abilities into real money.
4. Tutoring or teaching
Teaching and tutoring require knowledge, so these jobs should be viable options for anyone with visual limitations. Tutors earn an average of more than $20 per hour, while the average U.S. teacher salary is estimated to be in excess of $56,000.
5. Credit counselor
Credit counselors earn a median salary of more than $40,000 a year. The job is another knowledge-based profession that can allow the visually impaired to use their interpersonal skills to help others improve or repair their credit and make sound financial decisions.
6. Benefits Advisor
The average salary for a benefits advisor is somewhere around $61,000, according to Indeed.com. The actual salary range is broad, however, with low earnings reported at just under $50,000 and higher-end salaries reaching well above the average.
7. Financial analyst
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for financial analysts is slightly more than $81,000 per year. The highest salaries for that position are reportedly earned by people who work for companies with more than 50 employees.
8. Paralegal or Attorney
Obviously, jobs in the legal profession are well compensated. Paralegals have an average annual salary of more than $56,000, while lawyers have a national average salary of more than $144,000.
9. School counselor
As noted above, school counselors are among the best-paid counselors in the nation. The BLS estimate for a school counselor’s average salary is $56,000, but many earn much more than that in some of the larger and more well-funded school districts across the nation.
10. Research Assistant
Estimates for the annual salary for research assistants suggest that the average annual salary is somewhere around $40,000. Depending on the type of research and your employer, you could make much more than that. For example, some clinical research assistants can earn more than double that amount.
10 Best jobs for the hearing impaired
Hearing impairments range in severity from milder hearing loss to total deafness. Like the visually impaired, people with hearing disabilities tend to rely on their remaining senses to gather and process information. And while some jobs are ill-suited for those with hearing loss, there are plenty of other employment opportunities for talented people with hearing impairments. For example, any of the 10 job options listed below could be a great choice for you.
1. Marketing Specialist
The average marketing specialist in the United States earns roughly $50,000 a year. Though, many earn much more than that. More importantly, this can be a great role for hearing-impaired workers who enjoy the creative side of business.
2. Graphic designer
Speaking of creativity, how about a job as a graphic designer? The salaries for this job vary wildly from state to state, but the national average is reportedly around $50,000 per year.
A job as a bookkeeper can be ideal for the hearing impaired who are content to work with data each day. People in this industry can expect to earn about $40,000 per year.
4. Data analyst
Estimates for the annual salary for data analysts range from around $60,000 to nearly $80,000 per year, depending on which source you rely on for your information. Again, this is a great data-focused job for anyone with a hearing disability.
By some estimates, the average salary for an engineer is somewhere around $88,000 a year. Different types of engineering degrees will yield different compensation, of course.
6. Software developer
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a software developer is about $85,000. This is also a growing field, as software-based systems are in high demand throughout society.
7. Beautician or stylist
Beauticians and stylists have an annual average pay of about $37,000 a year. These jobs can be ideal for people with limited or no hearing ability.
8. Copy editor
Estimates vary when it comes to the average pay for copy editors, with a low average of about $45,000 a year and a higher salary expectation of more than $70,000.
9. Lab technician
The average national base salary for lab technicians is more than $62,000 per year. This science-based job requires brains and careful attention to detail, making it a good fit for many hearing-impaired workers.
10. Computer repair
On average, computer repair experts can expect to earn about $30 an hour. And because it is another job where you work with your hands, hearing disabilities pose no real obstacle.
10 best jobs for the intellectually or emotionally impaired
Non-physical impairments can present their own challenges for the disabled. There are a whole host of cognitive disabilities that can make it difficult for some people to serve in many job roles. Emotional impairments can also present obstacles to employment. However, there are good jobs available for people suffering from common disabilities like autism, Down syndrome, and anxiety. Moreover, societal attitudes toward cognitive impairments and mental health concerns have changed over time, as society has come to recognize that these disabilities are no impediment to gainful employment. The following 10 jobs could be just what you need if you have any sort of intellectual or emotional impairment.
Food service work averages about $28,000 a year. However, servers at sit-down restaurants can often earn much more than that, thanks to customer gratuities.
Across the nation, the average salary for a photographer is about $45,000, with some earning significantly more. This can be a great option for cognitively impaired individuals and those with anxiety since the job can be fairly simple and stress-free.
3. Technology jobs
Some types of intellectual and emotional disabilities have no impact on technology jobs. If your disability won’t impact your ability to fill these roles, you could earn as much as a six-figure salary.
4. Fitness center worker
Fitness workers and instructors typically earn salaries in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, with managers receiving an average annual salary of more than $44,000.
5. Data entry
Data entry jobs are neither the highest paying jobs in the country nor the most glamorous. However, they often provide the perfect environment for people with intellectual or emotional disabilities. Salaries average about $32,000 per year.
6. Parking attendant
Parking attendants can earn a base wage of about $30,000 a year, depending on the venue and locale. The relatively stress-free nature of the job can be ideal for certain types of disabilities.
Painters earn about $20 per hour in many places across the United States. This is yet another job that can be stress-free and therapeutic.
8. Warehouse worker
The average wage for warehouse workers is roughly $20 per hour. In addition, many warehouse companies offer attractive benefits packages for their workers.
9. Construction worker
The average construction worker earns slightly less than $40,000 per year. Many subcontractors can earn much more than that, so there are opportunities for continual career growth in the industry.
10. Veterinary Assistant
The national average salary for veterinary assistants is about $32,000 a year. However, the work is rewarding for anyone who enjoys caring for and interacting with animals on a regular basis.
Self-employment is also an option!
We would also be remiss if we neglected to mention self-employment. Many disabled individuals with ideas for businesses can become entrepreneurs. If you have been thinking about owning your own business, that might be an option that helps get you back into the workforce. Just be sure that you fully consider every aspect of entrepreneurship before you take that leap. A host of online resources are available to help you decide if it is the right decision for you.
Get that resume updated
Finally, do not forget to get your resume and cover letter in order before you start applying for any of these or other jobs. A solid and well-written resume can be the compelling tool you need to make a great first impression on any potential employer. To make sure that your resume is done the right way, you might want to consider getting help from a professional resume writing service.
Fortunately, our resume writers have the experience and skills needed to create the perfect resume for your job-seeking needs. They can work with you to ensure that your resume and cover letter properly describe your talents and highlight the value you can bring to any prospective employer’s company. Just visit our resume services page to learn more about how our resume services can simplify your job search efforts. And if you already have a resume and just want to refine it, click on the Free Resume Review button on our home page to have our experts review it.
If you have a disability, you might believe that joining the workforce is an impossible goal. As you can see from this list of jobs for people with disabilities, however, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that there is a perfect job out there for almost everyone, and there’s never been a better time for you to find yours. Happy job hunting!
Ken Chase, Freelance Writer
During Ken's two decades as a freelance writer, he has covered everything from banking and fintech to business management and the entertainment industry. His true passion, however, has always been focused on helping others achieve their career goals with timely job search and interview advice or the occasional resume consultation. When he's not working, Ken can usually be found adventuring with family and friends or playing fetch with his demanding German Shepherd. Read more resume advice from Ken on ZipJob’s blog.