A person diagnosed with autism faces a unique set of challenges in the workplace while also having a set of strengths that they can apply to their career. Those on the autism spectrum can choose to pursue a career that aligns with their passions and interests, and they can focus their job search and training efforts further by opting for a job or career that makes use of their unique attributes and skills.
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10 Best Jobs for Autistic People
When thinking about a job, those diagnosed with autism should analyze the required training, qualifications, education, and other requirements. You can also consider things such as salary and earning potential, necessary skills and traits, and work schedule and setting for a typical workday.
Here are 10 careers that people on the autism spectrum might want to consider.
Animators create animations for films, videos, advertisements, websites, and other types of media productions. You can pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in animation, but employers may not require a degree if you have a strong portfolio of animation work.
The typical animator makes around $70,000 per year. This career may be suited for people on the autism spectrum because animators can work with minimal co-worker interaction, and they need to pay close attention to detail.
Architecture involves designing residential and commercial buildings, civil structures, such as bridges, and other physical structures. To become an architect, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in architecture.
A degree will get you an apprenticeship with a registered architect, after which you sit for the Architect Registration Exam in your state. The average salary for this career is $79,000. This job requires excellent visualization skills, organizational skills, and attention to detail, which are common traits for those on the autism spectrum.
Data analysts collect data and review it to find patterns that may present solutions to business problems or increase financial performance or operational efficiency. This career typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, math, or statistics.
People with autism may succeed in this career because it requires skills with numbers and data and the ability to discern patterns. The average salary of a data analyst is $62,000.
Engineers work in a variety of disciplines. Regardless of their area of specialization, their duties focus on the design, development, testing, safety, or quality assurance of structures, products, systems, and devices. Fields include electrical engineering, industrial engineering, civil engineering, and computer engineering.
The salary varies depending on specialization, but the overall average is $80,000. You start this career by earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering, though some employers prefer a master’s degree. People with autism can excel in this career because it requires the ability to pay attention to minute details and make accurate measurements and calculations.
Librarians can manage materials and information in a public library, an academic library, a legal library, or for a company. You can also work for an organization or agency that needs organized and accessible information.
To start this career, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in library science, though some employers require a master’s degree. Librarians can expect to earn $59,050 per year, on average. Organizational skills are vital for anyone in this career, as is the ability to analyze and categorize materials and information.
Paralegals draft legal documents, conduct research, organize files, and perform other duties in support of lawyers and law firms. You can start this career with an associate degree or post-secondary certificate in legal studies or paralegal studies.
The average salary for someone in this career is $51,000. People diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders may thrive in a paralegal job because it requires organizational skills, the ability to format documents correctly, and the skills to analyze and categorize large amounts of information.
Producers oversee the production process of a film, show, video, advertisement, or musical recording. The technical skills you need for this career can vary depending on the medium in which you work. Producers either have extensive experience or an associate or bachelor’s degree in their chosen field.
All producers need to handle multiple tasks at once while remaining organized and paying attention to the details of each facet of the production. Some people on the autism spectrum may thrive when confronted with such complex organizational challenges. A producer’s salary may vary depending on the type of media, but the average is $71,000 per year.
Programmers use their analytical and creative abilities to build computer programs and algorithms. Educational requirements for this career typically include a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. The average programmer’s salary is $84,000. Job-seekers on the autism spectrum may thrive in a programming career because it requires excellent analytical skills, the ability to concentrate for long periods, and the capacity to remember and use complex coding systems.
Software testing involves using a piece of software or an application to find bugs, performance problems, and issues with the user interface (UI). Software testers find and define problems and, in some cases, offer solutions. Academic requirements for this career usually include a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject. The average salary is $63,000. Workers on the autism spectrum may find that the need to ensure that software or applications fit within a particular set of quality standards and operational rules matches their skillset.
Writers create text for a variety of different publications. As a writer, you could write for news outlets, fiction publishers, websites, advertising agencies, magazines, or academic journals. You can work on a full-time basis for one employer or as a freelancer with different clients. Full-time writers and authors earn an average of $62,000 per year, and academic requirements vary depending on your area of focus.
Regardless of their degree, writers need a portfolio that showcases their work to prospective employers. People on the autism spectrum who have a strong command of vocabulary and the ability to work within the parameters of their chosen writing style can thrive in this career.
Job Search Tips for Autistic People
Job seekers on the autism spectrum have a wealth of resources and support available. The first step for a job seeker is to create a resume or, for some careers, a portfolio. When creating these items, focus on your work, experience, and skills rather than on any disabilities that you might have.
Also, people on the autism spectrum need to understand that they have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Because of this law, employers must give you equal treatment and reasonable accommodations if you get hired. You don’t have to disclose a disability to your employer during the hiring process, but you do need to do so when you request accommodations.
Research each employer and find out their mission and values. Then, prepare your resume or practice interview questions that incorporate these things. During the interview, focus on your skills and experience. If your disability comes up, you do not have to shy away from it. You can discuss it in a positive way, such as telling the interviewer that it gives you attributes that other employees might not have.
Autism Employment Agency
Some organizations and groups assist people with specific disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder. They help with job searches, locate training and education opportunities, and ensure that people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) receive fair treatment in the workplace.
- The Spectrum Careers is a free job board partnering with a variety of organizations that serve people with ASD and employers who hire workers with autism. They also offer educational services, career planning advice, and information for job seekers.
- Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable is another free job board. It caters to job seekers with ASD and only lists positions that are open for those with autism. Each listing includes information about how to apply.
- The National Autism Association offers children and adults with ASD and their families different resources, including employment support.
- The Autism Society provides support and resources to people with autism. Although this far-reaching organization focuses on every aspect of a person’s life, it has a lot of information and many resources related to education and employment.
Working From Home With Autism
Remote work is becoming a more accessible option for all workers, and it could be a viable option for those on the autism spectrum. These jobs often allow people to work independently and communicate via email or chat application instead of face to face.
Some remote jobs provide clearly defined tasks and a timeline. This level of organization may provide the structure that those with ASD need to thrive. Also, remote working limits the social pressures associated with employment. This allows people with ASD to focus on their work without extra stresses. They can then engage in social situations outside of work.
Some jobs, such as software development, programming, writing, and data analysis, are ideal for remote work.
Remote work can also be helpful for those diagnosed with ASD who want to later pivot into self-employment. They can learn the skills and job processes to begin their own business or work as a freelancer.
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