The Best Careers for People with Physical Disabilities

| Matthew Sweeney

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The rise of remote work has created both opportunities and challenges for job-hunters and employees with physical disabilities.

People with physical disabilities can pursue wide-ranging and growing career opportunities, especially with the increased reliance on remote work. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only a quarter of Americans worked from home, but that number has increased significantly.

Regardless, individuals with disabilities can work in many different roles beyond remote work. Careers in management, education, business, technology, and healthcare all offer opportunities with few physical dexterity, stamina, or mobility requirements. Many of these careers also offer opportunities for people with visual or hearing impairments.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must make reasonable accommodations for job candidates and employees with disabilities. In many high-paying careers that take place in an office setting, these accommodations can be as straightforward as ensuring the workplace is not mobility-limited, implementing assistive technologies, and offering schedule flexibility.

Read on to learn about the fastest-growing careers in the business, information technology, medicine, education, and social work fields — all of which are well suited to professionals with disabilities. We also cover education requirements and typical salaries for these roles.


Highest-Paying Careers

People with disabilities have many high-paying career options. In fact, many of the highest-paying careers have little physical requirements. This includes careers in management, business, or information technology, and many of them require only a bachelor's degree.

The following list is by no means exhaustive; it is just a place to start your research. People with disabilities can find well-paying careers in many other fields and industries, too.

true Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150 10%

What They Do: These managers oversee companies' computer-related activities.

Where They Work: Computer and information systems managers usually work in office settings within manufacturing firms or government agencies.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Most computer and information systems managers possess a bachelor's in computer science or another information technology degree. Many also hold graduate degrees in management information science.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Marketing Managers $142,170 7%

What They Do: Marketing managers plan the strategy for selling products or services effectively. This job requires an analytical mind and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis.

Where They Work: Marketing managers usually work in office environments, generally in advertising, public relations, or management settings.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Most marketing managers hold bachelor's degrees in advertising, journalism, or marketing, along with significant work experience in advertising, marketing, and promotion. Some employers prefer candidates with MBAs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Financial Managers $134,180 15%

What They Do: Financial managers oversee organizations' financial health and create detailed reports to help them reach long-term financial goals. This analytical job requires an independent mind and self-directed work ethic.

Where They Work: Financial managers work in offices, usually in financial services and insurance, management of enterprises, or professional services settings. They often collaborate with top executives.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: A financial manager typically has a bachelor's degree and significant experience in finance, accounting, and business administration. Some employers may prefer candidates with MBAs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Sales Managers $132,290 4%

What They Do: Sales managers set sales goals for organizations based on their analyses of sales data.

Where They Work: Sales managers usually work in an office environment, often in wholesale trade, retail trade, or professional services companies.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Most sales managers hold bachelor's degrees in sales management or business administration, along with extensive experience as sales representatives. Some employers look for applicants with MBAs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Natural Sciences Managers $137,940 5%

What They Do: Natural sciences managers supervise scientists and researchers.

Where They Work: These professionals usually work in offices or laboratories, generally in research, academia, the public sector, or manufacturing. Some natural sciences managers work on field sites.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: These professionals typically need a bachelor's with a concentration in natural sciences management. However, some natural sciences managers earn postgraduate degrees to launch their careers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Top Business Careers

true Chief Executives $185,950 -10%

What They Do: Chief executives oversee organizations' from the top down, setting company goals and gameplans.

Where They Work: Chief executives work across public and private sectors in professional and technical services, healthcare, and government.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: These professionals usually need a business administration-related bachelor's and at least ten years of business-related experience to work as an executive. Many chief executives also hold MBAs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Human Resources Managers $121,220 6%

What They Do: Human resource managers oversee companies' administrative functions.

Where They Work: These managers work in offices in nearly every industry.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Human resources managers need a bachelor's in business administration or human resource management. Some employers prefer candidates with MBAs focusing on human resource management.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Training and Development Managers $115,640 7%

What They Do: These managers oversee training and internal effectiveness at organizations.

Where They Work: Training and development managers work in offices, usually in professional and technical services, manufacturing, or management of enterprises, though they can work in any industry.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: A training and development manager needs at minimum a bachelor's in business administration or a related field. Some also hold degrees in education, while others possess MBAs with a specialization in training and development management.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Top Information Technology Careers

true Computer Network Architects $116,780 5%

What They Do: Computer network architects design and oversee data communication network capabilities for organizations.

Where They Work: These architects spend most of their time in offices and server rooms, often working for large businesses with a lot of information technology needs.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Computer network architects typically need a bachelor's in computer science, information science, or engineering. Experience with building LAN, WAN, and intranet networks also helps candidates stand out from the competition.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Computer and Information Research Scientists $126,830 15%

What They Do: Research scientists work toward discovering new applications for computer and information technology.

Where They Work: Computer and information research scientists usually work in the private sector, academia, or computer systems design services.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: To work as a computer and information research scientist, you need a master's or higher in computer or information science. An area of specialization, such as artificial intelligence or biomedical technology, also helps.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Information Security Analysts $103,590 31%

What They Do: Information security analysts protect computer networks from cybersecurity threats such as viruses and hackers.

Where They Work: These analysts typically work for computer services companies, financial services organizations, and consulting firms.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Information security analysts usually hold bachelor's degrees in computer science or information technology. Many also possess certificates in cybersecurity.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Top Medical Careers

true Speech-Language Pathologists $80,480 25%

What They Do: Speech-language pathologists use their strong listening and verbal communication skills to help diagnose and correct clients' speech disorders.

Where They Work: Speech-language pathologists typically work within school systems, hospitals, and residential care. Some professionals are self-employed or work in private clinics.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Working as a speech-language pathologist requires a master's in speech-language pathology from a Council on Academic Accreditation accredited program. Many states also require licensure.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

true Occupational Therapists $86,280 16%

What They Do: Occupational therapists help people with disabilities, injuries, or chronic illnesses navigate their workplaces.

Where They Work: These therapists work in hospitals, residential care facilities, and schools. Many also work for home health services.

Education or Skills Required for the Role: Occupational therapists need a master's in occupational therapy and state licensure. Some employers prefer therapists with doctoral degrees.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Other Fields and Careers to Consider


Art and Design

The art and design field offers diverse opportunities for people with physical disabilities.

Creative careers often take place in inclusive settings, including for remote workers and people with visual or hearing impairments. Artists, for example, often work in a variety of settings and set their own schedules.

Many grants, funds, and communities provide opportunities specifically for artists with disabilities.

Here are a few top careers in art and design.

  • Art directors
  • Multimedia artists and animators
  • Special effects artists and animators
  • Fashion designers
  • Digital designer


Education

The educational field also presents unique possibilities for people with disabilities.

Public schools offer an inclusive environment for both educators and students with disabilities. Educators can work in a variety of settings, including remotely.

Here are a few top careers in education.

  • Postsecondary education administrators
  • Postsecondary teachers
  • Instructional coordinators
  • High school teachers
  • Self-enrichment education teachers


Social Work

Many people with physical disabilities find success in social work careers. The career attracts people who are empathetic and enjoy teaching, counseling, and providing services.

Many social work organizations prioritize accessibility, making them a good place for employees with disabilities. Case managers and disability social workers who have disabilities can assist their clients by drawing on their personal experiences.

Here are a few top careers in social work.

  • Social work teachers
  • Social and community service managers
  • School and career counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Health educators

Common Questions About Careers for People With Disabilities

true What Is a Good Job for Someone With a Physical Disability?

Any job that the person feels ready to pursue. People with physical disabilities are not restricted to a narrow range of options: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stipulates that employers must make "reasonable accommodations" for individuals with disabilities.

true How Do I Get a Job if I Have a Disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of ability. You can visit your state's vocational rehabilitation services office for leads on career options.

true What Jobs Can People With Disabilities Do From Home?

Web developer, information security analyst, multimedia artist, and animator are all popular careers for work-from-home professionals.

Matthew Sweeney received his Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in English literature from Portland State. His writings on music and culture have appeared in the publications Eleven PDX Magazine and Secret Decoder. In his free time he enjoys reading, cinema, hiking, and cooking.

Header Image Credit: Maskot | Getty Images

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