Career Options for Blind and Visually Impaired People
People who are blind or otherwise visually impaired are able to perform just about any job, but they may have to perform certain job tasks a little differently. With various accommodations, such as voice messages, altered technology, braille devices, large print, other talking devices and more, the blind and visually impaired can work numerous jobs across a variety of fields. Here we look at several job opportunities, and how they may be a good fit for the blind or visually impaired.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Musicians and Singers||$25.14 per hour||3%|
|Personal Finance Advisors||$90,530||30%|
|Mental Health Counselors||$42,840||20%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Career Information for Jobs for Blind and Visually Impaired People
Musicians and Singers
A career as a musician or singer is one that may not require sight at all, especially for someone who has a good ear and can rely on their sense of touch to learn an instrument. Musicians and singers may specialize in performing a particular style of music, like jazz, pop or classical, and may travel to perform for live audiences or record music in a studio. They need to practice their craft, and often work to create a following through social media. Musicians and singers do not need a formal education, but may hold a bachelor's degree in a certain instrument or the music field.
Personal Finance Advisors
Personal finance advisors help individuals handle their finances, and provide advice on how clients can reach their short- and long-term financial goals. They may recommend certain investments, insurances, savings accounts, mortgages and more for their clients based on the client's life circumstances and needs. With the right office accommodations, like computers with synthesized speech or large print and adjusted lighting, the blind or visually impaired who are interested in business will be able to excel in this career. Personal finance advisors need at least a bachelor's degree, and may need a master's degree and certification to advance in their career.
Blind or visually impaired people may enjoy teaching courses in their area of expertise at the postsecondary level, and may even be able to encourage students who have similar visual conditions. Postsecondary teachers create their lesson plans, assignments and assessments, and may be responsible for working with graduate students who are completing a dissertation. Visually impaired professors can use adaptive technology to create their classroom documents and grade assignments. Additionally, these educators will typically conduct independent research in their field for their institution, and serve on various committees for the organization. As long as the research environment, especially a laboratory setting, is altered to the needs of the professor, fulfilling that career requirement shouldn't be an issue. Many postsecondary teachers have a Ph.D., but some may be able to teach at smaller schools with a master's degree.
Epidemiologists collect and analyze data to study the causes and patterns of human diseases and injuries. As long as this data from surveys, interviews or samples is able to be presented in a way a blind or visually impaired person can read or hear, this job is ideal for someone who wants to make a difference in the medical field and improve overall human health. The work done by epidemiologists is often applied to policies and/or health programs, and may focus on a particular area, such as infectious or chronic diseases. These scientists must hold a master's degree.
Although some documents and archives may need to be converted to a more readable form, a job as a historian may be another good fit for the blind and visually impaired who like to conduct research. Historians examine a variety of sources to study a particular time period, historical event or historical figure. They may present their work in research papers or help museums create exhibits to inform the public about a particular topic. Historians need a Ph.D. for most research positions, but jobs exist for those with a master's or bachelor's degree.
Mental Health Counselors
Blind and visually impaired people who like to interact with people may enjoy a job as a mental health counselor, which is also a position that relies heavily on listening and speaking and not necessarily seeing. Mental health counselors lead counseling sessions with individuals or groups of people to help them process past events, hard life circumstances and unwanted behaviors. They help their clients modify their behavior and reactions to situations, discuss decisions concerning the future and may suggest additional community resources. Being disabled in this career could be advantageous because the professional may be able to empathize with clients more, which could build a greater level of trust and likelihood of cooperation. Mental health counselors need a master's degree and license to practice.