Jobs for Deaf & Hard of Hearing People

Jan 16, 2020

This article explores some careers in communications, healthcare, art, education, business and technology that may be appealing to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. These careers may involve working independently or working with others who are also deaf.

Career Options for Deaf & Hard of Hearing People

There are a number of laws and measures in place to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as other individuals. Although a person who is deaf or has hearing issues may be able to succeed in many career fields, there are some specific careers that involve minimal verbal communication or allow for the use of sign language as part of the profession, and people who are deaf or hard of hearing may want to consider those career options.

Job Title Median Salary* (2018) Growth* (2018-2028)
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians $52,330 11%
Special Education Teachers $59,780 3%
Interpreters and Translators $49,930 19%
Craft and Fine Artists $48,960 1%
Web Developers $69,430 13%
Writers and Authors $62,170 0% (little to no change)
Accountants and Auditors $70,500 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Deaf & Hard of Hearing People

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

The educational requirements for medical and clinical laboratory technologists involve earning a bachelor's degree, while medical and clinical laboratory technicians are usually required to have a certificate or associate's degree. Licensing may also be necessary for both technicians and technologists. These professionals work in labs and spend their time analyzing samples with scientific equipment. They may perform genetic tests on a blood sample or medical tests on a urine sample. Deaf and hard of hearing people may find this a good working environment because it involves analyzing bodily fluids through a scientific process, observing the outcome and documenting their data. Minimal interaction with others is required.

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have specific learning needs. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may be drawn to this field so that they can pursue opportunities to teach students who are deaf. They can use their sign language skills to help them learn to communicate effectively with others, while providing education in other subjects as well. Special education teachers need to have a bachelor's degree and teaching license.

Interpreters and Translators

Interpreters and translators must be fluent in two languages and have a bachelor's degree. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may be able to sign written content to others. Those who are hard of hearing may still be able to hear with the use of hearing aids, and may find it rewarding to be able to use their sign language skills to present verbal communication to those who are deaf through the use of sign language. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who know English and another language, such as Chinese, may find that they enjoy working as a translator because they can focus on taking text written in one language and use their skills to present that text in another written language. That type of work does not involve much verbal communication.

Craft and Fine Artists

Craft and fine artists work with their hands to produce materials related to their particular artistic talents. They do not necessarily need postsecondary training, although a bachelor's degree can be an asset. They may work as illustrators, sculptors, glass artists, jewelry makers, or cartoonists, among many others. Many craft and fine artists have their own business, and have the option of working independently and may be able to do all their business communication through email; those who are deaf or hard of hearing may find this an ideal career option because they can focus on producing work with their hands and express their ideas to others through their work.

Web Developers

Web developers can enter this field with an associate's degree. They determine how a website will look and what features it will offer, and then they design the site so that it looks and operates properly. This involves writing code for the site. Web developers can work alone or in small teams and may spend most of their time working on computers, which makes this a good career option for deaf people to consider.

Writers and Authors

Writers and authors use their talents to express information through the written work. They may produce stories that are intended to entertain, or they may be involved in researching and writing about technical subjects. People who are deaf and hard of hearing may find this an ideal career because it doesn't have to involve a lot of interaction with others and they can focus on communicating through writing. A bachelor's degree is normally required to work as a writer or author, although writing talent and experience can be more important than possessing a particular degree.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors are required to have a bachelor's degree. They may also need certification and state licensure. They work primarily with a person's or company's financial data. They may analyze clients' financial information to determine how much they need to pay in taxes, or they might be responsible for organizing or examining other financial data. Individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf may find this a good career fit, since most of their work involves dealing with documents and numbers.

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