Career Options for People with Autism
People with autism have many strengths, including exceptionally high functioning in certain areas. They also face unique challenges related to communication, short-term memory, and social skills. Some people with autism may be visual thinkers, but others may be more mathematical. A certain percentage have verbal communication challenges. Choosing the right job means playing on the unique strengths of the individual; the careers below include a range of options that could appeal to individuals with different types of autism.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Assemblers and Fabricators||$30,930||-1%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for People with Autism
Computer programmers write code for software. They also test code to make sure it is working properly. This is a good choice for people with autism who are visual thinkers, possibly because of a high-level ability to spot flaws in patterns. Most computer programmers work in offices, but working from home may be possible. A bachelor's degree is the most common requirement for working as a computer programmer.
Using professional software, drafters convert drawings from engineers or architects into the plans necessary for construction. Drafters spend much of their time working in offices. However, some may occasionally go out into the field to confer with engineers. Certain visual thinkers on the autism spectrum may excel as drafters due to a propensity for pattern-making, visual organization, and graphic layout. Most drafters require a certificate or an associate's degree.
Web developers produce websites. They design the look and functionality of the site and may create content. Web developers may be self-employed or work in an office, and the job is well suited for visual thinkers; they arrange graphic content, organize page layouts, and troubleshoot code. To become a web developer, one generally needs an associate's degree in web design or a related field.
Both laboratory technicians and laboratory technologists analyze bodily specimens/fluids and record results as part of medical testing procedures. Most work in hospitals or medical laboratories. The difference is that a medical technologist requires a bachelor's degree and performs more complex tests than a technician, who only requires an associate degree. Individuals with autism who are non-visual thinkers and excel in factual and/or mathematical thinking may find this to be a productive and enjoyable career. It requires analytical skills, the ability to use technology, and being on one's feet for extended periods of time.
Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors prepare, review, and inspect financial records. Accountants generally manage and analyze the finances of an organization or individual, while auditors are generally responsible for inspecting financial documents, such as tax reports, to check for legal compliance and fraud. A career as an accountant or auditor involves manipulating and analyzing numbers and thus would be a great choice for factual thinkers with high-functioning math skills. A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required for either career.
Library assistants help librarians with the day-to-day operations of a library. Some library assistants help patrons find information or materials, but others specialize in operational tasks like research, computer maintenance, and book shelving. The latter option would work well for non-verbal individuals with autism, as it involves hands-on, quiet work not requiring intensive social interaction or communication. A high school diploma and some on-the-job training is required to work as a library assistant.
Tellers perform transactions for clients at banks and credit unions. They are responsible for cashing checks and handling monetary deposits. Individuals with autism who are non-visual but strong in math would do well in this position; transactions must be precise, but the demand on short-term working memory is fairly low. Most employers require a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
Assemblers and Fabricators
Assemblers and fabricators put together manufactured products ranging from toys to control panels. They use their hands, tools, and/or machines to complete their work. This is a good career choice for people with autism who have verbal challenges since the work primarily involves reading and assembling. Most work is done in manufacturing plants, and individuals with autism would likely do better in quieter areas if possible. A high school education is usually required to work as an assembler or fabricator.