How to Find the Best Jobs for Autistic Adults

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Despite a desire to work, many autistic adults are unemployed or underemployed due to other people’s lack of understanding and support.

As special education teachers, it’s our responsibility to recognize and value the skills and strengths of our students that could lead to a potential job opportunity. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the distinctive strengths of autistic individuals and some helpful tips on finding the best jobs that fit the most.

Strengths & Skills of Autistic Individuals

Female using laptop and wearing headphones at work. There are people in the background.

Autistic people see, hear, and feel the world differently than other people. It’s a lifelong disability; autism is not something to be “cured” because it’s not an illness or disease. Often, individuals accept and feel autism as part of their identity.

While autism is full of challenges, it also offers a range of distinctive strengths and skills. Autistic people have diverse needs but also possess remarkable skills that can be assets in the workplace.

We need to identify and nurture these strengths to help our autistic students lead fulfilling lives.

What are the common strengths of autistic individuals that can be very helpful when working? Autistic individuals often demonstrate above-average skills in the following areas:

  • High levels of concentration
  • Reliability, conscientiousness, and persistence
  • Accuracy, close attention to detail, and the ability to identify errors
  • Technical ability, such as in IT
  • Detailed factual knowledge and an excellent memory

Autistic individuals have strengths such as unique problem-solving approaches and intense passion or expertise in specific areas. These are very valuable in various professions.


Great Jobs for Autistic Adults

Autism is a spectrum disability, which means autistic individuals don’t share all the same qualities or needs for accommodations. Each person is unique, so while autistic folks may have some things in common, they have lots of differences in strengths and challenges as well. 

Like any other person, that means that it is impossible to assume that certain jobs will be a good fit. 

But, here’s a list of some autism-friendly jobs that may fit your autistic students.

1. Accountancy

Being an accountant is a good job for autistic people who are really good at math and pay close attention to details. Tasks include managing budgets, doing taxes, and creating cash flow reports.

Accountants can work for companies, but some also work for themselves. If your student enjoys working with numbers and being precise, this could be a great fit!

Close-up of an accountant using calculator while going through bills and taxes in the office

2. Web Development

A web developer’s task involves creating and maintaining websites. Autistic people are often detail-oriented and have strong visual skills, and these are handy for this kind of work.

Web developers usually work by themselves or in small groups, giving them the independence that many neurodivergent employees like.

3. Graphic Design

One of the best work-from-home jobs for autistic adults is graphic design. It involves making pictures and designs for logos, ads, and websites. It’s great for autistic adults because they can be creative and work independently while using their visual skills.

4. Actuary

An actuary is an analyst for insurance companies. This is a good job for autistic people because it involves working with numbers and data. Actuaries use math to see how likely accidents are and how much insurance policies should cost.

It’s perfect for autistic individuals who like working in offices, dealing with big numbers, and doing math.

5. Agricultural Work

The agricultural field also has good employment opportunities for autistic people. It includes different jobs like working on a farm, in a garden, or in a greenhouse. Some autistic people might like taking care of animals or working outside.

These jobs often let them have quiet time alone, which can be nice if they don’t like busy places.

6. Mechanic

Mechanics find problems and repair mechanical parts to keep vehicles working well. Being a mechanic is a perfect job for autistic people because they’re good at visualizing things, so they can quickly understand what’s wrong with a vehicle.

Mechanics usually work alone even though they might need to talk to customers at times. If your student likes working with their hands, this could be an excellent job.

7. Building Trades

Building trades, such as carpentry or welding, are ideal jobs for autistic people since they rely on visual skills, to which many autistic individuals excel. These trades are also high in demand, so it might be easi to enter this industry.

8. Computer Programming

Big computer and network companies have realized that people who think differently, like autistic individuals, are good for their business.

Many programmers work in the office, but some can work from home if needed. There’s always a need for programmers, and they get paid well for their work. That’s why it’s one of the best jobs for autistic adults. 

9. Data Entry

In data entry jobs, you organize and sort data, like putting information into a computer or updating lists. Since many autistic individuals are detail-focused and organized, a data entry clerk can be a great job for them.

This job usually only needs a high school diploma, and the work is mostly done alone, so you can stick to a routine easily.

10. Dog Groomer

Being a dog groomer is a good job for autistic adults because it requires being patient and gentle with animals. If your student is someone who enjoys working with animals or has experience working in an animal care setting, they can consider this job.

Additionally, dog grooming doesn’t need a lot of talking with clients, so it’s good if the individual doesn’t like talking a lot or feels shy in social situations.

Helping Autistic Adults Find a Job That Fits

If you’re a teacher or parent, start by getting the student’s input. What do they love doing? What are THEIR dreams for their future?

Of course, don’t just limit your choice to the jobs we listed above. Those are just a starting point, meant to spark many more ideas for your students to consider. There may be other jobs that they’re interested in that are not as typical for an autistic person.

It’s also important not to dismiss someone just because you think it’s an unrealistic job. 

For example, say a student says they want to be a pilot, but you won’t encourage it because you have a preconceived notion that this is impossible for them. Would you tell a neurotypical child that their dream was impossible? Probably not.

Try to work backwards. What is it about flying planes that interests them? Is it the travel aspect? The plane engine or mechanics? Do they love suitcases? Are they interested in something about the airport?

When you can help a student identify the WHY, then you can better help them move forward on their career path.

Here’s a Career Research Exploration Project you can use with students to further research any job they might be interested in. By using this activity, you can investigate if their chosen career is truly a good match.

Additionally, if you need a tool to help assess what your student’s vocational preferences are, check out this visual job interest inventory where students can view pictures to identify their preferences!

Final notes . . .

Recognizing and valuing the strengths of your autistic students can help them find the best job for them. As a teacher, you play a big role in guiding them toward fulfilling careers. Help them identify their interests and understand their unique abilities to find their best career match!