Best Jobs for People with Autism (19+ great jobs)

In this blog post, we will find out the best jobs for people with autism in general and for specific types. We will understand the challenges people with autism face in employment. 

We will also find out some tips and suggestions for employees with autism spectrum disorder before understanding the reasons for the increase in recruiters who seek people with autism. Finally, we will list out several unideal jobs for people on the spectrum. 

Best Jobs for People with Autism

It is crucial to choose jobs that play to the strengths of individuals on the spectrum. Although those on the higher end of the spectrum have difficulties with short-term memory and multitasking, their long-term memory is excellent and even better than neurotypical individuals. 

Here are the best jobs for people with autism:

  • Manufacturing 
  • Animal-related careers;
  • Science;
  • Technology;
  • Journalism and research

Manufacturing

Adults with autism engage in repetitive, ritualistic behaviors and require a structured environment. A manufacturing career could be an excellent fit for them. Working an assembly line entails repetitive tasks that could be excellent for their behaviors. Jobs related to rebuilding cars, computers, recycling, building custom objects can also be satisfying.

Animal-Related Careers

Many people with autism rejoice in surrounding themselves with animals. Animals also allow a point of focus for them to maintain their composure and improve their functioning. These factors can make an excellent option for people with autism. There are several options available in this field, such as:

  • Veterinary technician;
  • Pet-sitter;
  • Dog trainer;
  • Livestock caretaker;
  • Pet groomer;
  • Veterinarian. 

Those adults on the spectrum who have challenges interacting with people, these jobs involve the benefits of spending more time with animals instead of humans.

Science

People with autism generally have specific thinking skills and can pay full attention to subtle nuances while sticking to protocol and procedures. This type of personality is crucial to the success of science-related careers. Professions in this field include:

Scientist;

Researcher;

Laboratory technician;

Research assistant.

Technology

Those adults with autism who have an interest in technology and computer can choose careers in this field. There are several successful computer engineers and programmers who are on the spectrum. Most often, there is minimal need for interactions in this field as computer programmers typically work independently. This profession requires skills in mathematics and comprehension of intricate systems, and a desire for order. All of these factors play to the strengths of people with autism.

Journalism and Research

A common problem in these professions is that the journalist or the researcher finds it challenging to not be biased in their work. People with autism are excellent at taking a detached stance and being objective in their reports. Therefore, journalism and research can be ideal for adults with autism. Attention to detail is also essential for many research-related jobs like statisticians and academic writers.

Best Jobs for People with Autism: Specific Types

High Functioning Autism (Asperger’s Syndrome)

People with high functioning autism have a specific set of skills and abilities, making them a great asset in many professions.

Several ideal jobs include:

  • Future market trader
  • Taxi dispatcher
  • Waitress
  • Short-order cook
  • Receptionist
  • Casino dealer
  • Cashier

Visual Thinkers

For visual thinkers on the spectrum, jobs that do not demand high-speed processing of information or working memory can be ideal. Those that employ visual thinking capacities and long-term memory instead would be great.

Several ideal jobs include:

  • Computer programmer
  • Commercial artist
  • Animal trainer
  • Veterinary technician
  • Laboratory technician
  • Automobile mechanic
  • Photographer
  • Video game designer
  • Factory maintenance worker

Non-Visual Thinkers 

For non-visual thinkers, jobs involving numbers, facts, and even music could be excellent. These jobs do not require working memory and make use of long-term memory. 

Several ideal jobs include:

  • Mathematician
  • Copy editor
  • Taxi driver
  • Journalist
  • Engineer
  • Accountant
  • Telemarketer
  • Bank teller
  • Clerk
  • Statistician 

People with Severe Autism

People with more severe autism could have more challenges, especially regarding social skills. 

Several ideal jobs include:

  • Library clerk
  • Plant recycler 
  • Data entry analyst
  • Warehouse operator
  • Lawnmower or gardener
  • Janitor
  • Factory operator

Challenges People with Autism Face in Employment

Currently, barely 15% of adults with autism are employed with pay. This figure indicates that the majority of the people in this community are not engaged in paid employment. These statistics are urging people to make changes, starting with the government. 

Discrimination of people with disabilities, including mental health conditions like autism, on the part of employers is forbidden by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The mental health condition must be severe enough to limit their daily functioning to claim disability benefits. With that said, not all employers are considerate, and getting a job is challenging. 

Specific schools and universities allow a transition period, offering employment opportunities for their graduates with autism. Such offers improve the future of many kids with autism, but it has not been implemented in several schools.

High school graduates face the most challenges as they have to learn to be independent and ween off of the school’s support system. Although the law requires special education schools to offer a transition period, it is not always the case. Only a little more than 50% of children with autism are allowed a transition plan when they become teenagers.

People with autism also have difficulties with their social skills, which are required for employment. However, this does not mean they do not want to hold down their job; despite having difficulties relating to people, they have a social appetite. 

Tips and Suggestions for Employees with Autism

Tips for employees with autism spectrum disorder:

  • Ensure the job entails a structure and clearly defined goals;
  • Focus on your work instead of your social skills or other challenges;
  • Make sure the boss understands your social difficulties. 

Those on the higher end of the spectrum must pursue a major or a course in areas that allow for employment. For example, computer science is an excellent pick as it ensures work. Majors in accounting, library science, engineering, and art are also excellent choices. Courses in history, business, English, pure math, and political science are unideal choices.

Increase in Employers who are Autism-Friendly

There has been a trend wherein recruiters are looking to hire people with autism. Let us find the reasons for this inclination: 

  • The need for people with autism to engage in repetitive tasks and do not crave novelty can be an asset to many companies. It is a distinctive ability that is rare to find.  
  • The awareness of autism spectrum disorder has grown. There is also an increase in diagnosis, which means so many more people are diagnosed with this condition. 
  • There is a rise in need for employees with the abilities, thinking styles, and work ethic that people with autism spectrum disorder naturally have. 
  • The rise in diagnosis is partially attributable to the broader, more inclusive diagnostic criteria for autism. The autism spectrum currently includes people with a wide range of skills and even higher intelligence, unlike previous trends, which included only those with severe disabilities. 
  • People with autism are generally reliable, focused, structured, detail-oriented, and are passionate about their work. Most of them have incredible knowledge and skills in mathematics and technology. They come up with unique, unconventional solutions. 

Unideal Jobs for People on the Spectrum

We have outlined several unideal jobs for people with autism spectrum disorder, including those on the higher end. 

Most of these careers involve the need for working memory, theory of mind (mentalizing abilities to comprehend beliefs, desires, thoughts, and the like of others and oneself), executive functioning (mental skills for regulating behaviors like concentrating, emotional regulation, and planning). These jobs may create high stress or cause information overload.

Here are some unideal jobs for individuals on the spectrum:

  • Sex Worker
  • Food Server
  • Social Service Agent
  • Receptionist
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Salesperson
  • Politician
  • Professional Poker Player

Conclusion

In this blog post, we learned the best jobs for people with autism in general and specifically. We also understood some of the challenges people with autism face in employment. Then, we learned of tips and suggestions for employees with autism. 

Further, we understood the reasons for an increase in autism-friendly employers before listing out the unideal jobs for people on the spectrum.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Jobs for People with Autism

What jobs do adults with autism do to earn a living?

The industries in which adults with autism are most likely to work include:

Retail
Administrative and support
Scientific and technical services
Education and training
Healthcare and social assistance

Which form of therapy is ideal for people on the spectrum?

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the ideal form of therapy for people on the spectrum. It is the most widely used treatment, which is designed for both children and adults. The individual is encouraged to engage in positive behaviors as this program makes use of a reward system. 

Where do individuals with severe autism stay?

Individuals with severe autism live in their house with a family member or a friend, sometimes well into adulthood. Those requiring extra support make use of in-house services, such as a caretaker, a housekeeper, a therapist, or a healthcare provider.

Which is the most prescribed medication for treating autism?

There is no medication for autism. Several symptoms are treated using specific drugs. Several of these commonly prescribed medications include:

Risperidone
Clozapine
Aripiprazole 
Haloperidol
Sertraline 
Methylphenidate

What line of treatment is taken for high functioning autism? 

The treatments for high functioning autism include:

Physical therapy
Speech therapy
Medication
Applied behavioral analysis 
Sensory training
Occupational therapy

What do people with autism find challenging?

People with autism have challenges related to interpreting other people’s thoughts and feelings, body language,  facial expressions, and other social cues. They also have problems with emotional regulation.

Is there a pharmacological intervention for autism?

There is no pharmacological intervention for autism, and this condition does not have a cure as yet. Specific medications are used for certain symptoms such as depression, insomnia, concentration difficulties, and seizures. These medications are used in combination with behavioral therapies to improve efficacy. 

How to discipline a child with high functioning autism?

Here are a few ways to discipline a child with high functioning autism: 

Use positive reinforcements;
Express that you have belief in your child;
Learn more about their condition;
Establish a routine;
Clearly define your expectations;
Be consistent;
Be patient;
Use precise and straightforward language.

What should you never tell someone with autism?

Here are certain things you should never tell someone with autism:

“Do you take medication for your condition?”
“Everybody is a little autistic.”
“But, you seem normal.”
“You must be like the guy from Rain Man.”
“I have issues being in social situations, too.”

Can people with autism be in a relationship?

Yes, people with autism can be in a relationship. They have social difficulties, which proves to be an issue when looking for a partner and can challenge relationships. However, they often desire companionship and even intimacy, and many people with autism do have successful relationships. 

References

https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/lists/5-good-career-choices-for-people-with-autism-spectrum-disorder/

https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/irca/articles/choosing-the-right-job-for-people-with-autism-or-aspergers-syndrome.html

https://www.verywellhealth.com/top-autism-friendly-employers-4159784

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Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a "QUALITY" contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.