4 Career Tips for Students with Disabilities

  • Oct 31, 2020
  • Patrick Young

We at InternMart know the transition into the working world is often challenging for first-timers but that it can be especially so for those with disabilities. Looking for a first job is hard enough, but it can be intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming for young people managing one or more disabilities. You don’t know what to expect, and it’s easy to become flustered when trying to best present your job skills. However, with some planning and preparation, you can go into that first interview confident that your disability is really an ability.

Coursework for Careers

Understanding the kind of job you want starts with defining your personal and professional goals. For example, if you are interested in technology but don’t know where to start, an online career mapping program can help. Branching out can feel overwhelming, but you can make it easier by understanding your interests and using that as your basis for additional training. While people with disabilities once faced limited options for higher education and career preparation, more and more doors have opened up almost all possibilities and paths.

Work-from-Home Jobs

Remote work, something that used to be a rare luxury, has now become commonplace for the average American worker. For people with a disability, working from home can also remove barriers to having a job, especially for people with mobility challenges, vision impairment, and mental health conditions. You can even get your feet wet while you're still in school. For example, you could work from home as a virtual assistant or data entry specialist, while you study for your degree or train through a career program. Plus, entry-level remote jobs in customer service, finance, transcription, education, and more can turn into lucrative careers in leadership and management.

Job Hunting

There are many ways to find the right job at the right time, and that is in no small part because of the Internet. Job boards—especially those that include internship opportunities, like InternMart—lead graphic designers, web developers, and video editors to lucrative projects and partnerships, so use our site to search for careers and apply right from home. Most importantly, reach out to anyone in your network to learn about opportunities. See what classmates are doing and where they are working. Ask teachers and adults from church about positions they know of, and find out if there are openings that interest you.

Job hunting for the first time is intimidating to anyone, but for people with disabilities, you may feel like the disability is often seen first. While that can be a confidence hurdle in the beginning, don’t give up. Think of your disability as something that will make you a valuable employee—it’s part of who you are, and you are worthy of being hired.

Invest in adaptive technology

Technology is the key to showing students with disabilities how to turn their passions into professions. For example, a person with muscle and motor control issues can use voice-to-text technology to compose emails, write reports and document procedures. If a person manages a vision impairment, screen readers and screen magnifiers can help with graphic design and data entry projects. For those who use American Sign Language as their primary mode of communication, there is even technology out there that can watch and transcribe your signs, making for more confident and inclusive video conference calls. Any type of adaptive technology is something that can also help students with school, making it a great tool for anyone with a disability who both studies and works from home.

People with disabilities who work remotely join the millions of U.S. workers who work from home at least part-time. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a job that allows people to work from home is listed as a reasonable accommodation for someone with a disability. Explore your options for this reasonable accommodation now so you can find a career path that keeps you interested and excited.

Do you want to know more about making the right choice for your college and career?
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