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34 Best and 10 Worst Jobs for Adults with Autism

Autism Jobs

Autism should not become a hindrance when it comes to finding and retaining employment as one grows older. Here are some great and worst job ideas for adults with Autism.


Autism could affect everything from the ability to separate the senses to the onset of meltdowns parents are often faced with. Certain factors like pollution could aggravate the risk of birthing an autistic child while the bright lights and large crowds at malls could make pictures with Santa near impossible and Sensitive Santas necessary.

ALSO SEE: An Autism Breakfast That Changed Mom’s Perspective: How an Unexpected Encounter Helped One Parent To Cope With Autism Stress.

Parents of autistic children are not the only ones who require special provisions in the workplace or jobs flexible enough to manage both the child and the finances. It is hard enough for the average individual to forge a career path for him or herself, but when a disability poses an obstacle life seems to become all that much more difficult. Things that could get in the way include:

  • Sensory overload issues
  • Problems with showing emotions
  • Delayed or inadequate language development
  • Social awkwardness
  • Inability to handle large crowds/agoraphobia
  • Need for certain things to be a certain way
  • Lack of proper mental transition into adulthood

According the the latest research, only about 53% of young people with ASD had ever worked outside of the home in the first 8 years after completing their secondary education, the lowest rate found among minorities suffering from disabilities. 1 in 5 have been found to work for minimum wage or less and currently hold a job or are set on a career. That accounts for only 20.9%.

Of course, those who are older, come from households of higher income and are higher functioning in society are more likely to not only find a job, but also show advance in their positions. Often, the problem lies in the fact that most individuals on the spectrum have a harder time transitioning into adulthood. Half of all ASD young adults have worked outside the home, however, from all levels on the spectrum, which is most definitely cause for hope.

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“Many families tell us it’s like driving off a cliff when their child with autism exits high school because there just are not many options once they enter adulthood,” said Dr. Paul T. Shattuck, an associate professor in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute and Drexel University School of Public Health. There may not be too many options, but the few that exist might just be the ticket that an autistic young adult needs to succeed in life and pave his or her own path.

With the 2013 version of the DSM-V removing the extra categories and having all forms of the disorder known as autism, society has been thrown into a bit of confusion. How will those diagnosed to be on the spectrum manage to fend for themselves? What jobs should they take on?

Jobs in IT are highly recommended for those on the spectrum. Apparently, it is the perfect niche for autistic individuals to focus on. Forbes mentions a Netherlands study which has pointed out that autistic individuals are six times more like to find and retain a job if they live alone or with a partner, have a household they run and have previously held any job for longer than 6 months. It is not impossible to find a job at all for any individual at level of functioning. Here is what Indiana University recommends:

Best Jobs for Adults with Autism

  • Computer programmer
  • Engineer
  • Drafter
  • Commercial artist
  • Photographer
  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Librarian
  • Mechanic
  • Craftsman (jeweler, woodworker, blacksmith)
  • Technical repairman
  • Carpenter
  • Welder
  • Building maintainer
  • Accountant
  • Statistician
  • Journalist
  • Taxi driver
  • Telemarketer
  • Mathematician
  • Clerk
  • Bank teller
  • Physicist

For the nonverbal autistic, certain jobs exist as well, including:

  • Janitor
  • Store restocker
  • Library helper
  • Factory assembly worker
  • Copy shop helper
  • Warehouse helper (grunt work)
  • Landscaper
  • Data entry specialist
  • Office helper
  • Other small jobs with little need for communication

Worst Jobs for Adults with Autism

  • Cashier
  • Cook
  • Waiter/waitress
  • Casino dealer
  • Anything with oral dictation
  • Taxi dispatcher
  • Ticket agent (airline, circus, etc.)
  • Market trader
  • Auctioneer
  • Receptionist

Of course, if your autistic young adult is having a hard time finding a job to start off with, creating one that complements his or her strengths is also an option, according to these creative and innovative parents from Chapel Hill, N.C. Impossible is nothing. Every individual with autism, no matter how low in functioning, is able to work to sustain him or herself; sometimes it requires a bit more effort and a lot more creativity to figure out how.



I was DX with high intelligence, high functioning aspergers in 1993 , 24 years ago. I work blue collar jobs. I don't do people at all. I hate people. But I'm a lineman I work with 2-3 others it never changes so we meld fine. I think it's wrong that like education, schools, they point out degree based employment for higher intelligence. We are all people so do what we enjoy. Based on the given suggestions I should be in computers or similar. Putting me in a different group due to choices I made.
I am also autistic, between the ages of 2 and 4 I would get down on all fours and rock like a rocking horse to go to sleep. After that I’d lay on my side and rock myself to sleep. I am pushing 50 years of age now. When I was 14 I was sent to a physiologist, who administered an IQ test, Fox IQ test I think it was called, I got a 164. I hit in the genius level. I’m not smart but I can do things others can’t. For instance, I didn’t really learn advanced mathematics until college, I took one prerequisite algebra class and then jumped into college algebra, I took that class 5 times before I got a passing grade. I never got mad or frustrated. Now, 30 plus years later I can do complex mathematics and applied math formulas better than most professors. I have problems with people when they are wrong and it effects my work or if someone else steps in and tries to take control when they haven’t shown enough intelligence to earn my respect. I ignite and become livid. I can’t control it, it irks every cell in my body every fiber of my being. I’m not a control freak by any means but I do have issues. I like people, all people, they are all unique and that uniqueness brings beauty to my world. Everyone has and absolute advantage at something and that is what I look for in everybody. I am also becoming extremely wise the older I get my ability to transpose ethics over top of someone’s values and understand their ideas is almost omnipotent. I have learned to be charismatic to others ideas no matter how wrong or off kilter they are. It takes all kinds. I have had a hard go of it in the construction management field but I keep trying. Being in business for myself was great but people lie and when it comes to money they take full advantage. My most success has come in the form of Commercial Construction Superintendent. Every day I do precision guess work based on unreliable data, provided by those of questionable knowledge. Of course, I have worked my way up to Project Manager on ground up Hospitals and Construction Manger over a 14-state region but Superintendent is the best for this Autistic adult. You’re the Builder everything inside the fence is yours. A straight up Dictator, your attention to detail and your exceptional ability to make sure it is done absolutely perfect are considered strengths. The fact that you can and will flip out and go off the deep end at the smallest of issues make all personnel think through it three and four times before they ever approach you with and issues and they will definitely have some answers in hand and not just drop problems in your lap. Most of the time you walk around like you’re Darth Vader, that’s what it feels like sometimes! It’s even therapeutic. It pays well too! Being autistic is hard because people instantly assume you’re wrong or your beneath them because you have a mental issue that makes you different. They don’t realize that the things that I am good at I am really good at and I wouldn’t even dare open my mouth if I wasn’t 100% sure I was positively correct. Thank you for allowing me to read about others that are autistic. For those that are caring for someone that is severely autistic or sever Asperger. I worked in a manufacturing plant and a mentally disabled person flipped out no one knew why, it was because the kits that he was packaging where missing the smallest little ferrule he knew it. It got past college educated quality control professionals. It takes all kinds, people are beautiful!
I love how some of you claim to have HFA yet you've got a girlfriend, never had a problem finding one, now married, have kids etc. and even in a job where you can easily interact with others. What I would give to have it that way. You have no idea.
Hello, I have autism and I am a ticket and gate agent for Delta Air Lines. I love my job. Sometimes the people can get overwhelming, but the people I work with are amazing. And I get to see planes everyday! Don't let people tell you you can't do something. It can be really hard at first, but if you really love the job and you have a good support group, then it becomes less overwhelming after a while.