With some accommodations, blind people and people with low vision can have the same jobs as people with vision. Learn more about these accommodations and how blind people can find a successful career, no matter their interests.
People who are blind, have low vision, or are legally blind hold many of the same jobs as seeing people. Thanks to technologies, accommodations, and adaptations, it’s possible for blind people to be teachers, doctors, retail workers, therapists, and more.
But misconceptions about blind people working abound, and that can leave a significant number of blind people unemployed.
According to a 2019 study that analyzed several national surveys, about 44% of blind people or people with low vision are employed, and 10% of blind people or people with low vision are unemployed. Many more simply aren’t in the labor force at all.
In this article, learn more about the jobs and professions available to blind people and people with low vision. Plus, find out when and how accommodations can be made to help people have a successful career.
With a few exceptions, such as driving or being a pilot, blind people can do nearly any job seeing people can.
There’s no special category of jobs for people who are legally blind or have low vision. Instead, blind people can seek careers in nearly any category of employment that interests them.
Jobs can be in the private or public sectors. They can be at nonprofits or for-profits. Blind people can also be self-employed as entrepreneurs.
Though not an exhaustive list, here are some great jobs for blind people:
- Professional careers: lawyer, architect, agent
- Artistic careers: actor, painter, singer, photographer
- Education careers: college professor, guidance counselor, teacher, historian
- Business careers: financial analyst, marketing expert, human resources manager
- Technology careers: code writer, software developer, engineer
- Science careers: data analyst, physicist, lab technician, researcher
- Healthcare careers: nurse, social worker, physician
Blind people can find jobs in the same ways as other people. Some organizations and strategies may help blind people find better jobs, too.
Here are some ways blind people can find a job that suits them:
- Shadow workers: If you’re unsure how to perform in a certain career or worksite, ask about shadowing, volunteering, or interning. These opportunities can help inform your decisions for the future.
- Look locally: In some towns and cities, organizations are connected with local businesses to help place people in jobs. These groups can help people who are blind or have low vision find the right job.
- Work with businesses with a history of hiring blind people: Some organizations have hired many people with disabilities, and they are more than capable of meeting the need for specific accommodations. A company with a good track record is a great place to start.
- Make a network: Friends, classmates, and co-workers might be able to lead you to your next job. Let people know you’re interested in a new job, and they can do the work of finding a place that might be a good fit.
It’s not always necessary for blind people to go to a special school for career training.
Many traditional schools, colleges, and universities can make their classrooms and curricula accessible to blind students. They can also provide accommodations so that classroom instruction, testing, and assignments are manageable.
However, some blind people may still opt for a training program or school designed for blind people, people with low vision, or people who are legally blind. These schools may be able to provide unique insight into what is needed for a person to be successful in a future career.
Beyond talking with local organizations about job opportunities, there are a few national organizations that can help:
- Try federal job agencies:
- Contact advocacy organizations: Groups like the National Industries for the Blind work with many nonprofit agencies across the United States to help find blind people jobs.
How can I know if I qualify for accommodations?
If you’re unsure what accommodations or adjustments you might need in the workplace, it’s a good idea to meet with your doctor and a vocational therapist.
These professionals can help you understand areas you may need assistance with, as well as areas of strength.
What types of accommodations are available to blind people?
Today, technology has made all types of accommodations accessible. From Braille displays to screen readers, there are many ways blind people can make work easier.
Other common accommodations include:
- magnifying software
- glare reduction
- lighting adjustments
- large print documents
- talking devices, like scales and thermometers
Are accommodations the responsibility of the employer?
Employers are expected and required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. If the accommodations a person needs are outside that scope, a vocational therapist may be able to get these accommodations covered for you.
Blind people and people with low vision can hold most of the same jobs as seeing people. Vision should never be a factor in a job unless that position requires a person to have good vision. However, it may be necessary for employers to make certain accommodations for their employees to be successful.
Local and national organizations are a great resource for blind people seeking a job. These groups are frequently tied in with businesses wanting to hire or have a history of hiring people with vision differences. This can help make a blind person’s entry into the workforce seamless and successful.