According to the CDC, about 61 million adults (1 in 4) in the United States have some type of disability.
Living with a disability or chronic illness affects more than just a person’s health. Often, these individuals face financial and job-related challenges too.
A 2019 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the unemployment rate for persons with a disability was about twice as high compared to those job seekers without a disability. In this study, an unemployed person was defined as someone who was out of work, available to work, and actively looking for work.
So, while many individuals with a disability regularly seek out employment, they face greater challenges to enter the workforce.
Fortunately, we can bridge this employment gap. An obvious solution is remote work.
Remote Work Offers Greater Opportunities for All
Remote work has a lot of benefits. No daily commute means time and money saved, but for disabled persons remote work means greater accessibility. Remote jobs make it easier to get to work (no commute) and allows work to be done in a controlled environment (home).
So, when someone is unable to easily or consistently commute or is affected by a traditional office environment, telecommuting offers an opportunity to work without the daily obstacles of a traditional office job. Plus, some remote-friendly industries provide greater flexibility, which is helpful for anyone who has good days and bad days, flare ups or exacerbations.
It’s also important to note that today, more than ever, there is a greater awareness of the need to help disabled persons gain financial independence through meaningful employment.
As the National Library of Medicine reports, being able to work contributes to a disabled person’s sense of self worth and purpose and improves individual and family finances.
Flexible Remote Job Options
As a career coach that specializes in remote work, I often work with individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities to help them fill skills gaps and find remote work that fits their career ideals. Tailoring a job search to each individual person allows them to fit work into their lives — and not try to mold their lives around work.
So, what are flexible remote-friendly industries that offer a chance for anyone with the right skills to gain employment? Here are my top 10 remote roles for individuals with disabilities:
Writing jobs come in a lot of shapes. There’s copywriting, grant writing, technical writing, SEO-writing — and so much more.
Remote writers are typically paid per word, piece or project. Often, writers are hired on a contract or freelance basis. Rates for writers vary quite a bit!
For example, a grant writer can earn roughly $50,000 annually, according to PayScale. While blog post writers average between $0.03 to $.10 per word. Writers with a solid understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) can earn upwards of $45,000 a year according to Salary.com.
It’s important to pick a niche when launching a career as a nonfiction writer. From there, be sure to gain training in your niche, like this free Highly Paid Freelance Writer course over at SmartBlogger. Niche-specific training and certification allows you to quickly get established in your chosen writing path.
2. Customer Service
Customer service does not mean you have to sit in a call center all day. Today, there are opportunities to work remotely as a chat agent, email rep, or even via text.
You don’t necessarily need formal training to be a competitive entry-level remote customer service agent. However, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your customer service skills when looking for a new job.
Through LinkedIn Learning, you can hone your customer service skills and receive a certificate upon completion to show prospective employers you are ready to tackle work as remote customer representative. As a bonus, you can share your new certificate directly on your LinkedIn Profile which helps strengthen your position as a candidate.
3. Medical Billing & Coding
Medical billing and coding professionals review patients’ charts and assign industry-specific codes to medical procedures. These codes are used by insurance companies to make payments to hospitals, doctors, and clinics.
In a CNBC Jobs Report, it found more medical billing and coding jobs exist than qualified professionals to fill them. What’s more, this is an in-demand field that’s expected to grow faster than the national average.
Keep in mind, you will need training and certification to be a competitive entry-level candidate. The good news is, there are flexible online learning programs that prepare you for remote work in Medical Billing & Coding. CareerStep has an award-winning Medical Billing & Coding program you can complete at your own pace in as little as one year.
Transcriptionists listen to recorded audio and type out what is being said. They use a foot pedal, software, and headset to increase their speed and accuracy.
For legal transcription and medical transcription, training is highly recommended and often required. That’s because you use terminology specific to those industries. Having a good grasp of grammar, quick typing speed, and ability to proofread your own work for accuracy is a must too!
You can try your hand at general transcription or legal transcription for free over at TranscribeAnywhere.
For Medical Transcription & Editing, CareerStep offers an online option for adults.
5. Bookkeeping & Tax Preparation
Nobody really likes to do their taxes. That’s why an estimated 60% of taxpayers hire someone else to do their taxes for them. Tax preparers are busiest from late January to early May. However, freelancers and the self-employed need tax help year round since they make estimated tax payments every few months.
Bookkeepers are responsible for managing the flow of cash in a business. They keep track of all money coming in and going out. Unlike an accountant, bookkeepers do not need a degree. However, aspiring remote bookkeeping professionals should learn how to use popular bookkeeping software, like QuickBooks, through a bookkeeping training program.
6. Graphic Design
Graphic designers are the creative minds behind visual images. This can include logos, magazines, websites, and more.
Often, graphic designers create marketing materials that sell products or help build brand awareness. Typically, a graphic designer does not need a four-year degree. Instead, post-secondary training in a design-specific program is appropriate.
Through online training, like the Fundamentals of Graphic Design at Coursera, aspiring graphic designers study the basics of design and layout as well as learn how to use popular design software like Photshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. You even complete a project you can use in your portfolio.
7. IT & Tech Support
Tech support pros help consumers navigate an issue from a remote location. For example, internet, cable, phone and technology companies, like Apple, all use remote representatives to help their customers troubleshoot issues and come up with resolutions.
To be successful as a remote tech support rep, you need to be tech savvy and able to communicate complex instructions in an easy-to-understand manner.
If you’re interested in the technical side of customer support, there are two highly-recommended IT Support Certifications to check out:
Both programs prepare students for IT roles that are equal parts tech support and customer service.
8. Developer, Programmer, and Coder
Developers create the structure of websites, apps, games and software. They use a series of code to bring their ideas to life.
The terms web developer, programmer and coder encompass a lot of different job titles. Some popular remote jobs in these areas include full-stack developer, DevOps, front-end developer, user experience designer, and so much more.
To get started down this career path, it’s best to figure out which types of projects you want to work on. This will determine which type of coding language you need to learn to get hired. For example, if you want to work on apps, you would most likely need to learn Java or Swift. If you prefer gaming, Unity and Typescript are your best bets.
You can learn more about the different coding languages, their respective jobs, and appropriate training for each over at Fullstack Academy.
9. Virtual Assistant
The one thing nobody can buy more of is time. So, many busy professionals opt to hire extra help to make the most of their time instead. That’s where virtual assistants come into play.
A virtual assistant (VA), is an administrative professional who provides clerical and professional support from a remote location. VAs often help answer emails, schedule meetings, coordinate travel, and perform basic administrative functions.
There are plenty of companies that contract with VAs to work remotely. As a VA you might work one on one with a single person, assist an entire team, or handle multiple clients at the same time.
Familiarity with web-based applications like Google Drive is a must as well as calendar management and communication skills.
Brush up on modern day administrative skills with the Virtual Assistant Certificate Course over at IAP Career College.
10. Copyediting, Proofreading, Fact Checking
In a world that is content driven, there’s a high need for copy editors and proofreaders. Copy editors are typically the middleman between writers and publishers or readers. They often review and revise content and make corrections as needed.
Book lovers and avid readers often make great copy editors. But, a solid grasp of grammar and knowledge of editing styles, like Chicago Manual of Style is a must too. My friend, Phon, offers a free masterclass that teaches the 4-Step Framework for Starting an Editorial Business. Fun fact: Phon built a career that started as a proofreader for romance novels!
I also highly recommend the free webinar provided by Proofread Anywhere. In just 76 minutes you can learn all about professional proofreading and whether it’s the right path for you.
Embrace Remote Work for All
As remote work continues to gain popularity among corporations, large and small, there is a greater need for trained remote workers to fill open positions.
For individuals with disabilities, telecommuting offers a way to work without barriers that traditional office jobs present. Even if you’ve been out of work for awhile or don’t have the right skills you can still make a plan to jumpstart your remote career.
Be sure to identify your ideals. Then identify skills gaps. From there, complete online training. Now you’re ready to work remotely! You’ve got this.
Top 10 Industries that Hire Remote Workers Right Now
Want a realistic idea of where to find real remote work right now? Grab your free copy of my updated guide to in-demand industries now hiring the most remote workers.
This guide includes bonus resources and a link to a free resume review by a professional resume writer.
P.S. This post contains affiliate links. Learn more here.