Conditions

The Best Jobs for People With ADHD

Because attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can affect how you function at work, there’s a pervasive myth that particular careers are more suitable for people with ADHD than others. But the best jobs for people with ADHD are those that align with their interests and strengths — not just ones that relate to their disorder. In truth, […]

therapist sean abraham By Sean Abraham, LCSW

Updated on Jan 12, 2024

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Because attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can affect how you function at work, there’s a pervasive myth that particular careers are more suitable for people with ADHD than others. But the best jobs for people with ADHD are those that align with their interests and strengths — not just ones that relate to their disorder.

In truth, there is no ideal career for people with ADHD, nor are there specific jobs that all people with ADHD can’t do. They may thrive as small business owners, police officers, firefighters, mental health professionals, copy editors, EMT responders, and more. 

As with anyone else, you should consider your interests, strengths, and limitations when choosing a career path. This guide will take you through the best jobs for people with ADHD and cover some need-to-know ADHD-related career advice.

What Are the Best Jobs for People With ADHD?

Each person with ADHD is unique, and the symptoms of ADHD can differ from one person to the next. While one person with the condition might not enjoy or thrive in one type of career because of their symptoms, another might succeed in the same position.  

Some people with ADHD love working in a fast-paced environment. Others prefer a work environment with less pressure. Some enjoy working with people, while others enjoy working alone. Becoming a small business owner might be a dream job for people with ADHD who want to be their own boss, but others might dislike the idea of entrepreneurship and prefer more structured jobs. 

The bottom line is that the best job for you depends on your unique symptoms and personality, not your condition as a whole. 

While we’ll look at certain jobs that mesh well with typical symptoms of ADHD, remember that this list isn’t exhaustive. While your symptoms may make specific jobs appeal to you, the sky’s the limit. 

ADHD-Friendly Jobs in Fast-Paced Environments  

Fast-paced jobs can be ideal for people with ADHD who tend to get bored and distracted easily but cope well with high-pressure situations.

Certain job positions can keep you on your feet (literally and figuratively), ensuring you get plenty of stimulation while taking advantage of your quick-thinking skills. 

Examples of jobs in fast-paced environments include:

Each of these jobs can be a good fit for people with ADHD who can make quick decisions and cope with pressure.  

ADHD-Friendly Jobs That Require Creativity and Problem-Solving  

Many people with ADHD are innovative thinkers and problem solvers. Some research suggests that having ADHD may make tapping into your creative energy easier. 

Examples of creative careers include:

Creative careers aren’t just those that relate to the arts but those that require problem-solving and out-of-the-box thinking. 

ADHD-Friendly Jobs for High-Energy People  

Some research suggests that people with ADHD, especially those with hyperactive symptoms, tend to have high energy levels. They may thrive in situations that demand a lot of mental and physical energy. 

If this sounds like you, choosing a career that takes advantage of your hyperactivity is wise. High-energy jobs can help you channel excess energy into something fulfilling. 

Examples of jobs for high-energy people include: 

These jobs often require physical stamina and mental fortitude, as the demands can be strenuous and the days long.

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ADHD-Friendly Jobs in Structured Work Environments 

For some people with ADHD, structure can be stifling, while others may prefer routine, order, and predetermined systems, as it can help them focus.

A structured work environment might work for you if you’re in the latter group. Some jobs may be more likely to offer this structure, but the work environment also depends on your company culture and supervisor.

Examples include:

Structured work can be an excellent option for people who enjoy routine and structure — but remember that a broad range of jobs can be done in a protocol-driven environment.

How Do I Choose a Career as Someone With ADHD?

The best jobs for people with ADHD are those they enjoy doing — the same as anyone! When choosing a career, you’ll want to consider your ADHD symptoms and your interests, strengths, skills, and values. 

Consider Your Strengths

When choosing a career, it’s a good idea to consider how your ADHD affects your work. But it’s also important to consider the benefits of ADHD, as some careers can be advantageous for people with neurodiversity who know how to wield their strengths. 

For example, jobs requiring sustained focus for extended periods, like artisan work, programming, or cooking, can be gratifying if you tend to hyperfocus. 

Consider asking friends, families, and coworkers for what strengths and positive qualities they see in you, as well – this can help to identify strengths that you may not be able to readily recognize.

Consider Your Limitations 

The symptoms of ADHD can affect how you work. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad worker, but it does mean you might have some limitations. 

Think about how ADHD affects you (again, this is unique to everyone) and how this might impact the types of jobs you consider during your job search. 

For example, some limitations include:

Of course, struggling with these symptoms doesn’t mean a particular career path is off-limits for you. With some practice, you can learn to manage your symptoms healthily, making it possible to thrive in any work environment. 

Consider Your Interests and Values

Whether you have ADHD or not, your unique interests and values will affect your chosen career. Your values and interests can affect your job satisfaction.

For example, those who value serving others might enjoy working in healthcare, social services, or with a community outreach program. If you strongly value work-life balance, you might become an entrepreneur to work on your own terms or a choose a 9-to-5 job requiring no overtime or weekend work. 

Naturally, your interests will affect whether your job excites you. Those interested in nature might enjoy working in bio-related research or agriculture. If you strongly enjoy sports and physical activity, you might enjoy being a personal trainer, stunt performer, coach, or sports journalist. 

Remember, Careers Aren’t Static

Your ADHD may mean you thrive in some work environments and struggle in others. But remember that a career and a work environment are different. 

For example, wedding videographers, newsroom videographers, and social media video creators work in totally different work environments — but they all have a passion for creating videos.

If you like the idea of a specific career but are concerned about the work environment associated with it, consider whether it’s possible to pursue your passion in a different environment. 

Which Job Accommodations Can Help People with ADHD?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lists ADHD as a cognitive disability. This means that some employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to ADHD employees if needed. 

In other words, you can ask your employer to make reasonable tweaks to your work environment to improve your job performance. 

Some examples of job accommodations for people with ADHD include:

Not everybody with ADHD needs all (or even most) of these accommodations. Remember, each person with ADHD is different. Some individuals with ADHD don’t need job accommodations at all.

Talking with your manager or employer about job accommodations that suit you and them can be helpful. You should highlight that the accommodations will help you provide the best results for your company and allow you to take advantage of your skills and abilities. 

Takeaways

The best jobs for people with ADHD allow them to explore their interests and utilize their skills. 

While the symptoms of ADHD can affect your work negatively, some people also experience advantages of the condition, such as improved creativity and high energy levels. If you healthily manage your ADHD symptoms, you can thrive in almost any work environment. 

To learn how to manage your ADHD, you can contact a licensed mental health professional specializing in treating people with ADHD. The Grow Therapy search tool can help you find an ADHD therapist who takes your insurance.

FAQs

  • Yes. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), ADHD is considered a cognitive disability. This means that it affects the way you think. When applying for a job, you may be invited to disclose whether or not you have a disability. If you have ADHD, it qualifies as a disability. However, you’re not legally required to disclose your ADHD to your boss or a potential employer.

  • ADHD is generally treated through therapy and medication. Prescription medication, including stimulant and non-stimulant drugs, can reduce the severity of certain ADHD symptoms. Likewise, therapy can help you understand your condition, manage your symptoms, and healthily process your emotions. You also might find it helpful to do skills training, which can help you improve the skills you need to thrive in and out of the workplace. Certain self-care strategies — like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and managing stress healthily — can also help.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 9.8% of U.S. children aged three to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Adult ADHD is also fairly common: 2020 statistics show that about 6.76% of adults worldwide have ADHD.

  • While ADHD can present challenges, people with ADHD may have certain characteristics that can benefit their professional lives and enrich their workplace. Research shows these benefits can be harnessed to improve efficiency and enhance productivity. The benefits of ADHD in the workplace include: - Creativity. Many individuals with ADHD are highly creative and can bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to problems. - Hyperfocusing. ADHD can also cause people to have periods of intense focus on tasks, leading to deep and productive work sessions. - High energy. Some people with ADHD can have high energy levels, motivating them in demanding work environments. - Adaptability. People with ADHD are often used to navigating challenges and can be highly adaptable to changing situations or unexpected issues. - Resilience. Having coped with challenges related to ADHD, many people develop a strong sense of resilience, which can be useful in high-pressure situations. ADHD can be challenging, but it’s so much more than that. Many people with ADHD have unique advantages and skills that can benefit them immensely in certain work environments. When given the right support, people with ADHD can thrive in many different job positions. As with anyone, those with ADHD should choose jobs that align with their strengths, interests, and values.

About the author
therapist sean abraham Sean Abraham, LCSW

Sean Abraham is a licensed clinical social worker who works with those who have struggled with substance use, depression, anxiety, loss, communication problems, student life, as well as other mental health concerns.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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