Disability and the Trades

Disability and the Trades

by Susan Huebert

If you have a disability, you can often get used to the limits placed around you. It might seem that getting into a trade is too difficult for anyone with a disability, but even with limitations, people can be successful in a variety of trades.

Unfortunately, people with disabilities are known to have a harder time finding work than people without disabilities- which is more a problem with corporations and organizations, than anyone else with a disability In 2011, about 79% of people without disabilities had jobs, but only 49% of people with disabilities worked for pay. This could include people with physical disabilities like deafness or intellectual disabilities. Still, people who struggle with many kinds of disabilities can still get into different types of trades and become very successful.

How easily people with disabilities can get into trades depends on what they want to do. People who are physically unable to stand or walk for long periods of time, for example, would have a lot of trouble with trades like construction that involve a lot of activity. Becoming a truck driver could be an option if you have the stamina to sit for many hours. If you can find a special stool to sit on, you might even be able to become a hairstylist. Hairstylists can earn close to $30,000+ a year if they find enough customers who will come regularly for their services.

If you are missing a limb, the possibilities might seem very limited, but with special tools, you can use machines and even pick up small items. The pincers that city workers use to pick up garbage, for example, could help someone with a physical disability to work in a factory or maybe as a house painter or other jobs that traditionally require physical fitness.

If you have an intellectual disability, a bit of help can make many trades possible. Becoming a cook is a good choice for people with these kinds of challenges as long as you are able to plan ahead and to handle pressure. Learning recipes ahead of time can help make things easier for you have trouble with reading or following directions. Chefs or head cooks can earn over $47,000 per year with experience, and there are many opportunities for people to work in different areas of a kitchen.

If you have a mental health issue, you might have a very hard time working with other people. Working as an electrician might be a good choice since it gives people a chance to work alone or with one or two others and to work at their own pace. Electricians can earn over $56,000, although their salaries usually depend on how many customers they have and how hard they work.

Before starting on a trade, people with disabilities should think hard about whether or not the job is right for them. If you decide to pursue this work, the first step is to decide how much you want a trade despite the difficulties. For the right people, working in the trades can be a good choice.


Monster.ca. “Best Jobs for People with Disabilities.” https://www.monster.ca/career-advice/article/best-jobs-disabilities

Statistics Canada. “Overview of the Study.” http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2014001/article/14115-eng.htm

Trade Schools.net. “34 Great Jobs for People with Disabilities.” https://www.trade-schools.net/careers-for-people/who-are-disabled.asp.

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