People with handicaps face an enormous number of challenges just getting around, much less getting an education, working and making a living. They need people dedicated to helping them achieve their goals. Working with the handicapped can be a rewarding profession, whether you serve as a teacher, counselor or personal aide. The options for work in the field are as wide and varied as the population you’ll serve.
Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers work in the classroom . They accommodate students with issues ranging that include learning challenges, cognitive impairments and physical disabilities. Special education teachers develop a curriculum to help students reach their full potentials, despite obstacles. You’ll need a bachelor's degree and a license or certification from the state, after which you can find work in mainstream public and private schools and in facilities designed for students with special needs. Median pay in 2010 for special ed teachers was $53,220 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Rehabilitation counselors offer support, advice, technical assistance and other resources to people with handicaps or disabilities. The goal of a rehab counselor is to help clients navigate their personal and professional lives and live independently while facing and learning to cope with the challenges of a disability. Rehabilitation counselors work in many settings, from schools and government agencies to employment assistance programs and private practices. Most jobs require a master’s degree and some sort of state certification or licensure. In 2010, they earned a median annual pay of $32,350, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Human resource professionals hire, train and accommodate employees with all kinds of needs. Staffers in the HR department can place people with handicaps and assist in developing a workplace that is conducive to special needs. HR workers also serve as advocates and represent handicapped employees in workplace issues. They can also help their employers to implement laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, ensuring equal opportunities for all workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010, median pay was $52,690 a year for human resource specialists.
Personal assistants get up close and personal, helping clients to adjust and adapt to their daily lives. People with handicaps can stay in their homes instead of having to go into nursing homes when they find home care options that work for them. Personal assistants can help with all aspects of living, from basic tasks like hygiene and nutrition to emotional support, friendship and assistance with professional endeavors. The needs of each client are varied and specific. There are no standard requirements, as clients are free to set their own standards for education and experience. For personal assistants without advanced degrees working through an agency, the median pay in 2010 was $20,070 per year, although this may vary greatly by client, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Special Education Teachers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Rehabilitation Counselors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Human Resources Specialist
- Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters: Taking Action: An HR Guide
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Home Health and Personal Care Aides
- The Center for Accessible Society: Personal Assistant Services
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