11 jobs caring for people with disabilities (with salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in empowering people and providing care to those who need it, looking into jobs caring for people with disabilities might be the right choice for you. There are many opportunities across multiple industries where you can work with people with disabilities and help them live a more fulfilling life. These jobs can be difficult, but if you're passionate about helping others, working with people with disabilities can also be incredibly rewarding. In this article, we discuss what disabilities are and outline 11 popular jobs caring for people with disabilities.

What is a disability?

The Equality Act 2010 describes a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on a person's ability to perform daily activities. This includes disabilities that people are born with and disabilities that occur later in life. Someone with a disability might find it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks, but with the right support, they can live a fulfilling life. There are four areas of need when defining a disability, including:

  • Communication and interaction: Some of the most common disabilities that impact social interaction and communication are those on the autistic spectrum, such as Asperger's Syndrome.

  • Cognition and learning: This includes disabilities that affect learning, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or dyspraxia.

  • Social, emotional and mental health difficulties: This is a broad area of disability that includes attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and behaviours associated with mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety.

  • Sensory and physical needs: This area addresses people that require physical support and assistance through specialised equipment, and people with visual or hearing difficulties.

Related: How much does a mental health nurse make? (With job details)

11 popular jobs caring for people with disabilities

There are a number of popular jobs caring for people with disabilities at various skill levels and competencies. Below is a summary of some of these jobs to help you find the right role for you:

1. Home carer

National average salary: £19,037 per year

Primary duties: A home carer, or care assistant, works with clients with disabilities to perform day-to-day tasks and assist them with everyday living. This includes things like giving clients medicine, cooking meals, cleaning their homes and assisting with personal hygiene. Interpersonal skills are important for this type of job because they develop relationships with clients over extended periods, and their work focuses on supporting them on a day-to-day basis. They might work with the same clients over a number of years in some cases, and understanding their needs is an essential part of the role.

Related: How to become a care worker

2. Support worker

National average salary: £24,012 per year

Primary duties: Support workers work closely with clients with disabilities to support their daily activities and work in tandem with other support staff such as home carers. It can be quite an active role as they may spend long periods of the day with a single client. They might take their client out on trips to the cinema or shopping, help them keep their home clean, prepare meals for them and do other tasks associated with day-to-day living. The role requires patience and an understanding of the challenges that a disability can bring to an individual.

Related: How to become a support worker

3. Rehabilitation specialist

National average salary: £33,394 per year

Primary duties: A rehabilitation specialist works to help people with complex disabilities by assessing their health and providing interventions to help them manage their disability. This role often aligns with people who have received a severe injury, with rehabilitation specialists working to empower them by improving mobility and function to encourage their participation in society. Due to the nature of the role, an intimate understanding of human physiology and advanced rehabilitative practices is essential.

4. Counsellor

National average salary: £30,710 per year

Primary duties: A counsellor helps clients with any number of emotional or psychological issues by providing therapy-based care. A counsellor encourages clients to assess their lives and find ways to enhance their state of living by making changes. Clients might deal with difficulties such as depression, anxiety or relationship problems that are impacting their quality of life. Due to the variety of conditions that a counsellor can help with, they might work across a number of different specialities, such as working with autistic individuals or people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

5. Learning disability nurse

National average salary: £35,087 per year

Primary duties: A learning disability nurse provides specialist care and support for people with learning difficulties. They work to ensure they have a good quality of life and help families by supporting them with various resources. Their work includes improving the physical and mental health of people and making it easier for them to lead an independent life. A learning disability nurse might also help people develop the skills necessary to enter the workforce. There are several environments that they might work in, including community centres, people's homes or hospitals.

Related: How to become a learning disability nurse

6. Special education teacher

National average salary: £22,218 per year

Primary duties: A special education needs (SEN) teacher works closely with young people who require additional learning support. Their role is to ensure that young learners have all the resources available to them so that they can attain their full educational potential. SEN teachers often work with students who have physical disabilities, learning impairments, speech and language issues or learning difficulties such as dyslexia. The working environment of a special education teacher tends to be a classroom, although one-on-one support might occur in the student's home.

7. Educational mental health practitioner

National average salary: £34,151 per year

Primary duties: An educational mental health practitioner (EMHP) works in learning institutes and healthcare environments to provide mental health support for young learners in schools and places of higher learning. The role involves offering self-help guidance, group therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy to help with mental health concerns such as depression. They might also work to educate staff with additional information to ensure young people receive the right support. Work is often performed on a one-on-one basis with the practitioner and client.

Related: How to become a mental health nurse (plus skills and salary)

8. Occupational therapist

National average salary: £34,644 per year

Primary duties: An occupational therapist provides treatment and support for injured people in a clinical or hospital environment. Their work involves creating recovery plans to increase the health, wellbeing and mobility of people, devising special exercises to ensure a fast and comprehensive recovery. Their work might also involve helping someone adapt to life following a serious operation or providing resources to people with mental health conditions to help them enter the workforce. A large part of the role involves identifying key areas where individuals struggle in daily life, such as shopping and socialising.

Related: 15 types of hospital jobs (with responsibilities and salary)

9. Psychologist

National average salary: £34,937 per year

Primary duties: Psychologists work with people with a wide range of psychological difficulties that pertain to physical and mental health. Common disabilities that a psychologist might help with include depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, learning difficulties and substance use disorders. Their role involves developing psychological practices to improve the wellbeing of people. Psychologists usually work on a one-to-one basis with people to identify challenges and devise solutions on a personal level. Other aspects of the role include following the latest clinical and counselling guidelines and techniques.

10. Sign language interpreter

National average salary: £43,016 per year

Primary duties: A sign language interpreter transfers meaning from one spoken or signed language into another spoken or signed language. The role requires fluency in at least two languages and an understanding of different cultures to accurately represent what's being said without losing fidelity in translation. Their work is important because it guarantees equal access to information for all clients. The role places interpreters in a wide variety of environments, including media, social work and corporate settings. They might interpret job interviews, court proceedings, class lectures, media events or industry conferences.

11. Speech therapist

National average salary: £35,720 per year

Primary duties: A speech therapist provides treatment, support and care for children and adults with communication difficulties or problems with eating, drinking or swallowing. The role works with people who have issues with speech, communication and mouth control that stems from either a physical or physiological issue. Speech therapists may assist clients with staggered speech development and older people who have speech impairments through illness or injuries. The role might also include working closely with teachers or health professionals to assist in treatments.

Related: How To Become a Speech Therapist

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌


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