What’s a good job for a person with ADHD? The answer almost always hinges on the individual’s passions. That said, the creative, engaging, interactive professions on this list make the most of ADD attributes like empathy, energy, enthusiasm, and hyperfocus under pressure.
While there isn't a one-size-fits-all career that works for every adult with ADHD (wouldn't that be nice?), there are certain professions that utilize and celebrate attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) strengths more than others. The following jobs for people with ADHD help many reach their full potential by putting their natural skills to work.
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ADHD Job #1: Teacher
Many adults with ADHD find joy in professions that allow them to work directly with children — in careers such as teaching or child care. These jobs rely on your dynamic personality and thoughtful creativity, though they may put your patience to the test. To succeed in a kid-focused career, you must be able to think on your feet and transition from task-to-task quickly — and understanding the challenges and strengths of students with ADHD is a huge plus, too.
“I love working with toddlers and preschoolers — they understand me! We jump from one project to the next and they rarely know when I’m off task.”
– Lori, an ADDitude reader
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ADHD Job #3: Journalist
A career in journalism is exciting, creative, and rewarding for dedicated reporters and writers who deal well with day-to-day changes in work setting. Most journalists cover a broad range of topics, interact with a variety of people, and deliver a quick turnaround on assignments — all a good fit for a person with loads of energy, a short attention span, low boredom threshold, and problems with sustained focus over days. Hard deadlines, however, may be a challenge.
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ADHD Job #4: Copy Editor
“My best job was in a busy newsroom as a copy editor. There was constant activity and fast deadlines. If I had 15 things to focus on at once, I was golden!”
— Patti, an ADDitude reader
"I left corporate America to join culinary school because that was my passion. ADHD people aren't mentally [inferior to] anyone else. They are extremely creative. If you are able to manage it, understand what your strengths are, and not feel bad about your symptoms, it's not something horrible."
— Alexis Hernández, chef contestant on The Next Food Network Star
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ADHD Job #6: Food Industry Worker
Some adults with ADHD flourish in the culinary arts because the work is creative and relatively unaffected by ADHD-related deficits. Cooking requires you to focus on the task at hand and take immediate steps to create a finished product, while not demanding long-range planning or lots of working memory. Unusual or flexible hours, with sporadic ebb-and-flow pacing, add just the right touch of excitement to promote focus and attention.
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ADHD Job #7: Beautician
Estheticians, manicurists, and cosmetologists are constantly meeting with new clients — each one providing a unique creative challenge requiring only short-term focus. These professionals remain on their feet all day and jump from task to task quickly, an ideal working situation for an adult with hyperactive-type ADHD. Plus, the constant influx of customers provides ample social interactions and quick task turnover, leaving little opportunity for boredom.
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ADHD Job #8: Hairstylist
“Being a hairstylist is the best job for this ADHD mama. I get a new client every 45 minutes and each person is so different! I can work 10-12 hours and feel like I haven't worked more than 3.”
— Robin, an ADDitude reader
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ADHD Job #9: Small Business Owner
Starting a small business suits the strengths of ADHD. The hours are more flexible (though often more plentiful, too) and as an entrepreneur you are your own boss. Work settings can vary from day to day, which accommodates the restlessness and boredom that many adults with ADHD experience. Plus, you get to focus on your true passion: making your career and life more meaningful.
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ADHD Job #10: Entrepreneur
"I got the feedback in my old jobs that I was good at starting things but not at finishing projects. Being a self-employed grant writer is a way around that, because there are defined projects with a defined life to them."
— Daniel G., an ADDitude reader
EMTs, police officers, and firefighters must work well under pressure and make split-second decisions. These jobs allow you to work in a variety of settings, while providing the kind of adrenaline-pumping excitement that helps many individuals with ADHD focus their minds. When others start to panic in chaos, the ADHD brain kicks into high gear allowing you to see problems clearly and complete the task at hand.
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ADHD Job #12: Nurse
“I'm a nurse in surgery, which is good for my ADHD because it rolls with my fleeting attention, but has enough structure to keep me focused.”
– Rebecca, an ADDitude reader
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ADHD Job #13: High-Tech Field
An ADHD brain is a perfect match for high-tech jobs such as in IT because an under-stimulated frontal lobe gets jump-started by always-changing technology. Computer technicians rove throughout a company working with others to solve computer problems, while software developers generally work independently — creating and troubleshooting computer code for programs, websites, or apps. Both jobs provide ample opportunity to problem solve and harness that ADHD hyperfocus on small details.
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ADHD Job #14: Software Developer
“Most software tasks only take a few weeks which helps prevent monotony. As a software developer, the problems I deal with are diverse, interesting, and require constant hands on thinking — great for keeping the ADHD mind on track.”
– Adam, an ADDitude reader
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ADHD Job #15: Artist
It's no secret that individuals with ADHD explode with creativity, so it's no surprise that they generally succeed when surrounded by other artists. Working in a fast-paced, artistic environment is ideal for anyone who thrives in creative chaos. Whether it's as a TV producer, choreographer, painter, or concert pianist, adults with ADHD are happiest when their work allows them to express their artistic abilities.
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ADHD Job #16: Theatrical Stage Manager
“As a stage manager, it's up to me to facilitate every part of a production: from meetings and rehearsals to performances. It gives me plenty to focus on and no two days are the same. Plus, it helps that theater people are some of the kindest, kookiest people on the planet. I fit right in!”
– Jessi, an ADDitude reader