ADHD-Friendly Jobs

16 Good Jobs for Creative & Restless ADHD Brains

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.

Making decisions
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What Are the Best Jobs for ADHD Minds?

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 ADHD strengths more than others. The following jobs help many people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) reach their full potential by putting their natural skills to work.

Becoming a school teacher is a good career choice for many adults with ADHD who are energetic, creative, and dynamic.
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ADD 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.

An adult with ADHD explains why she loved working as a daycare preschool teacher who makes creative projects with kids.
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ADD Job #2: Daycare Worker

“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

[Free Download: 8 Dream Jobs for Adults with ADHD]

Adults with ADHD working as journalists who thrive on daily changes and short deadlines.
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ADD 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.

An adult with ADHD typing on her computer as a copyeditor for a news organization.
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ADD 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

Chef Alexis Hernández prepares a dish while explaining why culinary school is ideal for creative adults with ADHD.
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ADD Job #5: Chef

"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

A chef with ADHD prepares a creative meal as part of his job in the culinary arts.
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ADD 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.

[Free Download: 6 Ways to Retain Focus (When Your Brain Says 'No!')]

An adult with ADHD works as a beautician who sees multiple clients each day and stays busy with varied jobs.
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ADD Job #7: Beautician

Hairstylists, 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.

A woman with ADHD working as a hairdresser explains why that is the best, most interesting career for her.
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ADD 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

A small business owner with ADHD places a Open sign in her shop window.
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ADD 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.

A man with ADHD working at home explains why working for himself is the best job.
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ADD 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

An emergency first responder fire fighter with ADHD.
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ADD Job #11: Emergency First-Responders

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.

A nurse with ADHD explains why working in surgery is stimulating for her ADHD brain.
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ADD 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

A computer technician with ADHD works on an enterprise level server.
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ADD Job #13: High-Tech Field

An ADHD brain is a perfect match for high-tech jobs 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.

A software developer with ADHD works at his computer on stimulating tasks that captivate this attention for a few weeks at a time.
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ADD 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

An adult with ADHD works as an actress in a creative field that capitalizes on ADHD energy and creativity.
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ADD 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, or concert pianist, adults with ADHD are happiest when their work allows them to express their artistic abilities.

A theatrical stage manager with ADHD works with actors and explains why he loves his job in the arts.
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ADD 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

[Free Download: How to Manage Your Time at Work]

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    1. I ageee with Eeight. While those with ADHD might be good at teaching and working with children there’s so much more that make teaching challenging. It can be hard to focus on helping one student and paying attention to the other kid who is about to hurt himself leaning back on a chair. Forget to reply to a parent’s email within 8 hours then you’re in hot water. Lesson planning can be all over the place, cafeteria duty….BORING!!! That’s just a portion of the struggle.

    2. I am a teacher and I have ADD. I find this profession really suits my skill set, it’s fast paced, creative and I’m rarely bored. Yes, there are some things that I find challenging (marking, staff meetings etc). But day to day, I love my job!

    3. I was a teacher for 10 years. I left feeling broken and abused because of the constant multitasking, and demands for my attention in 10 places at once. Not to mention the detailed planning involving breaking things down completely. Terrible things for brains that get overwhelmed easily. I left because I was trying so hard to be someone I was not. Never mind the crisis of the profession itself forcing teachers to become full time testers instead of educators. No thanks. Never again.

    4. Indeed, maybe there are some who learn from the start to build a routine for teaching. But in my 50s I’m now forced into a classroom teaching role and it’s pure hell. Zero transition time, 4 walls like a cage, fixed times… OMG timinh a lesson, time management with a young audience!!! Hell.

    5. I went back to school to become a teacher because I just couldn’t handle the tedium of corporate life. It was tough in the beginning, especially before we had decent a curriculum to work with, but once that was in place, I had a lot of fun creating my own world between arranging the schedule and lesson planning. It really brought out my hyper focus. I had a great system.

      Then I had twins and moved out of state. My symptoms were worse and getting re-certified was a nightmare, but even though the pay is significantly less and there’s no benefits, I decided I prefer subbing. I miss having my own room and my own structure, but I love setting my own work schedule (up to a point, obviously you have to work with what’s available) and being free to pursue other things, too.

      If you like some aspects of teaching, but not the lesson planning and the paperwork, and you can supplement your income, it can be a great job, and there’s a shortage of great subs pretty much everywhere I’m sure.

  1. I myself have adhd,and agree cosmotology field as im very good hands on and creative. I ALSO enjoy experimenting with todays new hair styles and makeup.

    1. I think your field does look like a likely good fit for my daughter, but we both worry that the average wage for cosmetologists in our area is way out of line with high cost of living. And the for-profit cosmetology schools scare me a bit (though luckily we have one community college that offers a program). Any niche career paths in that field that might offer more long term financial security than the averages we are seeing in the labor department statistics?

      Also, if you are working with clients a lot, could you advise on ways to get good at the time and organization skills a person needs to manage scheduling clients? That’s got to be a challenge for our tribe. 🙂

  2. I don’t find nursing particularly creative, but it is perfect for my ADD. At my old job, I struggled to complete the paperwork part of my job (that should be done daily, but could be put off by a day — somehow, I always put it off and let it pile up for weeks). With nursing, my charting has to be done before I go home and it’s best to chart as soon as possible because I never know when an emergency is going to come up and need to be dealt with. Many tasks that I need to do are time-sensitive, so I don’t procrastinate getting started. Juggling the needs of 4 or 5 patients gives me some degree of variety in the tasks that need to be done. Overall, it’s been a midlife career change that has worked out really well for me.

  3. Journalist?! Seriously? How could someone with true ADD become a journalist when they need to write quickly, efficiently and in a timely manner. A journalist needs to be organized and punctual. Two components that someone with true ADD does not have. In fact about half of the items on this list aren’t good for people with ADD. It irks me when I see uber successful people tell me that they have ADD (self diagnosed cause they can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes). Yet when I see them work they type quickly, accurately, are organized, punctual etc. Two of the items on this list especially wouldn’t work for someone with true ADD. In order to start a successful home based business or become a successful entrepreneur a person with ADD needs to get past mental paralysis and procrastination. For 15 years I have tried to get off the ground with some sort of successful online business but mental paralysis, procrastination, boredom, disorganization, exhaustion almost always gets in the way. A dozen breaks, video games, movies, nap and more naps are just a common daily routine for someone who tries to start their home based business. The best job for someone who suffers from true ADD is one where they aren’t required to sit in front of a computer all day, work in an office, write and get things done in a timely organized manner, or be efficient, disciplined, and punctual. Sadly many of these jobs wouldn’t work unless the only thing we mean by ADD is someone who is very creative and hyper focused under pressure.

    1. I think journalism can be a great career for the right person — I was a newspaper reporter for almost 10 years. It depends on where you work and where you are located. Even in a smaller town, I loved that I didn’t see the same people everyday and adrenaline rush from racing the clock to get my story finished was amazing, especially when I received positive feedback on my stories. I was undiagnosed throughout my career, so some of my shortcomings could have been easily reduced if I had known. My biggest hurdles were those simple spelling and grammatical mistakes that I made while racing to complete my assignments. My self esteem take a beating, and it always made me look and feel like an amateur. My patience was also tested during tedious tasks like fact checking or waiting on an important source to return my phone calls. Ultimately, I left the career because the newspaper industry continued create fewer opportunities. I’m still very much creative with writing and graphic design in my corporate job but I’m at my desk and at meetings with the same people everyday, which is dull.

    2. My mom is super ADHD, and she was a successful journalist for 15 years. She covered the Lifestyle section and had a weekly column. To this day (twelve years later) she is so beloved in our town for her reporting that we have standing free tickets to any performance we want to see.

    3. You should keep in mind that symptoms vary from person to person. I was diagnosed with both ADHD (combined type) and Panic Disorder. My anxiety forces me to be hyper-organized and when I’m up against a deadline my brain goes into overdrive. I do my best work like this.

    4. I worked in tv with journalists and it seemed the ADD mob were well represented. Gotta say though that what they felt were strengths routinely made a lot of logistical trouble. Egos meant those problems continued unacknowledged. It’s interesting to me the positive experiences from people who worked in the print area. Might look into that! Thanks!

    5. After working as a bookkeeper, paralegal and other soul sucking jobs, I became a freelance writer. At first, there were long days of hard work to build my reputation, but now I’m known in a small niche field. I plan my articles, know my deadlines and can work with that. Some days I wake up and want to write, other days I’d rather do research. Yes, I hyperfocus sometimes, and other days, I have 52 tabs open and music is coming from somewhere. One doesn’t always have to interview a subject in person. Email and phones work too. Who said people with ADHD can’t meet deadlines or be on time? We can be if it’s really important. I’ve learned that, no matter the job, if you enjoy it & are halfway decent at it, you can succeed. Don’t let ADHD define you. Learn your weak areas and either improve or find a way to work around them.

    6. Trust me, I feel your pain with struggling with deadlines and being punctual. I definitely struggle with those things as well. Finishing reports or essays in college was particularly difficult for me. However, after much research, I’ve learned about myself and ADD. I’ve realized that people with ADD have different symptoms and different levels of hyperactivity, anxiety, ability to focus, hyperfocus, etc. So what you might think as impossible for people with ADD is not completely true. I might not be good with deadlines but apps and accountability partners (wife, friends, & boss) help to keep me on track. I never thought I’d be able to start my own business but I’ve partnered with other people and they’ve helped me to stay on task and we work together as a partnership. On my own, it would be very difficult. So it seems to me that you might be trying to do things on your own and you might need to have some accountability and/or partners. Experiment and try new things to help and try to overcome your weaknesses. I like what someone said earlier, don’t let ADD define you.

  4. I think some of the jobs listed aren’t too bad for someone who’s got ADHD. I think some that commented are missing the big picture in that we are all individuals with the same thing, but we all don’t think or behave the same. There’s many characteristics of ADHD that are the same, but we all have different strengths and weaknesses.

    I thought by now I’d be on my way to becoming a nurse since I’ve been in the medical field for the past 10 years. After my last job I just had to face it that this isn’t the field for me. The last job became a nightmare because they were having us run 2 clinics that are completely different. They didn’t hire more people either so I would be running around like a maniac trying to get things done. I don’t like being in a office, I don’t like people watching my every move micromanaging me, and telling me because I’m not doing things their way, it’s the wrong way even though the job gets done. I work hard and I can get things done fast. But when there’s too much going on with no support it’s hard for me to focus and prioritize.
    There’s no room to be creative or think outside the box in places like this. That’s pure hell to me!

    So at 36 I changed my mind and went for a different field to earn my bachelors degree in forensics. I’ve always been interested in this more. With crime scene investigation it’s never the same, it’s always a new puzzle to put together. You’re not confined to a desk 8 hours a day and I like the challenges that cases may bring more of this field. I know this is the right choice for me but it may not be right for someone else with ADHD.

  5. Whoah… Yeah… no I think a lot of these would result in organizational paralysis… My husband owned his own dog training business when I met him (took my puppy to class and he was the teacher!)… He struggled a LOT, because he loved the root purpose of the business, but it was WAY too much for him to handle in terms of staying organized. The “running the business” part was definitely NOT well-suited to his ADHD mind. Meeting new clients, new challenges, that was all good…

  6. Personally, I think a lot of these jobs would be difficult with ADHD. The biggest thing for me is the ability to self-manage and switch tasks as needed. When I get bored of doing financials, I update our website. If I get bored with administrative work, I switch to financials. It is the ability to be creative and switch tasks when focus wanes that are good jobs for those with ADHD.

  7. So, was anyone else bothered by the fact that these “17” careers could easily have been rolled into 8? I mean,
    teacher/daycare worker: person who works with children,
    journalist/copy editor: person who works in a newsroom,
    beautician (which I assume includes estheticians and make up artists)/hair stylist: person who cuts/styles hair, &/or works with skin &/or make up.
    Chef/ restaurant worker: person who works in a restaurant,
    nurse/1st responder: person who is a health care professional,
    Small business owner/entrepreneur: person who owns a business
    High tech/hardware-software engineer: person who does stuff with computers,
    Artist: people who work in the fine arts making stuff,
    Actor/director/dancer/etc: people who work in the fine arts performing stuff (or aiding in the production of the performance).
    There. 9. Nine was how long it needed to be.

    1. Not really, because the skill sets are very different, with the exception of small business owner and entrepreneur maybe.

      While there’s a lot of people who can both act and direct, including those with ADHD, I very much have to stick to acting. The tech side has too many responsibilities. In fact, I’d personally separate acting into two separate categories. I prefer stage because you get to feed of the audience and use your adrenaline to enhance your performance. You just don’t get that on film. There’s so much stopping and starting that it’s easier to space out and harder to stay in character and keep your momentum. But stage is just go, go, go except for the intermission. Much better suited to my symptoms. On the other hand, both can get boring from the repetition.

      Also, my day job is substitute teaching, but I could never handle working in a daycare. I’m good at educating, but prefer to remain as far removed from body functions and physical contact as possible.

  8. If you have bilingual skills, I strongly recommend interpreting whether it’s in the medical field or legal. Never a dull moment! Constant change of pace, new faces, new cases every time and you learn something new every time. And the best part is you never take work home! Absolutely love it.

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