Employment of the Blind
People who are blind can be just about anything they want to be. The American Foundation for the Blind lists these professions just as a starting point: astronomer, attorney, chemist, clergy, college professor, computer analyst and programmer, electrical engineer, elementary and high school teacher, farmer, food service worker, investment broker, journalist, marketing professional, mechanic, medical transcriptionist, musician, nurse, physical therapist, physicist, psychologist, radio and television personality, real estate professional, rehabilitation counselor, restaurant owner, social worker, statistician, website designer.
Unfortunately, many people who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed or underemployed. The U.S. Census Bureau provides the best statistics on this issue. Although they were published for 1991-92, they are still relatively accurate.
For people who described themselves as having "functional limitation in seeing" (they have difficulty seeing words and letters in ordinary newsprint, even with glasses or contact lenses), the estimated employment rate was 35 percentage points lower than the employment rate of people with no disabilities. For people with a severe functional limitation in seeing (not able to see words and letters in ordinary newsprint at all), the estimated employment rate was 55 percentage points lower than the employment rate of people with no disabilities.
There are many possible explanations for high unemployment among people with vision loss. Getting to and from the workplace, navigating space within the workplace, and communicating at work all require alternative strategies. Learning braille makes it easier for people who are blind to attend school, and later, to gain employment. Adequate orientation and mobility training can make getting to work possible for people who are blind.