Certain career paths can actually be served by an ADHD diagnosis. Consider finding a career that works to your strengths if you live with ADHD symptoms.

Finding the right job can be a long and scary process. For those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however, it may feel even more complicated.

Roughly 2.5% of all adults live with an ADHD diagnosis. Common symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, rapidly changing thoughts, and disorganization. Some of these symptoms may bring challenges in your professional life.

Still, you could find plenty of jobs or careers that suit your life if you live with ADHD.

While some careers offer flexibility toward issues that ADHD may present, many of these exciting jobs turn the traits and symptoms of ADHD into strengths.

Rapidly changing thoughts are a common symptom of ADHD. This could present challenges to positions that require sustained attention over long periods of time.

Yet, in jobs that don’t require such long spans of concentration, those with ADHD can excel.

Fast-paced job environments are a great fit for those living with ADHD because there is often a focus on being flexible and engaged in many different tasks. These work environments constantly move and change, so workers need to rely on quick decision-making.

Fast-paced jobs that may be a good fit if you have ADHD:

  • emergency responder (firefighter, EMT)
  • retail worker
  • service employee
  • journalist
  • teacher
  • athlete

These types of roles may even help you manage your ADHD.

These jobs do not dwell on any one thing for too long. If you work in these roles, you’ll have to be able to adapt to changing priorities, often needing to shift focus at a moment’s notice — something that many with ADHD are able to do with ease.

Older research also links ADHD to boredom and distraction. Environments that have a speedy pace and overall sense of urgency leave little downtime for boredom or wandering thoughts.

According to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), the main challenges that many with ADHD may face include time management, procrastination, and managing paperwork.

Career roles in highly structured environments may help you avoid some of these obstacles. These types of jobs often rely on systems and routines that guide your daily work. With processes and organized rules in place to follow, you could manage your workload with more ease.

In some workplaces, structure is built around goals or markers of achievement, which studies suggest can benefit workers with ADHD.

Structured career roles that may be a good fit for those with ADHD:

  • bookkeeper or accountant
  • project manager
  • factory worker
  • database administrator
  • data analyst
  • engineer

Most of these positions rely on routine and order to achieve a larger goal.

Working toward a specific goal can provide positive motivation for workers with ADHD. In many instances, not only do those with ADHD reach their target but they exceed expectations.

Creative professions or work environments that encourage creativity and artistic expression can be attractive to people with ADHD.

Research suggests that those with ADHD are able to tap into their creative side more easily than those without the condition.

One study indicates this may be due to those with ADHD’s commitment to finding and trusting their own way of doing creative things.

Creative jobs that those with ADHD might love:

  • artist
  • musician
  • carpenter or builder
  • actor
  • dancer
  • designer (interior, fashion, graphic)
  • writer
  • stylist (hair, nails, makeup, fashion)
  • inventor
  • marketing or advertising roles

Other common traits of ADHD — like quick problem-solving, curiosity, and the ability to easily adapt to challenges — are often essential to succeeding in a creative field.

This may give those with ADHD a competitive edge in these artistic roles!

Anyone — with or without ADHD — should strive for work that aligns with one’s passions. Being passionate about what you do can benefit anyone, whether or not you have ADHD.

However, for those with ADHD, you may find that you’re especially motivated to work with your passions. That’s a good thing.

Motivation and focus prove common challenges for those with ADHD, so jobs fueled by passion may help them overcome these obstacles.

Roles that those with ADHD can bring their passions to:

  • teacher
  • artist
  • counselor
  • social worker
  • medical professional
  • writer
  • clergy or service-oriented roles
  • caregiver

Whenever you’re passionate about your work, you tend to be more motivated and encounter fewer distractions, making you more focused on reaching your goals and achieving success that you deserve.

With ADHD commonly linked to criticism from others, those living with the condition may find that they’ve been faced with more social and emotional challenges than those without. As such, working in roles that prioritize others may be an empowering career move.

While this can increase sensitivity, research from a 2019 article suggest that this experience with criticism may also instill a greater sense of self-compassion.

This powerful capacity for compassion can can promote a better understanding of others and how they feel.

Jobs that can tap into an ADHD person’s skills for care and empathy:

  • caregiver
  • nurse or doctor
  • teacher
  • counselor
  • social worker

These careers value the ability to empathize and identify emotions in others, which makes those with ADHD excellent candidates for roles that involve caring for others. Medical centers, mental health positions, and education can all serve as excellent career environments for those living with ADHD.

People with ADHD often do well in jobs that promote innovative or out-of-the-box thinking.

Embracing innovation provides an outlet for creativity and problem-solving, while also creating a passionate environment.

ADHD folks tend to excel at thinking big picture. There are even professional resources to help those with ADHD to stay on top of the details as they’re changing the game in their professional spaces.

Consider these ADHD-friendly jobs that need innovators:

  • entrepreneur
  • inventor
  • engineer
  • architect
  • designer
  • marketing professional
  • stylist (hair, nails, makeup, fashion)
  • artist

These roles combine many of the skills, traits, and circumstances that make those with ADHD successful in other professions.

Experiencing hyperactivity and impulsivity is common in ADHD. These symptoms may cause increased energy, which can be channeled into many high-energy careers. Sometimes this can even feel like energy overload, yet there are jobs that use this to your advantage.

ADHD can also benefit you in positions where you’re dealing with other high-energy people, like working with children.

If you’re someone with ADHD who’s looking to harness their energy into a career, consider these jobs:

  • athlete
  • sports coach
  • emergency responder (firefighter, EMT)
  • ER doctor or nurse
  • police officer
  • emergency dispatcher
  • retail worker
  • daycare provider

More energy may translate well to roles that are physical or that involve multitasking, heavy workloads, long hours, and the ability to make quick decisions.

Still, it’s worth remembering that high energy or stressful jobs can take a toll on anyone, so consider prioritizing sleep and self-care when you’re off the job.

Only recently has the culture begun to talk about the lives of those with ADHD and their ambitions. So, there may be questions or misconceptions worth answering.

Consider these frequently asked questions (FAQs) about ADHD and professional ambitions.

Are people with ADHD less likely to get a job?

It depends.

Your job prospects rely on many factors, not just an ADHD diagnosis. Prior work history, references, and how you present yourself in interviews all play a part in whether or not you land a job.

However, this can all be affected by the severity of your condition. Based on your specific diagnosis and symptoms, you may find it difficult to focus throughout the day, complete tasks, or manage your emotions in the workplace.

If you’re finding it challenging to secure a job, you may want to consider working with a career counselor. They can provide coaching and guidance that sets you up for success in finding the right job for you.

Do people with ADHD get fired a lot?

This varies by person.

The severity of your ADHD may affect your ability to find a job and stay employed — based on the specific symptoms you experience and what strategies or treatments you’re using to manage them.

Many people with ADHD may have difficulty staying focused, processing information, completing tasks, or being on time. These can all impact work performance.

While your boss can let you go based on poor performance or low quality of work, they can’t fire you because of your ADHD diagnosis. This is because you have certain protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act, so your employer can’t discriminate against you based on a disability.

However, to be protected under the Act, you do need to tell your employer about your diagnosis.

Do I have to tell my employer I have ADHD?

No, you don’t have to tell your employer you have ADHD. However, you may decide that you want to because it may offer you some workplace protections.

Research shows that those who tell their workplace often feel more supported by their company. This can lead to increased performance and higher confidence.

You can also be protected from a legal standpoint, should you make your diagnosis known.

Severe ADHD can be classified as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act protects workers with disabilities, stating that they cannot be discriminated against in the workplace — including when it comes to hiring or firing.

If you decide to disclose your diagnosis, the Act also allows for reasonable accommodations that your employer must supply to help you do your work.

At the end of the day, choosing whether or not to tell your employer is your decision, so you should do what feels right for you.

There are many types of jobs and work environments in which the unique traits and symptoms of ADHD can help you succeed.

Work that is fast-paced, embraces creativity, or has a set structure with systems and processes in place are all professional environments where workers with ADHD can shine.

If you’re having difficulty choosing or securing the best role for your skills and interests, seeking support from a career coach or counselor can help. They can provide you with guidance, resources, and coaching to help you land the right job for you.