What jobs can a deaf or hard of hearing person hold? As it turns out, just about anything! Today, deaf professionals are working, creating, and developing in a variety of careers.
Many deaf professionals use American Sign Language interpreters on a daily basis, or others use ASL to work within deaf settings. Few careers are off-limits for deaf professionals. Here’s a sampling of just a few industries where deaf professionals bring diversity and unique skills.
Members of the deaf community can be writers, artists, dancers, actors, and even musicians. Although each of these respective industries could improve by supporting more deaf professionals, great strides have already been made. One deaf actress, Marlee Matlin, won the Academy Award for best actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God. Another famous deaf professional in the movie industry is Alexander Genievsky, who wrote, produced films, and founded an arts non-profit.
In the last 50 years, we have seen dozens of deaf athletes stand out on the field and court. Deaf professionals have played golf, basketball, hockey, baseball, and many other sports. One of the most beloved deaf athletes is Tamika Catchings, who played basketball for 15 years for the Indiana Fever, a team in the Woman’s National Basketball Association.
Deaf Professionals are definitely present in today’s hottest field—STEM. Deaf Professionals work in engineering, manufacturing, computer science, information technology, laboratory science, and many others. For example, Joanna Lucht is the first deaf engineer to play an active role in NASA’s control center. There is always more room for more deaf professionals in STEM industries, but the road is already paved for more.
Dr. Judith Ann Pachciarz was the first deaf professional to earn both a Ph.d and an M.D. Since then, more and more deaf professionals have entered the medical field. Deaf professionals are nurses, physicians, sonographers, nurse clinicians, and researchers. They can both teach and practice medicine.
Social Work is a popular career among deaf professionals. One reason is that social work gives you the option to work and serve among your own community. Many deaf social workers can more effective in serving the deaf community than a hearing social worker would be able to. Social workers can speak ASL with their clients to help them feel more accepted and appreciated.
This is not an exhaustive list of careers! Deaf professionals are present in almost every career you can enter today. Nevertheless, many companies and organizations still discriminate against deaf employees because of harmful stereotypes about the deaf community. In fact, deaf professionals can equally effective and productive, as well as bringing their own set of diverse skills to the table.
American industries can only profit by empowering and supporting deaf professionals.