How Does a College Degree Impact Your Working Future If You Are Blind or Have Low Vision?

If you are contemplating whether or not to further your education beyond high school by attending college or career school, it is a decision worthy of thoughtful consideration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more education leads to better prospects for earnings and employment. The following data reported by the BLS is evidence that more job opportunities are available for individuals who are blind or visually low vision who have acquired education or a degree beyond a high school diploma. Overall, the unemployment rate is higher for those individuals who have only attained a high school diploma versus those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Unemployment Rates and Educational Attainment (2022)

Educational Attainment

Bachelor’s Degree and higher

Some College, No Degree

High School Diploma

Less Than a High School Diploma

Unemployment Rate (Percent)

2.2

3.8

4.5

4.3

Note: Data are for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers.
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022)

Photo of a woman standing while holding a graduation cap at her knees
Photo of a woman standing while holding a graduation cap at her knees

Job Opportunities Requiring a Degree Are Growing Faster

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reports that occupations requiring more education are projected to grow faster in all jobs through 2026. For example, jobs requiring a master’s degree for entry are projected to grow the fastest at 16.7 percent. (Rolen, 2019).

A College Degree Increases Earning Potential

In addition to increased employment opportunities, blind or low-vision individuals who obtain education beyond a high school diploma have the potential to earn more money throughout their careers. The 2021 data from the BLS shows weekly earnings by full-time workers (35 hours per week) are positively impacted by educational attainment.

Educational Attainment and Earnings (2020)

Educational Attainment

Doctoral Degree

Master’s Degree

Bachelor’s Degree

Associate’s Degree

Some College, No Degree

High School Diploma

Less Than a High School Diploma

Median Weekly Earnings ($)

1,885

1,545

1,305

938

877

781

619

Note: Data are for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers.
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021)

Attending Career School Opens Job Opportunities

If you want to further your education but spend less time in school and not as much money doing so, attending career school to learn a trade is an option that can also positively impact your future opportunities for employment as a person who is blind/ low vision. By 2028, the projected employment growth of apprenticeships is 5-14% faster than average employment growth. Of the top 30 fastest-growing jobs, many are apprenticeships. According to the BLS, the following apprenticeships are projected to grow the fastest:

  • Plumber, Pipefitter, and Steamfitter
  • Construction laborers
  • Electricians
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Transition to College or Work

If you are interested in attending college or career school to increase your job opportunities and earning potential, utilize the Transition to College: Program Activity Guide to better understand your postsecondary options, determine the degree you need to succeed, create a plan for paying for college, and more.

There are also career opportunities for job seekers who are not college or career-school-bound. According to the BLS, occupations such as personal care aides, home health aides, customer service representatives, and medical secretaries are projected to add many jobs. Although these occupations usually have lower wages, these opportunities should be considered for job seekers who are blind or low vision and who have a high school diploma or equivalent. If you are preparing to make this transition, review the Transition to Work: Program Activity Guide to help you develop your employability skills, conduct job research and a job search, complete an online job application, and more.

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