Build a career working with people who have autism

An assistant takes care of an eight year old autistic boy.

By U2B Staff 

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About one out of 54 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

Educators and healthcare professionals are increasingly the benefits of becoming certified professionals for autism and special needs. With the right qualifications, you will have the chance to work with children or adults with autism spectrum disorder in an educational or healthcare setting.

Working with people who have autism spectrum disorder can make a rewarding career for some. The field itself opens many career opportunities of all which have different entry requirements.

Careers specialising in working with people who have autism spectrum disorder

Children and even adults with autism have a variety of developmental, learning, physical, and emotional needs. Educators who work with this group of children will need the right skills and can obtain them through training and certification programmes.

Ultimately, special education teachers have the right training to not only teach but manage and handle unique learning needs as well as overcome challenges.

Teachers who choose this specialisation can upskill themselves in master’s level programmes specialising in special education.

This upskilling path can be chosen by teachers who own a teaching license which is usually obtained after completing a relevant bachelor’s degree and an approved teacher’s preparation programme.


There are three board master’s level qualifications to pursue if you are a teacher looking to specialise in special education for autistic spectrum disorder.

The Master of Education (MEd) is designed for experienced, certified special education teachers interested in furthering their skills and/or gaining experience in a specific area of special education.

The Master of Arts in Teaching is an alternative to the MEd programme and is structured to accommodate students who hold a bachelor’s degree in an academic area outside of teaching and are interested in pursuing a career as a special education teacher.

The Master of Arts in Education (MAed) or Master of Science in Education (MSed) in special education qualifications are designed for practicing educators, para-educators, and other professionals interested in pursuing advanced study and research specific to individuals with disabilities in diverse settings.

Licensed educators can also choose to earn a certification which enables them to work with children with autism.

Speech-language pathologist is another great career option for those who want to work with children on the autism spectrum. Many children with autism experience difficulties in language and communication and as such, a speech pathologist can help them to improve speech, develop alternative ways of communicating, or treat cognitive-communication delays. Speech-language pathologists can work in schools or work in healthcare settings such as hospitals.

A speech-language pathologist will require a master’s degree in speech-language pathology to qualify for this career and may additionally need a license to practice.

Another career option for those who are keen on working with both children and adults with autism can earn a Master’s in Applied Behaviour Analysis.

A master’s degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis can open job opportunities outside of schools and classrooms. You may find work in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics, behavioural centers, and long-term residential facilities.

Master’s degree holders in this field can work with people with autism from all age ranges, including young childhood all through adulthood.