Accessibility is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses and organisations. It’s no longer a matter of “if” but rather “when” your organisation will need to become more accessible. That’s why learning how to become an accessibility specialist is an essential skill for those looking to break into the field of web development and even more so for those already in it.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what it takes to become an accessibility specialist, from the skills you need to acquire to the resources available that can help you get started. We’ll also discuss the importance of being an accessibility expert and how understanding accessibility principles can help make your work even better. With this knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a knowledgeable, reliable accessibility specialist that organisations can trust.
What is an Accessibility Specialist?
An accessibility specialist helps ensure that products, services, and environments are accessible to people with disabilities. They work with designers, architects, manufacturers, and others to ensure that accessibility is considered during the design process. Many accessibility specialists have a background in engineering, architecture, or occupational therapy.
The Different Types of Accessibility Specialists
There are many different types of accessibility specialists, each with unique skills and experience. Here are some of the most common:
- Web Accessibility Specialist: A web accessibility specialist ensures that websites are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes ensuring that screen readers can access the website content and that navigation is easy for people with mobility impairments.
- Information Technology Accessibility Specialist: An information technology accessibility specialist ensures computer systems and software are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes developing accessible interface designs, testing software for accessibility issues, and providing training on how to use accessibility features.
- Accessible Design Specialist: An accessible design specialist creates products, environments, and experiences that are usable by people with all types of abilities. This includes everything from architecture to web design and everything in between.
- Accessibility Consultant: An accessibility consultant helps organisations identify barriers to inclusion and provides recommendations on how to make their products, services, and workplaces more accessible.
Pros and Cons of Being an Accessibility Specialist
There are both pros and cons to being an accessibility specialist. On the plus side, you will be satisfied knowing that you are helping people with disabilities to live more independently and access the world around them. You will also be able to work with a variety of clients, from children to adults, and help them to overcome the barriers that they face in their everyday lives.
However, some challenges come with the job. It can be emotionally draining to work with clients who are struggling with significant disabilities, and you may need to have a robust support system in place to avoid burnout. You will also need to keep up with the latest accessibility technology and trends, as well as continue your education in this field.
What Education or Certification is Needed to Become an Accessibility Specialist?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The educational and certification requirements for becoming an accessibility specialist can vary depending on the specific industry or organisation you wish to work in. However, some common educational paths that may be relevant for this career include earning a degree in human factors or industrial engineering or completing a certification program in accessibility or universal design. In addition, many employers may require that candidates for accessibility specialist positions have several years of experience working with people with disabilities in some capacity.
How to Find an Accessibility Specialist Job
There are many ways to find an accessibility specialist job. You can search online job boards, contact companies directly, or look for job postings in your local area.
To search online job boards, enter “accessibility specialist” into the search bar. This will pull up a list of current job openings. Once you find a few positions that interest you, contact the company and inquire about the status.
If you don’t have any luck with online job boards, you can also try contacting companies directly. Many times, companies will post their open positions on their websites. However, they may not always advertise for an accessibility specialist specifically. In this case, it would be beneficial to reach out to the company and express your interest in the position. Even if there isn’t an opening, they may keep your information on file for future reference.
Lastly, another great way to find an accessibility specialist job is by looking in your local area. Job postings can be found in newspapers, community bulletin boards, and even through word-of-mouth. If you know someone who works in the field of accessibility, they may be able to point you in the right direction or give you some advice on getting started in the industry.
Alternatives to Becoming an Accessibility Specialist
There are a few alternative career paths that share some similarities with becoming an accessibility specialist. One option is to become a web developer. Web developers create the code that helps make websites accessible to everyone. Another possibility is to pursue a career in information technology (IT). IT professionals work with computer networks and hardware, which includes making devices accessible for people with disabilities.