Best Jobs for Introverts: 56 Careers Based on Four Main Types

Best Jobs for IntrovertsHere's why the best jobs for introverts aren't always easy to pinpoint: Introversion is a spectrum of personality traits, not just a single characteristic. Everyone is introverted in some way—to at least a small degree. So popular stereotypes about introverts are sometimes misleading, even though they prove to be accurate for many people.

These days, it's fairly easy to get a handle on your personality type through online quizzes or more extensive assessments like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. The results of such tests can offer clues to your individual strengths, but they can't necessarily give you firm answers about what jobs to pursue. And they carry the risk of inspiring you to define yourself by them, which can limit your outlook and blind you from good opportunities. The truth is, no personality assessment can ever be perfect, especially since human beings grow and change.

Still, it is possible to put together a list of some of the best careers for introverts. It just takes a good understanding of the various traits that comprise the introversion spectrum. For example, some of the most common traits and preferences of introverts include:

  • Being alone or with very few people
  • Drawing energy from within instead of from external stimuli
  • Having a lot of personal space and "down time"
  • Listening and observing more than speaking
  • Waiting for other people to approach them in social situations versus initiating contact themselves
  • Taking extra time to think before speaking or taking action
  • Exuding a calm, quiet, and reflective demeanor
  • Learning deeply about a few topics instead of superficially about many
  • Having the freedom to work independently, with little or no supervision
  • Rarely engaging in self-promotion
  • Subduing their external demonstration of emotions
  • Having limited contact with the public

It's important to note that every introvert is different and will not necessarily display all of the preferences and personality traits listed above. Plus, introversion is not a mental disorder. And it's not confined to humans. Nearly every species on Earth has both introverts and extroverts, including fruit flies.*

So even though our society—to a large extent—has been set up for extroverts to thrive more easily, it would be foolish to overlook the contributions of millions upon millions of people who fall into the introversion spectrum. Good jobs for introverts do exist, and they can often be discovered by recognizing that there isn't just one type of introvert. In fact, according to one modern school of thought, introverts tend to fall within one of four main types.**

That's why it helps to supplement any suggestions that you receive from guidance counselors or books (such as those published by JIST) with other ideas based on the types of introversion that most closely match who you are. (Keep in mind that many introverts have a mixture of traits from each main type, even if traits from one type tend to dominate their personality.) For example, check out the introvert jobs that are listed within each of the following categories:

Except where otherwise indicated, salary estimates are based on nationwide data from 2015, and job-opening projections are for the decade from 2014 to 2024.***

Social Introvert Jobs

Best Jobs for IntrovertsThe term social introvert sounds like a misnomer, doesn't it? After all, many introverts prefer to avoid social situations. But, as funny as it sounds, this term is actually meant to describe those very people. Social introverts prefer solitude. They would rather be alone or part of a small group rather than being around lots of other people.

However, it's important to understand that introverts within this category aren't shy. That is, they don't experience much, if any, anxiety in social settings. They simply prefer situations in which they have to interact with as few people as possible.

Even so, social introverts are often known for their loyalty. And they tend to be good at understanding their boundaries and developing meaningful relationships with the people who become part of their small inner circles. That's partially why, when it comes to good careers for introverts, people who fall into this category might have the highest number of possibilities to choose from.

If you think that you might be a social introvert, then it's especially important to pay attention to your potential work environment. A lot of social introverts find that working from home aligns with their personalities. And many others try to steer clear of settings that are crowded, noisy, full of interruptions, or don't offer much privacy. A lot of those factors will depend less on your particular career and more on your particular employer.

That said, many occupations offer chances to perform satisfying work without being around too many people. They include a lot of careers in the skilled trades as well as other interesting vocations. For example, here are some potentially good career choices for introverts in this category:

1. Database administrator

  • Potential job openings—39,200
  • Median annual pay—$81,710

2. Private chef

  • Potential job openings—30,400 (for all chefs and head cooks)
  • Median annual pay—$62,190 (according to PayScale)****

3. Electrical or electronic engineering technician

  • Potential job openings—34,100
  • Median annual pay—$61,130

4. Mechanical drafter

  • Potential job openings—7,800
  • Median annual pay—$53,520

5. Civil or architectural drafter

  • Potential job openings—11,100
  • Median annual pay—$50,710

6. Plumber

  • Potential job openings—105,200
  • Median annual pay—$50,620

7. Commercial diver

  • Potential job openings—2,300
  • Median annual pay—$50,470

8. Industrial machinery mechanic

  • Potential job openings—145,900
  • Median annual pay—$49,690

9. Heavy equipment mechanic

  • Potential job openings—36,000
  • Median annual pay—$48,770

10. Private investigator

  • Potential job openings—11,000
  • Median annual pay—$45,610

11. HVAC mechanic

  • Potential job openings—84,200
  • Median annual pay—$45,110

12. Interpreter or translator

  • Potential job openings—27,200
  • Median annual pay—$44,190

13. Carpenter

  • Potential job openings—169,100
  • Median annual pay—$42,090

14. Heavy tractor-trailer truck driver

  • Potential job openings—404,500
  • Median annual pay—$40,260

15. Motorboat mechanic

  • Potential job openings—5,100
  • Median annual pay—$38,280

16. Welder

  • Potential job openings—128,500
  • Median annual pay—$38,150

17. Dental lab technician

  • Potential job openings—13,500
  • Median annual pay—$37,190

18. Motorcycle mechanic

  • Potential job openings—4,400
  • Median annual pay—$34,220

19. Small engine mechanic

  • Potential job openings—8,100
  • Median annual pay—$32,710

20. Animal trainer

  • Potential job openings—17,400
  • Median annual pay—$26,610

21. Baker

  • Potential job openings—53,600
  • Median annual pay—$24,170

Thinking Introvert Careers

Best Jobs for IntrovertsEven though they might not necessarily go out of their way to engage in social opportunities, thinking introverts don't mind being around a lot of other people. Unlike social introverts, their energy isn't drained by social interactions. But they do tend to be very thoughtful and introspective. As a result, they often spend a lot of time using their imaginations and self-reflecting.

Thanks to their rich inner lives, thinking introverts are frequently very creative. They are often able to think outside the box, recognize the big picture, and synthesize varying ideas into new innovations. Plus, many of them are known for being good listeners and showing respect for other people's ideas.

That's why fields like engineering, technology, and art and design are full of great jobs for introverts in the thinking category. Examples include occupations such as:

22. Aerospace engineer

  • Potential job openings—20,700
  • Median annual pay—$107,830

23. Environmental engineer

  • Potential job openings—22,400
  • Median annual pay—$84,560

24. Industrial engineer

  • Potential job openings—72,800
  • Median annual pay—$83,470

25. Civil engineer

  • Potential job openings—106,700
  • Median annual pay—$82,220

26. Computer programmer

  • Potential job openings—81,000
  • Median annual pay—$79,530

27. Web developer

  • Potential job openings—58,600
  • Median annual pay—$64,970

28. Video game artist

  • Potential job openings—15,900 (for all multimedia artists and animators)
  • Median annual pay—$63,970

29. Fashion designer

  • Potential job openings—6,200
  • Median annual pay—$63,670

30. Interior designer

  • Potential job openings—16,200
  • Median annual pay—$48,840

31. Graphic designer

  • Potential job openings—65,800
  • Median annual pay—$46,900

Anxious Introvert Jobs

Best Jobs for IntrovertsLike social introverts, anxious introverts prefer to be alone. However, in this case, the introversion stems from painful or deeply felt anxiety about how other people perceive them. So anxious introverts are shy, feel awkward in social situations, and tend to worry about what has already happened or what might go wrong in the future.

Some people are crippled by their social anxiety. However, introverts in this category frequently have some marketable abilities that make them well suited for careers that require intense attention to detail. After all, their anxiety gives them a lot of practice at imagining—and planning for—worst-case scenarios. So, many of them are able to develop laser-like focus on important details.

As a result, some of the top jobs for introverts in the anxious category involve performing critical work that's very detail-oriented or that contributes to keeping people safe. For example, consider the following occupations that often enable anxious introverts to use their strengths while working alone—or with only a few other people—for significant chunks of their day:

32. Statistician

  • Potential job openings—15,400
  • Median annual pay—$80,110

33. Commercial pilot

  • Potential job openings—15,100
  • Median annual pay—$76,150

34. Technical writer

  • Potential job openings—17,200
  • Median annual pay—$70,240

35. Accountant or auditor

  • Potential job openings—498,000
  • Median annual pay—$67,190

36. Medical lab technician or technologist

  • Potential job openings—68,100 for technicians; 62,500 for technologists
  • Median annual pay—$38,970 for technicians; $60,520 for technologists

37. Aircraft mechanic

  • Potential job openings—30,100
  • Median annual pay—$58,370

38. Audio engineering technician

  • Potential job openings—4,300
  • Median annual pay—$53,330

39. Auto mechanic

  • Potential job openings—237,200
  • Median annual pay—$37,850

40. Proofreader

  • Potential job openings—2,600
  • Median annual pay—$35,630

Inhibited Introvert Careers

Best Jobs for IntrovertsIntroverts who are part of this category frequently appear very reserved and laid back. They often do things more slowly than other people and don't react immediately when presented with opportunities to speak, make decisions, or take action. In fact, inhibited introverts have a strong preference for thinking before doing almost anything.

But that reserved nature often comes with heightened powers of reflection and observation, which makes a lot of inhibited introverts good at offering wisdom from a big-picture perspective. As a result, the best job for introverts of this kind tends to be something that allows them to be a voice of reason.

Inhibited introverts are generally not afraid to ponder hard questions in order to find the truth and get to the heart of big challenges. That's why a lot of them find success and fulfillment in fields such as science, counseling, and other vocational areas that require keen analytical and big-picture thinking abilities. For example, they are often well suited for occupations like:

41. Physicist

  • Potential job openings—4,900
  • Median annual pay—$111,580

42. Astronomer

  • Potential job openings—400
  • Median annual pay—$104,100

43. Geoscientist

  • Potential job openings—15,000
  • Median annual pay—$89,700

44. Personal financial advisor

  • Potential job openings—136,400
  • Median annual pay—$89,160

45. Biochemist or biophysicist

  • Potential job openings—11,900
  • Median annual pay—$82,150

46. Management analyst

  • Potential job openings—208,500
  • Median annual pay—$81,320

47. Microbiologist

  • Potential job openings—6,800
  • Median annual pay—$67,550

48. Market research analyst or marketing specialist

  • Potential job openings—151,400
  • Median annual pay—$62,150

49. Anthropologist or archaeologist

  • Potential job openings—1,200
  • Median annual pay—$61,220

50. Conservation scientist

  • Potential job openings—10,600
  • Median annual pay—$61,110

51. Creative or non-fiction writer or author

  • Potential job openings—26,100
  • Median annual pay—$60,250

52. Wildlife biologist

  • Potential job openings—6,600
  • Median annual pay—$59,680

53. Career or education counselor

  • Potential job openings—79,700
  • Median annual pay—$53,660

54. Marriage or family therapist

  • Potential job openings—12,100
  • Median annual pay—$48,600

55. Mental health counselor

  • Potential job openings—54,500
  • Median annual pay—$41,880

56. Addictions counselor

  • Potential job openings—41,100
  • Median annual pay—$39,980

Take Advantage of Your Inner Spark

Don't let introversion hold you back. As many of the best jobs for introverts prove, your personality can become your biggest asset. So if you're ready to move your life forward, then explore the nearby training options that can help you get started on a suitable career path. Conduct a quick search right now by putting your zip code into the following school finder!

* Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, "Introverts: A Defense," website last visited on May 6, 2016.

** Academia, Four Meanings of Introversion: Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Inhibited Introversion, website last visited on May 6, 2016.

*** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Projections, website last visited on May 6, 2016.

**** PayScale, website last visited on May 6, 2016.