Independent Living Specialist

Equip disabled people with the tools for independence.

Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$19,000 – $45,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Independent Living Specialists do?

Solo living requires the ability to balance a checkbook, pay the bills, understand basic home maintenance, cook a meal, and provide for oneself. When a person suffers from mental or physical disabilities, the basic skills of cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping are more important than ever. The same is true for the elderly and teenagers who are just beginning their solo journey. Independent Living Specialists connect people to resources and teach the skills necessary to live independently.

As an Independent Living Specialist, you typically have a caseload of clients who share similar situations. For example, your clients may have physical disabilities, be mentally ill, or fall into a specific age group.

Whatever the background of your clients, your job as an Independent Living Specialist is to evaluate their needs. Do they have jobs? Do they know how to care for themselves? Are they working?

To find out what they’re capable of and how much assistance they need, you conduct interviews, review their files, and create plans. These plans include referrals for treatment, job opportunities, housing options, basic living skills training, and money handling.

This job offers variety because each case is different. While some clients only need precursory assistance, such as help finding appropriate housing, others need nearly constant supervision. That means you might also act as Counselor, Financial Advisor, Personal Assistant, and Personal Shopper.

Should I be an Independent Living Specialist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Activities of Daily Living Specialist, Casework Specialist, Family Development Specialist See More

    How to Become an
    Independent Living Specialist

    Most Independent Living Specialists have a Master's degree or a Bachelor's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ipk9ja&chl=no+college+%2826%25%29|certificate+%2812%25%29|associate%27s+%288%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2847%25%29|master%27s+%287%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,26,47
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