University of the Rockies is proud to share our PEAK initiative: Promoting Education, Awareness, and Knowledge. Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways you can participate.

Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University.

July 2015 – Disability Independence
by Dylan Self, Military Student Advisor at University of the Rockies

As an institution of higher learning offering programs through a non-traditional, online format, University of the Rockies is in a unique position to provide education services for people with disabilities. The University has the honor of assisting people in achieving levels of independence that would have seemed impossible a few decades ago. Gone are the days of sanitariums dedicated to the strict and universal isolation of those who looked or acted differently than what was considered the norm at the time. Now there are legal protections such as the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which both prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities in employment, transportation, and public accommodations, while also establishing requirements for telecommunication relay services (Disability Resources, N.D.).

So when a University of the Rockies student who is living with a disability graduates with either a Master’s or Doctoral degree from the school, where should we encourage them to look for employment in order to maximize the potential benefits his or her degree can provide? Internally, the student can access Career Services, which can help him or her how best to market themselves to potential employers and can provide resume resources most students may not know about. But when Career Services has done what it can do, what are some of the best jobs and companies for people with disabilities seeking personal and vocational independence? posted a list of the top ten jobs for people with physical disabilities in 2013 that included some great suggestions about career fields that are available and accessible for those with disabilities and general estimates regarding median annual incomes earned for these career fields (The Best Jobs, 2013):

Job Title

Median Annual Income



Financial Analyst

$76, 950

Management Consultant


Market Research Analyst


Pharmaceutical Sales


Pharmacy Technician


Physician Assistant


Software Engineer


Vocational Counselor


Wholesale Sales Representative


DiversityInc’s website has another valuable resource available in their list of the top ten companies for people with disabilities (The DiversityInc Top 10, 2015). They compared many factors, including how inviting the company’s website was, to job applicants, vendors and customers, disability inclusiveness in the recruitment process, disability accommodations, the number of people with disabilities in the workforce, and the availability of telecommuting and alternative career tracks for those with long-term family care issues, among others (Ibid). First on the list of DiversityInc’s top ten places to work is Ernst and Young, which has received awards for being in the top 10 companies for people with disabilities, mentoring, diversity councils, global diversity, and LGTB employees (Ibid). The rest of the list includes Prudential Financial, Procter & Gamble, IBM, KPMG, Merck & Co., AT&T, Sodexo, Kaiser Permanente, and Comcast NBCUniversal.
As many University of the Rockies students have military experience and may have suffered a disability during their service, it is also important that they know of resources available specifically for those who have served our country. The website is a great resource that establishes preferences in appointments for eligible veterans over other applicants. The preferences they take into account are based upon dates of active duty service, receipt of a campaign badge, Purple Heart, or a disability connected to their service (Veterans’’ Preference, n.d.). Though there are three types of preferences given depending on whether an applicant is disabled, non-disabled, or a sole survivor, the largest preferences are given to those who have a service-connected disability or have been awarded the Purple Heart. There are also preferences offered to those who served between 9/11/01 - 8/31/10, 8/2/90 - 1/2/92, or 4/28/52 – 7/1/55 (Ibid).
At University of the Rockies, providing high quality and accessible degrees to individuals living with a disability is something we’re proud to offer. The University wants to be a quality institution that provides students with the degrees they need to approach growing career fields and companies who are willing to provide accommodations to potential employees who are seeking independence.


Disability Resources. (N.D.) Retrieved from on 4 June, 2015.

The Best Jobs for Candidates with Physical Disabilities. (2013). Retrieved from 4 June, 2015.

The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities. (2015.) Retrieved from

Veterans’ Preference. (N.D.) Retrieved from

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