Top careers for ISTP personality types

Last updated: April 12, 2024
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Jennifer Young
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Top careers for ISTP personality types
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When you apply for a job, you may need to take the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) test. This personality test determines whether candidates are a good fit for the company.

There are 16 personality types, one of which is the ISTP. Only 5.4% of people have this personality type. ISTPs are introverted, calm, detail-oriented, and good problem solvers.

If you're an ISTP or know someone who is, you've come to the right place. We're here to discuss what you need to know about this personality type. ​We'll tell you what an ISTP is and what they're like at work.

We'll also give you a list of the best careers for ISTPs, along with where you can start your job search.

What is an ISTP?

The introverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving (ISTP) is a unique and eccentric personality determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. ISTPs are introverted, meaning they get their energy from being alone. They're also sensing, which means they focus on the present and are detail-oriented.

ISTPs are good at problem-solving and have a calm demeanor. They're often drawn to careers that allow them to work with their hands. These individuals tend to be confident, independent, and spontaneous, meaning they're always up for a new adventure.

It’s common for turbulent ISTPs to struggle with anxiety and have a hard time expressing their feelings. They may also struggle with making decisions, as their spontaneous lifestyle can sometimes lead to impulsive decision-making.

This personality type tends to thrive in fast-paced careers and allows for creativity. They're also drawn to jobs that involve risk-taking, such as firefighting or policing.

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ISTP celebrities and public figures include Simon Cowell, Bear Grylls, and Bruce Lee. These individuals are often successful in their careers because they can think on their feet and solve problems quickly.

Not sure if you're an ISTP?

Follow these two steps to find the best job for your personality type:

Find out your personality type for free on 16Personalities: take the free Personality Test.

Return to to visit our resource center and find the best jobs for your personality - it’s a great way to kick off the job search and discover the best match for your personality type!

ISTP traits, skills, and characteristics

With all of the different personality types, it's helpful to understand which traits and characteristics are associated with each one. ISTPs are often called "the crafter" or "the mechanic," as they're good with their hands and are often drawn to careers that include working with tools. The main characteristics and traits that identify an ISTP include:

Rational and logical: ISTPs are known for their rational thinking and cognitive functions. They can see both sides of tense issues and make decisions based on facts rather than deep emotions.

Confident and independent: ISTPs are confident individuals who often prefer to work alone. They're not afraid of high stakes and are always up for a new challenge. There's no need for constant supervision with ISTPs, as they're independent thinkers who can be trusted to get the job done.

Detail-oriented: One of the main ISTP personality traits is their attention to detail. They're able to see the small details that others often miss. This trait is helpful in careers such as engineering and medicine.

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Quick thinkers: ISTPs are known for their quick thinking. They can think on their feet and come up with solutions to problems quickly. This trait is helpful in careers such as those in law enforcement or the military.

Loyal and reliable: ISTPs are loyal and reliable individuals. They're the type of people you can always count on, no matter what. This personality type takes pride in their work and always follows through on their commitments.

ISTPs tend to live in the moment

One of the identifying ISTP characteristics is that they're usually "in the moment." This means they don't always think about the future or dwell on the past. They're focused on the present and enjoying life as it happens.

This focus on the present can be both good and bad. It's good because ISTPs are able to enjoy life and not worry about what's to come. It's bad because ISTPs may have difficulty planning for the future.

ISTPs are spontaneous

Another vital ISTP personality trait is that they're spontaneous. This means they're always up for a new adventure and don't like being tied down. They prefer to go with the flow and see where life takes them.

This spontaneity can sometimes lead to impulsive decisions, but ISTPs' level-headed thinking usually prevents them from making too many rash choices.

ISTPs are introverted

One of the main ISTP personality type characteristics is that they're introverted. This means they get their energy from being alone. They often prefer to work alone and don't need a lot of social interaction.

This introversion is often mistaken for shyness, but it's important to remember that ISTPs are not necessarily shy. They're simply prone to introverted thinking and prefer to spend their time alone or with a small group of close friends.

ISTPs are sensing

In addition to being introverted, ISTPs are sensing. This means they focus on the present and are detail-oriented. They're able to pick up on small details that others might miss.

What are ISTPs like at work?

In the workplace, ISTPs prefer to work independently. They like flexible work environments, with the freedom to take professional risks and do tasks their own way.

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They thrive in challenging situations and get bored easily in structured work environments. This is why ISTPs often choose to work as paramedics or police officers.

ISTPs are good at problem-solving and like troubleshooting and finding practical solutions on the go. They're happy in positions that require physical activity or manual dexterity.

These people are hands-on workers and don't have patience for personal problems.

ISTPs are rational and calm under pressure.

As introverts, ISTPs are most comfortable in small teams or by themselves. They have the motivation to work remotely.

What are the best jobs for ISTPs?

What are the best career matches for The Virtuoso?

Let's take a look at the best ISTP careers.

1. Dental hygienist

A dental hygienist works with patients to improve their dental hygiene. They offer treatment and advice for a wide range of conditions, including gum disease and tooth decay.

Some ISTPs enjoy working in healthcare, and dentistry can be a good fit for these quiet introverts.

ISTPs enjoy tasks with tangible results, and in this role, they'll often need to clean and maintain oral health conditions. Dental patients will appreciate the ISTP's calm nature and attention to detail.

You can browse dental hygienist positions on Jobcase.

2. Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers work with mechanical and thermal devices. They repair and maintain existing devices and develop new ones.

ISTPs enjoy working with their hands, making anything mechanical a perfect fit. The role often involves troubleshooting and finding solutions, which is something the ISTP excels at.

These jobs are often varied and may include traveling to different work sites. This work structure suits the restless ISTP.

Mechanical engineers work independently or in small teams, which is perfect for the ISTP.

You can browse mechanical engineer positions on Jobcase.

3. Paramedic

Paramedics attend emergencies and treat and transport patients. They work with dispatchers and other healthcare professionals.

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ISTPs are calm under pressure. They're logical and don't let their emotions take control.

This personality type may find paramedic and EMT (emergency medical technician) roles appealing because of the variety and fast-paced nature of the industry.

They remain cool in a crisis, and their quick thinking and physical fitness are ideal traits for paramedics.

You can browse paramedic positions on Jobcase.

4. Police officer

Police officers serve and protect the community. They visit crime scenes, attend emergencies, interview victims, and write reports.

ISTPs are adventurous and comfortable working in volatile or risky situations. They're calm, logical, and reserved, which are attributes often seen in successful police officers.

ISTPs aren't afraid of hard work, and they'll enjoy the flexibility of working different shifts. Most ISTPs are physically fit, which is an essential quality for recruits.

You can browse police officer positions on Jobcase.

5. Building inspector

Building inspectors check properties for faults or defects. They prepare reports that show the condition of the property.

The construction industry is a good fit for the hands-on ISTP. As building inspectors, they'll enjoy a varied work environment and the opportunity to be independent.

Because ISTPs are analytical and have great attention to detail, they'll take this role seriously.

They'll notice things others may not and make sure the building meets all the necessary safety checks.

You can browse building inspector positions on Jobcase.

What other jobs suit ISTPs?

An ISTP may also like to work as an:

  • Economist

  • Construction worker

  • Forensic scientist

  • Software developer

  • Landscape architect

What jobs should ISTPs avoid?

Not all careers will be right for the ISTP. Here are a few jobs these personality types should avoid:

  • Receptionist

  • Social worker

  • Journalist

  • Marketing manager

  • Hairdresser

  • Psychologist

Balancing life and work as an ISTP

With all of the careers that fit this personality type, it's important for ISTP individuals to find a healthy work-life balance. Without the proper time to recharge, ISTPs can quickly become burnt out.

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ISTPs need time to themselves to recharge. This can be in the form of a fun hobby, such as playing video games. It's important for ISTPs to have an outlet where they can decompress from work.

It's also essential for ISTPs to maintain a work-life balance. This can be difficult, as ISTPs often enjoy their work. However, taking time for family and friends and pursuing outside interests are crucial. Here are some tips for ISTPs to balance their work life and their home life:

ISTPs should set aside self-care time every day: With such a busy lifestyle, it's important for ISTPs to take time out for themselves every day. This can be in the form of a relaxing bath, reading a book, or going for a walk.

Schedule time with loved ones: Family and friends are vital to an ISTP. Spending time with them will help ISTPs relax and recharge.

Plan hands-on activities outside of work: It's essential for ISTPs to have hobbies and interests outside of work. This can help them decompress and find a sense of balance in their lives.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating right and exercising are very important for all personality types, but especially for ISTPs. A strong body encourages a healthy mind, and this can help an ISTP maintain balance in their life.

Often torn between an energetic desire to live in the moment and a more systematic approach to problem-solving, the ISTP personality type can find itself at a bit of a crossroads. On the one hand, they are drawn to being spontaneous and living life to the fullest. But on the other, they value order and enjoy using their practical nature to get things done.

The key for ISTPs is to find a career that allows them to use their skills while still giving them the freedom needed to live life on their own terms.

Getting a job as an ISTP

If you're an ISTP personality type, you may wonder what career path is right for you.

In this article, we told you what an ISTP is and what they're like at work.

We also gave you a list of the top ISTP careers and highlighted where you could explore for a new job. Our top five included dental hygienists, mechanical engineers, paramedics, police officers, and building inspectors.

​Finally, we discussed what jobs the ISTP should avoid.

Ready to start your job search? You can check for local vacancies on Jobcase. If you want cover letter, resume, or interview tips, you can visit our resource center.

1 Comment


Jose Pena
Bullet point

I think this good advice. As an ISFP, I always found working retail difficult at times when I felt I was being pressured to sell or solicit credit card applications.