There’s a general misconception that, for someone with a criminal record, finding employment is next to impossible. While it’s certainly no walk in the park, it’s also not as hard to find jobs for felons as you might think. Many companies and employers across the US are willing to offer ex-offenders and felons a second chance.
Here’s a list of jobs for felons that don’t discriminate against candidates with a felony conviction. Although you may not be in a position to pick and choose a job of your choice, you’re bound to find one to tide you over.
#1. Grocery Stores
Grocery stores can be great job options for felons since they usually don’t have strict codes and policies. It can also be a refreshing change since you’ll get an opportunity to help, serve, and work with the public. Your most common tasks would either be assisting customers when required or handling the warehouse inventory. Some other tasks involve restocking shelves, cleaning stores, or helping your employer with odd jobs.
Jobs in grocery stores can be temporary or long-term, depending on the requirement of the employers. Most short-term jobs are seasonal and more in demand during busy seasons like New Year’s Eve and Christmas. However, you can be guaranteed to get paid well.
#2. Mobile App Developer
CNN Money has touted being a mobile app developer as the best job in the US. Though you need a basic associate’s degree for entry-level app work or a bachelor’s degree for high-level tasks, this is one of the best felon jobs that doesn’t discriminate based on conduct.
Many technology companies hire candidates with felony conviction as long as you have the required qualifications. This is a job that’s not just growing in popularity but is also high paying. With an average salary of $28 an hour for entry-level app development work, this field has unlimited growth opportunities and possibilities.
#3. Restaurant Jobs
Most restaurants and fast-food services don’t bother much with background checks and records. Hence, it’s relatively easy to find jobs in the food and restaurant industry as a felon. You can work as a chef, dishwasher, server, or host. Regardless of your role, people skills are a necessity in this industry.
Manual deftness, resilience under pressure, and time management are some of the must-have skills to get a job in this field. The average hourly pay depends on your work and the restaurant quality. However, you can expect to earn anywhere between $7 and $20 per hour.
#4. Wind and Solar Energy Technician
With the rapid growth in the renewable energy industry, several technician jobs are becoming available for felons in this field. Many energy companies are ready to hire ex-offenders as there’s a high demand for these jobs and not as many people willing to work. Installing solar panels and conducting routine repairs and maintenance of windmills are some of the common tasks involved.
These jobs also offer decent wages and benefits with paid time-off and health insurance. Apart from an associate’s degree or a vocational certificate, you don’t need any prior experience. However, you do need some guts and mettle as you will have to scale up windmills or tall buildings. The average hourly wage can range from $14 to $17 for an entry-level position.
There’s practically no field that doesn’t require electricity or power for functioning. If you have the necessary skills and ability, your records don’t matter much in this field. Hence, a job as an electrician can be great for felons.
Depending on the company you work for, your tasks can involve installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems for homes, offices, schools, or government buildings. Though a high school diploma is usually sufficient, a paid apprenticeship or a vocational certificate can give you an edge. The average hourly pay is between $16 and $30.
#6. Marketing Specialist
If you have a flair for business, negotiating, and selling, a job in the marketing field can be perfect for you. Not only is this a high-paying and satisfying job, but in the present internet marketing scenario, you also have the option of working from home.
As a marketing specialist, you’ll be helping companies attract the right customers, manage promotions, design advertisements, and aid in the company’s overall growth. Having creative and analytical thinking will be a bonus. Your average earning potential can be from $16 to $34, and with the right degree, your opportunities can be endless.
#7. Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Most mechanical engineering technician jobs do not discriminate against candidates with criminal records. Some felons are even known to have learned some basic mechanical skills while serving their sentence. Technical expertise requirements in these jobs vary from high-level testing, modifying, or development of mechanical equipment and machinery to some basic mechanical know-how.
With the average pay ranging from $17 to $ 30, it’s a great career opportunity for felons. Most mechanical technician tasks require an associate’s degree. However, with a bachelor’s degree, your earning potential can significantly increase.
#8. Truck Driver
You’ll usually find a surge in trucking jobs when transportation companies experience a shortage of drivers during high growth periods. Owing to the current rise of the online shopping industry, this demand has been consistently high. All you need for this job is a commercial driving license (CDL) and a willingness to work hard.
However, trucking jobs are stressful and require drastic lifestyle changes. Along with staying away from home for extended periods, you may have to clock in 14 hours of work a day. Though most trucking jobs don’t discriminate against felons, it is better to approach smaller transportation companies when you start. Average pay can range from $7 to $32 per hour.
#9. Graphic Designer
With companies increasingly turning to online marketing and advertising for business growth, the demand for graphic designers is on the rise. From online brochures and billboard prints to multimedia projects, design opportunities are aplenty. Since this profession relies on skills and expertise, you can land a job as a graphic designer without much trouble. You can also choose to freelance and become self-employed.
If you have a flair for creating artistic designs and a keen eye for details, this can be a fun career with endless opportunities. Your earning potential can be anywhere between $15 and $27 per hour.
#10. Oil and Gas Fields
Owing to the oil industry’s significant role in the country’s economic development, demand for employees in the oil and gas industry is always high. This is a labor-intensive job that requires physical strength and endurance. Tasks can involve setting up and controlling large oil and gas removing drills or tubing, rigging, and other operations.
Most oil and gas companies don’t care much about your history and records. Hence, if you have a challenging spirit and a willingness to get dirty and work hard, this can be a great job opportunity. Typically, no prior experience or high school diploma is needed, and the pay ranges from $16 to $27 per hour.
#11. HVAC Technician
Most job positions in the HVAC industry are independent of the candidate’s records and histories. Hence, an HVAC technician can be a reliable job option for felons.
Your tasks would generally involve installing, maintaining, and repairing air conditioning, heating, and ventilation units in homes, schools, or offices. However, you must be prepared to work on the weekends and odd hours. You can opt for on-the-job training or attend a paid apprenticeship program. Average pay per hour can range between $15 and $25 per hour.
One of the highest paying jobs of all, plumbing is a profession that leans highly towards skills and expertise instead of your history or records. There’s no building in the whole of the United States that doesn’t require plumbing. So there is no dearth of job opportunities in this field.
Though residential plumbing jobs might be hard to bag, you can always find opportunities in the commercial plumbing industry. You don’t need any degrees or diplomas for this job and can make do with a vocational certificate. Some companies even offer paid apprentice programs. As a licensed plumber, you can earn anywhere between $15 and $28 per hour, and your earning potential increases with experience.
#13. Delivery Jobs
If you love being on the road and don’t have a DUI and theft on your record, a job as a delivery driver can be best for you. Moreover, since most retail and product companies focus on your hard work and abilities rather than your history, this can be a great felon job option.
Your tasks can include delivering products, packages, or merchandise to homes, offices, or schools. A valid driver’s license with a clean driving record is all you need to qualify for this job. The average hourly pay ranges from $10 to $19.
#14. Dog Trainer
The demand for dog trainers is increasing in the United States. If you love the company of dogs, this could be a worthy profession to consider. Most prisons today require their inmates to train and work closely with dogs. So, if you already have prior experience with handling dogs, you have an advantage here.
As a dog trainer, you’ll need to train dogs to behave well, follow commands, or perform basic tricks. You can either work independently or with a dog training firm. The average hourly pay can range from $10 to $12 and you don’t need any formal degree apart from love and affection for dogs.
If you love gardening and the outdoors, this would be a worthy and rewarding profession to consider. Even better if your prison time required you to plant gardens and work closely with plants.
Many landscaping and gardening companies hire landscapers for trimming, watering, fertilizing, and planting lawns. And most employers do not care much about your previous records as long as you are adept at the necessary tasks. You can work either with a high school diploma or a vocational certificate, and the average pay per hour can range from $10 to $15.
#16. Online Freelancing
Since freelancing is a field that cares more about your skills and performance and less about your past, it can be a great job option for felons. Online freelancing doesn’t require any high school diploma or bachelor’s degree. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a computer. There are freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr where you can provide your services or connect with professionals willing to hire people with your specific skills.
From film making and writing to app development, freelance opportunities are endless. Your earning potential is directly proportional to your efforts and expertise. However, on average you can earn anywhere between $5 and $50 per hour, depending on your skills and the kind of services you offer.
Writing is a potentially high-paying, work-from-home job for felons that doesn’t require any formal degree or certificate. From digital marketing companies and MNCs to startups, the demand for writers is increasing with every passing year.
Moreover, most companies that hire writers are not very interested in a candidate’s records and histories. If you possess the right skills and expertise, you can expect to grow steadily in this field despite a felony conviction.
There are plenty of options for writers such as writing online content, advertising copy, marketing materials, and magazine articles. Companies hiring in-house writers can run a background check on you but many successful writers are self-employed. Average hourly pay can range from $16 to $35.
#18. Computer Support Specialist
Owing to the rapid advancement in the information technology (IT) sector, computer support specialist is a profession that’s here to stay. As a computer support specialist, you’ll be required to have experience and expertise with computers. Your tasks can involve analyzing, testing, and troubleshooting computer networks or even minimizing their runtime when offline.
Many top technology giants provide good jobs for convicts without a history of violence, theft, or computer-related crimes. Hence, if you have the proper skills and credentials and are interested in the computer hardware and software industry, a career in this field might be perfect for you. Average hourly pay can range from $17 to $26 per hour.
If you have a way with scissors and stay informed with the trendiest hairstyles, a profession as a barber may be a good job option for you. Apart from cutting and styling hair, you’ll be required to trim beards and give clean shaves. You can either choose to work at a salon or start your own venture if you wish. Mobile barbering service is currently on the rise. So, if you’re willing to step up your game, this can be a great high-paying job option.
Unless your felony conviction involves violent crimes, it’s relatively easy to obtain a barbering license. You will require a vocational certificate or an associate degree, and the pay can range from $9 to $16 per hour.
#20. Construction Jobs
There is always a demand for jobs in the construction industry, and most tasks don’t require prior experience. Whether residential or commercial, most construction jobs don’t carry out a strict background check and can be the best option for felons. Physical resilience, punctuality, manual dexterity, and a hard-working attitude are some of the must-have skills in this industry.
Depending on your skill set, you can work as a welder, electrician, plumber, drywall installer, or carpenter. Some other common tasks are laying concrete, roofing, cleaning work sites, digging trenches, and other manual labor tasks involved in constructing buildings and infrastructure. The average pay per hour can vary between $7 and $33.
A Few Parting Words
Re-entering the workforce can be intimidating after a felony conviction. However, put in the effort and knock on the right doors and you’re sure to find something soon.
We hope this list of jobs for felons proves useful during your job search. Always remember, you’re not your criminal record.