Skip to main content

Careers For Felons – What path to choose


Banner "careers for felons."

As you may already know there are not as many careers for felons/ex-felons but there are still a number of options. Many careers for felons have the opportunity for advancement, raises and the potential to move or transfer within the company you choose to work for.

Sponsored Links

Industries That Offer Careers For Felons

Many felons become discouraged when applying for jobs because they are turned down time after time. There are several reasons that this happens; the most common reason is because you are applying to the wrong type of companies. Some companies will simply not consider a felon for a job or a career in that particular position. Below we will give you a list and information on which industries offer careers for felons.


Construction Companies

Picture of construction workers that are felonsConstruction is a great sector to work in if you are a felon. Many construction companies are small and have many different positions. This will allow you to actually talk to the owner and show him your worth and skills. This is much better than dealing with a person that sits in a Human Resources office all day that has no clue about who you are.

The other great part about working in construction is that it allows you to learn a particular trade while earning money. This can allow you to possibly start your own business in the future if you so choose to. Remember to not just think about construction in general but all the trades and companies within that industry.

Some trades within the construction industry:

  • Tile
  • Carpentry
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Welding
  • Pipe Fitting
  • Carpet
  • HVAC
  • Roofing

These are only a few of the niche industries within the construction trade. Roofing companies are almost always looking for people that are willing to work hard whether they are a felon or not. The great thing about construction is that you will get regular raises and move up if you put your time in. Learn more about construction jobs here.


Picture of a well landscaped grounds.This can be another great career choice for felons for several reasons. Like construction most landscape companies are small businesses which is a great thing because you will be able to talk directly with the owner. This will give you a huge advantage; the other reason it is a great career path for felons is because it is something you can do yourself with little to no training.

Even if you do not have anyone willing to hire you, you can always cut grass for customers. You can have flyers printed out and distributed for almost no cost. Offer a first time mow for a super low cost of about 10 dollars. If you do a great job most people will have you come back then you can charge them $15 or $20 dollars a mow. If you mow 5 yards a day, 5 days a week you will be making $500 a week minus costs, which are very minimal.

Learn how to start a landscaping company.

Truck Driving

There are a ton of truck driving companies out there that will hire felons depending on what the felony is and the length of time since the conviction. This can be a fairly high paying job with good benefits. Most truck drivers earn about $800 dollars per week and have very secure jobs. The downside to trucking is the amount of time that you will spend away from home.

Here is where you can find a list of trucking companies that hire felons and other information about the trucking industry:

Sponsored Links

Fast Food Restaurants

Picture of a fast food cheeseburger.Not really one of the best careers for felons but it is still a job that will pay you. Many people will make a blanket statement about a particular chain saying that they will not hire felons but most of the time this is not true.

The vast majority of fast food chains are franchises. This means that each restaurant or small  group of restaurants are owned by individuals rather than corporations.  With that being said you may find a fast food restaurant that hires felons on one side of town while the same brand on the other side of town does not. There is some room for advancement in these types of jobs but it can take awhile to move up. Remember that some restaurants may be felon friendly while others are not so apply to everyone possible.

Restaurants that may hire felons:

  • McDonald’s
  • Burger King
  • Subway
  • Taco bell
  • Jack in the box
  • Carl’s Jr
  • Hardees
  • Red robin
  • Dairy Queen
  • Baskin Robins

A great list of all fast food restaurants in operation.

Drilling and Oil Companies

There are many small drilling companies out there that will hire felons. This can be one of the better careers for felons because of the high pay. The down side is that it is dirty hard work and you have to live in the right area to find a job doing this type of work.

This is the best list of land drilling companies.

Check out our new jobs for felons page!

These jobs are not meant to be long term answers to your career needs. Our goal is to provide you with some career fields that are easier to get into if you need work immediately upon release.

Jobs For Felons HereClick Here

Newspaper Contractor

Picture of a newspaper delivery truck.Most large newspapers contract out their delivery to individuals. For the most part the day of paperboys is over. These jobs start very early in the morning (about 3 AM). You go to the newspaper printing house, pick up about 400 papers and deliver them to houses that are on your list. The pay is typically only about 200 dollars a week but most do not do a background check or anything.  The other downside is that this is a seven day a week job and Sunday papers are very bulky and heavy.

Indeed is a great place to search for newspaper delivery contractor jobs.


Helpful Information For Felons

Click the “+” to expand tabs.

Jobs for Felons Hub
Felon Resource Center (Housing, Grants, Loans & Reentry)
Legal Information for Felons
This and That
Sponsored Links

188 thoughts on “Careers For Felons – What path to choose

  1. This is so disappointing! I have a felony theft from 7 years ago, I am eligible to apply for a concealment of my record but its expensive. Not only did I pay restitution I also served 8 months in a place where I was constantly under threat and abused. Not only did I pay the next 5 years by being on what the courts call “good behavior” I have also paid for a Ladac counselor and I have changed my whole life around. Now as a new father I am starting to look for jobs that pay well enough to live off of, and I am finding that even though I paid my dues, I will never be anything more then a felon. I can work at Dunkin Doughnuts sure, but It wont be enough to live off of, and ill be looked at like the drags of society. Ill never go back to that old life but sometimes its so hard not to. The laws should be changed, there should be some period of time after awhile where its all removed, you should have to be punished for life

    1. Yep… Wait until you hit nearly 20 years after your conviction. I have no other marks prior to, or after my felony and I have been clean and sober since that date as well. It weighs on me heavily still. Banned from so many professions as the result of one stupid night accompanying someone who committed the crime.

  2. Hey everyone! So I have a couple misdemeanors and two felonies from about 4+ years ago. I have since then graduated a drug program and have been clean 3 years, and successfully terminated probation (didn’t violate at all)….. My success story has even been in the newspaper…… I’ve been working steady for the last 2 years since all of this happened, 2-3 jobs up until June when I got my current job where I am pretty content for the time being. Things are good, I feel like I’m considered a success and I’m happy for the most part but I’m so ready to find a “career”….. I make ok money but I am a single mother of 3 and I’m ready to strive not just survive it that makes any sense….. any ideas? Does anyone know of any career type jobs that will hire someone like me? I’m looking into Caltrans for because once I get in there I’m set but just in case that falls through I want a backup plan. I have a degree in criminal justice (yeah go figure) but I don’t think that will get me anywhere? Any ideas? Thanks in advance

    1. Hello. Make the best out of what’s available.. It all takes time but I am sure with a positive outlook ahead, you will find where you belong. Congratulations and much success…

  3. I was 17 when I almost got charged with a felony I have a few misdemionors from when I was a juvenile and 1 when I was 18. But the felony was dissmissed by the court bc I was found not guilty for the charge they were saying I was guilty off. but I am 21 now I’m working at a gas station I really want to go into phlebomoty I’m worried that this will hinder me in the career path I want to go down? Any comments on if the employer would look past this since I was NOT convicted or would my few misdemionors stop me anyway?!?

    1. I was a phlebotomist many years ago. I seriously doubt they would hold that against you. There is a national certification you can get that I had. It doesn’t pay very well so you may want to look into EMT or paramedic. Pays more and not that long in school.

      1. Hi Jason, is there any way where they will hire me because I’m a diabetic and lost my license at the cause of my illness

      1. The Prison and Jail system is a money making program, Legalized slavery. The government do not want ex-cons to change for the better. The government has created a system to keep the porch light on for the return of inmates to receive constant education to upgrade their illegal skills. I believe in America the only true school system that is truly educating americans is the prison system. That education is “How to become a better criminal” and across the door way should say “We Set The System For Endless opportunities For Your Return” If anything when most inmates are freed they are given a pass card that says, “VACATION ONLY PASS”. If the government wanted to decrease crime they would invest in creating Businesses that are set to place released inmates for employment instantaneously on their release date. Maybe their could be a Employment program within the prison that would allow those inmates with extended education, talents and willingness to take advantage of the upper level programs a job placement letter that could referred the Inmates to businesses before releasing them to the streets jobless to a government owned Business. Businesses such as funded factories, Tattoo Shops, Carpentry wood work, Landscaping, Construction etc. . The Work Program could be a one year program with educational classes required to maintain employment to strengthen skills or knowledge of the new technology in America, trades, certificates to provide to the company when applying . Are we as a nation trying to correct the high percentage rate of return of a incarcerated individual by dumping uneducated, drug depended and mentally ill people back into the world after serving years in prison without support by our government? knowing these people are behind in technology, no money in their pockets, no ability to get housing and the word felony that shows up on every criminal check for employment to our communities and expecting a good outcome? How do a person change their behavior if from the time the wind hits their face they are treated as if they have a scarlet letter on their forehead. Our system has never been about changing behaviors or lives. It has always been about free labor, putting money in the pockets of those who created and control the system, to get around the slavery laws (in the constitutional books it may say “free” but as a race or people you will never be free in America) and to never forgive those who made mistakes. The only opportunity for freedom is to never enter these doors and even then we will come to your communities to remind those who believe that they are free, that freedom will never happen until the day that Jesus Christ returns.

    2. If you have a no conviction or dismissal for the felony then you should be able to get the misdemeanors expunged to prevent you from moving forward in your career. In many cases, a juvenile criminal record cannot be used against you but that depends on what state you live in. You should consult a criminal defense lawyer in your state. But because all of this happened while you were young, you should be good to go with getting this Stuff off your record as long as you don’t get into any more trouble

    3. Hi Haile,
      Best thing to do is apply to your local Technical college for their phlebotomy program and they will most likely run a background check on you. Most schools will work with you if you have small issues on your record. Credit is also a big thing with employers now, so try to keep good credit, even if it is no credit. Paying one bill, no matter how small, on time will help build your credit. Talk to the school’s advisor and be very open with them. They will help you from there. 🙂 Good luck, and keep wanting better for yourself! ❤️

  4. I’m a felon from a moderately serious/stupid thing I did 16 years ago. No one got hurt though and I got a very lenient sentence because I was only 18 and had no prior record. Acted as the lookout for a robbery to look cool for terrible friends. Got a year of house arrest and probabation. No prison time. But…a nasty felony on my record. I ended finishing college, but no one in my field would hire me. In fact, no decent job or anyone who did background checks would hire me….and I’m awesome at interviews. It just statistically, because I’m a felon I am more likely to cause any business who hires me revinue loss than a non felon. I get it. So…what do I do? Stop being so nice and honest. It’s a cut throat world. Lie. Find places that do not do background checks at the bottom, omit my education so it doesn’t look fishy, and then move up from the bottom. Fast food is a good place to do this. They only do background checks when hiring someone in as a manager. Not when someone moves up within the store. I’m a general manager now awaiting the assistant district manager to retire and then I’ll be making good money. I’m clever and don’t have any tattoos and quickly got away from questionable people after I got in trouble. The funny thing is, I will only hire felons if they blow me away with a good attitude and can provide a good reference. I tried giving them a shot in the past, but they always stole, came in on drugs, got into fights, and just randomly quit after a few days. This was like 10 different people. So the statistics are true. I think prison really messes people up as well. But I am living proof that people can catch a felony, and turn it around and be awesome at life…even if they have to lie just a little bit. But it’s rare. Alot of the time it seems people run into the same situation and instead of simply lying on a stupid application they say ‘this is crap’ and go rob a bank or sell drugs instead. There is hope, unless you are just a bad person to the core. Some people simply can’t change because they don’t truely want to.

    1. I couldn’t agree more with “thatsa secret” post. Unfortunately, most felons are criminals to the core. I amone of those exceptions to the rule. Kind of funny, I also am a tattoo less kiss ass at work. The shining brown nose manager. I picked up several youthful non violent felonies some 28 years ago, never served a night in jail, had a few words with God, and turned my life around. My old circle of teenage friends can be found in prison, drug rehabs, and many graveyards. But, not me. You’ll find this secondary degree holding thug working in middle management at a fortune 50 company. Anyone reading is probably mumbling B.S. right now but it’s not. My secret? I started with my company before the internet was developed as a janitor. You guessed it, no or one poor background check to get in the door. But I have had checks since then. One can do ok out there you just have to be smart enough to sidestep the landmine otherwise you will get your legs blown off.

      1. Not to be pessimistic but it does not work the same way all the time. Twenty years ago I was wrongfully convicted of a 3rd degree felony, I was working at the same company when this happened, however, since they knew me, knew my character, and knew that I was a person with ethics and high morals, I continued with the same company for 24 years. Surprise, 24 years later, I was terminated by the new CEO, who stated I was a liability to the company and the company was in violation of Federal Regulation. Obviously this new CEO is not up to date on Federal Regulation. I was never in jail, the judge discharged the charges by the jury and gave me probation, something that is uncommon for a 3rd degree felony. Two years later after I completed probation, he gave me judicial clemency, I did not even petition for this, yet the judge knew that I was not guilty. After 24 years, or 20 years after my conviction, same employer, I no longer have a job. What opportunities exist out there, if I lost my job of 24 years?

    2. I really hope for your sake that no one ever finds out you lied on your application. I’ve known a few people who got into a company that way and years later after several promotions and raises, someone found out about their felony and they were fired. It didn’t matter that they had been a great employee and had never been in any trouble at work and no more run ins with the law, they tried to say it wasn’t because of the felony it was because he lied. Technically it is illegal to deny employment specifically because of a felony, (unless your crime can be linked to your job, ie. a pedophile at a daycare or a person convicted of bank robbery trying to be a bank teller) not that employers don’t do it all the time, but in most cases they either don’t know they’re not supposed to deny someone based on a felony or they will come up with another excuse to protect themselves, hence claiming they fired my friend for lying and not because of his record.

  5. I know in becoming a felon I made the choice to make my life harder, but in the end felons should be a part of the EOE act. Depending on the nature of the crime of course (ie: A pedophile can’t work at a daycare). But every felon should at least be considered for work. Because for someone trying to do the right thing. Not having a job can send you right back the down the wrong path. We all have to survive and bills don’t pay them selves, soo to cut back on crime they should make it at least possible for a felon to be in any career. There should be no jobs that say no felons at all.

    1. Chris…. What is the EOE act??? I’m a felon and I have a degree in aircraft but it dont do any good. I have 4 years in airframe work and I cant be nothing more then a painter for a school. I make 295 a week with 2 kids and wife. I need help.

  6. I’ve never had any run-ins with the law, but I just came across this site and wanted to say that I feel for you guys and I admire your efforts to find good work. It’s insane that they make it so hard for you guys to find a good job. Society should make it *easy*, not hard, for folks to find work after they’ve served their time. (Society should also not force anyone to do a ton of time for a relatively small offense, the way it does all the time now.) I am not the only one who feels this way — millions of other Americans sympathize with you guys, and are always rooting for you, whether you know it or not.

    1. Nick-

      You sound like an awesome person! It’s nice to know that there are some people that realize people can change their lives around. Thank you for being open minded and non judgmental. The fact that you took the time to write that for complete strangers to read, says a lot about you. Those simple words will brighten a lot of peoples’ day!

    2. Nick,
      Came across your comment .Great to hear that from a individuals who hasn’t been on the opposite side of the fence.I am a felon and know how hard it is to get a job took me almost 6 months.It is also difficult to find somewhere to live because alot of apartments won’t allow felons to reside at a handful of places.It can really be hard for some and may even cause those who get discouraged easy to fall back into trouble.I definitely think they should make it more accessible and acceptable when finding jobs/apartments .I was lucky enough to have my mother help me when I got out when I was 23 I’m 30 now living by myself and working full time .not the greatest job and not where I want to be.Im always looking for better opportunitys.I think that is why I google “good paying jobs for felons” .I think the key for any felon is to keep moving forward.My advice to anybody with a criminal background.Do your best .Work when you can .Tell your friends you can’t go out.Build a foundation for yourself.Dont be afraid to ask for help and talk to people.The more people you meet the better chance you have of finding your niche.Fill out applications follow up and don’t get discouraged.Its not the end of the road.Its ok to fall just make sure to get back up and build a better foundation for yourself,your future and family.

    3. Thank u for your support. Most Every day people don’t consider the fact that because you’ve been labeled a felon does not mean that you have committed any sort of heinous crime nor does it mean that u are someone that Society should fear. It could just mean that you made a mistake and your mistake exceeds a certain dollar amount, or it could mean that you are a recovering addict that who in his past got arrested. There are so many people out there with this label of a felon are unable to get jobs that will Systane one person let alone the family. My felony is over 10 years old and still I am denied jobs that I’m qualified for. Not only have I serve my debt to society but I am continuing to pay on a daily basis. How am I supposed to Move on from my past and become a better person if I am continuously denied gainful employment our judicial system our government for that matter needs to be dismantled and rebuilt reconstructing the constitution so that all people have equal opportunity when it comes to jobs. I don’t get me wrong I don’t think a Child molester should be allowed to work in a daycare but if I stole three pairs of pants and they total over $1000 I should not be denied a job 10 years later.

      1. Unfortunately, this country is about deterance. The criminal justice system wants to make sure you don’t commit another crime by baring any felon from housing, employment, and education. There are some educational institutions that will NOT allow felons enrolled in their school which I have experienced. I wish I could leave this country.

  7. For all you felons with a knack for sales, great customer service experience, and a passion to learn about new things I have several positions open for Telemarketers. ( 6 Openings Currently) I too am a former felon who had just as much trouble finding a job, so if we talk some and you really are looking to change your future in a legit way, I can offer you a work from home position. (Position will require great internet connection, a newer computer (Windows 7 or Above or Mac OSX To Run Our Software Kit). We have contracts to sell products for multiple companies and there is a base pay ($350-$600/week) + commissions/bonuses.

    If interested email with your resume and some information about your sales background / experience. Also if you can share me some information about your criminal history ( I do request to run a background check just to confirm, there are certain crimes I would like to stay away from in all honesty, but non-violent felons will have no issues)

    Again, that email is jakesellsfast[at] . Thanks.

    1. It’s all about your attitude how u speak , dress , act and skills. Took a class in prison on job interviews. Any questions hmu good luck Sarah

  8. Hi. My name is Cat. I’m serving a long probation which will end in two felonies. Just like a lot of people, I wasn’t planning this. If I could do high school graduation speeches, I would say, if you are shy, nice and people take advantage of that, find new people or keep to yourself. One thing I have found really disturbing about a portion of the human race is how much they seem to enjoy kicking your mopes when you are down. I owned several businesses, have a college degree and the life took a turn where I got a head injury, mom died and so on… But I never tried one did hurt another person ever. Much to my disgust, I had refused to lie to mislead anything truthful under oath but the officer (female) had no such boundaries. Tough luck. Anyway, my point is that I’ve called a lot of places from “weekend yoga retreat” to “facialist, massage therapist” and even volunteer jobs and had the people who answered the phone enjoy telling me how I would never have ever worth in that field. I kept on trying and getting dejected and finally told my PO about these responses as I had been accused by my crappy lawyer of “not even trying”. My PO got mad for instead of at my when I told him these stories. He said, “I have people working and training in all of those places right now!” I think it can sometimes be just the power tripping the person on the other end of the phone decides to make their happy bed of cruelty that day. Anyway, I’m still new and because the police were aware that I’d been previously diagnoses with PTSD and TBI and that they knew that night that I had been choked out by the man in my life who then called on me… I panicked, ran, but no one died and I never lied. I have dreams of getting grant money for more shelters and more books for people to read when they are too scared to to right. I hope someday that there will be much better ways to join society and not just as the most boring level. I think people should be given a chance to get a job that they can be challenged and excel at.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I really feel as if things will turn around for you very soon. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
28 ⁄ 14 =

Help For Felons is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to