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Best Jobs for Felons in 2023

Best Jobs for Felons

Millions of US citizens face felony convictions. As a felon, it is difficult to bag a job as compared to citizens that don’t have a felony charge. Most felons face multiple challenges before they are employed because opportunities are few and far between.

This doesn’t mean you should lose hope. If you are a felon and you are looking to start afresh and secure your finances, there are various career options you can explore. Various industries are open to hiring ex-convicts and there is no reason why you should worry.

When joining an organization that is felon friendly, it’s important to remember a few things.

  • Your experience in a similar industry
  • Your honesty about your past
  • Obtaining a moral character certificate

Statistical Data For Jobs For Felons

In the past, it was difficult for felons to get a job however today organizations are more open to hiring them. From 1990 to 2006, felony convictions have grown by about 37%, and not hiring felons would cut down the rate of hiring drastically.

Good News For Felons

You should know that you can now get a job more easily. Most felons that bag good jobs don’t look back on their past and begin leading an honest and clean life. A felon that does not find a new job goes back to their old ways. This is why it is important to bag the right job and start a clean life.

Job Search

The truth is a felon finds it more difficult to secure a job than other individuals without a conviction. There are some organizations that flat out refuse to hire felons, irrespective of them being a perfect match for the organization.

best jobs for felon

When felons don’t find jobs they get frustrated. If you have experienced this and you are on the verge of giving up, don’t. There are various reasons you shouldn’t quit. Although no organizations openly advertise about hiring felons, if you are qualified there are various positions you can seamlessly fit into.

Understanding Jobs For Felons

There are various industries a felon can begin working with. This depends on your experience, education, skill set, and other factors. Just because you are a felon doesn’t mean you should compromise on your payday.

Plenty of industries pay you just as much as they would any non-convicted employees. Look for organizations that treat you as an equal so you are not reminded of your past.

Let’s take a look at some amazing jobs a felon could excel at.

1 Mobile App Developer

This is one of the best jobs in America. There is no reason why a felon can’t become a successful mobile app developer. The IT sector is open-minded and they focus on the skill set of the individual rather than their history with the law.

best job for felon

The demand for mobile app developers is high so companies cannot be stubborn with regards to hiring felons and this allows you to make a fresh start.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $30
  • Average Pay (approximately): $50
  • Qualification: Bachelor’s degree. Bonus points for individuals with developer courses

2 Wholesale Product Sales Representative

Manufacturers who distribute wholesale items are always on the lookout for individuals who are hardworking and can promote their products diligently.  Unlike a door to door salesman, this sales person targets organizations.

Felons who love meeting new people, traveling, and talking on the phone will enjoy a career as a wholesale product sales rep. These days the art of selling has also gone digital and a felon who knows their way around computers will benefit from this job.

A felon with a record of theft or violence may not be eligible to apply for a job as a sales rep. A felon with any other conviction can apply for the job.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $19
  • Average Pay (approximately): $44
  • Qualification: Minimum high school diploma

3 Film Or Video Editor

The more engaged a felon is with their job, the less likely they are to drift back into negativity. A video or film editor should be creative and work their way around computers. If you believe you have a knack for this then a career as an editor is just what you need.

best job for a felon

The best part about a film or video editor is you do not have to limit yourself to one particular organization or production house. You can choose to work as a freelancer and take up as much work as you can handle. This works in your favor because freelancing does not require background checks.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $15
  • Average Pay (approximately): $41
  • Qualification: Bachelor’s degree. A course in editing would be an added advantage

4 Website Developer Or Designer

Self-employment is the best possible opportunity for a felon to explore new careers. Web development is one of the highest paying jobs when it comes to self-employment. Since most businesses are looking to create a social presence and go digital, freelance web designing opportunities are aplenty.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $19
  • Average Pay (approximately): $39
  • Qualification: Bachelor’s degree. A course in designing would be an added advantage.

5 Writer

If you can sweet-talk your way out of any situation or into one, then exploring a career as a writer is a great opportunity for you. Writers are flourishing today because they have plenty of opportunities such as freelancing, writing their book, running their own publishing house, or joining an organization.

From creating content for various websites, blogs for daily updates, or even social media posts, a writer is in high demand these days. This can be for a freelancing opportunity or an in-house position.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $16
  • Average Pay (approximately): $35
  • Qualification: Bachelor’s degree but a high school diploma for a course in writing will do

6 Marketing Specialist

If you can think out of the box and come up with a new perspective for different products or services, a marketing specialist job is made just for you. Organizations are always on the lookout for creative minds and fresh ideas to help sell their product or service better than the competition.

best jobs for a felon

Felons can make for great marketing specialists because they have what it takes to entice people. You can also choose to explore digital marketing which is the subcategory of the marketing industry. Through this career path, not only do you put your mind to work but it also allows you to help the organization grow.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $16
  • Average Pay (approximately): $34
  • Qualification: Bachelor’s degree

7 Computer Network Support specialist

The IT industry has some good career opportunities for felons. While the industry accepts felons as their employees, someone that has been convicted for an internet-related crime may not be eligible to apply for the post.

If your felony was not related to computers or the internet then you can become a successful computer network support specialist. Almost all organizations need a reliable in-house network to function securely. The job of a network specialist is to control this network and ensure the smooth functioning of the organization.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $18
  • Average Pay (approximately): $43
  • Qualification: Associate degree

8 Commercial Diver

If you love adventure and you crave your daily dose of adrenaline, then there can be nothing better than a career as a commercial diver. Commercial divers not only help other people to dive but they also work underwater to help inspect various structures constructed, fix, install, or remove certain items or help take down large pieces of equipment.

Organizations that employ commercial divers are open to hiring felons. They do however check the duration you have been out of prison for.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $15
  • Average Pay (approximately): $32
  • Qualification: Scuba certification or vocational certification

9 Electrician

Certain skilled labor jobs are open to felons and a career as an electrician can be one of them. Before venturing out become an electrician, you need to ensure you have all your licenses in place.

job for felon

While states do not have a problem with an ex-con becoming an electrician, certain felony convictions like arson may disqualify you from procuring a license. It is important to get the right training to become an electrician but this is worth the time investment because you can choose to be associated with a company or start your venture.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $16
  • Average Pay (approximately): $29
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate and paid apprenticeship

10 Plumber

An ex-con can choose to become a residential or commercial plumber once they get the right training. Make sure to check the license requirements since certain felony charges such as sexual offenses may block the license application. In some states, you may be banned from becoming a plumber if you have such offenses to your name.

Once you procure your license, you can explore the opportunities for residential or commercial plumbing. You can also choose to join a company or work independently once you complete your apprenticeship.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $15
  • Average Pay (approximately): $28
  • Qualification: Vocational certification and paid apprenticeship

11 Mechanical Engineering Technician

Various felons learn mechanical skills during their time in prison. This industry is welcoming towards felons which is why you can establish a successful career. The training in prison can help you pursue multiple opportunities once you are released. This includes understanding how to modify or repair mechanical equipment or even develop new machinery.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $16
  • Average Pay (approximately): $28
  • Qualification: Associate degree

12 Oil And Gas Rotary Drill Operator

This labor-intensive job is a popular choice amongst felons. The oil and gas industry is welcoming towards felons and you can find various opportunities in this field once you are out of prison. This could start from an entry-level job and eventually go up to handling the drill machine that helps extract oil, gas, or samples from underground.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $15
  • Average Pay (approximately): $27
  • Qualification: High school diploma with a vocational certificate

13 Wind Energy Technician

If you are not afraid of heights then this is one career you will love. From handling the wind turbines to repairing them and even installing important parts to ensure it runs smoothly, a wind energy technician has a lot to do. There are various opportunities and the industry does not shy away from hiring a felon.

jobs for felon 2023

It is highly recommended to get extensive training before taking up this job since it is a risky job. Without proper training, you will not be able to stay safe while controlling or repairing the turbines. This is one Industry that is expected to grow as much as 57 % by 2028 so it is a smart choice to begin your career with them.

Employers from this industry may not be comfortable hiring felons with a violent charge so if that is on your record, you may want to consider another industry.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $19
  • Average Pay (approximately): $27
  • Qualification: Associate degree with an appropriate training certificate

14 Graphic Designer

If there is a creative side to you then it’s time to explore an industry that is a lot of fun. This industry can help you earn a lot of money. Graphic designing is in high demand and the best part about this industry is that you can choose to freelance which means you won’t have to worry about a background check either.

If you are creative but have no idea about graphic designing you can take up a short term course that can help you improve your skills to make an entry into the industry. From being employed at an organization to working as a freelancer, the opportunities are limitless and it is something that can keep your brain busy in a positive way.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $14
  • Average Pay (approximately): $27
  • Qualification: Bachelor’s degree with a good course

15 Carpenter

Carpentry is a popular choice for ex-cons. You can undergo specialized training and impress people with your craftsmanship. Whether you choose to work as an independent contractor or join an organization, carpentry is one of the most popular choices amongst felons.

You need to remember that if you have a violent charge or a murder in your record then organizations may not be comfortable hiring you as a carpenter but you can still explore the opportunity of working independently. The best part about working as a carpenter is you don’t need to have a minimum qualification.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $14
  • Average Pay (approximately): $25
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate with a paid apprenticeship would be beneficial

16 HVAC Technician

Air conditioning and heating technicians are in demand all over the country. If you manage to learn the skills well then there are limitless opportunities for you. Whether you’re looking to work with a company or work as an independent contractor this is a great job opportunity. It is important to get your license if you want to make a career in the industry.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $14
  • Average Pay (approximately): $24
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate with a paid apprenticeship (optional)

17 Substance Abuse Counselor

If you have used illegal substances in the past and it’s something that you regret then there is no one better to assist current abusers than someone with firsthand experience. Organizations are open to hiring felons who have abused in the past. These felons will assist people who use substances and help in their recovery.

If you want to become a substance abuse counselor you should have a good educational degree so start planning your education and help others improve their life.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $14
  • Average Pay (approximately): $24
  • Qualification: Ideally a master’s degree but it varies from state to state and depends on the employer in question

18 Oil And Gas Derrick Operator

An oil and gas derrick operator is in control of the framework as well as all the machinery that goes over the oil and gas wells. This is a labor-intensive job and the industry is welcoming towards felons thereby making it a great choice once released. It is important to have the right training if you think of making it big in this industry so make sure to figure out which vocational courses you can choose.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $16
  • Average Pay (approximately): $23
  • Qualification: High school diploma or vocational certificate

19 Commercial Truck Driver

Felons often become associated with the transportation industry as there are a limited amount of individuals to work with. Commercial truckers are in high demand because the job requires them to work for long hours and also travel interstate.

the jobs for felon 2023

For you to become a commercial truck driver you need a commercial truck driver’s license and also should not have any automobile associated or DUI charges against your name. If you are currently out on parole then you will not be able to join this industry because traveling out of the state is forbidden for you. This is excellent for someone who has served time and looking to become a commercial truck driver.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $14
  • Average Pay (approximately): $22
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

20 Solar Energy Technician

With the growing demand to go green, solar energy has become a popular choice these days. The industry is vast and felons have a great opportunity to establish their career. Solar energy technicians are required by the dozen and with the right course, a felon can become a solar energy technician.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $15
  • Average Pay (approximately): $22
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

21 Welder

Similar to carpenters, the demand for welders is quite high. Convicted felons have a lot of opportunity in this industry since companies do not mind hiring felons. Felons can also choose to work as independent contractors and widen their horizons. Training in this industry is mandatory after which a felon can become a successful employee.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $14
  • Average Pay (approximately): $21
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

22 Auto Mechanic

The automobile industry does not discriminate against felons which makes it a great place to start their career. As a felon, if you don’t have a history with any automobile or driving-related crimes, an auto mechanic is a popular choice as a career.

Once you obtain your certificate, you can determine whether you choose to fix cars or trucks. You don’t need any additional qualification which means even if you dropped out of school you can still become a successful auto mechanic.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $11
  • Average Pay (approximately): $21
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

23 Painter

Painters are always in demand whether it is the interior or exterior of a home or office. Painters also help paint different surfaces such as gates, furniture and so much more.

the jobs for felon

After serving your time, you can choose to become a painter. There is no certification course required to pursue a career in painting. You can either choose to join a company that outsources your services or you can become an independent contractor.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $13
  • Average Pay (approximately): $21
  • Qualification: High school diploma

24 Locksmith

Working as a locksmith is a great opportunity for felons looking to become self-employed. One is required to hold a valid license to become a locksmith. Felons that were involved in crimes related to breaking-in or related to safety and security cannot obtain this license.

People with other crimes however can choose to pursue this line. To become a locksmith, you will need proper training and certification before you start your career.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $12
  • Average Pay (approximately): $21
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

25 Construction Laborer

Working as a laborer is a popular choice for felons. This does not require any special skills, training, or qualification. The only thing a person needs to do is work hard and be ready to take on various tasks.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $11
  • Average Pay (approximately): $20
  • Qualification: High school or less

26 Delivery Driver

If you have good driving skills then a job as a driver can be a good career opportunity after you served your time. You can only become a delivery driver if your record behind the wheel is clean.

the jobs for a felon

This means you shouldn’t have been intoxicated when behind the wheel or risked others’ lives while driving. A delivery driver is expected to pick up packages and deliver them from one location to another, mostly locally.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $10
  • Average Pay (approximately): $18
  • Qualification: Valid driving license and clean driving record

27 Extraction Worker Helper

If you are not good with mechanical skills but you still want to be a part of the oil and gas industry, you can become a helper to the extraction worker on site. This includes assisting them while they are at their job and help them by cleaning up the site, carrying equipment, and other random tasks.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $12
  • Average Pay (approximately): $18
  • Qualification: High school or less

28 Telephonic Customer Service Representative

Although felons may not be hired for a face-to-face customer service job, organizations do not have a problem hiring them for telephonic customer service positions. These jobs are available aplenty and as long as you can keep your cool over the phone, you will be working for a long time.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $11
  • Average Pay (approximately): $18
  • Qualification: High school

29 Auto Glass Installer Or Repair

Fixing windshields is an in-demand job and this industry does not have a problem with felons filling up the positions. To get a job here, you must have a vocational certificate that is relevant to the position.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $11
  • Average Pay (approximately): $18
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

30 Shipping And Receiving Clerk

Warehouses have always been open to felons working for them and a shipping and receiving clerk makes for a great position for ex-cons. They just need to check what comes in and goes out and make a note of it.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $11
  • Average Pay (approximately): $17
  • Qualification: High school

31 Barber

Felons are known to be creative and becoming a hairstylist is a great career choice once you are out of prison. You will need to complete the right course to become a successful barber. You should however note that certain felonies disqualify you from obtaining a barbers license so it is important to do your research.

the best jobs for the felons

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $9
  • Average Pay (approximately): $16
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

32 Construction Tradespeople Help

Construction sites are open to hiring felons but they usually look for skilled laborers. If you don’t have the skills to join a construction site, you can always become a helper to the laborers on site. The good thing about helpers is they can multi-task and switch from one laborer to another depending on who needs help.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $12
  • Average Pay (approximately): $18
  • Qualification: High school

33 Landscaping Worker

Gardeners are always needed to beautify a front yard. If you enjoy greenery then becoming a gardener is a great source of income. You can also learn how the sprinkler system works and install them in people's houses for an additional fee.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $10
  • Average Pay (approximately): $15
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate or high school diploma

34 Cook

If you enjoy cooking then becoming a cook is a great career opportunity since restaurants are known to be the biggest industry that hires felons. Not a lot of restaurants run background checks since it is difficult for them to get staff to work for long hours.

the jobs for the felons

The perks of working in a restaurant are your meals are paid for and you tend to learn new things every day which keeps your mind busy. The only restaurant you cannot apply for are ones that are located in hospitals or schools since these have strict policies with regards to hiring felons.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $9
  • Average Pay (approximately): $15
  • Qualification: High school or vocational certificate

35 General Labor

Short term workers for odd jobs are in demand at all times. If you have the physical strength to lift heavy loads this is a great way to get a fresh start and earn some additional income. This can also help you get references for future jobs.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $10
  • Average Pay (approximately): $15
  • Qualification: High school

36 Stock Clerk

Large stores often lookout for people to stock the racks. This could be in the warehouse or the front of the store. This includes arranging the merchandise properly and putting them up for display. While this may involve odd shift hours, it is a great way to kick start your career again. A felon who was convicted for theft and violence may not be eligible to apply for this position.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $9
  • Average Pay (approximately): $14
  • Qualification: High school

37 Dog Trainer

Animals often bring out the best in you so as an ex-con it is good working with dogs as it improves your mental health. After obtaining a valid training certificate you can help dog owners train their pooches.

Many companies are looking for good dog trainers and you can also establish an independent career in the industry.

  • Entry Level Pay (approximately): $9
  • Average Pay (approximately): $12
  • Qualification: Vocational certificate

Companies That Hire Felons

Once you know which industry you can work for, it becomes easier to narrow down the organizations. You can then cross-check if they are comfortable working with felons or not. Unlike the olden days nowadays most organizations do not have an issue working with felons.

Government Jobs For Felons

A lot of felons are skeptical about applying for government jobs because they are afraid of being rejected for the past. You will be surprised to know that government positions are open to felons just as they are to others without a conviction. Individuals cannot be rejected based on their felony. Certain types of convection however may restrict you from applying for certain positions.

Job Programs For Felons

As a felon, if you can't understand what is good for you, the smart thing to do would be to enroll in job programs meant especially for felons. Not only do these programs help you identify your skillset, but they also help you get in touch with organizations that hire felons.

Enrolling in these programs helps you explore various opportunities and it also keeps you away from any negativity. This helps you begin working towards a new life.

Education After A Felony

Various felons get convicted at a young age which prevents them from completing their college education. After serving time, they often hold back from completing their education because of their felony. Seven out of ten colleges will consider your criminal history before they decide whether or not to enroll you in their college.

This does not mean they do not accept felons in their college. It all depends on your application, your past felony, the program you want to enroll in, your past behavior, and the time elapsed since your release.

the best jobs for the felons 2023

If your criminal history involves sexual violence or a serious crime you may not be eligible to enroll in an on-campus program. This does not mean that you cannot complete your education.

You can enroll in various off-campus programs and still complete your education. If you were not involved in a drug-related crime you can also get federal financial aid to complete your education.

Tips For Getting Hired As A Felon

Let's face it, a felon is always apprehensive about applying for a job because of their history. As compared to individuals without a felony, felons will have to work a little harder to get a good job. Let's take a look at a few tips that can help you get hired faster.

Remind Yourself You Are Not A Failure

Everyone is the same in this world and your felony does not determine who you are as an individual. If you want to change for the better, you will get various opportunities to prove yourself as long as you are honest, open, and focused. You should be hardworking and work your way to the top.

Be Realistic

Most people are skeptical about hiring felons and they will have plenty of questions about your past. Stereotypes exist and they will look at you as someone who is not educated, dangerous, and unreliable. Employers may even think that you will rob them and they will try to keep you away.

Here is the good news - employees like this do not hire felons and the ones that do higher felons do not discriminate. Do not let a few awkward interviews let you down. Move on and prepare for the next interview.

Work On Your Professional Image

Your first impression plays a huge role in determining who you are. When going for an interview wear clean and well-ironed clothes. Groom yourself properly and dress for the part you are applying for.

If you are not sure what to wear, go old school with well-fitted trousers and a shirt. You cannot go wrong with this combination. You will be nervous the first time around however after a few interviews your confidence will start building.


You would have made a lot of friends when in prison. Get in touch to see where they are and what they are up to. Look at the ones that are most successful and check the path they took and see if that interests you.

If your felony was serious such as a violent crime or a sexual offense, take your time to do thorough research because there are limited opportunities out there. The good news is that you will still find a job and you need to put your best foot forward to bag that.

Invest In Training

Your skill becomes your biggest asset when applying for a job. Check out the various vocational courses available and see which interests you the most. Do not opt for a course because the job pays well. You will eventually get bored. Opt for a course you are passionate about. If you will enjoy going to work every day, success will eventually come to you.

Consider Volunteer Work

You cannot expect to just walk out of prison and start earning. You will have to clean up your act and the best way to do so is by volunteering for a good cause. While this doesn't pay you, it helps to build your reputation and you will get good references that can come in handy when applying for a job.


As a felon, you should remember that jobs that call for face-to-face interaction with customers aren’t going to come by that easily. You need to look for jobs that keep you away from physical interaction with customers because that's what organizations would hire you for.

the best jobs for the felons guide

You also need to remember that smaller organizations do not dig deep into your background as compared to large organizations. This doesn't mean you should hide your felony. You should be open about it and speak up only when asked about it.

Stay Optimistic

There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to turn over a new leaf and not getting the opportunity to do so. You should keep reminding yourself that the right opportunity is out there and you just need to be patient till you find it.

Talk to friends and family about your need for a job and don't feel embarrassed about it. There may be someone who might be able to help you get a small job even at an entry-level. You can begin small and you will never have to look back again.

Create Your Success

If you are tired of applying for multiple jobs and failing at every interview because of your felony, it's time to be creative and fend for yourself. Become an entrepreneur and explore the opportunities that can help you earn good money. Recognize your skillset and start marketing it at a local level. No skill set is too small, even if it something as basic as painting a garage door.

Receiving your pay at the end of a hard working day is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. The best part is if you enjoy what you do, you will want to go back and work harder each day. Make a fresh start and success will eventually catch up. You should always remember that your past does not define who you are.

Look to leave the past behind and make a bright start. If at first, you fail, do not give up. As you see above, there are plenty of industries that are open to hiring felons. The job opportunities are not going anywhere. Get up, dust yourself, and move ahead. You hold the key to your success. Make it count and keep trying till you succeed.

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