Life after a prison sentence can be an uphill battle. For many ex-felons and their families, finding gainful employment is one of their biggest struggles. As an ex-felon, you know firsthand how challenging it can be to find jobs. Recent statistics show that 33-40% of those released from federal prisons in 2010 had no job four years later.
This discouraging statistic illustrates how difficult it is to rebuild their lives, leading to recidivism. However, there are a number of jobs out there that are willing to hire felons and give them a chance to start a new life. This article will discuss what jobs are best suited for ex-felons and provide a list of companies hiring people with criminal records, providing them with the hope of turning their lives around.
What Are The Best Jobs for Felons?
If you are an ex-felon looking for a job, you should consider jobs that do not require direct customer contact. Examples of such positions could include back-end engineering or warehousing work and wages ranging from $14 per hour. Furthermore, the government has the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) that encourages companies to facilitate employment for ex-felons. Employers claiming the credit will benefit from tax breaks of up to $2,400 for the ex-felon they hired within the first year. This can be a great advantage if you are looking for these types of jobs.
Skills and Qualifications
Depending on your skills and qualifications, there are felon-friendly jobs that offer a solid salary and the opportunity to create a new life. Jobs such as fitness instructors, electricians, developers, and even lawyers are all good options if you have the necessary background and experience. Successful ex-felons that you can refer to as motivation include Daniel Manville (lawyer), Jeff Henderson (chef), Coss Marte (fitness instructor), and Kevin Mitnick (cybersecurity).
If you already have a degree in your target field, it can benefit your job search. Alternatively, several occupations, such as cooks, software developers, and data scientists, are expected to have increasing demand over the next few years. These are very suitable occupations for ex-felons with no degree to study.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for data scientists is projected to grow 36% between 2021 and 2031, with an average salary of $100,910 annually. The job demand and salary make it one of the most attractive jobs for felons in terms of pay and job security. In comparison, software developers’ growth rate is projected to be 25% by 2031, with an average salary of $109,020 per year, while cooks are expected to experience a 16% growth rate with an average salary of $29,120 per year.
Although these jobs require time and effort to learn, they offer higher returns on investment in salary and job security for those who take advantage of their potential. The table below shows you the 80+ industries in high demand in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides this data through its reports (last update 2022).
|wdt_ID||Occupation||Median Pay Per Year||Number of Jobs||Employment Change||Percent Change||Education|
|1||Home Health and Personal Care Aides||29,430||3,636,900||924,000||25%||High school diploma or equivalent|
|2||Cooks||29,120||2,648,700||419,300||16%||High school diploma or vocational certificate|
|3||Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers||109,020||1,622,200||411,400||25%||Bachelor's degree|
|4||Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers||25,980||4,146,000||372,900||9%||No formal educational credential|
|5||Hand Laborers and Material Movers||30,320||6,473,000||358,300||6%||Other|
|6||Electricians||60,040||711,200||50,200||7%||High school diploma or equivalent|
|7||Waiters and Waitresses||26,000||1,904,400||197,000||10%||No formal educational credential|
|8||Registered Nurses||77,600||3,130,600||195,400||6%||Bachelor's degree|
|9||Top Executives||98,980||3,402,300||189,200||6%||Bachelor's degree|
|10||Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers||36,660||1,640,600||174,200||11%||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Occupation||Median Pay Per Year||Number of Jobs||Employment Change||Percent Change||Education|
Cooking requires minimal qualifications, such as a high school diploma or vocational certificate, and pays an average of $29,120 per year. As a cook, you typically work in restaurants or commercial kitchens. Additionally, it’s a hands-on job that allows you to learn new skills every day and develop your creativity when creating dishes. This makes cooking ideal for those who have served time in prison and are looking for an opportunity to reenter society with dignity.
2. Software Developer
As an experienced developer, you could earn more than $109,020 per year and enjoy the flexibility of working from home or in the office. As a Software Developer, your role would involve creating software code and applications that are reliable and efficient. You should have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related field, as well as strong communication and problem-solving skills.
If you’re an ex-felon looking for a career option where your past doesn’t define you, then software development is a great choice. The profession has plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement, so it’s also perfect for those who don’t want to be stuck in one place. Plus, many employers will overlook your past if they think you offer value to their team. With the right qualifications, there is no limit to how far your career can go.
3. Data Scientist
As a data scientist, you are responsible for analyzing complex datasets to identify patterns and trends. This requires an understanding of computer programming, mathematics, and statistics. You will need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a related field; however, there may be opportunities available even without a college degree.
The salary of a data scientist is quite attractive, with the average annual salary being around $100,910 per year. Additionally, many roles offer some flexible workspace arrangement ideal for those who might find it challenging to keep up with the traditional 9-5 office environment – making it an ideal profession for ex-felons who may struggle to secure employment elsewhere. So if you’re looking for a lucrative role that can provide flexible working conditions too, then data science might just be the perfect fit for you.
4. Fitness Instructor
This is an occupation that requires a high school diploma or equivalent, and it pays $40,700 per year. As a Fitness Instructor, you’ll get to work in some of the most vibrant and exciting workplaces around: from gyms to recreational facilities. Not only will you be surrounded by colleagues who support each other and enjoy motivating others like at the Coss Marte’s CONBODY, but you can also help your clients reach their fitness goals.
As an ex-felon, this is especially good news. It means that not only can you find a job that fits your qualifications but also one that allows you to develop relationships with those around you and build upon your skills. Being a Fitness Instructor gives you the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, enabling you to improve both your communication and leadership capabilities. Additionally, since this profession requires physical activity, it offers ex-felons the chance to stay healthy while making money. All in all, becoming a Fitness Instructor is an excellent choice for those looking for jobs that hire felons.
5. Graphic Designer
Graphic design may be an ideal profession for felons who are looking to reintegrate into society. This job requires creative problem-solving, attention to detail, and the ability to work both independently and in a team environment. Plus, a graphic designer’s salary averages $50,710 per year. In this career, you can expect to produce artwork for print media and digital platforms such as websites or advertisements.
You’ll work with clients to understand their vision and create engaging visuals that communicate their message while also giving them a competitive edge. With the right qualifications, like a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design or equivalent experience, you can find success in this exciting field without discrimination due to your criminal background.
6. Marketing Specialist
As a Marketing Specialist, you will be responsible for developing strategies to promote products and services. In this role, you must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, stay up-to-date on industry trends and have a Bachelor’s degree or associate degree in marketing or another related field. On average, Marketing Specialists make $63,920 per year and work in an office environment with other professionals.
This occupation is highly suitable for ex-felons because it provides an inclusive workspace where anyone can succeed. The position’s duties involve working collaboratively with team members while allowing individuals to demonstrate their strengths through creative projects. Additionally, ex-felons can learn new skills and gain valuable experience, making them more competitive in the job market.
7. Animal Care and Service Workers
Animal Caretakers are an ideal job choice for ex-felons because they only require a high school diploma or equivalent and pay an average salary of $28,730 per year. You’ll get to work in various settings, such as zoos, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and kennels. On the job, you’ll feed, groom, clean cages and tanks, administer medications as prescribed by veterinarians, and ensure the humane care of animals.
While it is possible to find entry-level openings requiring no prior work experience, other positions may require more advanced skills, such as animal sciences and healthcare knowledge.
Are you looking for a job that pays well and is open to those with a criminal record? Electricians can offer exactly what you are looking for. This profession requires a high school diploma or equivalent, so it’s an accessible career path. With an average salary of $60,040 per year, electricians have the potential to earn very competitive wages.
The workspace provides plenty of variety; electricians can work in commercial settings such as factories or industries, residential homes, and even outside construction sites. With this occupation’s need for essential skills and its potential to provide a good living, it could be the perfect fit to start anew.
9. Truck Driver
A truck driver would be responsible for transporting goods from one site to another in a timely and safe manner. To qualify for this position, you need a high school diploma or equivalent and no DUI or DWI-related felonies. The average salary for this job is around $36,660 per year. Furthermore, your workspace will be on the open road, allowing you to cruise around and enjoy nature.
This occupation provides steady work and opportunities for advancement and wage increases. Additionally, it won’t require significant contact with the public or employers who may not accept felons due to their past actions. With this job, you can gain experience in the transportation field while making an above-average salary and enjoying the freedom of working independently on the open road.
10. Construction Equipment Operators
As a Construction Equipment Operator, you will drive and operate mobile machinery used for construction activities at various job sites. Most employers require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent to work in this field. On-the-job training is often offered to those who don’t have any experience with operating this type of machinery; however, prior experience in the industry can help you command higher wages as well as qualify for more advanced positions.
With this profession, you can expect to make around $48,290 annually. You will also be able to take advantage of flexible hours and comfortable working conditions while on the job site. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to gain transferable skills in many different construction areas.
You want a job that fit your needs and qualifications, but you have the added challenge of being a convicted felon. Plumbers provide an ideal option even though they aren’t in high demand.
The qualifications required to become a plumber are relatively basic, just a high school diploma or equivalent. Plumbers make an average salary of $59,880 per year and often work independently, meaning there is no need to interact with coworkers or supervisors. This could be especially beneficial for ex-felons looking to reintegrate into the workplace, as there is less fear of discrimination or judgment from employers or colleagues.
A carpenter is responsible for constructing, installing, and repairing structures using wood, metal, and other materials. Those with a high school diploma or equivalent are eligible to pursue this profession and can further their qualifications by participating in apprenticeships. The salary for a carpenter is often around $48,260 per year, making it a lucrative opportunity.
Carpentry is a felon-friendly job since it requires very specific skills that are highly valued in the industry. Plus, its competitive salary and comfortable workspace offer great job satisfaction and stability, which is often difficult to find after prison time. It’s important to point out that carpentry also offers lots of advancement opportunities as well by taking on more challenging roles such as a supervisor or independent contractor.
Welders typically work in shops, factories, or outdoors and often specialize in specific types of welding, such as shielded metal arc welding, flux-cored arc welding, or gas tungsten arc welding. Generally speaking, the minimum qualification for welders is a high school diploma or equivalent, and moderate-term on-the-job training is usually required. With this profession, you can expect to make an average of $47,010 annually.
Welding offers many advantages over other professions since it requires physical labor instead of sitting at a desk all day. Furthermore, this job can provide you with the opportunity to master a craft that could potentially lead you to own your own business in the future. Therefore, welding may be the right fit if you’re looking for an occupation with growth potential that allows you to be physically active.
14. Hand Laborers and Material Movers
As a Hand Laborer, you will be using your physical strength to move freight, stock, or other materials with your hands. This job demands a high level of physical strength and stamina; however, no special qualifications are required. The average salary for a Hand Laborer comes in at $30,320 per year.
The workspace of a Hand Laborer is usually outdoors or in warehouses. Depending on the company, you may also have the opportunity to work with trucks and other equipment during your shift. If physical labor doesn’t intimidate you and you need an occupation that fits your current lifestyle, this could be just the job for you.
15. Online Freelancing
You don’t need formal qualifications or a background check to earn money with online freelancing. Work can range from the simple task of recording audio to complex programming projects. With online freelancing, you don’t have to worry about traditional working hours, but you can work from anywhere, anytime. Of course, it will take dedication and hard work to gain traction and make money like any business venture. However, this is an excellent way for ex-felons to find employment without having the stigma of their past following them.
In terms of salary, how much you earn is up to you. The more effort and energy you put into it, the more money you stand to make. This makes it an attractive opportunity for ex-felons looking for stability and the freedom of remote working. All you need is a computer and an internet connection, and you are ready to go. However, you still need to have specialized skills for the specific jobs.
Recent Jobs Hiring Felons
Here are some recently opened positions that accept felons, which we have collected from SimplyHired.
|wdt_ID||Job Title||Job Type||Salary||Company||Location||Qualifications||Benefits|
|1||Special Assistant to the CEO||Full-time||$52,000 - $69,000 per year||Central City Concern||Portland, OR||Janitorial experience, Microsoft Excel, Computer skills, Computer literacy, High school diploma or GED||Dental insurance, 403(b), Health insurance, Disability insurance, 403(b) matching|
|2||Residential Restoration Tech||Full-time||$17.00 per hour||Central City Concern||Portland, OR||Janitorial experience, Driver's License, Cleaning||Dental insurance, 403(b), Health insurance, Disability insurance, 403(b) matching|
|3||Associate Permit Technician||Full-time||$20.69 - $25.86 per hour||Seattle Aquarium||Seattle, WA||Writing skills, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word||Dental insurance, 403(b), Health insurance, Disability insurance, 403(b) matching|
|4||Front Desk Receptionist||Full-time||$19.50 per hour||Goodwill Industries of Kentucky||Louisville, KY||Custodial experience||Dental insurance, 403(b), Health insurance, Employee assistance program, Disability insurance|
|5||Material Handler||Full-time||$19.00 - $22.25 per hour||Goodwill Industries of Kentucky||Mount Washington, KY||Manufacturing, Management, High school diploma or GED||Dental insurance, 403(b), Health insurance, Employee assistance program, Disability insurance|
|6||Research Assistant||Full-time||$44,000 - $56,000 per year||Therapeutic Health Services||Everett, WA||Customer service, Office experience, Front desk, Data entry, Organizational skills||Dental insurance, 403(b), Health insurance, Employee assistance program, Paid time off|
|7||Education & Career Readiness Coordinator||Full-time||$35,568 per year||Industrial Metal Supply||Sun Valley, CA||Warehouse experience, ISO 9001, Customer service, Calipers, Micrometer||Dental insurance, Employee discount, Health insurance, 401(k) matching, Tuition reimbursement|
|8||Intake Coordinator||Full-time||$21,000 - $27,000 per year||Trowel Trades Supply||Manchester, NH||CDL, Commercial driving, Writing skills, Customer service, Crane, High school diploma or GED||Dental insurance, Employee discount, Health insurance, 401(k), Employee stock purchase plan|
|9||Prison Reentry Manager||Full-time||$49,000 - $56,520 per year||THREE RIVERS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH||West Columbia, SC||Food preparation, ServSafe, Food production, Restaurant experience, High school diploma or GED||Dental insurance, Employee discount, Health insurance, Referral program, 401(k)|
|10||Warehouse Packer||Full-time||$15.00 per hour||CITY RESCUE MISSION||Oklahoma City, OK||Teaching, Driver's License, Communication skills, Time management, Bachelor's degree, High school diploma or GED, Bachelor of Arts||Dental insurance, Health insurance, 401(k) matching, Paid time off, Flexible schedule|
|Job Title||Job Type||Salary||Company||Location||Qualifications||Benefits|
Employers That Hire Felons
It can be hard to find employers willing to offer ex-felons an opportunity. Fortunately, some companies understand your situation and are eager to give you a chance at employment. This is also how they help society reduce the rate of recidivism.
With the right qualifications and depending on your criminal history, they will provide you with an avenue to restart your career. However, they will rarely hire violent and sex offenders.
Look at this list of companies that hire felons. It could be the beginning of a brighter future. This list was updated at the end of 2022.
|Ace Hardware||Green Canopy NODE|
|Allied Van Lines||Greyhound|
|Allstate Insurance Company||Hanes|
|American Greetings||Hilton Hotels|
|Andersen Windows||Home Depot|
|Apple Inc.||Hyatt Hotels|
|AT&T||Industrial Metal Supply|
|Avis Rent-A-Car||In-N-Out Burger|
|Avon Products||Jack in the Box|
|Bean’s Cafe||John Soules Foods|
|Bed, Bath & Beyond||JPMorgan Chase & Co|
|Best Western||Kelly Moore Paints|
|Black & Decker||KFC|
|Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association||K-Mart|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Longhorn Steakhouse|
|Canon||LSG Sky Chefs|
|Carl’s Jr.||Marriott Hotels|
|Chili’s||Miller Brewing Company|
|Community Education Centers||Pactiv|
|Conbody||Phillip Morris Inc.|
|Dairy Queen||Quad Graphics|
|Deer Park Spring Water co.||Red Robin|
|Divizio Industries||Salvation Army|
|Dole Food Company||Sara Lee|
|Dollar General||Seattle Aquarium|
|Dollar Rent-A-Car||Shell Oil|
|Duracell||The New York Times|
|Embassy Suites||Trader Joes|
|Epson||Trowel Trades Supply|
|ERMCO, Inc.||Tyson Foods|
|Firestone Auto Care||US Steel Corporation|
|Flying J||Volunteers of America|
|Fruit of the Loom||Walmart|
|General Electric||Wex Bank|
|General Mills||Win Co. Foods|
Is it possible for me to get hired once I disclose my criminal history?
Yes, it is possible for you to get hired after disclosing your criminal history, but employers may be more likely to reject your application or take other measures such as background checks or additional interviews before deciding whether to hire you.
What can I do to increase my chances of getting hired as an ex-felon?
To increase your chances of getting hired as an ex-felon, you should ensure that you have a positive attitude and demonstrate that you have learned from your mistakes and are motivated to change. You should also highlight any qualifications and experience that would make you suitable for the position, and be honest about your past when asked about it in interviews.
What are the implications of the Fair Chance Act on job hiring?
The Fair Chance Act is a piece of legislation in many cities and states that prohibits employers from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional job offer has been made. This means employers must evaluate applicants’ qualifications and abilities before making any inquiries about their criminal records.
The act aims to reduce discriminatory practices in hiring, give individuals with criminal records a fair chance to gain employment, and promote public safety by avoiding potential recidivism due to a lack of employment opportunities.
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