41 Jobs for Felons That Offer a Good Second Chance

Anyone who has ever had certain felony convictions gets red in their report. It means finding a job would require you to go through the tenuous process of answering questions about your background. 

Recruiters often dismiss such applications without considering the qualifications or skill set of the convicted felon. So, it is not easy to find good paying jobs for felons.

Here, you will learn about the high paying jobs for felons that offer a good second chance. You will also find details about the various companies that offer decent jobs for felons.

41 Jobs for Felons That Offer a Good Second Chance

To help you find the best jobs, we have devised a list of 41 highest paying jobs for felons that you can consider now:

1. Mobile App Developer

If you have technical skills and can play around with coding, mobile app development is a good choice for you. The job market is inclining towards technology-related jobs, with less skilled candidates. 

The companies are also looking for mobile app developers and have an open policy for felons or anybody with the right skills.

It is one of the highest paying felon friendly jobs. You can earn up to 80$ per hour in this job.

2. Sales Representative for Wholesale Products

Manufacturing companies require extroverted people who can quickly speak to people and have good persuasion skills. A sales representative must understand the products well and be willing to sell those products efficiently. 

The important thing to remember is that companies do not consider people convicted of crimes like robbery, theft, or violent sales jobs.

In one of the high paying felon friendly jobs, a sales representative gets 40$ per hour. If this is your first job, the entry-level pay would be 20$.

3. Web Designer or Developer

Web designing is one of the highest paying jobs if you are technically sound and prefer to work independently. You can simultaneously work as a freelance web developer or designer for various clients. 

As a freelancer, it is easy to find opportunities in web development. It is one of the best jobs for felons as you will not have to undergo background verification by the employer.

While the entry level hourly wage is 20$, this is a high paying job, and you can earn up to 70$ an hour.

4. Film or Video Editor

Many felons looking for a second chance in a creative job, and going for film or video editing is a good option. It mainly requires specialization in editing and creative abilities that you can acquire through a short-term course. 

You can work as a freelancer and get connected to potential clients. 

This field does not require background verifications; hence, you are only judged on your editing skills. You can get up to 73$ per hour for your skill set.

5. Writer

Writing jobs are one of the best and widely accepted freelancing fields. You can also apply full-time at content marketing firms or work as a freelance writer.

Although an in-office job with a company would require background verification, it may only apply if your criminal record clashes with the job profile.

Most people who work as freelance writers prefer to work with publishing houses and content management companies on a contractual basis, giving them the space and freedom to be an individual entity and obliterating the background check barriers.

6. Marketing Specialist

Companies require specialists that can help get the proper traction for their products. This job is for you if you think you have ideas to help market a product. 

With the only drawback being the background verifications that the companies perform, you still have a chance at getting a job as a marketing specialist if you have the skills and were not convicted for corporate thefts or on-job felonies.

You would require a bachelor’s degree to apply for similar jobs and can earn up to 60$ per hour.

7. Computer Network Support Specialist

Working as a computer network support specialist for IT experts with skills and appropriate qualifications can be a good start. Several IT companies are okay with hiring ex-felons, offering them a second chance at a professional career path.

However, the person must not have been convicted of cyber theft or fraud. Also, you would require an associate degree in computers or information technology to be considered for such jobs.

The entry level hourly wage starts at 19$ with a maximum takeaway pay of 53$ an hour.

8. Mechanical Engineering Technician

Prison time allows convicts to take up a new skill or hone their skills in an existing area. One of those areas includes mechanical skills. 

If you have had the chance to learn mechanical skills, you could consider it a career choice after completing your sentence. 

You can pursue a short-term vocational course in mechanical engineering to find an appropriate job as a technician with a company.

With an associate degree, you could earn up to 43$ an hour in this field.

9. Electrician

As an ex-felon, the opportunities in this field are immense. You can work independently or with a company. All you need is a license to become a journeyman. 

You can start by looking for courses and electrical training schools that help you get the license to work.

Also, with many ex-cons moving into this field, you will find companies owned by people with a similar background, allowing you to have an equal opportunity to work and create a professional life for yourself. 

You can make good money as an electrician and get up to 47$ an hour’s worth of pay.

10. Plumber

To pursue a career path in plumbing in residential and commercial setups, you must be a licensed plumber. With several states restricting licenses with eligibility criteria, you must be eligible.

Some states do not allow ex-cons with criminal backgrounds in robbery, theft, violence, or sexual misconduct to get licensed as plumbers, especially for residential setups.

Yet, for commercial setups wherein an ex-felon gets to work as an employee or on a contractual basis, this exemption is considered, and you can apply for a license.

Once you know your eligibility, go for a training program that suits you best and get licensed. 

With a certificate and license, you can get up to 47$ per hour as an average pay.

11. Wind Energy Technician

It could be a good career choice for ex-felons with no phobia of height. As a wind energy technician, your job is to repair wind turbines by climbing up the vast setups and ensuring the machinery works correctly.

But before planning to apply for a course or associate degree in this field, it is best to check the possible job options and whether the hiring companies have any cause against ex-cons.

Employment in this field is expected to increase in the coming years. Hence, employers might want to consider ex-cons for these jobs.

Currently, the highest pay for this job is 40$ per hour.

12. Commercial Diver

If you are an adventure lover looking for a way to get back to work, this is it. 

One of the good paying jobs, commercial divers are trained to work underwater to maintain and repair bridges or large engineering equipment.

The job is majorly technical, with diving being a secondary task. For ex-cons, it is crucial to check if the felony conviction they were charged with is considered for this job role.

If you are eligible for the job, you will need a scuba and technical certification. The highest payable salary here is 53$ per hour. 

13. Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operator

Oil and gas rotary drill operators work out of remote sites due to oil and gas well locations. If an ex-felon is willing to work on this demanding job and do the hard work, this can be one of the best jobs for felons.

You will help manage massive drills used for deep underground work. This government job will require you to have a high school diploma or vocational certificate to find job opportunities in this field.

An average entry level hourly wage in this job is 25$ per hour.

14. Graphic Designer

A graphic designer is another good paying jobs for felons if you have the artistic skills and ability to focus on details. It mainly requires one to create attractive visuals for brands looking to promote their products or services.

It may be a good option for felons since you can be self-employed and work with multiple clients simultaneously.

You can earn up to 44$ an hour with a suitable skill set.

15. HVAC/R Technician

In residential and corporate offices, air conditioning and refrigeration systems have a crucial role to play. And hence, finding work as an HVAC technician in this department is easy.

It is an ex-felon’s highest paying jobs and can use HVAC technicians’ post as an opportunity to have a professional career.

You will need a vocational certificate and a license to work as an HVAC technician. However, it is also crucial that you check the eligibility of an ex-convict.

The daily earnings for a technician vary from entry level hourly wage of 15$ an hour to the highest hourly wage being 38$.

16. Carpenter

Ex-convicts usually make up a good carpenter since it is one of the daily activities required for felons to participate in jail. If you consider that as a career, you could also go for vocational courses once you are out.

Many ex-cons have businesses offering services, including journeyman carpenters to their customers. As an ex-felon, you can easily find employment through such companies.

You can get up to 42$ per hour if you are a hard worker and have the right skills.

17. Oil and Gas Derrick Operator

With America relying on oil and gas for energy production, companies in this business require people who can do the difficult task. You can easily be considered for the oil and gas derrick operator job, even if you are an ex-felon.

As a part of the job, you must manage equipment used in oil and gas wells.

You can apply for this job after getting a vocational certification and earn up to 33$ an hour.

18. Substance Abuse Counselor

A lot of ex-cons become substance abuse counselors after spending time in jail. It may be the case if you were an addict before or have seen people stuck in prison due to this reason.

Non-profit companies rely on ex-cons or people with a past addiction and prefer them to take up counseling jobs. 

It helps these companies to allow people who have overcome the addiction to help others with their mental health and, in turn, help themselves find their own way to a better life.

Depending on your state, the qualification required to be a substance abuse counselor may vary. However, you will at least need a post-secondary certificate.

You can easily make 22$ per hour in this job.

19. Commercial Truck Driver

Working as a commercial truck driver might be excellent if you like to be on the road. Although you will require a commercial driver’s license from a commercial driving school, you should always try with small businesses or trucking companies first.

Also, it is easier to find your way into a profession with smaller companies, given that background verification may not be required there.

If you’re on parole, you might want to avoid out-of-state commercial driving jobs since it is impossible to get out of state if you are out on parole.

You can make between 14$ and 33$ an hour in this job.

20. Solar Energy Technician

Solar energy technician jobs are also on the rise, given the lowering rates of solar panels and high demand in the market. This job profile offers an excellent second chance to ex-convicts. You can apply for a job in this field after completing a vocational course. 

The average pay range is between 15$ and 31$ per hour and has a good growth opportunity for ex-cons.

21. Welder

Another job field that is a good choice for ex-cons is a welder. Just like carpentry, welding is an essential requirement in the construction and manufacturing industries, so it offers more jobs for felons.

With a vocational certification in welding that takes less than a year, you can be eligible to apply for a welding job.

The earnings per hour in this job are between 15$ and 31$ per hour, depending on your skills.

22. Auto Mechanic

If you have the skills to fix a mechanical problem in a car or truck, you can make a career as an auto mechanic with vocational certification. A similar course, the diesel mechanic program, is available for those looking to work on heavy-duty vehicles.

With many ex-cons working in this field for a long time, it is still pursued by many people looking for a second chance. 

You can easily make up to 21$ per hour and reach up to 34$ with practical skills and hard work.

23. Locksmith

Locksmithing offers stable employment opportunities, or you can go for self-employment and work freelance. However, any ex-felon with a crime in line with theft or security breaches would not qualify for this job.  

Make sure to check your eligibility and apply for the vocational certificate accordingly. Once you finish the course, you can start working and make up to 33$ an hour.

24. Painter

Paint jobs are an essential requirement by private property owners and commercial builders. Even several types of equipment require painting work now and then. 

If you like to paint and would love to make money by painting walls and buildings, you can go for this profession. Most people require trustworthy painters to enter their property.

Make sure your felony conviction does not tick you off the eligibility criteria so that you can start working as a painter. 

You can earn between 13$ an hour and 33$ an hour, depending on your skills and the time duration in which you can complete a paint job.

25. Construction Laborer

One of the most sought-after, easy-to-apply jobs is construction laborers. Most of the time, your employer will not ask for a background check if they consider you a hard worker.

You also do not require any vocational certificate to start as a construction laborer. The main job in this field is to dig trenches, do scaffolding, do site cleaning, and use essential tools.

It may not be an ideal career choice, but it does pay the bills. You can quickly start working in this job and earn 12$ to 33$ an hour.

26. Helper to Extraction Workers

Another job that does not require qualifications or vocational certificates is a helper for extraction workers. You can assist the skilled extraction workers operating the machinery.

The helper’s job is to clean the site, move equipment, and support the skilled staff with basic chores. 

You can start at 12$ an hour and earn up to 26$ an hour as a helper.

27. Auto Glass Installer or Repairer

The auto glass installer is a primary profession dealing in glass replacement and repair works for auto vehicles. You will need a vocational certificate from an auto trade school to learn the skills for this job. 

As an auto glass installer, you can make 18$ per hour easily.

28. Delivery Driver

If you love driving and were not convicted for a road crime or broke crucial traffic rules, you will be able to get this job. All you need to apply for the delivery driver job is a valid driver’s license and no driving misconduct (incredibly drunk driving complaints).

The job allows you to make up to 33$ an hour easily. Plus, you get to have a ride, officially.

29. Telephone Customer Service Representative

Ex-felons get to apply for telephone-based customer service jobs since it is easier for most companies to retain them, and no direct customer is dealing.

If you love talking and can communicate with people, this may just be your job. You will need a high school diploma to apply for these jobs.

The earnings as a telephone customer service representative can vary from 11$ per hour to 27$ per hour. There is also the scope of getting better-paid jobs or promotions in such jobs.

30. Shipping and Receiving Clerk

Clerical jobs for receiving and sending material out of the premises are a vital part of the warehousing industry and stores that deal in oversized box items. 

However, it would be best if you didn’t have any criminal records that could affect your image as a suitable employee. You only need a high school diploma or GED to start working.

The highest paid per hour salary is 25$ in this job.

31. Helper to Construction Tradespeople

Working as a helper for construction workers also gives you a job. The primary job pays between 10$ and 16$ an hour, but you get to learn the trade ways.

You can also do a vocational course from one of the construction trade schools and move up the ladder in the construction industry.

32. Barber

If you are into hairstyles or love giving a haircut to others, you might as well become a self-employed barber. You can offer your services to people from the comfort of your home, do home visits, or get employed at a salon.

You can also do a vocation course and learn the art of hairstyling better. You can start with a 10$ per hour wage as a barber.

33. Landscaping Worker

If physical work is not a problem, landscaping jobs are a good option. Various landscaping firms hire felons to help look after and manage lawns and vegetation as a service.

You can earn between 10$ and 23$ an hour with a certification in this field.

34. Dog Trainer

A lot of people seek help to train their house dogs. If you are good with animals or love dogs, this could be a good job choice. You can get a training certification before you work as a dog trainer. 

It pays well as an exciting job that allows you to be around dogs. You can get up to 29$ per hour, or more, with specific clients.

35. General Laborer

If you do not have any skills, you can still work as a general laborer for temp agencies that offer different types of services to clients. It mainly involves manual work but can pay up to 23$ an hour. 

36. Cook

For ex-cons with cooking skills, finding a job that allows you to cook on the job can be a good choice. With background checks not being a requirement for cooks, companies quickly hire felons with practical skills.

You can also get a short-term diploma to add to your skills and earn 22$ or more, depending on your skills and less-serious felony charges.

37. Stock Clerk or Order Filler

Another simplified activity that is one of the most felon friendly jobs is stock clerk. Keeping a check on inventory, managing, and organizing shelves is a part of the job. You can earn between 10$ and 20$ an hour in this job.

38. Retail Workers

For ex-cons who love clothes or helping others with clothing choices, a retail worker profile can be the second chance they need. You can easily apply for this profile with the only essential education requirement.

Remember that anyone convicted of theft or shoplifting cases may not be considered for this job. Though the money is good, you can also have future jobs in the same department.

39. Housekeeping

One of the most important and good jobs for felons is housekeeping. Agencies hiring felons with a charge that does not clash with the job; it is a good way of making your way into professional life.

Many agencies hire felons specifically to offer them the opportunities to earn money. 

You can also go further in this field and get better-paying jobs.

40. Pizza Delivery

One of the most straightforward jobs for felons is pizza delivery. Depending on how soon you want the job, you can work as a pizza delivery guy for a local pizza shop or a brand.

Local pizza shops will not do a background check and can hire you immediately.

The starting pay is mostly basic, but there is the scope of a tip from the customer.

41. General Laborer

If you do not have any skills, you can still work as a general laborer for agencies that offer different types of services to clients. It mainly involves manual work but has a minimum wage system and can pay up to 23$ an hour. 

What Companies Hire Felons?

Some companies offer white-collar jobs and are okay to provide jobs and hire convicted felons.


Apple is a believer in equal opportunity and supports ex-con recruitment. However, background checks are performed, and hiring is done case-to-case basis.


Having signed the Fair Chance Pledge, Google is committed to providing ex-felons equal opportunity and a chance to work with others.


AT&T is an American MNC that offers jobs for felons. The site is listed on the Jobs for Felons hub as well. 


IBM does recruit ex-felons. Although the question is not asked during the application submission, a background check is done once the candidate is selected to check the felony charges and how they can affect the employment.


Sony does not mind hiring felons. Even though proper background checks are performed, it is also possible in some states that it does not appear in your records.


While Tesla does the formal background check, it hires felons depending on which state they are being interviewed. You also get to benefit from your time there in future opportunities.


Xerox considers ex-felons based on the charges against them. Depending on the charges, you can get selected here.

Compaq Computer

Although it is not possible to guarantee if all Compaq Computer locations will hire an ex-felon, as a company, Compaq does have a hiring policy for ex-cons.

Dell Corporation

Dell also hires ex-cons but has no special programs for their hiring.


Boeing hires ex-con, given that the felony charges should not be sex-related, for assault or murder. 


Kohl does not prohibit ex-con hires, but they are cautious with the felony charges and perform necessary background checks.

United Airlines

Yes, even after felony records, you can get a job offer by United Airlines based on your skill and their requirement.

Various Job Programs for Felons

Below are some of the job programs by nonprofit organizations for ex-felons that help them find the best opportunities:

Colleges That Accept Felons

There are several options for ex-felons to complete their education:

  • College and Community Fellowship
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Ohio State University

Many online courses are also available for ex-felons to get their life together.

8 Tips for Getting Hired as a Felon

Here are some essential tips for ex-felons when getting hired:

1. Start with an honest assessment of your skills and experience

Remember that if you start by telling about your skills and why you are a good candidate for the position.

2. Get your paperwork in order

Documentation is crucial. Make sure your files are readily available.

3. Do your research

Always read about the company you want to work with and the job ads it posts online before you start applying for other jobs.

4. Be prepared for the interview

Prepare for the job you want. Be ready to answer questions about your past.

5. Be honest

Honesty always works. Answer confidently and let the interviewer know you are a better person today.

6. Be positive

Stay positive, stay calm. Let that be your mantra during the interview.

7. Follow up

Always go back to the interviewer and thank them for their time. Also, use this opportunity to follow up on the job.

8. Be patient

Relax, and let the interviewer take their time. You will get the job if you are patient and keen on working hard.

What You Need To Know as an Ex-Felon

You should know that there are opportunities, but it may not be an easy road for you. Just relax, trust your skills, prepare for the interview, and talk confidently.

Do Felons Get Paid Less For The Same Job?

No, with equal opportunity policies being followed by most MNCs, paying a felon less would be a policy breach and misconduct on the company’s behalf.

Final Thoughts

Having gotten punished and serving the time you were convicted for is done. Once you are out, remember the opportunity, turn it around, and make your life better by being your best self. 

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