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Career Opportunities for Felons

The job hunt is often tough enough without the added pressure of trying to find a job as a felon. Luckily, there are a number of career opportunities available for those individuals.

Career Options for Felons

Individuals who have spent any time in prison may be concerned about finding a job that will give them a chance once they're released. Some fields are closed to felons and some employers prefer not to hire them. Fortunately, however, there is still hope for felons who just want the opportunity to work hard and have a fresh start. We will look at five possible career options for individuals who spent time in prison below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Software Developer $102,280 17%
Construction Laborers and Helper $32,230 13%
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers $41,340 5%
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer $45,910 14%
Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operator $54,430 13%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs for Felons

Software Developer

As a software developer, you will usually work to design applications software or systems software. Because the IT and technology field continues to grow, there are many job availabilities. Furthermore, employers are often willing to give felons a second chance as part of inclusivity initiatives. Most software developers have bachelor's degrees, but employers typically give more weight to actual abilities and skills. This means felons lacking the education credential could enroll in online training programs or even teach themselves. To be competitive, applicants must have strong programming skills.

Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers work on construction sites under the oversight of construction managers and foremen. They have a variety of responsibilities that change based upon whether they have specific skills in carpentry, electrical work, masonry, or roofing. This job requires no formal education or training and generally does not require a background check, so felons who didn't have the opportunity to get an education but enjoy working with their hands may be interested.

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are responsible for driving large trucks that usually carry goods and products from one city to another. They follow a certain route that is assigned to them, keep in contact with their dispatcher, and make sure their cargo arrives in good condition. This is a good option for felons as a large number of trucking companies hire felons, and there is no formal education or training requirement other than having a commercial driver's license (CDL). Some trucking companies may require that drivers attend specific truck driving courses.

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer

As a heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic/installer, you will mainly install HVACR systems at new construction sites or repair and maintain existing systems. Felons can likely find apprenticeship programs that will accept them. As apprentices, they will be able to receive full on-the-job training while receiving a reduced wage. They could also potentially enroll in a HVACR program at a trade or technical school and then seek licensure. Federal financial aid may not be available for felons, however.

Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operator

Oil and gas rotary drill operators work on oil and natural gas sites to remove these resources from below the surface of the earth or the bottom of the ocean floor in the case of off-shore drilling. Some of your responsibilities would include following safety procedures, operating equipment, and working with a team of other operators with the possibility of supervising workers depending on your specific role. Typically, these workers do not have degrees and roughly a third of them have not completed high school, making this a good option for felons who possibly went to prison before receiving their diploma. Given the remote, taxing nature of the work and a relatively high demand for employees, many employers are willing to hire felons.

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