Jobs that Felons Can’t Get

In the past couple of articles we looked at many jobs and opportunities for felons. In this article we are going to take a look at what jobs felons CANNOT get.

Most companies will give you a job despite having a felony. Some companies may restrict employment for a certain amount of time. For example companies may not hire you if you had a felony in the past 10 years. This isn’t a hard “no”. It means you just need to wait a little bit.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you know the right people, you may find yourself lucky enough to get a job. Get to know people in the industry that you want to work in, and see if there is way to get a job there.

The decision to not hire a felon is a company policy and not a hard set rule. There may also be some benefits for companies to hire felon. See if someone on the inside can put a good word in for you.

Some companies have to follow laws not allowing felons to work in a specific field. Usually this happens for a good reason. The rules of not hiring felons are also not the same everywhere you go. These are generalizations.

Always keep an open mind, and if you have a dream to do something then you should go for it!

Rule of Thumb

A lot of it depends on the kind of felony you have. Most of these jobs will still hire you despite a felony, but you may have to meet certain conditions.

If your felony involved drugs or weapons then a career as a doctor will be much harder to get. This is true for any other job working with drugs or weapons.

White collar felonies may prevent you from working in a certain business. You may not be able to hold the same job that you had before a felony. Crimes against children will prevent you from working for companies that involve children.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most jobs will hire you after some time has passed. This can be anywhere from 7-15 years since the last day of your sentence. Check out the requirements of the job to see how long you need to wait before you are eligible to get hired.

1. Airline Pilot

Being an airline pilot means you get to fly passengers from one place to another. Becoming an airline pilot is a long and expensive process that can take years to finish. There are many certifications and classes you have to do before you are able to fly with passengers. Felons who have had drug or alcohol charges cannot become airline pilots. This is based on FAA regulations.

Due to the risk that comes with flying, it is understandable that there should be no doubts when considering the reliability and trustworthiness of a potential candidate. Any kind of felony will make it harder to get a license approved to be an airline transport pilot. There will be extra challenges to getting employed by an airline.

Felons should know that you can still get a regular pilot’s license if you want to fly your own plane. There are no rules against felons there.

2. Classified Work

There are a lot of jobs in a variety of different fields that deal with sensitive or secret information. This happens when it involves the government or one of their projects. The main fields that involve secret work are: engineering, cybersecurity, jobs working with military equipment, programming, and even some financial work.

Some jobs like construction work could need security clearances. Check with the company you are applying to see if they do any classified work.

It is still possible to get a security clearance with a criminal history. It is just a lot harder than the what a normal applicant would expect. It will need a lot of proof that you have changed since your time in jail.

3. Federal Government Work

Much like jobs that need a security clearance, doing work for the government can be hard to get with a felony. Not every government job requires a security clearance. Government jobs will still have very strict hiring policies. You must meet high levels of qualifications.

Having a history as a felon can hurt your application process. The FBI for example doesn’t hire anyone with a felony. Depending on the felony you may still be able to land a job. Violent felonies are harder to forgive than non-violent felonies. Having a felony related to terrorism or actions against the government will make it impossible to get a government job.

4. Lawyer

Becoming a lawyer can be a good job choice for most felons. It gives felons the chance to help defend people who may have been in their same situation. Becoming a lawyer is a long and expensive path. You have to get an undergraduate degree, attend law school, and then pass a state “Bar” exam.

When taking the Bar, your license to practice law gets reviewed. It is in this process that some felons may have trouble. Most states allow felons to become lawyers. Some states like Kansas, Mississippi, and Texas do not. Based on what kind of crime you committed you may have to wait a couple of years before you get granted a license.

5. Doctor

Like being a lawyer, becoming a doctor requires a lot of schooling and a lot of money. Student doctors often find themselves overworked and always in debt. Besides the studying, being a doctor is a very diverse field to work in. You can specialize in a lot of different parts of the body. You also have the chance to own your own clinic.

To become a doctor you need to go to medical school. Getting into medical school is hard for everyone. Medical schools may not want to hire felons if they don’t believe a felon will pass or be able to get their license. This will make the medical school look bad.

Like being a lawyer, doctors need to have a license as well. Part of the license allows you to prescribe drugs to others. Felonies that involved drug or character charges could get your license denied. You may have to wait a couple of years before you are allowed to apply again.

Make sure you do your research being starting to invest all your money into medical school.

6. Police Officer/Security

Being a police officer or working with a security company is harder to get with a felony on your record. If your felony has to deal with violent crimes then your chances of being a cop are severely reduced. This is true for felonies related to drugs, alcohol, or weapons also.

Even if your felony isn’t violent having a felony will make it harder anyway. Talk with different police departments and see what their requirements are. It is going to be up to each individual department.

7. Jobs working with Children


Jobs that work with kids will be hard to get. If the felony involves crimes against kids or crimes of a sexual nature then you will not be able to apply. Being a school teacher, daycare worker, social worker, pediatric nurse/doctor, or child therapist are a few examples.

Jobs that involve kids can also be the least forgiving when it comes to felonies since the work is so sensitive. Unlike other jobs where you may have to wait a few years, jobs with kids tend to be less forgiving.

All Summed Up

Most of the jobs listed above (except for the FBI), will allow felons to work for them. The nature of the felony cannot be part of the job you are applying for. If you had a drug felony, then you couldn’t have a job that works with any kind of drugs or medications.

Most jobs have a waiting period of 7-15 years after the last day of your sentence before you would be able to apply. Take the time to save up your money and take all the classes or certifications you need for your dream job. Prepare yourself for it.

If one of these jobs listed above is your dream job then go for it. It may be hard. You may have to wait a while before you’re able to apply. But even waiting for a few years is better than giving up on something completely.


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