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The Best Jobs for People with a Criminal Background

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Depending upon the nature of an offense, having a criminal record may automatically disqualify a person from certain jobs. Schoolteaching, for example, is likely to be one profession from which those with misdemeanor or felony convictions are banned. A criminal record, however, does not have to prevent someone from re-entering the workforce and landing meaningful employment. The Gilbert A. Garcia Law Firm recommends people start somewhere, even if it is not with an ideal position, and establish a track record of sound performance.

Employment with Friends or Family

One of the first places people with criminal backgrounds may find employment is with friends or family members. They are more likely to hire a person they know despite his criminal conviction than other employers. Based on the relationship, friends and family may also create a position for an individual with a record or hire him on a part-time basis simply to provide work experience.

If a job is not directly available with personal acquaintances, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition suggests friends and family may still provide a valuable networking system. They may be able to locate a job for someone with a criminal background through their own group of friends, family members and colleagues. Individuals with criminal convictions need to speak openly with friends and family and ask for their help in finding a job.

Entry-level Positions

Career coach Marty Nemko indicates that an entry-level position can serve as the launch pad for someone with a criminal background. Although such a position may not be ideal, it can help he individual get her foot in the door of a successful company. The opportunity to advance may then be available.

Starting off in an entry-level position may be difficult, particularly if the individual was used to a more important and better-paying job prior to conviction. Re-entering the workforce requires patience and taking a long-term view of the future. Such positions as office receptionist, fast food attendant, retail sales worker and construction laborer usually have long hours with mediocre pay, but the work can help a person rebuild his resume, and ultimately lead to greater responsibilities and higher wages.

Work from Home

Today, the advancement of Internet-based businesses allows a growing number of people to work from their homes. In many cases, the businesses do not conduct criminal background checks and are instead looking for people who can make the time and quality commitment necessary for the job. For example, online telecommunications is a field in which people work from home in such positions as customer care representatives, researchers and telemarketers.

Freelance opportunities are also growing for work-at-home specialists. Such jobs vary considerably, from data entry and website design to editing and proofreading. Others tasks that can be handled from remote office locations include writing sales letters, editing video footage and posting blog messages.

Apprentice Programs

According to the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, apprenticeship programs usually do not deny entry to people with criminal backgrounds. These programs pay wages while people learn skilled trades, meaning the participant is generally expected to work and attend training programs or classes. Such classes may be at the end of the work day, included in routine work tasks, or held during the weekend. Examples of apprentice programs include those for the electrical, pipefitting and carpentry trades. These programs usually require a GED or high school diploma and a strong commitment to performance. A driver's license may be required for apprentice participation, and fees or other costs may be required.


Jean Miller has been writing since 2008. As a freelance writer, she has developed website content, press releases and newsletters for a variety of clients. Miller holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in human resource management from Cleary University.

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