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What Jobs Are Best for People With a Felony Charge on Their Record?

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When you’ve been convicted of a felony and you leave prison, your troubles are far from over. Your criminal record follows you on the job market and can bar you outright from working with children or in law enforcement. If you want to rebuild your life, you need to find an industry with employers apt to give you a second chance. Or you can avoid job applications altogether and try to build a business from your home.

The Military

The reach of the United States military into Afghanistan and the Middle East has opened doors for more felons to enter the armed services. The need for soldiers may have convinced the military to grant felony waivers, according to CNN. The U.S. Army granted 511 felony waivers in 2007, up from 249 in 2006. Some recruits had been convicted of assault, burglary, drug possession and making terrorist threats. The army won’t accept felons convicted of crimes of sexual violence, alcoholism and drug trafficking, an army spokesman told CNN.


The construction industry is less stringent with background checks than many other fields, and if you’re willing to put in the time you can earn significant money. A job forum for ex-felons on Indeed.com lists multiple laborer positions, including ones for concrete construction and power washing. One man who shot an undercover police officer now manages a landscaping crew. The more skills you pick up, the greater your earning potential as you learn the trade of carpenters, electricians or HVAC installers.

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The restaurant industry also affords opportunities to felons who want a second chance. The website Xamire.com pairs felons with employers willing to hire them, and restaurant chains such as McDonald’s or Longhorn Steakhouse post no restrictions on the hiring of felons. The Olive Garden and Red Lobster hires felons in some cases. Dunkin’ Donuts hires felons who haven’t committed sex offenses, and Aramark Food Services hires felons who weren’t convicted of violent crimes. With hard work, you can make your way up to more lucrative management positions within a chain.

Work at Home

One way to avoid a background check is to work for yourself. The Internet has opened up new opportunities to earn income from a home computer. The website guru.com posts freelance employment lists for online sales, graphic design, writing, editing, photography, marketing and accounting jobs. Creating, maintaining or managing websites offers other home revenue streams. When you work at home you can set your own hours. The more you work, the greater your income potential. Working at home can give you a platform to build a resume to offset misgivings that full-time employers might have about your criminal background.

About the Author

Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.

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