Best Jobs for a Felon

Updated on March 6, 2024

Reintegration into the workforce can be a significant challenge for individuals with a criminal record. However, numerous career paths not only offer a second chance but also provide stable and rewarding opportunities for felons looking to rebuild their lives. Here, we delve into some of the best jobs for felons, highlighting the job title, average salary, job description, responsibilities, and required education where applicable.

HVAC Technician

  • Average Salary: $47,610 per year
  • Job Description: HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, repair, and maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in various settings, including residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
  • Responsibilities: The role involves troubleshooting and repairing HVAC systems, conducting regular maintenance, installing new systems, and ensuring that all work complies with safety and regulatory standards.
  • Required Education: Entry into this field can begin with trade school education or on-the-job training. While the complexity of HVAC systems has increased, making formal training more common, some positions still offer apprenticeships.


  • Average Salary: $46,509 per year
  • Job Description: Carpenters are skilled tradespeople who construct, install, and repair structures made of wood and other materials. This can range from framing houses to building cabinetry.
  • Responsibilities: Their work includes measuring and cutting materials, constructing building frameworks, and installing wooden structures such as doors and cabinetry.
  • Required Education: While some carpenters learn their trade on the job, many undergo formal apprenticeship programs. Some states may require licensure.

Oil Field Worker

  • Average Salary: Varies; Rig operators around $50,000 per year, Petroleum engineers around $130,000 per year
  • Job Description: Oil field workers are involved in the extraction of oil and natural gas. Positions vary widely from manual labor on rigs to specialized engineering roles.
  • Responsibilities: Depending on the position, responsibilities can range from operating drilling equipment to designing methods for extracting oil and gas.
  • Required Education: Entry-level positions might not require formal education, but engineering roles typically require a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or a related field.

Truck Driver

  • Average Salary: $43,690 per year
  • Job Description: Truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. This can involve long-haul journeys across states or shorter routes within a local area.
  • Responsibilities: Responsibilities include ensuring timely delivery of goods, maintaining logs of their trips, and ensuring the safety of their cargo.
  • Required Education: A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required, and while some companies provide training, others may require previous driving experience.

Marketing Specialist

  • Average Salary: $132,000 per year
  • Job Description: Marketers develop strategies to promote products or services, increase brand awareness, and drive sales.
  • Responsibilities: This can include conducting market research, developing advertising campaigns, and analyzing the effectiveness of marketing strategies.
  • Required Education: Many positions require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, or a related field, though some individuals succeed in this career based on experience and proven skills.


  • Average Salary: Varies widely
  • Job Description: Entrepreneurs create and manage their own businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
  • Responsibilities: This can involve everything from conceptualizing a business idea to managing day-to-day operations.
  • Required Education: There is no specific educational requirement, as success depends largely on the individual’s business acumen, creativity, and perseverance.

Delivery Driver

  • Average Salary: $17,000 – $29,000 per year, potentially higher with tips
  • Job Description: Delivery drivers are responsible for transporting goods, documents, and other items to specified destinations.
  • Responsibilities: Tasks include loading and unloading items, ensuring timely deliveries, and maintaining accurate records.
  • Required Education: A valid driver’s license is required, but no formal education is necessary.


  • Average Salary: Varies; often includes a base pay plus commission
  • Job Description: Telemarketers make outbound calls to potential customers to sell products or services or solicit donations.
  • Responsibilities: Duties include managing customer lists, making sales pitches, and handling customer queries.
  • Required Education: No specific education is required, though clear communication skills are essential.


  • Average Salary: $17,000 – $29,000 per year
  • Job Description: Cashiers handle transactions and customer payments in various retail environments.
  • Responsibilities: This role involves processing payments, issuing receipts, and providing customer service.
  • Required Education: Cashier positions are typically entry-level, with on-the-job training provided.


  • Average Salary: Around $10 per hour, varying by state and facility
  • Job Description: Housekeepers maintain cleanliness and order in various settings, such as hotels, hospitals, and office buildings.
  • Responsibilities: Duties include cleaning rooms, changing linens, and restocking supplies.
  • Required Education: No formal education is required, and training is typically provided on the job.

Final Thoughts

The journey back into the workforce for individuals with felony convictions can be fraught with challenges, but it’s not without hope. The jobs listed above not only provide viable career paths but also the chance for personal and professional growth. Success in these roles requires dedication, a willingness to learn, and, in some cases, additional training or education. With the right mindset and support, felons can find fulfilling and stable employment that helps them move forward in life.

Other Jobs in Demographic-Specific Opportunities


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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