Jobs for people with criminal backgrounds

Updated March 23, 2017

When an individual applies for a job or position, he may be asked if he has been convicted for committing a felony. The applicant should be truthful---employers have resources to check into a criminal background of an applicant. All employers have to give a person an equal employment opportunity and consider hiring a person with a criminal background. Some people with a criminal background or record work in the military, freelancing positions, open a business or work in restaurants.


Someone with a criminal background can avoid being rejected by an employer all together if he has the skills, funds and resources to begin his own business. Some people convicted of a crime can take up trades in prison or jail. When he is released, he can use the trades to start a business in counselling, mentoring, barbering, maintenance, retail or sales. There are businesses someone with a criminal background cannot start, such as a home health care agency or day care facility.

Freelance Positions

Working as a freelancer from home on the computer is an occupation that one with a criminal background can pursue. The majority of the freelance applications do not ask the individual if he has been convicted of a crime. If the application does ask this information, the applicant should be truthful. Freelancing positions do not require a person to work in a typical office setting with other co-workers. The freelancer can work at his own pace, from the comfort of his own home.

Military Jobs

Someone with a criminal background may have the chance of enlisting in the military. Each branch is different and has its own policies of who will and will not be accepted. If the criminal record is from a person's juvenile record, he will have a better chance of being accepted. Having a criminal record as an adult does not ruin a person's chances of being accepted and working for the military, depending on the seriousness of the crime the person was convicted of. If a person was not convicted of a violent crime such as rape, assault, murder and larceny, he can pursue a career in the military.

Entertainment Industry

Becoming an actor, actress, writer, musician or entertainer does not require a person to be felony free. In fact, some producers and directors give chances to a person who has a criminal record, because the producer feels that person will have a better understanding of the story being told, having witnessed it first-hand. A lot of musicians have been incarcerated, such as Lyfe Jennings and, after his release, he made a huge impact in the music industry.

Real Estate Agent

Someone with a criminal background may become a licensed real estate agent, depending on the state or the licensing agency. Most agencies will ask an applicant about any prior convictions. The applicant should be honest on the application---the criminal record does not disqualify him from become a real estate agent. To become a real estate agent, the person has class work, tests and examinations he must take and pass before becoming licensed.

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About the Author

Mona Johnson is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in communications. She began writing in 2001 and producing literary works in 2003 for T.A.D.D. Writes Publications. Johnson has experience with writing articles and blogs geared towards facts, keywords, fashion and other subjects.