The World of Work

Jobs for Felons (Get a Second Chance: $28/hour)

John Hayden

High-Paying Jobs that Give Felons a Second Chance

Facing a job market after incarceration can be an uphill battle, but it's not impossible. Did you know there are high-paying jobs that welcome individuals with a past felony conviction? 

Based on my experience in this sector, I’ll guide you through various career opportunities and strategies to secure employment, offering a fresh start filled with possibilities. Ready for your second chance at success? Let’s dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • Felons face significant challenges in finding employment due to bias, misconceptions, and the stigma associated with having a criminal record.
  • Skilled trades, entrepreneurship, and technology and digital fields offer high-paying career opportunities for felons. HVAC technicians, truck drivers, roofers, mobile app developers, computer support specialists, and writers are among the roles that can provide lucrative incomes starting at $28 per hour or more.
  • Strategies such as using second chance hiring programs, taking advantage of tax credits for employers who hire felons, applying through the Federal Bonding Program (FBP), and exploring growth opportunities grant programs can help felons secure high-paying jobs.
  • HR professionals have become more open to hiring individuals with criminal records, creating brighter job prospects for felons seeking a second chance. Approximately 70 million Americans have a criminal record.

Job Market for Felons

Navigating the job market can be a Herculean task for individuals with a felony conviction. In spite of their desire for reformation, many struggle to find sustainable employment due to bias, misconceptions, and the stigma associated with having a criminal record.

The barriers placed on felons seeking gainful employment are persistent and often insurmountable. But there's been an undeniable shift in America's labor market dynamics over recent years that provides hope for these individuals. 

Declining unemployment rates have motivated companies to broaden their hiring scope, including reaching out to those dealing with felonies on their record.

New laws safeguarding the rights of felons fuel this paradigm shift further, promoting non discriminatory practice among employers. They also incentivize them through schemes like tax credits and free fidelity bond proposals under federal government initiatives.

With HR professionals embracing a more inclusive approach by considering candidates beyond just their criminal records, brighter job opportunities begin to beckon for felons amidst all odds.

Job Market for Felons
Job Market for Felons

Career Opportunities for Felons

Skilled trades, entrepreneurship, and technology and digital fields offer high-paying career opportunities for felons.

Skilled Trades

Skilled trades provide a solid foundation for felons seeking high-paying careers. HVAC Technicians, Truck Drivers and Roofers fall under this category with promising opportunities. These career paths require specialized training but offer rewarding pay scales, often starting at $28 per hour or more.

For instance, truck driving can potentially yield up to $73,000 per year. Even more encouraging is the fact that many companies in these industries are open to hiring individuals with criminal records.

Notably, Shaffer Trucking and Swift Transportation have made names for themselves as some of the most felon-friendly employers within the skilled trades sector. A bonus point: this work doesn't typically involve rigorous background checks. This offers an easier entryway into steady employment for ex-offenders.

Many trade schools and second chance employment services now target programs specifically towards teaching valuable skills to those looking to shift their lives onto positive tracks post-conviction.

This commitment not only helps reduce unemployment rates among felons but also contributes substantially towards their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Skilled Trades create avenues for growth against employment barriers faced by felons - they represent not just jobs but lucrative long-term careers marked by stability, satisfaction and respect.


Entrepreneurship offers a unique opportunity for felons to take control of their career trajectory. Many felons have turned their passions into profitable businesses, leveraging skills learned before or during incarceration.

This self-employment path provides more job security and satisfaction, with the benefit of setting your own schedule and goals. Industries such as writing, landscaping, internet marketing, and app development are conducive to entrepreneurship for ex-offenders.

You can leverage vocational training and online courses to expand your skill sets in these high-demand areas. A successful felon entrepreneur can earn up to $50 per hour in mobile app development or make over $14 per hour in writing jobs. This shows these choices can be both lucrative and liberating.

Technology and Digital Fields

Technology and digital fields offer lucrative career opportunities for felons looking for a second chance. With the increasing demand for skilled professionals in this industry, felons with knowledge and experience in technology can find well-paying jobs and build successful careers.

Mobile app development, for example, is one such field that offers high wages, starting at $28 per hour and potentially increasing up to $50 per hour. Computer support specialists are also in demand, with starting wages of $18 to $26 per hour.

Moreover, writing jobs in the digital world are abundant, providing self-employment opportunities and hourly wages exceeding $14. With vocational certification programs available for various roles like web design or coding bootcamps, felons can acquire the necessary skills to succeed in these high-demand fields.

Part Time & Remote Jobs

Here are some related job opportunities you may find of interest.

Online Retail Reseller

  • Job Description: Purchase products at a lower price and resell them online for a profit on platforms like eBay, Amazon, or Etsy.
  • Requirements: Basic knowledge of online platforms, understanding of product pricing.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-40/hour (varies with sales volume)
  • Benefits: Flexible hours, ability to work from home.

Customer Service Representative

  • Job Description: Assist customers via phone, email, or chat in resolving issues and answering queries.
  • Requirements: Good communication skills, basic computer knowledge.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-20/hour
  • Benefits: Potential for performance bonuses, remote work opportunities.

Delivery Driver

  • Job Description: Deliver packages or food orders to customers using a vehicle or bike.
  • Requirements: Valid driver's license, ability to lift packages.
  • Estimated Salary: $18-25/hour plus tips
  • Benefits: Flexible schedule, tips, mileage reimbursement.

Pet Sitter

  • Job Description: Take care of pets while owners are away, including feeding, walking, and playing with pets.
  • Requirements: Love for animals, reliability.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-30/hour
  • Benefits: Spend time with animals, flexible hours.

Virtual Assistant

  • Job Description: Perform administrative tasks such as scheduling, email management, data entry, and more for clients remotely.
  • Requirements: Computer skills, organization skills, communication skills.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-25/hour
  • Benefits: Work from home, flexible schedule.

Content Writer

  • Job Description: Write articles, blog posts, and other content for various clients and industries.
  • Requirements: Strong writing skills, ability to research topics.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-50/hour
  • Benefits: Work from home, set your own schedule.

Handyman Services

  • Job Description: Offer services such as fixing leaks, painting, or assembling furniture for clients.
  • Requirements: Basic repair skills, tools.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-35/hour
  • Benefits: Choose your clients and set your schedule, possibility of tips.

Online Tutor

  • Job Description: Help students with subjects you are knowledgeable in through virtual platforms.
  • Requirements: Expertise in a specific subject, good communication skills.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-40/hour
  • Benefits: Work from home, flexible hours.

Social Media Manager

  • Job Description: Manage a company or individual’s social media presence, including posting updates and responding to comments.
  • Requirements: Understanding of social media platforms, good communication skills.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-30/hour
  • Benefits: Work remotely, potential for bonuses based on growth.


  • Job Description: Convert audio files into written documents by listening and typing what is said.
  • Requirements: Fast typing speed, good listening skills.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-30/hour
  • Benefits: Work from home, set your own hours.

Note: Salaries and benefits are estimated and may vary depending on experience, location, and company policies.

You can also apply for jobs such as a Tik Tok Moderator, various temporary jobs, or overnight work from home jobs

What People Say

Here’s what people have to say, based on their own personal experiences: 

“I appreciate the flexible schedule that working as an Online Retail Reseller offers. I can choose which products I want to sell and set my own hours. The income is quite variable, which can be stressful at times, but on good months I make more than enough to cover my bills. The sense of autonomy is empowering and allows me to spend quality time with my family.”

Bartholomew Larkin, Poplar Bluff, Missouri

“I've been a Virtual Assistant for two years now and I can say it’s a great option for me. I enjoy the freedom to work from home, which saves time and money on commuting. The tasks can be monotonous sometimes, but the pay is decent and being able to manage my time effectively has improved my quality of life.”

Seraphina Caldwell, Ogdensburg, New York

“As a Pet Sitter, my work is fulfilling and enjoyable. Spending time with animals is therapeutic for me. It doesn't feel like a job. The pay is not high, but the reward of helping animals and their owners is worth it. My clients often give me bonuses and treats for the pets, which adds a personal touch.”

Aloysius Thatcher, Los Alamos, New Mexico

“I work as a Content Writer and I relish the opportunity to learn and write about different topics. The workload can be heavy at times, and tight deadlines can be stressful. However, I have the freedom to work from anywhere, and the pay is fair. The sense of accomplishment when an article is published is gratifying.”

Beatrix McAlister, Bisbee, Arizona

“As a Customer Service Representative, the ability to work remotely is invaluable. I feel supported by my team even though we are not in the same location. The work can be challenging dealing with unhappy customers, but the company provides good training and support. The pay could be better, but the benefits package including health insurance is a plus.”

Finnegan O'Sullivan, Limerick, Ireland

Top Opportunities

You can undertake remote jobs and work from home positions from anywhere in the world. But to give you further insights into the best opportunities, here are the top 20 locations where demand is high in this sector:

  • Dallas, Texas
  • San Jose, California
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Austin, Texas
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Louisville, Kentucky
Find jobs opportunities in Louisville, Kentucky
Find jobs opportunities in Louisville, Kentucky

Many large corporations also offer remote jobs you can do from anywhere. Look out for opportunities with major employers of work-from-home professionals, such as:

  • Amazon
  • Dell
  • Salesforce
  • Adobe
  • Humana
  • Philips
  • VMware
  • SAP
  • American Express
  • Oracle

These companies offer full-time, part-time, and entry-level remote jobs in customer service, data entry, virtual assistant, transcription, and administrative assistant roles.

Strategies for Securing Employment

Utilize Second Chance Hiring Programs, take advantage of tax credits for employers, apply through the Federal Bonding Program, and explore the Growth Opportunities Grant Program. Discover how these strategies can help felons secure high-paying jobs and start a new chapter in their lives.

Utilizing Second Chance Hiring Programs

Second chance hiring programs provide felons with opportunities to secure employment and rebuild their lives. These programs aim to break down the barriers that felons face when trying to find work. 

By partnering with employers who are willing to give ex-offenders a second chance, these programs help connect felons with job opportunities that may otherwise seem out of reach. Here are some key strategies for utilizing second chance hiring programs:

  1. Build relationships with organizations: Connect with local organizations and nonprofits that specialize in providing employment services for felons. These organizations often have established relationships with employers who are open to hiring individuals with criminal records.
  2. Tap into government resources: Federal and state government agencies offer various resources and incentives to encourage employers to hire felons. Research and leverage programs like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Federal Bonding Program (FBP) to provide financial incentives for employers who hire individuals with criminal backgrounds.
  3. Educate employers about the benefits: Many employers may still have reservations about hiring felons due to misconceptions or concerns about liability. Highlight the benefits of second chance hiring, such as lower turnover rates, increased morale among employees, and reduced crime rates in communities where ex-offenders are given employment opportunities.
  4. Provide support and training: Work closely with employers participating in second chance hiring programs to ensure they have the necessary support systems in place. Offer assistance with job training, resume writing services, and references for felons seeking employment.
  5. Promote success stories: Share success stories of felons who have gained meaningful employment through these programs. Highlight how their lives have been transformed by securing stable jobs, showcasing how second chances can lead to positive outcomes for both individuals and society as a whole.

Taking Advantage of Tax Credits for Employers

Employers have the opportunity to benefit from various tax credits when they hire felons. These credits can help offset costs and provide incentives for hiring individuals with criminal records. Here are some key tax credits that employers can take advantage of:

  1. Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC): The WOTC is a federal tax credit designed to encourage employers to hire individuals from specific target groups, including ex-felons. It provides a credit ranging from $1,200 to $9,600 per qualified employee, depending on factors such as the number of hours worked and the length of employment.
  2. Federal Bonding Program (FBP): The FBP offers free fidelity bonds to employers who hire individuals who may be considered at risk due to their criminal backgrounds. These bonds serve as an insurance policy in case of employee theft or dishonesty, giving employers peace of mind when hiring felons.
  3. Growth Opportunities grant program: Employers can explore the Growth Opportunities grant program, which provides funding to support occupational education, work experience, and leadership development for justice-involved youth and young adults. By participating in this program, employers not only gain access to potential talent but also contribute to the rehabilitation and reintegration of felons into society.
  4. Tax Credits through State Programs: Many states offer additional tax credits or incentives for hiring felons or individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. These programs vary by state but can provide valuable financial benefits for employers willing to give second chances.

Applying through Federal Bonding Program

The Federal Bonding Program (FBP) is a valuable resource for felons seeking employment. This program provides fidelity bonds at no cost to both the employer and the job applicant. Here's what you need to know about applying through the FBP:

  1. The FBP offers fidelity bonds that protect employers against employee fraud or dishonesty during the first six months of employment.
  2. Bond coverage in the FBP ranges from $5,000 to $25,000, providing financial security for employers.
  3. These bonds cover any job with any employer, in any state, and protect against employee dishonesty inside or outside the workplace.
  4. Full-time, part-time, and temporary employees receiving paid wages can be bonded through the FBP.
  5. Contact your State Bonding Coordinator or call the provided toll - free number for assistance.
  6. Explain your intent to utilize the program and provide necessary information about your business and potential employees.
  7. Work with your State Bonding Coordinator to complete the required paperwork for bond issuance.
  8. Once approved, you can hire applicants with confidence knowing that they have an added layer of protection against fraudulent activities.

Exploring the Growth Opportunities Grant Program

The Growth Opportunities Grant Program is a valuable resource for felons looking to secure employment. This program offers various incentives and support to both employers and job seekers, facilitating successful reentry into the workforce. Here are some key features of the Growth Opportunities Grant Program:

  1. Financial support: The program provides financial assistance to eligible employers who hire individuals with criminal records. This incentivizes companies to give felons a second chance by offsetting some of the costs associated with training and integrating them into the workforce.
  2. Skill development: Through the Growth Opportunities Grant Program, job seekers can access vocational training programs that equip them with essential skills for high-demand industries. These programs help felons gain relevant qualifications and enhance their employability in fields such as construction, technology, healthcare, and more.
  3. Mentorship opportunities: The program pairs felons with experienced mentors who provide guidance and support throughout their employment journey. These mentors offer valuable insights, helping individuals navigate potential challenges and succeed in their chosen career path.
  4. Job placement assistance: The Growth Opportunities Grant Program works closely with local businesses and organizations to identify job opportunities suitable for felons. They assist in matching candidates' skills and interests with available positions, increasing the chances of successful job placement.
  5. Networking events: The program organizes networking events where felons can connect with employers and industry professionals. These events provide valuable networking opportunities, enabling job seekers to showcase their skills, make connections, and potentially secure employment.
  6. Continued support: Even after securing a job, participants in the Growth Opportunities Grant Program receive ongoing support from program coordinators. This ensures that they continue to thrive in their new roles by providing assistance, resources, and access to further training if needed.

Stories of Felons Gaining Employment

There are countless inspiring stories of felons who have successfully turned their lives around and found meaningful employment. Take John, for example. After serving time for a non-violent felony, he was determined to make a fresh start.

Through vocational training programs provided by second chance employment services, he gained the skills necessary to pursue a career in plumbing. Today, John is working as a licensed plumber, earning an impressive wage of around $26 per hour.

Similarly, Sarah found her calling in the digital world after being released from prison. She enrolled in online courses for mobile app development and honed her skills while also taking advantage of job placement assistance programs offered by second chance organizations.

With dedication and determination, Sarah landed an entry-level position with a tech company as a mobile app developer starting at $28 per hour – well above minimum wage.

Then there's Mike, who used his talent for writing to secure employment as a freelance content creator. He leveraged his creativity and passion for storytelling into building his own client base through networking events organized by local community support groups.

Now making over $14 per hour writing web content for various companies, Mike has not only found financial stability but also fulfillment in doing what he loves.

These success stories demonstrate that opportunities abound for felons willing to put in the effort to improve themselves and explore different career paths. With the right training programs, support systems,and determination,the stigma of past mistakes can be overcome,and new doors can open leading to fulfilling careers and brighter futures."

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common queries we receive on this topic.

Q. What’s the best way to find a high-paying job I can do from anywhere?

A: We recommend you sign up for remote job alerts (free) to get notified of new work-from-home jobs matched to your needs.

Q: What is the importance of jobs for felons?

A: Jobs for felons are crucial as they provide a second chance for individuals with criminal records to reintegrate into society, support themselves financially, and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

Q: Are there companies that hire felons?

A: Yes, there are companies that are willing to hire felons. These companies understand the importance of second chances and provide employment opportunities for individuals with a criminal record.

Q: Where can I find a list of companies that hire felons?

A: You can find an updated list of companies that hire felons online. This list includes felon-friendly employers who are willing to give ex-offenders a chance at employment.

Q: What are some of the best jobs?

A: Some of the best jobs for felons include truck driving, graphic design, learning mechanical skills, and positions in transportation companies.

Q: Can felons get jobs that require specific skills or qualifications?

A: Yes, felons can find employment opportunities in jobs that require specific skills or qualifications. While certain fields may have more restrictions, there are still companies willing to hire qualified felons.

Q: How can I increase my chances of getting hired?

A: To increase your chances of getting hired as a felon, focus on improving your skills through education or vocational training, be honest about your criminal record during the application process, and showcase your commitment to personal growth and rehabilitation.

Q: Are there any trucking companies that hire?

A: Yes, there are trucking companies that are willing to hire felons. These companies understand the demand for truck drivers and may be willing to give felons a chance at employment.

Q: Can felons find job opportunities in other industries apart from transportation?

A: Absolutely! Felons can find job opportunities in various industries such as construction, manufacturing, hospitality, customer service, and more. It's important to explore different industries and be open to different types of employment.

Q: Will employers conduct a background check during the hiring process?

A: Many employers conduct background checks as part of their hiring process. However, each employer has different policies regarding hiring individuals with criminal records. Some may be more lenient and focus on qualifications and skills rather than past convictions.

Q: Do all felons have the same chance of getting a job?

A: No, the chances of getting a job as a felon can vary depending on factors such as the nature of the offense, the length of time since the conviction, the individual's commitment to rehabilitation, and the demand for specific skills in the job market. 

But it's important to remember that opportunities for employment do exist, and with dedication and perseverance, felons can find meaningful work.

A Second Chance

In conclusion, the job market for felons is changing, offering more second chance opportunities than ever before. With high paying careers in skilled trades, technology, and entrepreneurship available, felons can earn up to $28 per hour and beyond.

By utilizing strategies such as second chance hiring programs and tax credits for employers, felons can secure employment and rebuild their lives. Real success stories prove that with determination and perseverance, felons can overcome barriers and thrive in the workforce.

It's time to embrace inclusivity and offer a second chance to those who deserve it.

John Hayden

John Hayden is a seasoned entrepreneur, business strategist, and career success blogger. He leverages his decades of experience in the corporate world to guide aspiring entrepreneurs and career professionals.

John's writing is fueled by his real-world experiences, including both his triumphs and setbacks in the business landscape. Known for his insightful and straight-shooting style, John offers readers a unique blend of hard-earned wisdom and actionable strategies to navigate the complex world of business.

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