[Updated] What College Degrees can Felons get to Find Jobs?
There are not to many degrees that a felon can’t get. However you should be asking yourself the question “who will hire me?”
You should first rule out the medical field and psychological field as well. You will not get a job in those fields. With of course the exception of substance abuse consoler.
How do you know which college degree is right for you?
You have to start looking at things from an employers point of view. Did you steal money? If so you can’t do accounting. Did you drink an drive and kill someone? Well you have to factor in if you degree will require someone who needs to drive people around with you once in a while.
The main thing to remember is that you want to become a behind the scenes guy. Companies will want to hide you from customers and have you work away from them. Especially if you have a violent history.
Computer Science / Programming
One of the best degrees you can get is computer science. There is a real shortage and a huge demand for quality developers and software engineers. Especially if you live in the New England, on the West Coast or in any major metropolitan area.
Software developers can find starting salaries at $60K or more, even with a degree for a 2nd tier school (most state colleges/universities and even community colleges).
As a felon, you can negotiate slight lower starting salary, if employer “closes their eyes” on your conviction.
Freelance Jobs for Felons
But even if you can’t find a job at a “company” having programming skills opens a ton of opportunities working online – you can do contracting / outsourcing work on Upwork / Odesk / Elance, Guru.com and may other similar short term job market places. Most “employers” on these websites PREFER American developers over Asian / Indian / Easter European programmers. But Americans are often MUCH more expensive. So as a developer in US – you can charge lower [prices in the beginning, and then build up your “resume” and raise prices.
Best of all – there are no background checks when you do outsourced / freelancing work!
Here is Entrepreneur.com top 15 freelance websites list for you to see where you can find freelance work.
Missing from this list is Fiverr, but i’d not recommend this as it’s mostly commodity work with low payouts.
Note 1 – Upwork, Elance and Odesk is now the same company.
Note 2 – I’m not a fan of Freelancer.com – they are not very good in conflict resolution, and have some B/S recurring charges that can wipe out you earnings … se be aware of those if you want to give it a try. But I’d recommend to stay away.
See our full guide on how to become a freelancer:
Freelance jobs have NO BACKGROUND checks!
I’ve personally used Upwork/Elance and Freelancer to hire people to do work for me … I would strongly suggest the Upwork, out of these two. But definitely also check out other sites on the list!
If you don’t have the skills, you can obviously take necessary college courses / certificate programs or learn necessary skills with very inexpensive video courses on Udemy.
Car / Truck / Equipment Mechanic
Mechanic is more of a trade / specialized degree or training, but many community colleges offer these programs. Mechanic jobs pay anywhere from $15-30 / hour, and since there is little to no customer interaction, many companies are willing to hire felons – especially small garages and repair shops, as well as small manufacturers.
So this is an excellent line of work for felons, with “better” pay and many employment options!
The engineering field is also very promising for felons. You can eventually work in a factory programming and building robots instead of operating them, making a decent income. These jobs are currently in very high demand, and the more you learn, the more companies will want you to work for them.
Once again – you can do outsourced work as engineer on same websites as programmers use (Upwork / Odesk / etc).
The main thing to keep in mind is that you can get a degree if you wish. This degree will help you get further in life. Just make sure you have a plan and possibly even ask companies what degrees would suit future positions at their companies.
Degrees you should not get as a felon
While you can get the following degrees, finding a job will be nearly impossible in these fields, when you have a felony conviction.
- Medical Field
- Sports training
- Massage / Therapy / etc
- Any line of work with customer/client interaction
If this article has helped you out in anyway please share this on your social media accounts or email it to other sex offenders that you may know. Together we can help felons find out what college degrees are for felons.