What Are The Jobs Felons Can Not Do In 2024?


Convicted felons face a number of restrictions. Although there are many jobs felons can do and even agencies dedicated to hiring ex-convicts, certain professions will be entirely unavailable.

Plus, other jobs are technically open for felons but might be practically impossible to attain.

Felons are also prevented from some activities, which may impede their ability to get a job in a particular area.

Knowing which jobs you’ll be unlikely to get or which will require excessive effort will help in searching for a new job. It will be easier to avoid options that would do nothing but waste your time.

List OF Jobs Felons Cannot Do

When it comes to completely off-limits jobs, the list is actually quite short and boils down to a single government agency: the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FBI won’t even consider applications from convicted felons, which makes finding a job within the agency virtually impossible. Yet, the same doesn’t apply to other state or federal agencies.

Those will certainly be more open to felon applications, even though getting a job in a government agency will not be easy.
However, this doesn’t mean specific other jobs will be easy to find. For instance, white-collar professions aren’t as ready to accept felons as blue-collar businesses like construction or trades.

Of course, turning down a job applicant due to a felony history is illegal in most cases. Still, the fact remains that you’ll rarely find former convicts in white-collar jobs.

On the other hand, a conviction may prevent you from getting a particular job, depending on the details of the felony. Here are some examples based on the type of felony.

Fire arms-related felonies exempt you from:

-Law enforcement
-Firearm retail
-Firearm sales
-Alcohol-related felonies make it impossible to get jobs in:
-Liquor stores
-Serving alcohol

Money-related felonies will make you ineligible for work in financial institutions.

Other jobs that may be inaccessible for felons include those requiring a license like healthcare or child care. It’s worth noting that certain organizations offer assistance in obtaining proper licensing.

Did you know? Felons can’t possess firearms in most federal states.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming allow felons to obtain gun permits and possess firearms under certain conditions.

Other Jobs Hard to Get for Felons

The following jobs might not be impossible to get, but they’ll be quite hard for felons.

1. Work with children

People with a felony involving specific crimes like those against kids or of sexual nature will be excluded from working with children. This includes jobs like:

-Child therapist
-Social worker
-School teacher
-Pediatric doctor or nurse

Daycare worker

However, even if the felony doesn’t fall within the mentioned categories, the sensitive nature of working with kids will mean prior convicts likely won’t be accepted.

2. Medical professions

Most medical professions require a massive investment in education, making finding a job in this area very challenging. But what makes it highly unlikely to obtain for felons is the licensing.

A doctor’s license includes permission to prescribe drugs. Felons convicted of drug-related crimes won’t be able to apply for this license for obvious reasons.

Yet, this might not close off the opportunity permanently, and applying for a medical license might be possible after several years.

3. Government work

We’ve already mentioned that getting a job in the FBI with a felony will be impossible. Some conviction types may become an obstacle for other government jobs, too.

In particular, any violent felony will significantly lessen your chances compared to a non-violent felony.

Unsurprisingly, terrorism or anti-government action will instantly exclude such felons from government jobs.

4. Commercial piloting

Becoming a pilot is quite challenging. Getting a job at an airline is even more complex, and doing all that as a convicted felon may be nearly impossible.

You’ll likely need to spend years getting a job as an airline pilot. Of course, that job will require certification, which will be off-limits for felons with alcohol or drug charges.

Since airline companies understandably give much heed to the reliability of their candidates, they’ll be much wearier in hiring felons.

5. Security or police

These types of jobs will be challenging for felons because various kinds of felonies make applications nonviable. Those felonies include:

-Violent crimes

In the case of a violent felony, things might look a bit more optimistic, but even then, your chances will be low.

6. Law practice

Becoming a lawyer might be more viable than others on this list. However, it will undoubtedly be complicated. The path towards practicing law includes:

-An undergraduate degree
-Law school diploma
-Passing the Bar exam
-Renewing your license

Unless you’ve already taken care of most of these steps, doing so as a felon will be challenging. Furthermore, some states don’t allow felons to practice law. These include Texas, Mississippi, and Kansas.

7. Working with classified information

Jobs like certain types of finance, programming, cybersecurity, engineering, and even specific construction jobs may require a security clearance.

This will be much harder for felons to obtain.

However, it should be noted that felons aren’t prohibited from getting security clearances. They’ll only have a much harder time doing so.

8. Private organizations

While it may sound controversial, many private businesses mistrust felons and, if possible, opt not to hire them.

We’ve already talked about how discriminating against felons purely based on a conviction isn’t legal. Yet, companies may choose employees according to their internal regulations. This means a business can often justify its decision not to hire a felon using other criteria.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in this case except keep searching for a more open and tolerant organization.

Besides the listed jobs, felons might be unable to work in other industries depending on particular state regulations. For instance, the state of Illinois bars felons from these professions:

-Public offices
-Dealing with livestock
-Pet shop work
-Tattoo artist
-Athletic trainer
-Sign language interpreter

Worst of all, this isn’t the complete list of jobs inaccessible to felons in Illinois. And there are various limitations in other states as well. When searching for a job, you’ll need to know those state-specific limitations beforehand.

Did you know? Several states have passed laws concerning background checks for felons. These laws limit the checks to the previous seven years, preventing long-gone past mistakes from interfering with someone’s job prospects.

States with such laws include California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Washington.

Understanding Collateral Consequences

Collateral consequences describe felons’ restrictions on certain opportunities and benefits. However, describing the limitations of each type of felony is quite complicated. Plus, relevant information on the subject isn’t precisely easy to find.

It would be best to talk to your employment service to find your way around the complex rules of collateral consequences. They’ll have the right answers concerning mandates applying to different criminal convictions.

Cutting Out the Distractions

It’s much easier to focus on building a career when you already know what definitely won’t work. Understanding the limitations imposed on felons may be very helpful.

In fact, those limitations could prove beneficial – they’ll put you on a fast track to finding the right job.

Without the distraction of pursuing hard or impossible careers, you’ll be able to get a suitable job faster and with less expense in money and time.

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