What Jobs Can Ex-Convicts Not Get: A Comprehensive Guide

Ex-convicts face an uphill challenge when it comes to getting hired. The stigma of a criminal record precedes them in most industries, and many employers are hesitant to take a chance on someone who has spent time behind bars. While there are some jobs that ex-convicts can still get, there are many that remain off-limits.

One of the most obvious job prospects that ex-convicts cannot pursue is anything related to law enforcement. This includes positions in the police force, customs, and immigration, and even private security jobs. It’s understandable why employers in these industries won’t want to hire someone with a criminal record. It undermines the authority and trust that these organizations have with the public and can even be a liability in dangerous situations.

You might expect that ex-convicts could work in some blue-collar jobs, such as construction or factory work, but even here, there are restrictions. Many companies won’t hire ex-convicts if the job requires a security clearance or if it is a job that involves handling sensitive materials. In many cases, the felony conviction can also disqualify someone from obtaining a professional license, which can also restrict their employment options. Despite these challenges, some ex-convicts have found ways to build successful careers after incarceration.

Industries with strict background check policies

For ex-convicts, looking for work can be challenging. Many industries require background checks, which can lead to automatic disqualification for someone with a criminal record. Here are some industries with strict background check policies:

  • Finance & Banking: These industries have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to criminal records. Employers look for any hint of financial fraud, theft, or embezzlement in a candidate’s past.
  • Healthcare: Hospitals and healthcare facilities require employees to have a clean record, especially if the job involves patient care. Criminal activities like abuse of drugs or violence can cause automatic disqualification.
  • Government: Government positions usually require security clearance and thorough background checks. This can include not just criminal records but also credit history and employment history.

Aside from these industries, there are other jobs that have strict background check policies, such as security, law enforcement, and education. It’s important to be honest about your record when applying for jobs, but it’s also important to have the right skills and experience to prove that you’re a capable employee.

Jobs that require security clearance

Ex-convicts may face hurdles when trying to obtain jobs that require security clearance. These positions usually require background checks, and a criminal record can make it tough to pass those checks.

  • Military
  • Federal law enforcement agencies (FBI, CIA, etc.)
  • Government contractors
  • Homeland security jobs

Ex-convicts who want these types of jobs may need to work hard to rebuild their reputations and demonstrate that they are trustworthy. They may need to obtain character references and be willing to undergo additional background checks.

Additionally, jobs that require security clearance often involve sensitive information. Employers need to be confident that their employees will not divulge any confidential information. Ex-convicts may have a harder time convincing employers that they are trustworthy enough to keep such sensitive information confidential.

Job Security Clearance Requirement
Military Varies based on role and level of access needed
Federal law enforcement agencies (FBI, CIA, etc.) Top Secret (TS) clearance or higher
Government contractors Depends on the contract
Homeland security jobs Varies based on role and level of access needed

Those who have been convicted of certain crimes are ineligible for security clearances. Examples of disqualifying crimes include espionage, sabotage, terrorism, and any offense involving the use, possession, or sale of illegal drugs. However, each case is evaluated on an individual basis. Just because someone has a criminal record does not necessarily mean they are disqualified from obtaining a security clearance.

Positions in law enforcement agencies

It should come as no surprise that ex-convicts are prohibited from holding certain positions within law enforcement agencies. This is largely due to the nature of the crimes they have committed, which often involve a violation of the law and a breach of the public’s trust.

While the specific rules and regulations regarding the hiring of ex-convicts vary from state to state and agency to agency, there are some general guidelines that apply. Below are three positions within law enforcement agencies that are typically off-limits to ex-convicts:

  • Police Officer – Police officers have a great deal of responsibility and are entrusted with a wide range of duties, including enforcing the law, protecting the public, and maintaining order. Due to the nature of their work, police officers are typically required to have a clean criminal record. In most cases, anyone with a felony conviction is automatically disqualified from becoming a police officer. Additionally, certain misdemeanors may also disqualify an applicant.
  • Federal Agent – Federal agents are responsible for enforcing federal laws and investigating federal crimes. Due to the sensitive nature of their work, federal agents are subject to stricter background checks than most other law enforcement positions. Anyone with a felony conviction is typically ineligible to become a federal agent. Additionally, any history of drug abuse or addiction may also disqualify an applicant.
  • Probation/Parole Officer – Probation and parole officers work with individuals who have been released from prison or who are serving a sentence in the community. Due to the nature of their work and the close contact they have with ex-offenders, probation and parole officers are typically required to have a clean criminal record. In most cases, anyone with a felony conviction is automatically disqualified from becoming a probation or parole officer.

It is important to note that these positions are just a few examples of the jobs that ex-convicts may be barred from in law enforcement agencies. The specific rules and regulations regarding the hiring of ex-convicts can vary widely depending on the agency and the specific position in question.


While it is possible for ex-convicts to turn their lives around and pursue meaningful, fulfilling careers after serving their time, the reality is that some doors may be closed to them. This is especially true when it comes to positions within law enforcement agencies, which typically require a clean criminal record and may have strict regulations in place regarding the hiring of ex-convicts.

As society continues to grapple with issues of criminal justice and rehabilitation, it is important to consider how we can create more opportunities for ex-convicts to successfully re-enter society and contribute positively to their communities.

Roles in Healthcare That Involve Patient Care

Ex-convicts face significant challenges in finding employment, especially in roles that involve patient care in the healthcare industry. The reason for this is that healthcare facilities have stringent regulations in place to safeguard patients’ safety and well-being. Therefore, healthcare providers are wary of hiring employees with a criminal record, as their past offenses may pose a risk to patients.

  • Nursing: Nursing roles involve direct patient care and require a high level of trust and responsibility. Nursing licenses are issued by the state, which mandates background checks before granting licenses. Thus, ex-convicts may have difficulty obtaining a nursing license, making it challenging to find employment in this field.
  • Pharmacy: Pharmacy jobs involve dispensing medication and require attention to detail and accuracy, as well as an understanding of drug interactions and patient safety. Convictions related to drug offenses or theft may be viewed unfavorably by potential employers.
  • Doctor: Becoming a doctor typically requires a significant investment of time and money, including medical school and specialized training. However, past convictions may disqualify individuals from obtaining medical licenses, which are necessary to practice medicine.

In addition to the roles mentioned above, ex-convicts may face barriers when applying for other jobs in healthcare settings, such as medical assistants, radiologists, and laboratory technologists. However, each state and facility may have different hiring criteria, processes, and regulations.

Below is a table of healthcare careers that may require employees to pass a background check:

Career Description Background Check Required?
Nursing Providing direct care to patients, monitoring their health, and administering medication Yes
Pharmacy Dispensing medication and providing drug information to patients Yes
Doctor Diagnosing illness, prescribing medication, and coordinating care with other healthcare providers Yes
Medical Assistant Assisting physicians with examinations and procedures, recording medical histories, and performing administrative tasks Yes
Radiologist Interpreting medical images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans Yes
Laboratory Technologist Performing tests on patient samples to diagnose and monitor conditions Yes

Overall, ex-convicts seeking employment in healthcare settings that involve patient care may face significant challenges. However, there are non-patient-facing roles, such as administrative positions, that are open to people with previous convictions. Ex-convicts should explore these opportunities and seek guidance from organizations that help people with criminal records find employment.

Jobs involving handling large sums of money

Ex-convicts often struggle to find work after serving their sentence. Many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal record, especially for jobs that involve handling large sums of money. Here are some examples of jobs that ex-convicts may have difficulty securing:

  • Bank Teller: As a bank teller, you will be responsible for handling cash, checks, and other financial transactions. Banks are highly regulated and have strict security protocols in place. This means that even a minor criminal offense could disqualify you from consideration for this job.
  • Accountant: Accountants are responsible for managing financial records and preparing tax returns for individuals and businesses. Given the level of trust required for this job, employers may be hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal record.
  • Financial Advisor: As a financial advisor, you will be responsible for managing your clients’ investment portfolios and providing advice on financial matters. Clients expect a high level of integrity and honesty from their financial advisors, and employers are likely to conduct extensive background checks before hiring.

Most of the jobs mentioned above require a certain level of certification or education. For example, accountants must have a degree in accounting or a related field, and financial advisors must pass a series of exams before they can become licensed. Even if you meet the qualifications for these jobs, a criminal record could prevent you from obtaining the necessary licenses and certifications.

Handling large sums of money also puts you at a higher risk for theft and fraud. Employers may be hesitant to hire ex-convicts for these jobs because they worry about the potential for theft or embezzlement. To reduce their risk, employers may conduct more intensive background checks and require additional security measures for employees who handle large sums of money.

Job Title Qualifications Potential Issues for Ex-Convicts
Bank Teller High school diploma or equivalent; on-the-job training Strict background checks and security protocols; even minor criminal offenses can disqualify candidates
Accountant Degree in accounting or related field; certification (e.g., CPA) Employers may be hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal record due to the level of trust required; a criminal record could prevent candidates from obtaining necessary licenses
Financial Advisor Passing a series of exams; obtaining necessary licenses Employers may be hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal record due to the level of trust required; a criminal record could prevent candidates from obtaining necessary licenses

If you have a criminal record and are interested in a job that involves handling large sums of money, it’s important to be upfront and honest with potential employers. Highlight your skills and qualifications, and explain how you have taken steps to turn your life around since your conviction. In some cases, employers may be willing to overlook a criminal record if they feel that you are a good fit for the job and can be trusted with their money.

Roles in Education That Involve Working with Children

For ex-convicts, finding employment can be quite challenging, especially in professions that require working with vulnerable populations such as children. Here are some of the roles in education that ex-convicts may find it difficult to secure.

  • Childcare Provider: A job as a childcare provider involves caring for young children, preparing meals, and supervising them while engaging in various activities. This job requires a high level of trust, and employers are cautious to employ ex-convicts due to the risk of potential harm to children.
  • Teacher: Teachers are responsible for shaping the lives of young learners while creating a safe and conducive learning environment. Ex-convicts with records of sexual or violent offenses may not be able to get hired into this role or may face challenges getting their teaching certification.
  • Social Worker: Social workers play a crucial role in helping children and families who are experiencing difficulties. To work as a social worker, one requires a professional license. Ex-convicts with criminal records for child abuse, neglect or exploitation may have difficulty getting licensed.

For those who may be looking for alternative roles in education that do not involve working with children, they could consider positions such as administrative assistants, school janitors, or food service workers. These positions may not be as glamorous as the ones mentioned earlier, but they offer a starting point for those who want to rebuild their lives.

Below is a table that outlines the educational requirements for some of the roles in education that involve working with children:

Role Education Requirements
Childcare Provider High School Diploma, CPR/First Aid Certification, Child Development Associate (depending on the state)
Teacher Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Teaching License and Certification, Classroom Experience
Social Worker Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW), Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW), Professional Licensure

While it may be challenging for ex-convicts with criminal records to find employment in some education roles, it is not impossible. With perseverance, dedication, and a willingness to start from the ground up, ex-convicts can land employment and rebuild their lives.

Careers in Government and Politics

Ex-convicts face a tough time when it comes to finding jobs in the government and politics sectors. Many states have regulations prohibiting individuals with criminal records from holding public office roles or working for government agencies. Meanwhile, other states have less stringent laws that allow former convicts to work in lower positions with some restrictions. However, these individuals often face background checks and scrutiny, making it challenging to secure a job in these sectors.

  • Law enforcement: It is difficult for ex-convicts to find jobs in law enforcement agencies, including the police force, FBI, and CIA. This is due to background checks and the need for individuals to have a clean record to be hired.
  • Politics: The political sphere is challenging for individuals with criminal records. Many states have laws that disqualify ex-convicts from holding public office or working closely with elected officials in administrative roles.
  • Security clearance: A criminal record could severely impact an individual’s ability to secure high-level clearance in government agencies that handle sensitive information.

Furthermore, some states provide separate rules regarding the jobs of ex-convicts in government and public offices. For instance, in California, ex-convicts with drug convictions could be eligible for social work or human services jobs if they have been drug-free for at least five years. Chicago, meanwhile, allows ex-offenders to work in city positions, provided they have not been convicted of violent crimes.

Below is a table showing the regulations for ex-convicts who want to apply for government jobs in various states:

State Laws/Rules
Florida A person is ineligible for public office if they have been convicted of a felony. Eligibility may be restored if a candidate has received a pardon or had their records expunged.
Georgia Individuals convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude are not eligible for public office.
California Ex-convicts with drug convictions are eligible for social work or human services jobs if they have been drug-free for at least five years.
Illinois The city of Chicago allows ex-offenders to work in city positions, provided that they have not been convicted of violent crimes.

Overall, ex-convicts have a limited range of options when it comes to finding jobs in the government sector. However, many states offer some degree of leniency, depending on the type of conviction and the offense committed. Job seekers should research the laws and regulations in their state to determine their eligibility for government jobs.

What Jobs Can Ex Convicts Not Get?

1. Can ex convicts work in the military?

It depends on the type of conviction and the nature of the job. Certain convictions, such as those involving violence or drug offenses, may make it difficult to get security clearance for military work. However, each case is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

2. Can ex convicts work in the healthcare industry?

Certain healthcare jobs, such as nursing or medicine, may require a background check. Depending on the nature of the conviction, an ex convict may not be able to obtain the necessary certifications or professional licenses to work in these fields.

3. Can ex convicts work in education?

Most states require background checks for those working in schools, daycare centers, and other educational facilities. If an ex convict has a conviction that involves violence or children, they may not be able to work in these settings.

4. Can ex convicts work in finance?

Certain financial jobs, such as those in banking or investing, require a background check. If an ex convict has a conviction involving fraud or theft, they may not be able to obtain the necessary licenses to work in these fields.

5. Can ex convicts work in law enforcement?

Convictions involving violence, theft, or drug offenses may make it difficult for an ex convict to work in law enforcement. Each department has its own policies regarding hiring felons, so it is best to check with individual agencies.

6. Can ex convicts work in government jobs?

Certain government jobs, such as those requiring security clearance, may be difficult to obtain for ex convicts. Convictions involving violence, espionage, or drug offenses are particularly problematic.

7. Can ex convicts work in the transportation industry?

Certain transportation jobs, such as those requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL), may be difficult for ex convicts to obtain. Convictions involving drug offenses or driving under the influence may disqualify them from obtaining a CDL.

Closing Thoughts:

In short, there are many jobs that ex convicts may be ineligible for due to their criminal records. While this can make finding employment challenging, it is important to remember that many industries are becoming more open to hiring individuals with criminal histories. With hard work and determination, ex convicts can still find rewarding and fulfilling careers. Thank you for reading, and please visit again later for more articles on career advice and opportunities.