Second Chance Jobs for Felons: 10 Best Choices!

Some mistakes can have long-lasting consequences that affect people’s experiences in ways we never imagined. For instance, former felons often have a hard time reintegrating into society or even finding a simple job to start rebuilding their lives.

However, even if securing employment proves daunting in such cases, certain jobs are still accessible to ex-criminals. As a rule of thumb, these second-chance jobs pay less, but they don’t typically require preexisting skills or certifications.

Read on as we reveal the best choices out there!

10 Great Second-Chance Jobs for Felons

When looking for remarkable transformations and new beginnings, former felons can get a head start by finding employment in any of these second-chance positions.

1. Coffee Shop Worker

Also known as baristas, these employees are in charge of brewing and serving beverages like tea, coffee, or other specialty drinks. That doesn’t sound too demanding, right? Best of all, coffee shops are known for their laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff.

If you are an outgoing person looking for a strong community, customer interaction, and straightforward tasks, you should look for a job as a coffee shop worker. Note that baristas get paid around $14/hour, which is a great starting salary.

Some skills that you will need to succeed as a coffee shop worker include basic math skills for cash handling, a sense of teamwork, and great communication, and you need to know how to brew coffee. Don’t worry, though; you master it quickly!

2. Delivery Driver

Do you have a driving license and feel confident behind the wheel? Then, why not become a delivery driver? You will only have to transport goods from one place to another, delivering anything from parcels and documents to food and furniture.

Best of all, this position has no work shortage since various industries require paid drivers, from the food and construction sector to personal transportation.

To thrive as a driver, you obviously need the right driving license (CDL for trucks), excellent driving and time management skills, and physical fitness and stamina, too! Depending on your exact position, you could be making between $15/hour to $24/hour.

3. Janitor

While it may not be glamorous work, working as a janitor is an excellent option for those looking to restart their careers. After all, it offers a decent and steady paycheck, all sorts of benefits, and, most importantly, a sense of purpose in your second life.

As a janitor, your main role is to keep spaces clean, well-maintained, and inviting. You’ll be taking care of various tasks like sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, and sometimes even minor repairs. The job can be pretty flexible, with opportunities to work in different settings like offices, schools, hospitals, or shopping centers. 

Some skills you might need to become a janitor include: attention to detail, as cleaning is all about the details, physical stamina, as the work can be very physically demanding, and time management to complete tasks in a set amount of time. 

As for the average salary, you should be able to make $15/hour easily.

4. Security Guard

If you dislike cleaning, you can always stand guard. We’re not kidding; even former felons can get jobs as security guards. In such a position, your main responsibility would be protecting people, property, and assets, and you can expect to work at various locations, including shopping centers, office buildings, events, and residential communities.

Your duties could include patrolling, monitoring security cameras, controlling access points, and responding to emergencies—it’s a job that helps keep people safe and secure. And for that, you’ll most likely get paid around $16–$17/hour.

Some skills you need to get started include: extreme vigilance to spot potential security risks or incidents, effective decision-making to respond to emergencies and handle difficult situations, and, again, physical fitness to respond to nearby threats.

5. Kitchen Staff

Those interested in cooking can get a job as kitchen staff, and hopefully, they’ll even become chefs and cooks themselves. The tasks are simple: help your superiors with meal preparations and delivery. Plus, you’ll likely have to organize plates before they go out.

The most popular kitchen staff positions include dishwashers and prep and line cooks, and depending on your skills and experience, you may qualify for some or all of them. Depending on the position, common duties include washing dishes, chopping and/or preparing some meal ingredients, and maintaining a clean and organized workspace.

Some skills that you will need are teamwork, as the kitchen is a busy place, and good organizational skills to keep everything running smoothly; time management is also necessary since, in the culinary world, being on time is everything.

Depending on where you are and what you do, you could earn $14 to $20/hour.

6. Auto Mechanic 

Second chance jobs for felons

A job as an auto mechanic could be the perfect felony-friendly job—it’s in-demand, offers steady working hours, and can be your stepping stone to opening your own car-repair business.

To succeed, you’ll have to learn how to diagnose, repair, and maintain vehicles and their various systems: engines, transmissions, brakes, electrical components, etc.

Though it may seem challenging at first, this job is incredibly rewarding, as you’ll help keep people safe by ensuring their vehicles operate properly.

And the best part is: you’ll be getting some actual greens for doing so! The average salary of a skilled auto mechanic is over $25/ hour.

7. Landscaper 

Do you have a green thumb? Many felons do! So, working as a landscaper would be another great option to make a positive shift in your life. Think about it: you’ll enjoy nature, use your creativity, and make around $15/hour.

As a landscaper, you will have to design and maintain gardens, parks, and lawns. So, you’ll probably have to learn a thing or two about planting, mowing, mulching, and installing features like walkways or ponds.

Plus, you will need a strong understanding of plants, soil, and landscape design. And, of course, you’ll have to use your communication skills to interact with clients.

8. Customer Service Representative 

While dealing with people’s issues daily may not seem glamorous, a job as a customer service representative can help you get past your troubled past. 

As a customer service rep, you will primarily have to assist customers by answering their questions, addressing their concerns, and providing them with product or service information. You’ll likely have to handle inquiries via phone, email, or chat.

Besides problem-solving and communication skills, you won’t need much more to succeed! And you can find a remote or in-person job in places such as retail stores\ and call centers. As for the paycheck, customer service representatives make over $17/hour.

9. Carpenter

Becoming a carpenter is a great career option for anyone with a criminal record. A job in this industry allows ex-cons to contribute to society and rebuild their lives.

But carpentry is a trade that demands certain skills. For instance, knowing how to work with materials like wood and being adept at using power tools is a must. And in-demand carpenters take this a step further and combine their technical expertise with creativity!

The best part is that finding a job in this field won’t be an issue, especially if you’re willing to do an apprenticeship to gain experience and learn the ropes! Once you get settled in your new role, you could be earning over $23/hour.

10. Construction Worker

More times than not, a criminal record won’t be an obstacle in the construction industry. Good construction workers are in-demand, so this is a great second-chance job that will reintegrate you into the workforce.

Yet, to thrive as a construction worker, you’ll need to work on your physical stamina and strength, as the position typically involves manual labor and lifting heavy objects.

Also, you’ll have to really adhere to all safety precautions (like wearing personal protective equipment at all times) to ensure you remain safe and avoid injuries. All this will allow you to earn a decent living since, on average, such workers make over $18/hour.

Wrapping Up!

Second chance jobs

There’s always hope for felons looking to start their new lives. Naturally, the first step is landing a second-chance job; any of the ones listed here are ideal for that goal. After all, these positions do not require applicants to have any special skills or diplomas, and they are all honest jobs that contribute to society and give people a sense of purpose.

That said, some employers are still reluctant to hire former criminals, but they often miss out on hard workers ready to redeem themselves. On the other hand, such employees must always remain honest with themselves and the hiring managers. Also, they should be ready to develop the skills needed to hold some of these jobs.

At the end of the day, everyone deserves a chance to turn their life around and fulfill their potential. So, push forward, stay positive, and never give up!