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Top Jobs and Careers for Female Felons

Editorial Team | On February 23, 2010

Updated on July 17, 2023

Exploring the Landscape: Opportunities for Female Felons

In recent years, the concept of second chances has gained significant traction, particularly concerning employment opportunities for female felons. Despite their past, these individuals still have valuable skills, abilities, and talents that employers can benefit from.

A common misconception is that having a criminal record means being automatically excluded from meaningful work. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal laws prevent job discrimination based on criminal records, unless the nature of the crime directly relates to the job in question.

This law opens up the possibility for female felons to find a wide range of jobs and embark on various career paths as they rebuild their lives. Astonishingly, the abilities they bring to these roles might provide unexpected value in many fields.


  1. Be Honest: Always be transparent about your past when seeking job opportunities. Most employers value honesty and integrity over a spotless record.
  2. Utilize Career Centers: Make use of career centers in your local community. They can offer resources and guidance on job opportunities for felons.
  3. Know Your Rights: Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding employment for felons can make finding and keeping a job much easier. One essential legislation to be familiar with is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to this Act, it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against potential or current employees based on personal traits such as race, religion, nationality, gender, sex, ethnicity, or national origin. Similarly, these rules help protect felons from unfair discrimination. It’s vital to be aware of what employers can and cannot ask about your criminal history, so you can ensure your rights are respected during the job application process.
  4. Seek Legal Assistance: If possible, consult with a lawyer to understand how you might expunge or seal your record, making the job search process easier.
  5. Network: Leverage your connections to learn about potential job opportunities. Someone you know might be able to provide a lead or a reference.

Best Careers for Female Felons: A Gateway to Success

When discussing the best careers for female felons, it’s essential to consider their skills, interests, and long-term goals. Notably, many felons possess unique skill sets honed during their time in correctional facilities, which can be utilized in various industries.

For instance, jobs in the trade and vocational sector such as electricians, plumbers, or beauticians offer opportunities for stable employment and advancement.

Alternatively, sectors like hospitality, retail, and customer service are known for being more lenient towards individuals with a criminal past, offering roles ranging from sales representatives to store managers.


  1. Identify Your Skills: Assess your skills and abilities to find job opportunities that match your experience.
  2. Seek Vocational Training: Vocational or trade schools offer practical training in fields like cosmetology, carpentry, or culinary arts that are often more accessible to felons.
  3. Pursue Customer Service: Retail and customer service roles often require people skills more than a clean criminal record.
  4. Explore the Food Industry: Restaurants, cafes, and bakeries often hire people based on skill and personality rather than their past.
  5. Consider Manual Labor: Jobs in landscaping, maintenance, or construction often offer opportunities for people with criminal records.

High Paying Jobs for Female Felons: Turning the Tides

While the journey may be challenging, female felons can secure high paying jobs that not only provide a comfortable life but also foster personal growth.

Technology is a promising sector offering high paying opportunities. Through coding boot camps and online courses, individuals can learn essential tech skills and secure jobs in software development, web design, or IT support.

Moreover, entrepreneurship is a route female felons may explore. Owning a business allows control over their employment status, with potential avenues including online retail, consulting services, or home-based businesses like baking or crafting.


  1. Embrace Technology: The tech industry is largely merit-based. Through training programs and certifications, you can secure high-paying jobs in areas like coding or cybersecurity.
  2. Consider Entrepreneurship: Starting a business allows you to be your own boss. Consider your skills and passions to identify a business idea that might work.
  3. Explore Freelancing: Online work in areas like writing, graphic design, or consulting can pay well and allows you to work on your terms.
  4. Get Certified: In fields like health care or real estate, getting certified can lead to well-paying jobs.
  5. Explore the Trades: Specialized trades such as electricians, plumbers, or HVAC technicians often pay well and require skills-based training, not clean criminal records.

What Jobs Can a Female Felon Get: Broadening the Horizon

Understanding what jobs a female felon can get is the first step towards successful reintegration into society. Beyond the sectors mentioned above, there are roles within organizations specifically designed to help felons transition back into the workforce.

Nonprofit organization, social enterprises, and certain corporations offer ‘fair chance’ or ‘second chance’ programs that provide job training and placement for individuals with criminal records. Roles in these organizations can range from administrative positions to outreach coordinators.


  1. Find ‘Fair Chance’ Employers: Many organizations commit to fair hiring practices and provide opportunities for individuals with a criminal past.
  2. Leverage Non-Profits: Non-profit organizations often provide job opportunities to those looking to reintegrate into society.
  3. Work on Communication Skills: Whatever job you seek, good communication skills can be a game-changer.
  4. Be Open to Learning: Show a willingness to learn new skills. This can open up more job opportunities.
  5. Stay Positive: Maintaining a positive outlook can motivate you during the job search and impress potential employers.

Careers Felons Can Pursue: From Convict to Contributing Citizen

Re-entering society as a felon can be intimidating, especially considering that reliable statistics report about 60 percent of those leaving prison are still unemployed a year later. However, various careers can make the transition smoother.

Industries with fewer barriers to entry are invaluable, as sectors like construction, manufacturing, and transportation often provide felons with stable income, potential growth, and relatively easy entry. The rise of remote work and the gig economy is a boon for female felons in particular.

Freelance writing, virtual assistance, and digital marketing are just a few viable options that offer both flexibility and discretion.

Thankfully, the current trend towards “second-chance hiring” continues to gain momentum, with multiple programs demonstrating promising results for this often-overlooked segment of the labor pool. Undoubtedly, the path to stable employment for felons is challenging but far from impossible.


  1. Construction Opportunities: The construction industry often provides stable employment for those with criminal records.
  2. Try Transportation: With the proper licensing, jobs in the transportation sector such as truck driving can be an option.
  3. Manufacturing Roles: The manufacturing sector often offers roles to individuals with a criminal past.
  4. Consider Remote Work: Remote work allows for greater flexibility and can open up opportunities in diverse fields.
  5. Freelance: Freelancing can provide control over your workload and schedule, and it spans across various fields like writing, programming, or marketing.

A Second Chance at Success

The path to reintegration may be steeped with obstacles, but as we’ve discussed, a wide array of jobs and careers are accessible for female felons.

The stigma associated with being a felon should not limit one’s potential to secure meaningful employment.

Employers are increasingly recognizing the value and potential of this overlooked talent pool, leading to a shift in perception and more inclusive hiring practices. Ultimately, with determination, resilience, and the right opportunities, female felons can redefine their lives and contribute positively to society.


The best advice starts first and foremost with helping you cultivate an attitude that’s primed for success.

Exude confidence

Personality and passion can often compensate for lack of solid work history and lack of specific skills. An employer can teach you how to perform the necessary functions of your job, but they can’t teach you passion for the work. You must bring that to anything you do and you must be confident in your abilities at all times.

Think positively

Stay in the right frame of mind: you have to believe it in order to achieve it. Stay positive and believe that you have the ability to go beyond your current situation. You’ll face rejection because that’s a normal part of the job search process. You’re not alone. Everyone experiences rejection. Some people sulk, while others brush it off and carry on.

Banish negativity

Don’t let negativity hold you back from success. Surround yourself with positive people and don’t let your environment make you or bring you down. If you allow naysayers to fill your head with pessimism, you’ll find it very difficult to succeed. Keep positive thoughts at the top of your mind as you look to achieve your goals.

Promote yourself

Sell yourself with enthusiasm and specific facts. Focus on all of the things you are good at and make sure you portray them to others. Create your own sales pitch. Practice, practice, practice! The more you do, the easier it will be to do it in front of prospective employers. Learn about how to create your pitch HERE.

Reinvent yourself

Create a new outlook on your life and your career. Figure out what it is you want to do and what you’re passionate about. Research and know all about it. The goal is to make potential employers see what it is that you want to be and not what you used to be.

Since attitude alone isn’t enough to overcome the barriers of a felony conviction, we’ve put together a list of organizations in select states that focus specifically on working with individuals to secure employment upon release. We have no affiliation with these organizations; these are only provided as resources for you to pursue independently. Since everyone’s circumstance is different, we suggest that you check with multiple outlets to determine which might be best suited to assist with your needs. If your state isn’t listed here, contact your local government to find out more information about programs and services available to you in your area.

REMEMBER: Women For Hire is rooting for your success!

Related article:

Job Offer Rescinded After Credit Check: What You Need to Know and What You Can Do

Check out other articles by best-selling authors:

Dawn Rasmussen – Top Five Questions About Resumes Answered

Sunny Lurie – Eight Proven Strategies to Open the Door to a Vibrant New Career

Stacia Pierce – How to Search for a Job During the Holidays

Dawn Quesnel- Helpful Hints for Job Seekers

Stacia Pierce – Conceit vs. Confidence