8 High Paying Jobs For Female Felons

When you’re looking for high paying jobs for female felons, you don’t have to limit yourself to roles defined by traditional gender stereotypes.

Blue-collar manual work pays well, and employers are more interested in your abilities than your background. Another plus for manual work is the skills shortage in many of the trades, which means higher wages and consistent work.

Another great option for female felons is working for yourself as a freelancer.

8 High Paying Jobs For Female Felons 2024

High Paying Jobs For Female Felons

What jobs can a female felon get? Why not consider these 8 high paying jobs for female felons?

  • Construction Trades
  • Truck Driver
  • Sous Chef
  • Welding Technician
  • Freelancer
  • Horticultural Nursery Worker
  • Route Driver
  • HVAC Technician

Construction Trades

The construction industry is well known for offering second-chance employment, making it a source of high-paying jobs for female felons.

Around 1 million women work in the construction industry today. Yes, it’s still a male-dominated field, but initiatives to bring more women into the industry are underway.

If you don’t have a college degree, working in the trades is one of the highest-paying jobs you can get.

The best-paying jobs in construction include carpenter, plumber, ironworker, heavy equipment operator, electrician, pipe fitter, and boilermaker.

Average hourly wages (depending on experience) range from $24 – $28 per hour and go higher for more specialized skills.

While some construction trades require apprenticeships and licensing, other skills can be learned on the job.

Truck Driver

Truck Driver

The vast majority of truck drivers are men, but the percentage of women driving trucks is growing, with women now making up 8% of the workforce.

All trucking companies run pre-employment background checks, but many will hire felons on a case-by-case basis and are known for offering second-chance employment.

The average salary for truck drivers in the United States is $83,000 per year. On the low end of the income range, new drivers fresh out of CDL school make around $52,000. Drivers with experience and extra endorsements can make as much as $126,000 per year driving OTR.

OTR stands for Over The Road. OTR drivers transport loads long distances, typically staying on the road (sleeping in the truck) for 1 to 2 weeks at a time.

Endorsements are the certifications needed for more skilled trucking jobs, like transporting hazardous materials and driving tankers.

To get started as a truck driver, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED and a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get your CDL, you’ll need to attend a training program with a trucking school. Courses take from 3 to 6 weeks to complete and many trucking companies will cover your fees.

Sous Chef

Sous Chef

Restaurant and hotel kitchens continue to be reliable sources of jobs for female felons. If you enjoy cooking and like the idea of managing a team in a busy environment, then a career as a sous chef (second chef) could be the perfect choice for you.

The average salary for qualified sous chefs is $50,000 per year.

Most employers want candidates to have a Culinary Arts Degree and 3 years of experience working in a busy hotel or restaurant kitchen.

It’s also possible to become a sous chef without a degree if you’ve got experience, but pay rates are lower to begin with.

Read Also: Possible Free Degree for Female Felons.

Welding Technician

Welders are in high demand. By 2024, current estimates expect a shortfall of 300,000 skilled workers in the field. Numerous industries hire welders, with employers ranging from small auto repair shops and manufacturers to large aerospace companies and shipyards.

As a qualified welder, you’ll be able to find plenty of work despite your felony. Many prison training programs liaise with industry employers, so it’s clear that heavy industry will hire felons as welders.

Today women make up less than 8% of the welding workforce, but back in the World War 2 era, 25% of welders were women!

The average wage for welders varies across the country, and skill level and specialization determine how much a welder earns. Welders earn between $32,000 to $63,000 per year on average.



As a freelancer, your felony won’t be an issue. Freelancers aren’t employees, instead, they work for themselves and sell services to clients. Background checks aren’t part of the contract.

What type of work can you do as a freelancer? Anything you’ve got the skills for!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Website Design & Maintenance
  • Social Media Management
  • Video Editing
  • Copywriting
  • Personal Trainer
  • Graphic Design
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Bookkeeping & Accounts
  • Voice Over Artist
  • Character Animation

The amount you’ll earn as a freelancer depends on the services you offer. Check out freelancing platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, 99 Designs, Task Rabbit, and Guru for more ideas.

To get new skills you can sell, take courses on Udemy, or look for MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) which offer free training online.

Horticultural Nursery Worker

Working in horticulture and landscaping are good options for female felons. As a horticultural nursery worker, you’ll be responsible for growing plants and trees at commercial nurseries.

Duties include sowing seeds, taking cuttings for propagation, feeding, fertilizing, weeding, pruning, potting, and labeling.

The average salary for horticultural nursery workers ranges from $22,000 to $32,000 per year.

Having experience caring for plants will make you a more attractive candidate, but the necessary skills can be learned on the job.

Route Driver

Route driving involves delivering merchandise from warehouses to local businesses. Some route drivers fill vending machines at malls, stadiums, hospitals, and colleges.

You’ll drive a van or small truck and follow the route on your manifest, making your deliveries at the scheduled time. You’ll need a clean driver’s license and good organizational and communication skills.

Route driving is one of the easier jobs for female felons to get into because you don’t need any special skills or qualifications, and it’s less physically demanding than some of the other jobs on this list.

The average salary range for route drivers falls between $32,000 and $40,000 per year.

HVAC Technician

HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. To work as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a High School Diploma or GED and an HVAC certification.

It’s possible to complete an HVAC certification in 6 months to 1 year. Another route to becoming an HVAC technician is through an apprenticeship which includes certification.

According to Air Conditioning Contractors of America, 9% of HVAC techs are female and the industry is keen to attract more women to the field.

The average salary for HVAC techs is $58,000 per year and given the current shortfall of over 100,000 workers, your skills will be in high demand.

The Best Careers For Female Felons

The best careers for female felons are in fields where skills are more important than backgrounds and where skills shortages mean there’s a high demand for workers.

While these jobs are very hands-on, your career path can take you into supervisory and management positions which are less physically demanding.

Working for yourself as a freelancer is another option worth investigating. There’s plenty of work available and your felony will never be an issue.

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