Jobs You Can’t Get If You Have a Criminal Record

criminal record

Spending a night in jail is bad enough, but having a criminal record follow you around is arguably even worse. When getting a criminal record expunged is so difficult, many people will carry their past behind them forever. Most criminal convictions will make life harder for you going forward, but if you don’t face jail time or an unaffordable fine, the next worst punishment is how it affects your ability to work.

Criminal records are a summary of a person’s contacts with law enforcement agencies, local, state, and federal. The records only include arrests, convictions, sentences, parole violations, dismissals, and “not guilty” verdicts. These are public, so anyone, including a current or potential employer, can see them.

Because of their public nature, potential employers can and will run background checks as part of the hiring process. Many jobs will not hire ex-felons, depending on the crime and if they were found guilty. For this reason, if you want to work in any of these industries known for not hiring those with a criminal record, you should consider getting your record expunged.

How Long Does it Take to Get Your Criminal Record Expunged?

In Pennsylvania, getting a criminal record expunged means permanently removing information about past criminal charges from your record. You would not get any “not guilty” verdicts or dismissals expunged. Crimes eligible for expungement include 2nd and 3rd-degree misdemeanors that do not involve violence. The individual seeking the expungement must also have no other convictions in the last 10 years for 2nd-degree misdemeanors, and 7 years for 3rd-degree misdemeanors. Examples:

  • Larceny
  • Identify theft
  • Reckless endangerment
  • DUIs
  • Controlled substance possession
  • Drug paraphernalia possession

Once this time limit has been reached, you can send in a petition to the court, which they will review in up to 30 days. Then once the court approves it, the State police will clear your record within a few months. Altogether, this can take a minimum of 7 years and a few months.

Industries That Don’t Hire Individuals with Criminal Records

When considering whether or not expunging your record is worth the effort or legal hassle, consider what industries you are trained to work in. You will have to remain on good behavior for several years, but as soon as you can, you should petition for expungement if you want to work in any of these fields.

While there are always going to be some exceptions due to a potential hire’s experience, a potential employer’s need, or a lack of background checks, it is rare for these industries to hire ex-felons.

Medical Industry

If you do not already have your medical license, you can’t get it after becoming a felon. While you can reapply if you had one before your felony conviction, it’s difficult to be hired again. Nurses and clerks with felony records typically aren’t hired by medical practices.

Financial Industry

The financial industry pertains to a wide range of jobs and positions that don’t typically hire ex-felons. Jobs that fall under the financial industry include financial planner, financial analyst, actuary, securities trader, portfolio manager, and quantitative analyst.

Emergency Responders

Excluding volunteer work, emergency responders for hire do not hire ex-felons. These include first-aid providers, ambulance drivers, police officers, and firefighters.


Airline pilots, train conductors, locomotive engineers, and certain trucking roles cannot hire ex-felons. This can be due to cross-state travel restrictions for felons, and felons being restricted from handling certain materials or weapons.


Government departments will not hire ex-felons. Unlike what film and media would say, they do not hire those who break the law to catch other people doing the same thing.


Convicted felons are typically not allowed near minors of any age. While some crimes, such as DUIs, will not keep someone from teaching, these are considered rare exceptions.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at MVSK for Help

If you need to fight a criminal conviction or get your criminal record expunged, the criminal law attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam can help. Our law firm has years of experience in protecting the freedoms of people facing criminal charges in the Northeastern Pennsylvania area. Contact us today.

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