So you want to work for the government after your prison time? Well, that sounds good, but can you get a job as a felon in the government? Let’s take a look at this question.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:
- Can You Get a Government Job?
- Government Jobs Easier for Felons to Get
- Government Jobs More Difficult for Felons to Get
- Does the Type of Felony Make a Difference?
- Background Check?
- Have a Plan
Can You Get a Government Job?
Yes, you can get a government job. There is no law preventing you from applying for a position with the federal government.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPE) does not prevent you from applying for or being hired for government jobs.
In fact, there is a lot of evidence to the contrary. Many felons have been allowed to apply for and even successfully been hired for many types of jobs.
This doesn’t mean that you can get all government jobs. There are many that would be considered to be off limits. But you can work for the government.
Read on to understand more about this issue.
Government Jobs Easier for Felons to Get
When it comes to finding a government job, there are certain types of positions that will likely be easier to get.
Many lower level entry positions will be easier to find. These may be jobs that don’t involve working directly with the public.
These may include jobs working in a government warehouse, being a driver transporting goods for the government, some clerk positions, etc.
Basically, these are the types of jobs that don’t involve working around sensitive information or in areas that don’t involve security concerns.
There are a lot of these positions that frequently become available within the government.
The government has a number of agencies that have a wide variety of work available.
Some are facilities that utilize the services of different workers to carry out clerical or secretarial jobs. Some involve basic maintenance positions, cleaning, repairing, and generally caring for daily duties.
Of course, you will have to meet the qualifications for each of these positions. You will also be required to go through a suitability check along with a background check.
All federal positions require you to complete a, “suitability adjudication,” which means you must be evaluated as to the likelihood that you will carry out the duties of such a position with, “integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness.”
Government Jobs More Difficult for Felons to Get
There are some areas that will probably be more challenging to find a job with the government.
One of the main restrictions is on jobs that involve transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms. The Gun Control Act prohibits felons from owning or using firearms. Well, this applies to working a job that has these requirements.
Some others of these positions may involve having a particular type of professional license. Many types of licenses can be challenging for felons to get. There are typically strict requirements to obtain a license in many areas that involve more education and a license to practice in that area.
Some of these areas may be such professions as an engineer, plumber, electrician, or even in the medical field.
Those positions are typically ones that require access to sensitive information. Many of these require a security clearance. Not all federal jobs require a security clearance.
A position with a federal agency such as the FBI has very stringent requirements to qualify in any capacity.
Let’s take a quick look at factors listed by the FBI for those they will consider hiring.
You cannot be employed by the FBI if you have been convicted of a felony or have used drugs in a manner that goes against the Employment Drug Policy.
You must also pass a drug test administered by the FBI. Anyone who has defaulted on a federal student loan is not eligible for employment.
So, the FBI is not going to be a good place to apply.
Does the Type of Felony Make a Difference?
Yes, the type of felony does make a difference. There are specific statutes or laws that prohibit employment depending on the crime committed.
For example, certain federal laws, like those involving treason, have a lifetime ban on federal employment. Other federal laws prohibit federal employment for a certain number of years.
There are current restrictions related to national security positions due to the seriousness of crimes that violate national trust. Not being loyal to the U.S. carries a ban on employment with the federal government.
People convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes under federal or state law are prohibited from employment in any position requiring the individual: to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition.
Other serious felonies like those involving violence or sexual offenses will prohibit you from government employment.
Most positions in the federal government have a rather strict background check.
The types of background checks in the government look for felonies and other serious crimes in addition to arrests, misdemeanors, and other convictions. Mostly, the background check will look at your criminal record over the past seven years.
These are all important factors in any government position.
This is especially true for positions in sensitive areas of the federal government, such as the FBI.
A felony charge may still appear on a background check even if the charges were dropped, especially if fingerprints were taken. Many areas of the government, like the FBI use a fingerprint database when doing a background check.
Just having your fingerprints show up in a background check can raise a red flag and make it difficult to get a government position.
There are factors that will be considered for felons, however.
Federal agencies will typically consider such factors as your character and conduct. They will also evaluate potential conflicts between your criminal conduct and the specific job duties and interests of national security.
They will look at the nature, seriousness, and circumstance of your criminal offenses, how long it’s been since your conviction, and your rehabilitation or efforts.
Have a Plan
If you are interested in looking for a job with the government, it is essential to have a plan going forward.
When applying for a government position, the federal government adopts the Ban the Box initiative that does not include a question about your criminal history on the initial application. This type of question will not come up until later in the application process.
This will benefit you from the outset.
It can be challenging to get a job with the government. However, there are some steps you can follow to give yourself the best chance at success.
When you are thinking about applying for a government job, it would help to know exactly what they will find out when they run their check.
To get ready, you can run a background check on yourself. In fact, we recommend doing that to know what the government will discover. It helps to be prepared.
It is essential to be honest in reporting all information on applications. To not do so is itself a crime that could lead to your perhaps being incarcerated again.
Rehabilitation, such as going through a drug program for any drug offense, could make a difference.
Engaging in some volunteer work can help you re-establish your connection to the community.
References are always important. Someone who knows and trusts you can vouch for you on an application, which will make a difference.
Also, take time to have a current resume that documents your work history and your positive accomplishments after your release.
Many government agencies look at applications on a case-by-case basis. If you can show that there were mitigating factors that led to your felony conviction, this may help your chances.
If it was a one-time crime instead of a series of convictions, you will have a better chance of getting a government position.
It is essential that as you seek to live an honest lifestyle, that you follow the law and be honest in all information you provide to the government when you are applying for a job.
Not doing so will jeopardize your freedom and could result in going back to jail.
Don’t take that chance. You are not defined by your past mistakes but by how you respond to them. Make a good choice.
What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to work for the government with a felony? What was that like, and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.