Trade Schools for Felons

Looking for trade schools for felons? By definition, the trade school (which is often known as vocational school) is a place where the students get to learn skills needed for a specific job. The school usually doesn’t discriminate between people, including those who have spent their time in prison or have a probation or criminal history. After all, education should be available for everyone, regardless their race, status, gender, etc. Hence, the school provides a wide range of career possibilities, even for ex-felons.

That said, even though the educational programs and trainings offered in trade schools are typically available for felons as well, there’s still a possibility that you will face some career barriers after you graduate from the trade school.


Vocational Training for Felons

However, before you begin a training or educational program, you need to thoroughly research the policies for hiring and inquire about any potential barriers that exist to certification or licensing in the state where you plan to work.  This is extremely important because if you go to a trade school for a particular skill and get certified or get a degree, that doesn’t necessarily make you employable if your state prevents you from working in the industry due to your conviction.

What does this means? This means that once you’ve had a criminal history, your career option is limited. In some states, you will not be able to pursue a particular career even after you have the certification from the vocational school because of your criminal track record. For example, although you might be able to get certification in the justice field, you might find it impossible to find an employer that is willing to hire you.

In short, there are three basic classifications when it comes to education for felons. This include:

  1. Education programs that doesn’t need a background check
  2. Available education program where felon can enter, but the employment often requires background check
  3. Unavailable education program where felon cannot enter.

Therefore, the most important thing to consider before you apply to the vocational schools for felons is the career path you want to take.

In what department can a felon find a good career?

There are many community colleges that accept felons, but it is up to the felon to find the right one that offers a good chance of employment. Some of the programs often chosen by the felons are finance, economics and other business related programs. You may also want to consider getting certification in information technology field, such as web developer, systems technicians, computer support, etc. Math and social science programs are also open for felons. Last but not least, agricultural, language, and arts related fields are also popular choice for ex-felons. Note that there’s still many fields that are open for felons. The key here is to find a job where they don’t necessarily check your background.

Now choosing the right field might sound easy, but it may be harder that it looks. One thing I notice over the years is that people do good job when they like what they do. So I suggest that you try to look into yourself and try to find which programs that suit your preferences and also your ability.

It can also help to do a little research before you make your decision on the training or certification program you’ll be entering. Try to ask around (or even better, contact a company) and ask them if they would hire an ex-felon for the job. Alternatively you can also ask the staff in the trade schools and see their recommendation.

As a general rule of thumb (which doesn’t always true, actually), you may want to reconsider your plan in applying for some programs in the trade school. These programs include educational-related programs, law enforcement programs, and health science programs.  As we’ve said earlier, the rule doesn’t always apply so there may be some exceptions. For example, some health science employers may overlook your criminal history after a specific time has passed.

We’ve also mentioned that there may be some career that doesn’t do a background check initially, but they will do so during the certification process, right? Well, some of the career options that may include such system are business accounting, pharmacy technician, book keeping, and other social work.

Are there other options if I need a job immediately?

If you somehow cannot afford to attend a vocational school for felons, you still have other options. One that may help you get into a career fast is to get into an apprenticeship program. It appears that job opportunities in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the most popular choice of a career. Aside of the HVAC-related career, you may also get apprenticeship in fire service, handling hazardous material, and plumbing.

So, are you ready to choose your trade schools for felons?


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