Is a Criminal Record a Roadblock to a Great Career?

Everyone makes mistakes. But one person’s mistake might cost them a great deal more than another’s.

Millions of people throughout the United States make mistakes that result in them having a criminal record. The lack of a criminal record does not mean that someone never broke the law; it simply means that authorities could not prove that they broke the law or they simply didn’t get caught. But for those unfairly accused or those who got caught in a moment of weakness, the resultant criminal record can follow you around and negatively impact you for the rest of your life.

In many cases, a criminal record can eliminate you from certain job opportunities. This creates additional obstacles for anyone working hard to get their life back on track.

Fortunately, some employers do offer jobs for felons who are looking to get back to work. Below is a short guide for those seeking jobs for someone with a criminal record.

Criminal Record Discrimination

First, there are certain scenarios where you can avoid disclosing your criminal record on a job application. As of 2021, federal agencies and contractors are prohibited from asking about your criminal history until after a conditional offer has been made. This is because the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as barring employers from discriminating against someone based on their criminal history unless there is a justifiable business reason. However, federal law does disqualify individuals with certain convictions from employment in the banking and transportation sector, as well as a variety of state-licensed jobs in the healthcare and education industries.

Individual states implement their own rules for the use of someone’s criminal history during employment decisions. In New Mexico, private and public employers are prohibited from asking about someone’s criminal history on an initial job application. Public employers can only consider someone’s criminal history once the applicant is a finalist in the hiring process. Private employers can consider a person’s criminal history after they review the initial application.

New Mexico allows public employers and licensing agencies to deny a job or license based on a conviction, but only if the conviction relates directly to the desired job or license. Additionally, agencies and licensing boards cannot consider non-convictions or convictions that were sealed, expunged, dismissed, or pardoned. Nor can they consider juvenile adjudications or convictions for crimes that are “not recent enough and sufficiently job-related to be predictive of performance in the position sought, given the position’s duties and responsibilities.”

Are There Any Jobs for Someone with a Criminal Record?

While finding jobs for someone with a criminal record is a difficult task, felony-friendly jobs do exist throughout New Mexico. We have provided a guide outlining the jobs that hire felons within the state. This second chance employers list is non-exhaustive.

New Mexico Careers and Their Average Salaries

Truck Driver

Plumber

Marketing Specialist

HVAC Technician

Oil Rig/Field Worker

Welder

Wind Energy Technician

Computer Network Support Specialist

Electrician

Help Desk Support

Writer

Substance Abuse Counselor

Digital Marketing Analyst

Sales Representative

Web Developer

Video Game Designer

Software Engineer

Average Salary: $41,310

A truck driver in New Mexico makes about $41,310 per year, on average. Countless retailers and manufacturers rely on trucks to transport goods and materials across the United States, making truck drivers highly sought after. To legally drive a truck, you need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). A Class A CDL program lasts about seven weeks, while a Class B CDL program lasts about one week. Additionally, a truck driver needs to know how to connect and disconnect their trailer along with basic vehicle repair skills. Truck drivers do not need a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree to get hired. 

Many truck drivers work long hours and spend a lot of time on the road. However, drivers are bound by strict federal regulations that limit the number of hours you can drive in a single day.

Average Salary $42,870

In New Mexico, a plumber makes an average of about $42,870 a year. As most people know, plumbers install, maintain, and repair the pipes that run through homes, businesses, and underground. Plumbers need to know building regulations and codes for the state where they choose to operate. Some plumbers perform residential plumbing work, which is what most people think of when they hear of a plumber. However, many plumbers work alongside construction crews to assist with the installation of pipes and water lines. 

Plumbers typically complete a plumbing trade school for one to two years or obtain an associate’s degree before they can secure an apprenticeship. A plumbing apprenticeship usually lasts between four and five years. You will become a licensed journeyman plumber upon successful completion of the apprenticeship.

Average Salary $44,736

A marketing specialist in New Mexico makes an average of $44,736 per year. Marketing specialists implement marketing campaigns to promote their products or brand. A marking specialist is responsible for things like researching their target audience, gathering data from campaign results, and managing social media accounts. Marketing specialists usually collaborate with several people to come up with the best marketing ideas and promotional materials. Additionally, they often maintain relationships with brand representatives and clients. 

Many marketing specialists hold bachelor’s degrees in journalism, communications, marketing, or other related fields.

Average Salary $44,860

The average HVAC technician in New Mexico makes about $44,860 a year. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair air conditioners, heaters, and ventilation systems. These systems control the temperature and air quality inside homes, businesses, and other facilities. Some HVAC technicians specialize in one specific area, like air conditioning. HVAC technicians need to comply with government regulations and local HVAC codes concerning the handling, conservation, recycling, recovery, and disposal of refrigerants and other fluids. 

Most HVAC technicians complete a trade or vocational school to begin their careers. HVAC educational programs typically last at least two years. Almost every state in the U.S. requires HVAC technicians to maintain a license and certification to practice as a professional.

Average Salary $47,063

On average, a New Mexico oil field worker makes about $47,063 a year. Oil rig workers assist with oil and gas drilling and extraction operations. This type of work typically involves manual labor during the setup and maintenance of an oil rig and when transporting materials from place to place. Oil rig workers often work in groups rather than individually. Most oil field jobs do not require a college degree. Oil field workers typically work extended hours, ranging from 10 to 12 hours per day, seven days a week. Due to these extreme requirements, many oil field workers stay at a job site for some time then return home.

Average Salary $46,530

A welder in New Mexico makes approximately $46,530 per year on average. Welders are tradespeople like electricians and plumbers. A welder uses a combination of heat and gas to join pieces of metal together and to fill or repair holes on metal construction projects. Many welders work in construction, while some work underwater repairing oil rigs and ships. There are several different methods of welding. No matter what method is used, welders deal with the risk of intense, blinding heat that can permanently damage their eyes and their skin. Several educational options exist for people wanting to learn to weld. Some welders complete an apprenticeship under a professional welder. There is also a welding certification program that lasts from 6 to 18 months. Alternatively, bachelor’s degree programs and associate’s degree programs in welding are available.

Average Salary $46,470

The average salary for wind turbine service technicians in New Mexico is approximately $46,740 per year. Wind turbines have popped up all across the country as a way to generate wind energy. Wind turbine technicians are responsible for servicing and maintaining wind turbines to ensure they do not malfunction or stop spinning. These technicians perform routine inspections, troubleshoot any problems with the turbine, and repair the turbines that are not functioning properly. This job is not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. Wind energy service technicians climb up to the top of wind turbines to inspect the parts and make repairs.

Average Salary $47,507

In New Mexico, a computer network support specialist makes $47,507 a year, on average. A computer network support specialist helps install various applications on computers and ensures any connectivity issues are resolved promptly. Many computer network support specialist opportunities will require an associate’s degree.

Average Salary $48,900

The average salary for an electrician in New Mexico is around $48,900 per year. As most people know, electricians design, install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring systems. Electricians often work in homes, office buildings, industrial locations, or on an individual piece of equipment. Electricians are essential to life as we know it. Many electricians receive training at a trade or vocational school and then complete an electrical apprenticeship prior to starting their career. 

Many electricians work on construction sites with several other tradesmen. In this scenario, the electrician needs to work collaboratively with the group to ensure the electrical portion is completed correctly. 

Average Salary $49,981

A help desk support specialist makes, on average, about $49,981 in New Mexico. Many businesses and agencies hire help desk support specialists to assist with everyday tasks like answering phones, responding to chat requests, and locating solutions for various problems. Some help desk support positions might require an associate’s degree, while others will not.

Average Salary $50,008

On average, a New Mexico writer makes about $50,008 a year. A writer can complete their work in a number of ways, such as by completing:

  • Books,
  • Plays,
  • Poetry,
  • Screenplays,
  • Essays, or
  • Letters.

Writers can focus on nearly any subject matter for their writing. While there is no requirement that writers have a college education, many writers have an educational background in writing or journalism.

Average Salary $51,050

A New Mexico substance abuse counselor makes, on average, approximately $51,050 per year. A substance abuse counselor evaluates and counsels individuals suffering from substance abuse issues. That typically involves scheduling regular sessions to track patient progress and giving treatment advice. Substance abuse counselors can specialize in certain areas, like addiction recovery or juvenile substance abuse. You need at least a bachelor’s degree to get a job as a substance abuse counselor. Additionally, you must meet standards for the Chemical Dependency Counselor Certification Board or another appropriate certification.

Average Salary $53,256

The average digital marketing analyst in New Mexico makes, on average, about $53,256 a year. A digital marketing analyst helps develop and implement marketing strategies to attract customers and promote a business. This is done by analyzing online statistics and identifying areas of improvement for online marketing. Typically, you need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for a job as a digital marketing analyst. Additionally, a marketing analyst needs a deep-rooted understanding of popular social media applications like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Social media often gives companies the largest audience for advertising their products.

Average Salary $53,750

On average, a New Mexico sales representative makes an average of $53,750 per year. A sales representative can appear in almost any work industry. A sales representative showcases and sells products to businesses, organizations, and government agencies instead of directly to consumers. Sales representatives need a detailed understanding of the product or products they advertise and the ability to convince others to buy the product or products. Additionally, many sales representatives are required to attend conferences and trade shows to find more clients. The sales industry requires solid communication skills and customer service skills to succeed.

Average Salary $58,960

The average salary for a web developer in New Mexico is approximately $58,960 per year. In simple terms, a web developer builds and maintains web pages. Website development has several moving parts. Client-side scripting refers to code that executes in a web browser and determines what customers see when they visit a website. Server-side scripting involves code that executes on a web server and powers the behind-the-scenes operations of the web page. Database technology helps keep websites running smoothly and efficiently. In a large-scale project, developers will work on the tasks separately, requiring collaboration among the developers. Web development requires extensive knowledge of programming and coding languages HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The education track for a web developer can range from a 12-week bootcamp to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Average Salary $76,890

A video game designer in New Mexico makes an average salary of approximately $76,890 a year. Video games exist on many different platforms, from computers to mobile devices. Developers create video games using millions of lines of code that develop each aspect of the game, bringing the content to life. The average video game needs:

  • Storylines and objectives;
  • Characters;
  • Maps;
  • Settings; and
  • Ways to win or lose the game.

Game developers are responsible for creating computer software necessary to make the video game functional for users. Many video games take thousands of hours to develop and require several developers to complete the final product. That means a video game developer should prepare to work in a group-like setting and communicate with members of their team when necessary.

Average Salary $80,900

On average, a software engineer in New Mexico makes approximately $80,900 per year. Software engineers typically perform tasks like programming, developing software and operating systems, and applying engineering principles to software creation. Software engineers develop things like computer games, business applications, and network control systems. A software engineer needs a thorough understanding of computer system software, computer applications, and operations systems. The constant evolution of computers and technology makes software engineers highly sought after. A typical software engineer possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering and engages in career-long training opportunities that provide additional skills.

Truck Driver

Average Salary: $41,310

A truck driver in New Mexico makes about $41,310 per year, on average. Countless retailers and manufacturers rely on trucks to transport goods and materials across the United States, making truck drivers highly sought after. To legally drive a truck, you need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). A Class A CDL program lasts about seven weeks, while a Class B CDL program lasts about one week. Additionally, a truck driver needs to know how to connect and disconnect their trailer along with basic vehicle repair skills. Truck drivers do not need a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree to get hired. 

Many truck drivers work long hours and spend a lot of time on the road. However, drivers are bound by strict federal regulations that limit the number of hours you can drive in a single day.

Plumber

Average Salary $42,870

In New Mexico, a plumber makes an average of about $42,870 a year. As most people know, plumbers install, maintain, and repair the pipes that run through homes, businesses, and underground. Plumbers need to know building regulations and codes for the state where they choose to operate. Some plumbers perform residential plumbing work, which is what most people think of when they hear of a plumber. However, many plumbers work alongside construction crews to assist with the installation of pipes and water lines. 

Plumbers typically complete a plumbing trade school for one to two years or obtain an associate’s degree before they can secure an apprenticeship. A plumbing apprenticeship usually lasts between four and five years. You will become a licensed journeyman plumber upon successful completion of the apprenticeship.

Marketing Specialist

Average Salary $44,736

A marketing specialist in New Mexico makes an average of $44,736 per year. Marketing specialists implement marketing campaigns to promote their products or brand. A marking specialist is responsible for things like researching their target audience, gathering data from campaign results, and managing social media accounts. Marketing specialists usually collaborate with several people to come up with the best marketing ideas and promotional materials. Additionally, they often maintain relationships with brand representatives and clients. 

Many marketing specialists hold bachelor’s degrees in journalism, communications, marketing, or other related fields.

HVAC Technician

Average Salary $44,860

The average HVAC technician in New Mexico makes about $44,860 a year. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair air conditioners, heaters, and ventilation systems. These systems control the temperature and air quality inside homes, businesses, and other facilities. Some HVAC technicians specialize in one specific area, like air conditioning. HVAC technicians need to comply with government regulations and local HVAC codes concerning the handling, conservation, recycling, recovery, and disposal of refrigerants and other fluids. 

Most HVAC technicians complete a trade or vocational school to begin their careers. HVAC educational programs typically last at least two years. Almost every state in the U.S. requires HVAC technicians to maintain a license and certification to practice as a professional.

Oil Rig/Field Worker

Average Salary $47,063

On average, a New Mexico oil field worker makes about $47,063 a year. Oil rig workers assist with oil and gas drilling and extraction operations. This type of work typically involves manual labor during the setup and maintenance of an oil rig and when transporting materials from place to place. Oil rig workers often work in groups rather than individually. Most oil field jobs do not require a college degree. Oil field workers typically work extended hours, ranging from 10 to 12 hours per day, seven days a week. Due to these extreme requirements, many oil field workers stay at a job site for some time then return home.

Welder

Average Salary $46,530

A welder in New Mexico makes approximately $46,530 per year on average. Welders are tradespeople like electricians and plumbers. A welder uses a combination of heat and gas to join pieces of metal together and to fill or repair holes on metal construction projects. Many welders work in construction, while some work underwater repairing oil rigs and ships. There are several different methods of welding. No matter what method is used, welders deal with the risk of intense, blinding heat that can permanently damage their eyes and their skin. Several educational options exist for people wanting to learn to weld. Some welders complete an apprenticeship under a professional welder. There is also a welding certification program that lasts from 6 to 18 months. Alternatively, bachelor’s degree programs and associate’s degree programs in welding are available.

Wind Energy Technician

Average Salary $46,470

The average salary for wind turbine service technicians in New Mexico is approximately $46,740 per year. Wind turbines have popped up all across the country as a way to generate wind energy. Wind turbine technicians are responsible for servicing and maintaining wind turbines to ensure they do not malfunction or stop spinning. These technicians perform routine inspections, troubleshoot any problems with the turbine, and repair the turbines that are not functioning properly. This job is not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. Wind energy service technicians climb up to the top of wind turbines to inspect the parts and make repairs.

Computer Network Support Specialist

Average Salary $47,507

In New Mexico, a computer network support specialist makes $47,507 a year, on average. A computer network support specialist helps install various applications on computers and ensures any connectivity issues are resolved promptly. Many computer network support specialist opportunities will require an associate’s degree.

Electrician

Average Salary $48,900

The average salary for an electrician in New Mexico is around $48,900 per year. As most people know, electricians design, install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring systems. Electricians often work in homes, office buildings, industrial locations, or on an individual piece of equipment. Electricians are essential to life as we know it. Many electricians receive training at a trade or vocational school and then complete an electrical apprenticeship prior to starting their career. 

Many electricians work on construction sites with several other tradesmen. In this scenario, the electrician needs to work collaboratively with the group to ensure the electrical portion is completed correctly. 

Help Desk Support

Average Salary $49,981

A help desk support specialist makes, on average, about $49,981 in New Mexico. Many businesses and agencies hire help desk support specialists to assist with everyday tasks like answering phones, responding to chat requests, and locating solutions for various problems. Some help desk support positions might require an associate’s degree, while others will not.

Writer

Average Salary $50,008

On average, a New Mexico writer makes about $50,008 a year. A writer can complete their work in a number of ways, such as by completing:

  • Books,
  • Plays,
  • Poetry,
  • Screenplays,
  • Essays, or
  • Letters.

Writers can focus on nearly any subject matter for their writing. While there is no requirement that writers have a college education, many writers have an educational background in writing or journalism.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Average Salary $51,050

A New Mexico substance abuse counselor makes, on average, approximately $51,050 per year. A substance abuse counselor evaluates and counsels individuals suffering from substance abuse issues. That typically involves scheduling regular sessions to track patient progress and giving treatment advice. Substance abuse counselors can specialize in certain areas, like addiction recovery or juvenile substance abuse. You need at least a bachelor’s degree to get a job as a substance abuse counselor. Additionally, you must meet standards for the Chemical Dependency Counselor Certification Board or another appropriate certification.

Digital Marketing Analyst

Average Salary $53,256

The average digital marketing analyst in New Mexico makes, on average, about $53,256 a year. A digital marketing analyst helps develop and implement marketing strategies to attract customers and promote a business. This is done by analyzing online statistics and identifying areas of improvement for online marketing. Typically, you need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for a job as a digital marketing analyst. Additionally, a marketing analyst needs a deep-rooted understanding of popular social media applications like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Social media often gives companies the largest audience for advertising their products.

Sales Representative

Average Salary $53,750

On average, a New Mexico sales representative makes an average of $53,750 per year. A sales representative can appear in almost any work industry. A sales representative showcases and sells products to businesses, organizations, and government agencies instead of directly to consumers. Sales representatives need a detailed understanding of the product or products they advertise and the ability to convince others to buy the product or products. Additionally, many sales representatives are required to attend conferences and trade shows to find more clients. The sales industry requires solid communication skills and customer service skills to succeed.

Web Developer

Average Salary $58,960

The average salary for a web developer in New Mexico is approximately $58,960 per year. In simple terms, a web developer builds and maintains web pages. Website development has several moving parts. Client-side scripting refers to code that executes in a web browser and determines what customers see when they visit a website. Server-side scripting involves code that executes on a web server and powers the behind-the-scenes operations of the web page. Database technology helps keep websites running smoothly and efficiently. In a large-scale project, developers will work on the tasks separately, requiring collaboration among the developers. Web development requires extensive knowledge of programming and coding languages HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The education track for a web developer can range from a 12-week bootcamp to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Video Game Designer

Average Salary $76,890

A video game designer in New Mexico makes an average salary of approximately $76,890 a year. Video games exist on many different platforms, from computers to mobile devices. Developers create video games using millions of lines of code that develop each aspect of the game, bringing the content to life. The average video game needs:

  • Storylines and objectives;
  • Characters;
  • Maps;
  • Settings; and
  • Ways to win or lose the game.

Game developers are responsible for creating computer software necessary to make the video game functional for users. Many video games take thousands of hours to develop and require several developers to complete the final product. That means a video game developer should prepare to work in a group-like setting and communicate with members of their team when necessary.

Software Engineer

Average Salary $80,900

On average, a software engineer in New Mexico makes approximately $80,900 per year. Software engineers typically perform tasks like programming, developing software and operating systems, and applying engineering principles to software creation. Software engineers develop things like computer games, business applications, and network control systems. A software engineer needs a thorough understanding of computer system software, computer applications, and operations systems. The constant evolution of computers and technology makes software engineers highly sought after. A typical software engineer possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering and engages in career-long training opportunities that provide additional skills.

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Advancing Your Career

In many jobs that hire felons, you will start at an entry-level position, even if you possess more skills or qualifications than necessary. That does not mean you will stay in an entry-level position forever. A few ways to enhance your chances of getting promoted include:

Promotional opportunities will result in more money on your paycheck, which is never a bad thing. Remember that the way you carry yourself at work plays a role in whether or not you get promoted, even in jobs for people with criminal records.

Careers for Felons to Avoid

Unfortunately, felon-friendly jobs do not exist in every industry. Most industries where lots of children are present, like education and childcare, do not offer jobs for felons. Felony-friendly jobs are also uncommon in the medical field. Jobs in the finance industry typically require a certain level of ethical standards. Thus, if you were convicted of a “crime of dishonesty” like fraud or embezzlement, you will likely not qualify for a job in this industry. Some licensing boards also refuse to issue licenses to people with a felony conviction.

Expungement

An expungement allows an offender to clear their criminal record of eligible entries so that members of the public can no longer access it. To obtain an expungement in New Mexico, you must comply with a list of qualifications, including satisfying the applicable waiting period and completing the conditions of your sentence. Additionally, the judge must find that “justice will be served” by granting your expungement.

New Mexico defines expungement as “. . .the removal from access to the general public of a notation of an arrest, complaint, indictment, information, plea of guilty, conviction, acquittal, dismissal, or discharge record, including a record posted on a publicly accessible court, corrections, or law enforcement internet website. . .”

New Mexico bars expunging convictions for the following crimes:

The state considers these crimes especially serious and instructive on that person’s criminal tendencies.

Resources and Organizations to Help

You can find information on your own criminal record and locate some of the documents needed to obtain an expungement through a variety of online resources.

The New Mexico court website allows users to look up cases online with its online system. This website gives access to the New Mexico Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, District Courts, Magistrate Courts, and Municipal Courts. The District and Magistrate Court information is updated daily. This website can give you the date of your conviction and the statute you were charged with.

You can get a copy of your background check from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. You can also obtain a copy of your arrest record information. To secure your arrest record information, you must fill out an Authorization for Release of Information Form, have it notarized, and send it to the Department of Public Safety with a $15.00 check per arrest record you are requesting.

Upon request, the FBI provides an Identity History Summary, often referred to as a criminal history or a “rap sheet.” The Summary lists information taken from fingerprint submissions related to arrests and, in some cases, federal employment, naturalization, or military service. While you cannot use an Identity History Summary for employment or licensing purposes, you can use it to review, correct, or update your own personal record.

Recordclearing.org offers information about each state’s expungement process. Additionally, it provides a list of highly-recommended attorneys that specialize in expungements, record clearing, and record sealing. The website lists attorneys by the state they practice in. The website also includes recent updates to expungement and record sealing laws across the United States.

Justia.com offers a basic overview of each state’s expungement and record sealing laws, in addition to the forms required throughout the process.

No matter what happened in your past, there are still opportunities waiting for you in the future. While a criminal record can bar you from certain positions, there are still hundreds of job opportunities out there for you. So don’t give up hope. Do your homework and make an informed decision on how to move forward with what awaits you in life.