What jobs are available and which ones most interest you? What are the education and skill requirements, working conditions, and potential salary, benefits, and advancement opportunities?

Much research can be done during your pre-release. You can visit your prison library for resources, talk to correctional staff members, and write letters to family members, friends, and potential employers. If you do nothing else while incarcerated, read, read, read, and write, write, write about alternative jobs.

Once you are released, your research options will increase dramatically. Now you can work with your probation officer (P.O.), who many have a list of local employers who regularly hire ex-offenders, and visit your local library, One-Stop Career Center, and several support groups that assist ex-offenders in transition.

You can use the Internet and interview people by phone, e-mail, and in face-to-face meetings. Use these resources frequently.

At your local or prison library, look for any of these useful books and directories that examine alternative jobs and careers. Many are relevant to the interests, skills, and educational backgrounds of ex-offenders: Check out these books, which may be available at your local library (or you can order from Impact Publications, our related website), to learn about various jobs/careers that are of interest to you and which you may be qualified for.

In addition, check at your local library the following resources: These describe jobs and include information on the occupational outlook over the next 10 years, education and training requirements, working conditions, positions, salary ranges, and advancement opportunities. The latter two can also be reviewed online at home or the library by clicking on the links.

The most recent surveys by the U.S. Department of Labor shows the following jobs to be among the fastest growing during the 2008-2018 period. (Please refer to the website ( for more details and education requirements.)
  1. Biomedical engineers
  2. Network systems and data communications analysts
  3. Home health aides
  4. Personal and home care aides
  5. Financial examiners
  6. Medical scientists (except epidemiologists)
  7. Physician assistants
  8. Skin care specialists
  9. Biochemists and biophysicists
  10. Athletic trainers
  11. Physical therapist aides
  12. Dental hygienists
  13. Veterinary technologists and technicians
  14. Dental assistants
  15. Computer software engineers, applications
  16. Medical assistants
  17. Physical therapist assistants
  18. Veterinarians
  19. Self-enrichment education teachers
  20. Compliance officers (except agriculture, construction, health and safety, and transportation

SOURCE: The original article was adapted from Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds, The Ex-Offender’s Job Hunting Guide (Manassas Park, VA: Impact Publications). Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. This version has been updated to reflect conditions in 2011.