Finding a job as a felon can be a difficult task, but if you’re interested in a career as a trucker, you’ll find a surprising number of job opportunities available to you.
Not all truck companies hire felons, but many do.
Whether you’re a veteran in the field or just getting started, this guide will help you find and connect with trucking companies that hire felons.
Can You Get a CDL With a Felony?
Yes, you can. A criminal record will have no bearing on your ability to obtain a CDL license – unless it affects the status of your license (i.e. your license was suspended). In this case, you would not be able to obtain the CDL endorsement until the suspension has been lifted.
How to Become a Truck Driver If You’re a Felon
If you’re new to the trucking world, you’ll need to first obtain your CDL. As mentioned previously, your criminal record will have no effect on your ability to obtain this endorsement.
The first step is to enroll in a trucking school or take advantage of any CDL training opportunity.
If you’re opting for company-sponsored training, you’ll need to make sure that you choose a company that hires felons and that you’re 100% honest on your application. You’ll also need to makes sure that you include your work history for the past 10 years. Your driving record and, of course, your criminal record will also need to be disclosed.
Most training programs will include a mixture of classroom training and practical, on-the-road training. Make sure that you attend all classes and put in the extra effort to excel in your training.
At the end of the program, you’ll be required to pass the final exam, road test and skills test. Once you complete your training, you’ll obtain your CDL. At this point, you’re ready to start looking for a job. If you opted for company training, you may start working right away.
Getting your CDL is the easy part. Getting hired as a felon may prove to be a bigger challenge.
The age of your felony will have an effect on who hires you and how long it takes to get hired. Of course, your work history and your driving record will also play a big role in landing you a job.
One key important thing to remember here is that you have to be 100% upfront and honest about your conviction on your application. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is required to perform a thorough background check on all driver applicants. This will include a criminal background check. Even drivers who have never been convicted of a crime have been disqualified because they were dishonest on their application.
Having a felony on your record does put you at a disadvantage, but just because you have to reveal your conviction, it doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it. Instead, you want to focus on highlighting your positive attributes. These might include:
Having a DUI or DWI on your record can make it difficult to land a job – even with companies that hire ex-cons. The older the DUI or DWI is, the better your chances of being hired. Just bear in mind that if you have multiple DUI convictions, most companies will not hire you.
What About Misdemeanors and Traffic Violations?
If you were charged with reckless driving or any other crime while you were operating a commercial vehicle, you’ll have a very hard time finding a trucking company that will hire you.
That being said, misdemeanors can typically be overlooked by most trucking companies.
Finding a job will be a challenge (in today’s job market, everyone is having a hard time finding a job), but the trucker shortage in the U.S. does give you an advantage. Even if the first 10 companies turn you down, don’t give up. Remember that in some cases, hiring a felon is against company policy. That doesn’t mean you should give up on your search, but rather shift your efforts towards companies that will are open to hiring truckers with prior convictions.
The Best Trucking Companies that Hire Ex-Cons
Not sure which companies to apply with? Here’s a list of the best trucking companies that hire felons.
As you can see, there are many trucking companies that are willing to hire felons. And most of these companies have simple application processes that you can complete online.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re turned down by the first few companies you apply with. Remember, your attitude is your greatest asset, so be positive and dress to impress when going on interviews.
Be sure to highlight your positive attributes to downplay your conviction. Again, don’t lie about your qualifications or your criminal record, but do dote on your positive qualities and demonstrate the value that you can bring to the company. Do you have a squeaky clean driving record? Do you have a long and steady work history? These are important qualities that trucking companies are looking for. And if you do have experience in the field, that will be a major asset as well.