If you’re one of the 63% of formerly incarcerated people1 still looking for a job a year after being released — or you have some other blemish on your record you don’t want a future employer to know about — there are plenty of jobs that don’t require a background check.
Most no-background-check jobs range from entry-level positions to freelance jobs and independent contractor roles. If you’re looking for a job that doesn’t focus heavily on your past, but rather on your work ethic and employable skills, keep reading for:
- In-person jobs that don’t require a background check
- Online jobs that don’t require a background check
No background check jobs near me
Looking for no background check jobs local to you? While you may have a hard time finding positions in health care, education, law enforcement, and child care that don’t require a background check, there are employment opportunities in many other fields, including the restaurant industry, hospitality, and landscaping, just to name a few.
Note that each individual employer sets its own standards for obtaining background checks. Consult employer review sites like Glassdoor to find out if the company you’re applying for conducts background checks as part of its hiring process.
Even if they do, some employers may be willing to look past a spotty work history or past criminal offenses.
A spokesperson from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said having a criminal record may not automatically disqualify you from getting a job, especially if the conviction is not recent or related to the duties of the particular job.
All hourly wages in this post are based on average and high-end estimates reported by Ziprecruiter.2
Salary potential: $24 – $36 per hour
Whether you’re looking to work as a skilled trade worker or help direct traffic during road construction, some construction employers may not run a background check.
The qualifications for a construction job will depend on the specific type of role. You may need to attend trade school and obtain licenses and certifications to be allowed to work on certain projects.
Salary potential: $20 – $30 per hour
Various types of companies hire dispatchers — from bus companies to service companies. Dispatchers work in a fast-paced environment and are responsible for receiving calls, monitoring driver logs, and dispatching different team members to various locations during the workday.
You only need a high school diploma or GED to become a dispatcher for transportation. While it’s not required, having data entry experience, typing efficiently, knowing how to use different computer programs, being able to multitask, and having excellent communication skills are also preferred.
Salary potential: $15 – $21 per hour
Housekeepers can be employed in residential, commercial, and hotel settings. This job doesn’t require a degree or certification, but it helps to have experience with cleaning efficiently. Housekeepers are responsible for wiping down surfaces, dusting, mopping, deep cleaning, and even restocking toiletries and supplies.
Some companies may not require a background check, but if you choose to work independently, your clients may ask for one.
Reddit has several discussion about hotel housekeeping jobs and background checks:
Salary potential: $17 – $23 per hour
No matter where you live, there are opportunities in the landscaping industry. Landscapers are responsible for cleaning up lawns and taking care of small shrubs, edging, mulching, and even light tree trimming. Some landscaping jobs are seasonal, but you may still find opportunities for snow plowing and shoveling during the winter if you live in an area that gets snow.
To get started as a landscaper, you just need a high school diploma or GED. Companies will provide training to operate different lawn care tools and machinery.
While certifications are optional, over time, you may want to expand your skill set by becoming a Certified Lawn Care Technician. A certification through the National Association of Landscape Professionals3 includes advanced services like exterior landscape installation and irrigation, turf maintenance, and more.
This is what Reddit said about landscaping jobs with felony records:
Salary Potential: $21 – $31 per hour
Professional painting is a hands-on job that anyone can learn and pays well. If you’re looking to skip a background check, painting companies may consider hiring you based on experience or may even be willing to teach you on the job.
Some states require lead painters to be licensed, especially if working on commercial properties. However, there are assistant opportunities and smaller local painting companies that may not have these requirements. Painters should have a high school diploma or GED at minimum.
Salary Potential: $14 – $25 per hour
While some restaurants will require that you have previous serving experience, you may be able to find entry-level serving jobs or start as a host or staff member at a quick-service restaurant.
Servers earn the bulk of their income from tips, so your compensation will vary depending on the restaurant pricing. This is a role that will likely require you to work some evenings and weekends.
Salary Potential: $20 – $39 per hour
If you have experience cutting or styling hair, you can get a job at a local salon or barbershop. You will need to earn a professional license from your state if you expect to rent space to do hair in a salon. Look for a state-approved beauty or cosmetology school to enroll in a program. It may take a year or more to complete all of your licensing requirements and take a final exam.
For example, in Pennsylvania, you must complete between 1,200 and 2,000 hours of instruction to become a licensed cosmetologist or barber.4
Both roles may require some marketing effort to build a book of clients, but you can likely book clients based around your schedule.
Online jobs that don't require a background check
If you want the flexibility of working from home and you have a reliable computer and internet connection, these jobs might be a good fit:
Salary Potential: $23 – $44 per hour
Customer service is a popular industry that produces an average of 373,400 job openings each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.5 Many companies offer work-from-home customer service and customer support roles.
Background check requirements will vary by company, and you also don’t need a degree to get started. If the position is entry-level, you may only need a high school diploma to get a job.
Salary Potential: $22 – $33 per hour
A research assistant is a support role that involves various tasks such as fact-checking, proofreading, taking notes, conducting interviews, and fact-checking different types of data.
This is a common role in higher education, but several other professions rely on research assistants, including journalists, entrepreneurs, podcasters, and more.
Upwork is a great place to find and apply for paid research assistant gigs. Having a four-year degree can help you get hired but may not be required depending on the clients you target. It also helps to be organized, detail-oriented, and to be able to locate and cite relevant sources.
Salary Potential: $17 – $33 per hour
Transcription work involves listening to audio recordings and typing out the content. This job is perfect for those with good typing skills and attention to detail. Most pay by per assignment or by number of hours worked.
According to people who have worked as transcriptionists, there are plenty of transcription companies that don't require a background check.
One Reddit user recommends popular companies like Rev and Transcribe Me, which hire freelancers for transcription work.
You can improve your typing skills and practice transcribing different files on sites like Express Scribe, which offers free practice files to time yourself and track your accuracy.
Salary Potential: $29- $52 hour
If you have a passion for editing videos and an eye for detail, you can find work as a video editor either through freelance gigs or full-time employment. Video editing is something you can do from the comfort of your home so long as you have the right equipment and software.
At the bare minimum, you’ll need a computer, internet, and basic editing software such as iMovie if you have a Mac computer or Windows Video Editor if you have a PC. Most professional video editors use software like Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Final Cut Pro.
Video editors on Reddit also recommended the free version of Davinci Resolve:
You can find work by editing videos for YouTubers, small business owners, and even larger companies or departments in colleges or universities.
To take on basic video editing work, you may not need a degree, but it could help to attend some video editing classes either online or at your local college. Having a portfolio of previous work will also help you land gigs.
Why many companies require background checks
Background checks are a standard part of the hiring process for many companies, and employers use them to verify identity, look at criminal history, and review your past employment history.
A background check is a basic safety measure in most cases that helps companies feel more confident that they are hiring reliable and trustworthy employees who won’t pose a risk to the company or its customers.
According to the EEOC spokesperson, companies primarily require a background check to reduce theft and fraud.
She said other companies are also concerned about workplace violence, as well as their potential liability for negligent hiring if they fail to investigate an applicant’s background.
Some employers may also have to comply with federal, state, and local laws that prohibit individuals with certain offenses from working particular jobs.
How do you answer background check questions?
Most jobs will conduct a background check using a third-party system or and simply require that you consent to the process. That said, you may still need to answer questions about your background on the application form.
When asked about your educational, professional, and criminal history, the EEOC says it’s important to be honest about your situation. If you don’t have a degree or didn’t finish college, state this on your application since it could show up on your background check.
What causes a red flag on a background check?
Several things can cause a red flag on a background check. These include:
- Criminal convictions
- Outstanding warrants
- Bad credit
- Falsified education credentials
- Negative employment history
Employers may also consider factors such as substance abuse issues when making a hiring decision.
What fails you on a background check?
A background check doesn’t produce a pass/fall result. Instead, it reveals important information that an employer may want to know before they decide to hire you. That said, some employers may not want to hire someone who doesn’t have the credentials needed for the job or who has blemishes on their record.
These strikes against you could mean you “fail” the background check for that specific employer. An employer may reject you after a background check for:
- Criminal record
- Bad credit
- Falsified education credentials
- Negative or falsified employment history (like being fired from a previous job)
Can you omit a job on background check?
It's not advisable to omit a job on a background check. Employers conduct background checks to verify your work history and ensure that you have been honest about your past employment.
If you omit a job on a background check, it may raise questions about your honesty with your potential employment.
What do employers look for on a background check?
What employers look for in a background check varies based on the type of job and industry standards. In general, however, employers typically look for:
- Criminal history
- Credit score
- Employment history
- Education credentials
- Professional licenses
They may also consider other factors, such as social media profiles and reference checks, when making a hiring decision.
“I think the best way to describe your criminal background is to be brief about the offense and focus on what you have learned and the growth you’ve had on a personal level,” says Brianna Rooney, former tech recruiter, founding recruiter of Forbes.jobs, and founder of recruiting agency TalentPerch.
At the end of the day, each company reserves the right to weigh the findings of a background check when considering whether you’re the best candidate for a job.
Does Amazon do background checks?
According to current and former Amazon employees, background checks are typically performed as part of Amazon’s hiring process:
Bottom line: Getting a job with a background is possible
Jobs that don’t do background checks are harder to find, but they do exist. If you’re considering freelancing, starting a business, or picking up a trade, you may not even need to worry about background checks.
There are also job sites specifically for people with a past criminal record, like jailstojobs.org and jobsforhumanity.com.
If you are applying for a job that requires a background check, it’s always best to disclose any past convictions upfront, along with your employment and education history.
Rooney says you should aim to work at a company that accepts and is willing to mentor you if you have shown a commitment to bettering yourself.
“That's the first thing I tell people when I hire them,” Rooney says. “They won't be with my company forever, but no matter, I promise, they will leave a better version of themselves — and I keep that promise.”
Check out these other job posts:
- “Employment of Persons Released from Federal Prison in 2010. Bureau of Justice Statistics,” December 2021. Bureau of Justice Statistics. https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/eprfp10.pdf
- Ziprecruiter salary estimates. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/salaries
- “Certified Landscape Technician,” National Association of Landscape Professionals. https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/LP/Certification/exterior.aspx
- “Cosmetologist Pennsylvania Licensure Requirements,” PA Department of State. https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Cosmetology/Pages/Cosmetologist-Licensure-Requirements-Snapshot.aspx
- “Customer Service Representatives,” Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/customer-service-representatives.htm