Career Options

Although some careers are not open to people with some types of a criminal record, most are! Don’t depend upon hearsay to plan your future. Get the facts first.

A criminal history may affect job options when it comes to any job that requires a government-issued license, certificate, registration, or contract. Be sure to read the employment description in The Consequences of Conviction: Sanctions Beyond the Sentence Under Colorado Law so that you fully understand your options. The next section explains how to download the guide.

Consequences of Conviction Guide

Start by looking into the laws that relate to certain jobs. The Consequences of Conviction: Sanctions Beyond the Sentence Under Colorado Law covers almost all of the legal barriers from a criminal history, including barriers to employment. The Office of the Colorado State Public Defender publishes the guide. Click on the button below to get started. Scroll down to the Table of Contents. There’s an employment section on pages 12-15. Read through this for an overview. There’s also a list of jobs with employment-related statutes in the Appendix, which starts on page 51. This list is in alphabetical order. Scroll through the list to see if the career you’re considering is on this list. Keep in mind the guide was last updated in 2014, so any laws passed since then aren’t in the guide. The guide also doesn’t include internal hiring policies for agencies, so it’s not a complete list of every barrier. However, it’s the best place to start to learn more.

Colorado DORA and Professional Licenses

Many jobs require a professional license. In order to apply for a professional license, you must apply to a specific licensing board. These boards are under the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, called DORA. Click on the button below to go to the DORA website and a list of jobs they regulate.  Then click on Board Home for the home page and contact info for a specific licensing board.

You should contact the licensing board yourself to find out if you’re eligible to apply for a license. Don’t rely on rumor or a friend’s experience. When it comes to a criminal record, most boards look at applicants on a case-by-case basis. They’ll probably consider the offense, the length of time that has passed, and evidence of your rehabilitation. It’s much like how you would talk about your record during a job interview. We have help with that on here.

Depending upon your situation and the licensing board, you may be allowed to get a professional license. Start by reading through the application documents on the specific licensing board’s web page. Look through all of the documents that concern an application. For example, on the Office of Barber and Cosmetology web page, we found two links, one titled Licensure and the other titled Forms. If you click on Forms, you’ll find a document titled Felony Conviction & Monitoring Information. This document is what you use to explain your background to the licensing board.  You may also try emailing a specific licensing board with questions.

Keep in mind there’s a separate board for each type of professional license with different people on each board. Some boards will be open to you and may even recognize the value of your personal experience. Be sure to research a specific license before you invest any time or money into professional training.

Other Career Options

Take time to look through the Jobs and Education sections on for ideas on other career options. We list many training and educational opportunities. Depending upon where you live and your situation, you may find something that gets you excited about work. We’re also researching information for entrepreneurs for Check back for that, as well.