While being deemed a criminal felon may certainly pose a slew of problems while searching for job opportunities after release from prison, that does not go to say, under any means, that it is impossible for a criminal felon to find employment.
In fact, the range of positions available in the workforce that do not question whether or not an individual has a criminal felony record is fairly extensive and, as a general rule, unless an employer is given a direct reason to inquire about past criminal offenses, they usually will not do so.
Even if the question is asked, as long as the conviction occurred over five years ago, getting employed will often not cause any major hindrances unless the conviction has a direct connection to the job at hand or if it poses a reasonable risk. For example, former bank robbers and individuals convicted of fraud crimes will most likely not be hired in a bank, just like sex offenders will not be permitted to work around children.
With that said, if a recently released criminal felon has his or her mind set on a specific career, there will certainly be employment limitations. While the education of a felon will sometimes override such limitations in the best case scenarios, most felony convictions may prevent criminal felons from obtaining the following types of jobs:
As a licensed professional, such as a nurse, lawyer, teacher, taxi or bus driver, etc.; Jobs working around children, almost definitely if the crime committed was of a sexual nature or committed on a minor;
Jobs in the health field;
Jobs working in law enforcement;
Jobs working with firearms or other potentially dangerous devices;
Jobs working in establishments that have objects of significant value, like a bank or jewelry store.
While this is mainly a generalization, unless states or major corporations have specific job restrictions pertaining to felony convictions, ultimately an employer will be responsible for making the decision of whether or not to hire a former criminal felon. If the education of a felon is of particular use to a specific job, the possibilities available drastically increase.
Many State and Federal agencies, like the USPS, will also often look past a felony conviction, holding the education of a felon of higher value than the criminal history of the individual. Small business owners and businesses which hire "independent contractors," like construction workers, gardeners, painters, or other forms of general labor, regardless of the education of a felon, are also more apt to hire former convicts.
Furthermore, for a criminal felon who has spent a great deal of time in jail, it might actually have been possible for the education of a felon to be furthered, such that when the criminal felon leaves jail, his or her education will not impede him or her that much.