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Does the United States National Guard Hire Felons in 2021?

By Last update December 5, 2019
does the United States National Guard hire felons

Have you ever thought of serving your country? Then you might want to know: Does the United States National Guard hire felons?

Relaunch Pad asks employers directly for their policy on hiring former felons. We also research questions like:

  • How does the United States National guard do background checks?
  • What is their recruitment process like?
  • Does the United States National Guard hire people with misdemeanors?

What’s more, we give you some great interview tips to help you land a job with a criminal history. We want to contribute to your success since many of us have been in your shoes! We know firsthand how hard it can be for ex-offenders to find work.

Does the United States National Guard hire felons?

does the United States National Guard hire felons

Official company policy for hiring felons

We don’t have the official policy yet. There’s nothing on their website, but you could ask a recruiter when you apply.

Has the United States National Guard hired felons in the past?

Based on several online comments, we think they have.

Does the United States National Guard hire people with misdemeanors?

We don’t know for sure. However, there’s a better chance they will hire compared to those with a felony that’s more serious.

Is the United States National Guard on the Ban the Box list?

The United States National Guard isn’t on the Ban the Box list. Nor have they signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge. Here’s important information about these two programs:

  • Ban the Box employers don’t have a criminal record checkbox on their application forms. This means you can be sure that they look at your job skills and then your offenses.
  • Organizations take the Fair Chance Business Pledge to show that they give everyone the same chance. This includes applicants who’ve been criminally charged.

Does the United States National Guard have special programs for hiring felons?

No, they don’t.

What are the odds someone with a felony will get hired?

Average likelihood of being hired with a felony

We say your odds are average. This is based on the following:

  • We don’t know their official policy.
  • Online comments that you can get a job at the United States National Guard with a felony are mixed.
  • They haven’t signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge and they aren’t on the Ban the Box list.
  • Depending on your offenses, it’s possible to receive a felony waiver to increase your chances.
  • Does the United States National Guard hire felons through special programs? No.

What are some entry-level jobs?

To enlist with the United States National Guard, you must have a high school diploma. Once you finish the recruitment process and are accepted, you confirm your Guard job and pay. The pay rate is determined by your specific job, your education and rank.

Here are examples of some entry-level Guard positions that we found:

Infantryman — Soldier that provides “boots on the ground” during combat.

Cavalry Scout — Moves ahead of division to provide intelligence reports to their commanding officer.

Armor Crewman — Operates tanks and other vehicles.

All new recruits first go through 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training. This ensures that you’re in top physical and mental condition for the job. You get paid while you train.

How to get hired at the United States National Guard with a felony

Here are the first steps for how to get hired at the United States National Guard:

Get ready to make a good impression with a recruiter by following these tips:

  1. Take care of the details the day before by getting clothes ready, confirming where you’re going, arranging transportation and gathering any documents.
  2. Ask someone you trust to go with you if that helps calm your nerves.
  3. Practice explaining how you’re getting your life back on track after incarceration.
  4. Prepare the reasons why you want to join the United States National Guard.
  5. Review the Guard FAQs and have a few follow up questions ready.

Finally, the United States National Guard looks for certain qualities. Here are tips for how to demonstrate them:

  • Are you ready to take on the challenge of being a soldier? Say why and give examples of any other challenges you’ve dealt with — like doing time.
  • Do you have a drive to do your best? Tell them what motivates you and don’t be afraid to include how you want a good career after paying your debt for your crimes.
  • Is teamwork something you’re good at? Mention situations where you cooperated with others on the job, volunteered or even played pick up hockey.

Does the United States National Guard do background checks?

Yes, the United States National Guard does a thorough background check. After all, they’ll place quite a lot of trust in you. The country’s security depends on Guards who are disciplined, responsible and exercise good judgement.

Here’s what we know about how background checks are done across the United States:

Do you live in one of the following states? The good news is that they only check the last seven years for your criminal record.

  • California
  • Colorado*
  • Kansas*
  • Maryland*
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire*
  • New York*
  • Texas*
  • Washington*

(* sometimes certain pay or salary bracket positions require one.)

These states don’t want to know about not guilty verdicts:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana (limited check)
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York

This is a list of states that look at your full record, even if you’re found not guilty:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • DC
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana (extensive check)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Company ratings

On Glassdoor, 854 people rate the United States National Guard at 4.1 out of 5 stars. In addition, 81% say they’d refer a friend to work there. Reviewers like the employer for the following reasons:

  • Opportunity to serve your country.
  • Good pay and benefits.
  • Excellent job training and education benefits.
  • Great coworkers.
  • Development of personal skills and mental strength.

This is what people didn’t like about the United States National Guard:

  • Long hours.
  • Dangerous work.
  • Time away from family on deployment.

16,263 reviewers on Indeed gave them a higher score — 4.4 out of 5. People praised the United States National Guard for the pay and benefits, culture, job security, and advancement.

What felony convictions might have a hard time getting hired here?

Serious offenses will definitely cause difficulty when you meet a recruiter. For instance, do your felonies involve violence, weapons charges, arson, criminal harassment or drug trafficking? Guards are required to be self-disciplined, respect authority, take orders and work well on a team. Your life and the lives of your fellow soldiers depend on this.

Therefore, a criminal history that suggests you might have a problem in these areas will be flagged. Prepare to explain the circumstances related to your crimes and what you’ve done to turn your life around.

Keep in mind, felony convictions will impact your ability to carry a weapon, unless the crime has been expunged or set aside.

It may also be hard to get a job at the United States National Guard with a felony or misdemeanor for driving convictions. You might need to drive some pretty powerful vehicles, so expect to be asked about your driving record.

Does the United States National Guard drug test?

Yes, it’s widely reported that the military drug tests. You’ll be given one as part of the physical when you go through recruitment. Be aware that you’re also tested while on duty.

Have you applied for a job or worked here? Share your experiences!

We want to hear from you! The more you can tell us about your experiences, the better we can help your peers out.

If you’re not sure the National Guard is for you, try another branch:

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Sandy Bell-Murray
Reentry Educator

Sandy Bell-Murray worked for more than thirty years for the Ontario public service, mainly in adult and youth justice. She began as a Probation and Parole Officer, then became a policy analyst, program supervisor and manager. Currently, she delivers workshops focused on building personal resilience and managing stress. She is an active member of Toastmasters International.