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Does The United States Navy Hire Felons in 2021? 

By Last update November 18, 2019
Does The United States Navy hire felons

The military can help you get your life back on track, so have you ever wondered: Does the United States Navy hire felons? They’re one of many branches in the US military and definitely worth a look.

If you’re interested in learning new skills, going overseas and committing to helping those in need, we can help you get a job at the US Navy with a felony. Together, we’ll look at and answer the following questions:

  • Does the US Navy hire people with misdemeanors?
  • How do I apply?
  • Does the United States Navy do background checks?
  • Will my felony disqualify me?

We know how tough it can be finding work because we’ve been in your shoes. Our team is almost totally comprised of ex-offenders and those who’ve worked closely with them. That’s why Relaunch Pad directly contacts companies to ask them if they hire former felons.

Come see what we put together about how to get hired at the US Navy with a conviction.

Does the United States Navy hire felons?

Does The United States Navy hire felons

Official company policy for hiring felons

Regrettably, we haven’t been able to contact the US Navy at this time. However, we did find their Equal Opportunity policy on their website. It states this, in part:

“Our workforce is our greatest resource. As the Secretary of the Navy, I am strongly committed to capitalizing on and retaining our exceptional talent, enhancing performance through improved training, and ensuring that assigned tasks and missions are accomplished with the highest ethical standards. All Department of the Navy (DON) employees must have the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field with equal opportunities.

It is the DON’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) throughout all of its personnel/employment programs, management practices, and civilian workforce decisions, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, appraisals, merit promotions, transfers, reassignments, training and career development, separations, benefits, and award and recognition programs.

The DON ensures that EEO protections are in place for all civilian employees and applicants against all forms of discrimination, regardless of their race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, genetic information (including family medical history), or disability. All DON employees are free to exercise their rights under the civil rights statutes. Reprisal for engagement in protected EEO activity will not be tolerated.”

What this statement means is that they offer the same opportunities across the board, but they don’t directly address people with criminal histories. They may not have an official policy for that.

Has the US Navy hired felons in the past?

The Navy has hired felons in the past, though it was on a case-by-case basis. We have this on firsthand information! So does the US Navy hire felons? Yep, but it is entirely dependent on your record. We’ll get into that below.

Does the US Navy hire people with misdemeanors?

Since they’ll work with ex-felons, there’s a good chance they’ll also hire people with misdemeanors.

Is the US Navy on the Ban the Box list?

They are not on the Ban the Box list, nor have they signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge. What exactly are these programs? Ban the Box is an initiative to remove the checkbox from applications asking if you’ve been convicted of a crime while the Fair Chance Business Pledge is a commitment by employers to focus on your skills and talents rather than your past mistakes. Both of these programs are in place to help those who’ve been incarcerated live a better life.

Does the US Navy have special programs for hiring felons?

No, they don’t offer any programs like these at this time.

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

Average likelihood of being hired with a felony

We give your odds of getting hired at the US Navy with a felony as average. It’s better than some, but worse than others, because some felonies will cut your chances. It is case-by-case, so you need to think about a few things. For one, do you have a waiver for your crime or can you get one? This will dramatically increase your odds of getting hired. For another, you need to have your gun rights. If you can’t get those back, you have no chance of getting on.

If you’re worried, our source said the Army or National Guard might be more lenient!

What are some entry-level jobs?

The entry-level rank in the Navy is Seaman Recruit. After basic training is completed, you are promoted to Seaman. A Seaman keeps the ship on its path and ensures its safety and security. They are also responsible for maintaining the log of the ship and documenting all activities.

On the civilian side of the US Navy, administrative positions are the main entry-level jobs. The duties include data entry and assisting recruiting officers and new recruits.

How to get hired at the US Navy with a felony

So you’re thinking the US Navy may be the way to go. Awesome! But how do you land the job? Well, if you’re looking to join as a military employee, it’s a simple as speaking with a US Navy recruiter. If you want to join as a civilian employee, however, there are some steps you’ll need to take. Don’t freak out. That’s what we’re here for!

The first thing the US Navy needs you to do is to submit a resume. They ask that this be as detailed as possible with your education, work experience and other job-related information.

This is what they suggest on their website:

  • Tailor your resume to the announcement: List your skills, abilities and qualifications that pertain to the job description.
  • Be descriptive: Let them know about:
    • The projects you have worked on
    • What your specific duties were and what you accomplished
    • What tools, software or equipment you used
  • List only recent training and awards: Include only training and awards received in the past five years. They also say not to attach any certificates, transcripts or awards unless specifically requested.
  • List certifications and licenses: Make mention of any licenses or certifications you possess. Don’t forget to identify the city and/or state of certification, name of the certifying organization, and expiration date.

If you need additional help with your resume, Relaunch Pad has you covered on that, too, with a resume guide to help former felons. You can also contact USAJOBS Help Center.

Once you’re happy with your resume, you’ll need to create a login and a USAJOBS profile. Now, you can search for job openings within the US Navy.

When you’ve made it to the interview process, the US Navy offers these words:

“Be prepared to summarize your background, articulate those experiences which make you the best candidate for the position, and respond to fact-finding questions.”

Does the US Navy do background checks?

Yes, our sources show that the US Navy will perform a background check during the hiring process.

Here’s what you need to know about background checks:

Some states won’t look at any convictions older than seven years:

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

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

Other states won’t look at any not guilty verdicts:

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

However, be aware that there are some states that will still see your entire record, including the not guilty cases:

  • 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

We did some digging to find the US Navy’s ratings. On, they have a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5. Of the more than 13,000 reviews, 78% would recommend them to their friends. Many say the benefits and leadership experience are great. Most of the reviews, however, complain of the long hours and being away from family.

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

Does the US Navy hire felons? In some cases, yes. Your record will have a big say in this. People with aggravated assault or other violent crimes will have the hardest time of all. In these cases, you’re unlikely to hold gun rights and that is a requirement for working here. Identity theft might also mean you can’t get hired at the US Navy.

Does the US Navy drug test?

Yes, our sources show that they will do a drug test during the hiring process.

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

Did you get a job at the US Navy with a felony? Tell us the details. Your story may be just what someone else in your shoes needs to hear.

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

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Leah Smith
Reentry Educator

Leah is a Reentry Educator with The Relaunch Pad. A recovering addict and mother of three, her two oldest adult children are dealing with their own addictions and problems, one being recently released from prison and the other is currently incarcerated. Her goal is to give hope to not only her own children, but to others in similar situations.