Since there has been a truck driver shortage in the United States for several years now, there are now many trucking jobs for felons. These are known as “second chance” trucking companies. Felons who have trouble finding jobs elsewhere can often turn to truck driving as a viable option that pays well. It is a second chance to have great employment even with a criminal background.

In this article, we’ve compiled all of the trucking companies that offer these opportunities. Some trucking companies hire felons with no experience, and others may hire you even if you have a DUI on your record. We have also revealed information about truck driving schools that accept felons in case you need to know where to begin.

In This Article

What You Need to Know Before You Apply to Truck Driving Companies That Hire Felons

No matter where you decide to apply, be sure that you’re upfront and honest about any criminal background during the application process; otherwise, you could be disqualified if something shows up in a background check that you hadn’t previously disclosed. You’ll likely have better luck applying both to truck driving schools and getting hired by a trucking company if the felony occurred at least 5-10 years ago instead of more recently.

Different companies will also handle the actual ownership of the truck differently. Some companies own the physical truck, while others offer an owner-operator model, where the driver owns the truck and pays for maintenance. We’ve clarified whether the trucks for each business are company- or driver-owned in the bullet points.

Truck Driving Schools

To be a truck driver, you’ll need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), as regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can get this license at a private driving school or, with certain companies, earn it as part of your training.

There are a few felonies that will immediately disqualify you from earning a CDL at the federal level, including causing a fatality through negligent/reckless driving, misconduct with a motor vehicle, and operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher. Additional state laws may apply.

If your driving record is clean, many truck driving schools will be happy to accept you if you have a felony (assuming the charge does not bar you from getting a CDL) — because as a student, you are paying the school. There’s no guarantee, however, that it will be as easy to find a trucking company that’s willing to pay you.

A typical private truck driving school can cost between $3,000 to $5,000 for a standard course that leads to a Class A CDL. Because it can be so difficult to secure a job with a felony, even in a relatively felon-friendly industry like truck driving, if you’re interested in beginning a career in trucking, you may want to earn your CDL directly through a trucking company instead of a driving school. That way, you can be confident that you’ll have a way to pay for your tuition and you won’t be out a lot of time and money without anywhere to hire you.

If you’re worried about spending a lot of money on driving school only to end up without a job, you should know that some schools work closely with trucking companies in the area to offer job placement programs for their graduates. Schools don’t typically disclose the process for approving or denying students, so it’s a good idea to give the school a call and explain your situation to verify that they will accept someone in your position. Here are some resources to help you get started:

  • TruckSchoolsUSA offers a directory of truck driving schools in every state in the country.
  • SAGE is one of the biggest independent truck driving schools in the US, with 25 locations nationwide.
  • Second Chance Jobs For Felons provides an extensive directory of truck driving schools, organized by state. (Scroll towards the bottom of the page and look for “Find CDL Training & Truck Driving Schools in Your State.”)

Many truck driving schools are associated with smaller local community colleges or have only one or two locations, so try a quick Google search for “truck driving school near me” to see all of your options.

Trucking Companies That Hire Felons with No Experience

1. Averitt

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis. Drivers must not have had a DUI in past five years and must meet strict guidelines about driving record.
  • Area of operation: 15 states, mostly east coast and Canada, with options for regional driving and city driving
  • Pay: $0.37 – $0.45 per mile
  • Bonuses: Up to $5,000 depending on location, referral bonuses, safety bonuses, etc.
  • Time home: Regional drivers on the road Sunday night through Thursday night with weekends at home
  • CDL training: Coordinates with local trucking schools and offers a $5,000 tuition assistance bonus for CDL training
  • Training location: Cookeville, TN
  • Who owns the truck: Company owned
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Averitt

2. Maverick Transportation

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis
  • Area of operation: Regional — check the map. Maverick operates mostly in Midwest, South, and East Coast
  • Pay: $0.38 – $0.45 per mile
  • Bonuses: Performance bonus available; introductory/new hire bonus rate of $0.02/mile; referral bonuses of $1,000-200
  • Time home: The company’s website says “frequent home time,” but specific schedules may vary
  • CDL training: Paid CDL training and paid orientation
  • Training location: Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Who owns the truck: Options for company leasing or independent owner-operator contracting
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Maverick Transportation

3. Prime Inc.

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Area of operation: United States and Canada
  • Pay: Depends on type of truck (flatbed, refrigerated, etc) and how much is billed to the shipper
  • Bonuses: Driver referrals, safety bonuses, a million miles program, and other incentive programs
  • Time home: Not specified; schedules vary by individual driver
  • CDL training: Yes, the company pays you through the process from beginning to end
  • Training location: Springfield, Missouri
  • Who owns the truck: Options for company leasing or independent owner-operator contracting
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Prime Inc.

4. PAM Transport

Trucking Companies That Hire Felons With Experience

The following trucking companies are willing to hire felons but only if you already have a CDL and some experience.

5. Carolina Cargo

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Drivers must have no major violations in the past five years, and clear and current motor vehicle registration history
  • Area of operation: Nationwide
  • Pay: Not disclosed on the company’s website. Pay is raised approximately 10% per year of service until drivers reach 50% over base salary.
  • Bonuses: $2,000 sign-on bonus paid within first year of employment, raises, mileage and safety bonuses, etc.
  • Time home: 5 days off after 3 round trips
  • CDL training: No training offered. You must already have CDL Class A. Beginner permits are not accepted.
  • Training location: Company-specific on-site and on-the-road training in South Carolina
  • Who owns the truck: Not specified
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Carolina Cargo

6. Covenant Transport

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Drivers must have no record of a positive drug test with any previous employer within the last 10 years, and must meet very specific rules regarding driving record
  • Area of operation: Nationwide
  • Pay: $0.42 – $0.56 per mile, minimum guarantees on weekly pay
  • Bonuses: None specified
  • Time home: None specified; schedules vary by individual driver
  • CDL training: No CDL training offered. Youmust have already obtained a CDL. The company will pre-hire you if you are currently earning yourCDL. Covenant Transport will pay for HAZ-MAT endorsement training
  • Training location: Orientation in Pomona, CA; Chattanooga, TN; or Hutchins, TX
  • Who owns the truck: Options for company leasing or independent owner-operator contracting
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Covenant Transport 

7. Dart Transit Company

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis. The Dart Transit application requires that you disclose history of traffic accidents, violations, and/or convictions from the last 3 years (including DUI or reckless driving convictions and license suspensions).
  • Area of operation: Nationwide, regional, and local options
  • Pay: Not disclosed on the company’s website, but approximately  $3,260/mo based on Glassdoor reviews.
  • Bonuses: Sign-on bonuses are available ranging from $1,000 – $5,000. Bonuses are also available for driver referrals and perfect DOT inspections.
  • Time home: No specific average, but the company offers to work with each driver to make a reliable and convenient schedule
  • CDL training: No CDL training offered. You must have CDL and 6 months of OTR experience within the past 3 years to be hired. You can get up to $6,000 in tuition reimbursement if you who graduated within the past year.
  • Training location: Orientation in Lancaster, TX (near Dallas); Eagan, MN (near Minneapolis); Sellersburg, IN (near Louisville, KY); or Buford, GA (near Atlanta)
  • Who owns the truck: Options for company leasing or independent owner-operator contracting
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Dart Transit Company

8. May Trucking Company

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis
  • Area of operation: Nationwide
  • Pay: $0.35 – $0.39 per mile
  • Bonuses: None specified
  • Time home: One day home for every week on the road
  • CDL training: No CDL training offered. You must have already graduated from an accredited driving school.
  • Training location: Operating centers spread out across the nation
  • Who owns the truck: Options for company leasing or independent owner-operator contracting
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with May Trucking Company

9. Navajo Express

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis. Drivers must not have had a DUI/DWI in past five years and no controlled substance charges or convictions within the past 10 years.
  • Area of operation: Nationwide
  • Pay: $0.43 per mile
  • Bonuses: No specified monetary bonus, but the company provides new equipment with bumper-to-bumper coverage, mileage incentive pay, etc.
  • Time home: Granted every three weeks for variable amounts of time
  • CDL training: No CDL training offered. You must have already graduated from an accredited driving school.
  • Training location: Orientation at specific sites in Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho
  • Who owns the truck: Navajo owns all the trucks (2014 and newer)
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with Navajo Express

10. P&S Transportation

  • Evaluation of criminal background: Made on a case-by-case basis. Drivers must not have a DWI or DUI in past 10 years, and no more than one “at-fault” accident on driving record in past three years
  • Area of operation: Southeast, Northeast, Texas, California, and Midwest
  • Pay: $0.46 – $0.48 per mile
  • Bonuses: Referral bonuses
  • Time home: The company strives to ensure that drivers are home every weekend
  • CDL training: No CDL training offered. Drivers must have a CDL and 1-2 years of experience.
  • Training location: Orientation in Birmingham, Alabama or Emporia, Virginia
  • Who owns the truck: Options for company leasing or independent owner-operator contracting
  • Source + read more about career opportunities with P&S Transportation

In Summary

While you still have to meet a certain set of requirements to be hired, the truck driving companies we’ve listed will hire you if you’re a felon. Some truck driving companies will even make an investment in you and cover the cost of your driving training. These second chance truck driving jobs can get you behind the wheel pretty quickly, even if you have a felony on your record.

Next, check out this FQF article about how to give two weeks notice to your current company. We’re also outlined resume skills you should begin brushing up on to help with your job hunt. Good luck getting out on the road!