Peace Officer Careers

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Frequently Asked Questions


     APPLICATION PROCESS
     TESTING PROCESS
      WRITTEN EXAM AND QUALIFICATION ASSESMENT
     PHYSICAL FITNESS (PFT) TESTING
     PERSONAL HISTORY STATEMENT (PHS)
     BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
     PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION
     APPEAL PROCESS
     COMPLETING THE PROCESS
     THE ACADEMY
     PROMOTIONS WITHIN PEACE OFFICER

     APPLICATION PROCESS

When can I apply for a Correctional Officer (CO), Youth Correctional Counselor (YCC), and Youth Correctional Officer (YCO) with CDCR?

Applications for Correctional Officer are accepted on a continuous basis. For more information on how to apply please visit our website at www.joincdcr.com.

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When can I apply for a Youth Correctional Counselor and Youth Correctional Officer position with CDCR?

To be notified by email when we are again accepting applications for Youth Correctional Counselor and Youth Correctional Officer, please sign up for E-Notification located under Peace Officer Career Opportunities at www.joincdcr.com

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How can I apply for Veteran’s Preference Points?

To apply for Veteran’s Preference Points please visit the California Human Resources’ website at: http://jobs.ca.gov/job/VeteransInformation. You will be required to complete the CalHR-1093 request form and submit it to the address located on that website. Once you have received notification from the California Human Resources awarding you Veteran’s Preference Points you must send a copy of the award notification to our office at: Office of Peace Officer Selection/Selection Support Section, 9838 Old Placerville Road, Suite B, Sacramento, CA 95827.

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Can you send me a Correctional Officer application?

The application for Correctional Officer is an online process. Please visit our website at www.joincdcr.com for information on how to apply online. An application submitted in any other method will not be accepted.

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Who can I contact if I have a question about the application?

Please contact our Customer Service Unit at (866) 232-5627 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding State holidays.

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What if I encounter computer problems with any of the forms/information I am submitting?

It really depends on what the specific computer problem is. Make sure you follow the directions carefully. Some forms, cannot be submitted until the entire form is filled out in the correct format. Warning messages may pop up. Should you get a warning message, it is imperative that you follow the instructions outlined in the warning message in order to proceed. One of the biggest problems people experience involves their email. Make sure your email is up to date so that when forms are submitted, responses can be sent the proper way and to the proper candidate. It is also imperative that emails from CDCR are not directed to your “junk” mail.

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Does my application expire?

Two years from the date you passed your written examination.

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If my eyesight has been surgically corrected, will I be eligible to go through the selection process?

If it has been less than 12 months from the date of your refractive eye surgery, do not apply as you will be disqualified. If it has been over 12 months from the date of your refractive eye surgery you can apply; however, you must complete the Peace Officer Vision Verification form (OPOS 07C) located on our website at www.joincdcr.com and bring the completed form to your Vision Test. Failure to provide the completed form at the Vision Test may result in disqualification.

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Why does the hiring process take so long?

Civil Service law requires that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation administer competitive examinations for all qualified applicants based on each applicant’s education, work and legal history. California Government Code Section 1031 and Penal Code Section 13601 outline additional requirements for peace officers, where candidates must pass drug screenings, physical tests, psychological exams, and medical exams, and thorough background investigations before being hired. All of these steps take time; for more information, please visit www.joincdcr.com and refer to the Selection Components under Peace Officer Career Opportunities.

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I am finished with the selection / testing process, what is the next step?

Your name will be placed on the eligible list. Offers of employment are made by score order to candidates whose name appears on the eligible list.

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Can I choose the prison (Institution) that I want to work at?

Candidates are given offers for employment at the Institution(s) with the greatest hiring need. Whenever possible, candidates are assigned to Institutions closest to where they reside.

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Can I transfer to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation directly from a police or sheriff's department?

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation does not accept direct "lateral" transfers from other law enforcement agencies. However, having prior law enforcement experience may be helpful as candidates go through the selection process.

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How will OPOS contact me about scheduling appointments, additional information needed and Academy offers, etc.?

Candidates are required to have an email account. All notification from the Office of Peace Officer Selection will be sent to your email address. This includes appointments for any of the selection components. Please ensure your email does not have a “Pop-up Blocker” enabled. If you do not have access to an email account, you may visit any public library and establish a free email account from Yahoo, Google or any other email system.

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Who do I notify if I move, change my telephone number, etc?

You can update your personal information online at www.joincdcr.com. Please select “Update Your Information” under Peace Officer Career Opportunities.

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     TESTING PROCESS

Once I have applied, what happens next?

You will receive an email notification regarding the status of your application, followed by a scheduled Written Examination and Qualification Assessment test date.

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How long does the process take? What are the steps?

The process varies from candidate to candidate; however, it is common for the entire process to take approximately one (1) year. The selection process consists of five (5) main components as follows: The Written Examination and Qualification Assessment test; Physical Fitness Test, Background Investigation Pre-Employment Medical Physical; and a Psychological interview. All of the main components have smaller elements within them. For more information on the selection process please visit our website at www.joincdcr.com.

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Where will I have to go for the testing?

Testing sites are held in three different regions of California; Northern (Sacramento), Central (Fresno), and Southern (Rancho Cucamonga). Candidates are notified via email of their testing date and location. Candidates will be scheduled to take the Written Exam and Qualification Assessment at the nearest testing center to their residence. Candidates need to ensure they read their email notice completely and entirely to know what items they need to bring and know what is permitted or what clothing is permitted at their respective testing location.

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Is there an accelerated testing process for candidates in the military or who are from out of state?

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation does not offer accelerated testing to accommodate one group of candidates over another. However, the Department does conduct testing throughout the state at its testing centers (Sacramento, Fresno, Rancho Cucamonga).

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What is the difference between withdrawing from the process and being eliminated?

A withdrawal is done by choice and by the applicant completing and submitting a Request to Withdraw form. If an applicant becomes interested in applying for a Correctional Officer at another time, they must submit a new application and start the selection process over. Applicants who submit a Request to Withdraw do not have to wait one (1) year to reapply for the Correctional Officer examination. Elimination, while testing, can occur for any number of reasons varying from missing a testing date to a disqualification. Elimination is not by an applicant’s choice, however, when it occurs applicants have to wait one (1) year from the elimination date to reapply for a Correctional Officer examination.

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     WRITTEN EXAM AND QUALIFICATION ASSESMENT

How can I prepare for the Written Exam and Qualification Assessment? What can I study?

The best way to prepare for the Written Examination and Qualification Assessment is to view the “sample written selection exam” that can be found on our website. While the questions are different, candidates can gain a grasp of what analytical skills will be expected of them, as well as, an idea of certain scenarios officers encounter on a daily basis.

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Can I reschedule my Written Exam and Qualification Assessment? How do I do this?

Candidates cannot reschedule their Written Examination and Qualification Assessment. Applicants that cannot appear for their written test are encouraged to complete a Request to Withdraw form and to reapply for the Correctional Officer examination. Applicants that do not appear for their Written Exam and Qualification Assessment will be disqualified. Applicants will need to wait one (1) year from the date of their missed appointment to reapply for the Correction Officer examination.

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If there is an emergency that prevents me from taking the exam, who do I contact?

Applicants that encounter a serious emergency situation will not be disqualified. However, Applicants must call the Office of Peace Officer Selection (OPOS) Customer Service Unit at (866) 232-5627, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Applicants should be prepared to advise OPOS staff what has occurred and the reason the applicant cannot make it to their scheduled examination. If necessary steps are not taken, the Applicant will be disqualified.

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How soon will Applicants know their examination results?

Applicants will receive examination results within approximately 4 weeks.

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What happens if an Applicant does not pass their examination?

Applicants may reapply one (1) year from the date of their disqualification.

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     PHYSICAL FITNESS (PFT) TESTING

How can I prepare for the Physical Fitness Test (PFT)?

Applicants are encouraged to engage in a physical fitness program designed to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength. Please visit www.joincdcr.com to view a video description of the PFT.

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What is the location of the PFT?

The PFTs are held in three Regions of California, Northern, Central, and Southern. Applicants are notified of their PFT testing location via email. Applicants will be scheduled to take their PFT in the same region they took their Written Examination and Qualification Assessment.

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What do I need to wear/bring for the testing?

For the PFT, candidates must dress in athletic workout attire and be ready to participate in physical activity. You should have a valid form of ID and bring with you any required documents mentioned in your scheduling notification.

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Can I reschedule my Physical Fitness Test (PFT)?

The PFT date and time cannot be rescheduled. Applicants that do not appear for the PFT will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date.

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If there is an emergency that prevents me from taking the PFT, who do I contact?

In the event you incur an emergency situation that prevented you from taking the PFT as scheduled, you must contact our Customer Service Unit at (866) 232-5627, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and be prepared to substantiate the reason you could not attend. If you fail to notify our office, you will be disqualified.

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What happens if I fail a portion of the test?

If an Applicant does not pass any segment of their testing, they will be disqualified. The Applicant may reapply for the Correctional Officer examination, one (1) year from the date of disqualification.

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     PERSONAL HISTORY STATEMENT (PHS)

What do I need to bring for my PHS interview?

Applicants must bring a valid form of identification. Applicants are required to wear business attire and are encouraged to bring in a copy of their PHS. What documents need to be included with the PHS?

The following documents are required to be included with the PHS:

  • Certified United States Birth Certificate or Original Naturalization Certificate
  • Documents reflecting any name changes from your Birth Certificate. This includes marriage certificates, divorce decrees, court adoption documents, etc.
  • Certified and Sealed High School Transcripts or Certified proof of GED or passing California High School Proficiency exam
  • Certified and Sealed College Transcripts from any colleges or universities attended.
  • DD214 Military Discharge documents (Member 4, long form) if you served in the Military.
  • Copy of current/valid automobile insurance
  • Current (dated within 30 days of turning in documents) Credit Report from one of the following:
    • Experian
    • Equifax
    • TransUnion
  • Professional License or Credential (if applicable to position)

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What if the PHS is not completed?

The PHS documents must be typed; handwritten documents will not be accepted. Incomplete or handwritten documents will result in the issuance of a 15 Day Notification. Noncompliance with the 15 Day Notification will result in an applicant being withheld from the process.

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What will exclude candidates from the process?

Applicants are required to disclose any convictions of felony crimes, as well as misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. While the existence of history does not automatically disqualify and individual from applying or receiving a job offer, special approval must be granted by the Department Secretary prior to any appointment. Exception: Persons convicted of a felony are not eligible to participate in exams for Peace Officer positions.

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Do PHS documents have to be originals or can they be copies?

Applicants must submit originals of all documents. Transcripts must remain sealed from the school.

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What if I haven’t received my transcript?

Transcripts are a required document and they must be certified and sealed. In order for Applicants to obtain their transcripts, it is important that he/she contact their high school and/or college registrar. It can take the registrar 24 to 48 hours to process the transcripts, and up to 8 business days to get to you by mail. It is important that Applicants be cognizant and allows the correct amount of time to obtain these documents.

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Will there be a notary on-site at the testing location?

There is no on-site notary available. Applicants must obtain a notary for the release form.

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Does the testing facility keep the PHS if I fail the examination process?

Yes, the testing center will keep all submitted documents. Every effort will be made to return originals to the Applicant. Immigration certificates will always be returned.

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Does it matter if I don’t have any credit on my credit report?

No, a credit score or the establishment of credit is not a minimum qualification for the entry level peace officer positions.

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     BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION

How do I find out who my background investigator is?

Once your case is assigned to a background investigator, you will be contacted by them.

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I have been assigned a background investigator, can I contact them?

  • If you have been assigned to a background investigator, you may contact them to update information on employment, any legal issues, major life changes or other background related process issues, but not to check on the status of the investigation unless you have been advised to do so.
  • If you have questions regarding the background process but have not been assigned a background investigator, you may contact the Background Office within your region. Please visit our website at: www.joincdcr.com and see Contac Us, for your specific region.

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Are you notified when you clear Background?

Applicants are notified when they clear background with a clearance letter and will soon be given a date for the next evaluation in their hiring process.

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     PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION

What is the Psychological Evaluation Process?

  • Government Code 1031 (f) requires that peace officer applicants be found to be free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition that might adversely affect the exercise of the powers of a peace officer.
  • In order to verify an applicant’s well-being, the Peace Officer Psychological Examination (POPE) is conducted. It contains three parts:
    • MMPI-2 test and 16 PF
    • Psychological History Questionnaire
    • An Interview with a Psychologist

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     APPEAL PROCESS

Does the candidate have the right to appeal? What is the process?

If you believe a withhold or disqualification action is improper, you may appeal to the State Personnel Board by contacting the Appeals Division, 801 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814. An appeal must state in writing the facts, information or circumstances upon which it is based. Appeals from Withhold from Certification shall be filed with the Appeals Division of the State Personnel Board within 30 days of the date that the Notice of Withhold from Certification is mailed to the Appellant. To ensure prompt response, please include a copy of this letter with your request for appeal. You may telephone the Appeals Division at (916) 653-0799 for additional information.

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     COMPLETING THE PROCESS

How long will it take for the entire hiring process?

Generally it takes approximately one (1) year for the completion of the hiring process.

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     THE ACADEMY

How long is the Basic Correctional Officer Academy (BCOA)?

The BCOA is 16 weeks and is located in Galt

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When I report to the Academy, will I have to buy anything? What do I need to bring? What clothing/gear are needed for the Academy? Can I purchase needed items prior to the Academy? Do I have to stay at the Academy or can I go home?

This information is available in the Cadet Handbook located on our website at www.joincdcr.com.

This handbook needs to be printed out and brought with you to the Academy on the first day for the registration process.

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Does academy count towards any units if you are a criminal justice major?

Yes, cadets can receive college credit for the BCOA 16 week academy only. The college has the authority to decide IF they will grant credits, and they have the authority to determine how many credits will be awarded.

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Do I get paid while I am in the academy?

Yes, please visit http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/career_opportunities/por/documents.html to view the pay benefits brochure.

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What if I need a Reasonable Accommodation?

  • If you have a disability or impairment for which you need an accommodation to perform the essential functions required of a Correctional Officer Cadet while attending the Academy, you need to notify OPOS in writing no later than four weeks prior to your scheduled academy start date. Your written request must state the type of accommodation required and be accompanied by medical documentation from your physician. Failure to notify OPOS as required could result in dismissal from the Academy and termination of your appointment.
  • If OPOS has made the determination that you meet medical guideline requirements and they have set upon you conditions of employment (i.e, corrective lenses, insulin, etc.), you must report to the Academy with these items or you will be sent home. If you bring any injectable medications and/or syringes onto Academy grounds, they must be declared to the Watch Sergeant, as security precautions must be taken because there are inmates on grounds.

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     PROMOTIONS WITHIN PEACE OFFICER

What are my promotional opportunities once I become a Correctional Officer or Youth Correctional Officer?

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