Peace Officer Careers
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Thank you for considering a career opportunity as a Correctional Peace Officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). To be eligible for appointment a candidate must be successful in each of the following selection components:
Once your application has been received you will be notified within four to six months of the date of your Written Examination.
Candidates that do not appear for their Written Examination must contact their designated testing center within 60 days of their original test date to reschedule. Failure to reschedule or successfully complete the Written Examination will result in removal from the selection process and an inability to reapply for a period of twelve months from the disqualification date. Candidates that successfully complete the Written Examination will be scheduled to attend the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) in the following month.
To learn more about the types of questions asked on the Written Examination, click here for a Sample Test.
Correctional Officers (COs) must be able to respond to a variety of physically demanding activities to maintain the safety and security within a prison environment. The CDCR’s Physical Fitness Test (PFT) evaluates each candidate’s strength, endurance, and agility required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and functions expected of a CO. The PFT administered is modeled after and tests for the same abilities as those required of peace officer cadets to graduate from the 16-week CO Academy. This test is designed to assess the probability of success expected in performing various physical functions at both the Academy, and then later once cadets have graduated and have reported to their assigned institution.
- Run a 500-yard course (approximately) on a variety of different surfaces
- Run up and down one flight of stairs
- Complete a mini obstacle course
- Carry two (2) 45-pound hand-held weights over a distance of 50 yards and set them down;
- Then, carry one (1) 45-pound weight over 75-yards and then set it down; and,
- Lastly, carry one (1) 30-pound weight over a final distance of 110-yards and then set down
- To successfully pass the PFT portion of the selection process, candidates must complete the course in the required time of 5 minutes and 35 seconds.
- Please view the PFT VIDEO to watch an example of the nature of the course you may encounter.
- The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) is available by scheduled appointment only.
- If you do not appear for the PFT, and have not made contact with our office, you will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date.
- If you are unsuccessful at your first PFT, you are provided with one (1) additional attempt within six (6) months from your initial PFT test date.
The Personal History Statement (PHS) is a 26 page confidential questionnaire used in the Background Investigation process to assist in evaluating applicant suitability for Correctional Officer employment with the CDCR. The PHS requires that candidates provide a detailed history of past actions. This process can be time consuming and it is recommended that you give yourself plenty of time to complete.
Candidates must submit their complete and notarized PHS upon check-in for their PFT. Candidates that are unable to provide a complete and notarized PHS upon check-in will not be allowed to participate in the PFT and must contact their designated testing center to reschedule for a future date. The PHS can be found at:
Candidates will be fingerprinted by Live Scan after they pass the PFT. Each finger is scanned into a computer database and checked against criminal records nationwide. Information received may include charges that have been dismissed.
The Pre-Investigatory Interview (PII) is the beginning of the Background Investigation (BI) process. The purpose of this recorded interview is to provide the opportunity to clarify information submitted by the candidate for the position applied. The PII provides the opportunity to ensure the candidate's background can be initiated with complete and accurate information and concluded in the shortest time frame possible.
- Candidates that pass the PFT will be contacted by a Background Investigator and scheduled for a pre-investigatory interview.
- Candidates that do not keep the scheduled pre-investigatory interview will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date.
- Pre-Investigatory Interview date and time cannot be rescheduled.
- Candidates that are disqualified/withheld as a result of information obtained during the pre-investigatory interview will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification/withhold date.
As a minimum requirement, a thorough background investigation must be conducted prior to a candidate's appointment or training as a Correctional Peace Officer. Relevant information concerning a candidate’s integrity, past behavior, unlawful activities, job performance and other topics are explored during the investigation. Information obtained during the background investigation is relevant because a candidate's conduct reflects his/her character, credibility and moral values.
It takes approximately 90 days to complete the background investigation. A complex background investigation, or a background investigation with serious issues, may exceed this 90-day timeframe. For further detail please see the PHS by clicking this link.
This evaluation consists of a series of questions candidates respond to based upon their personal preferences. The information will be used in the Oral POPE.
- The Written POPE is available by scheduled appointment only.
- Candidates that do not appear for their Written POPE must contact the Office of Peace Officer Selection (OPOS) within 60 days of their original test date to reschedule. OPOS can be contacted at (916) 255-2500
- Failure to reschedule will result in removal from the selection process and an inability to reapply for a period of twelve months from the disqualification date.
- Candidates that complete the Written POPE return in the afternoon for the Vision Test.
This test checks a candidate's visual acuity and color vision. If the candidate does not have 20/20 vision in each eye, a written certification is required from an optometrist or ophthalmologist indicating that vision is correctable to 20/20 in each eye.
Note: 1) If your vision is NOT 20/20 or better in each eye, or 2) if you use any type of corrective lenses, you need to print out the Peace Officer Vision Verification (OPOS 201) form by clicking this link and have it filled out by your eye doctor. Bring the completed form with you on your scheduled vision test date.
For further detail please see our Vision Requirements Fact Sheet by clicking this link.
Once a candidate's background investigation has been cleared, the information is sent to the Psychological Screening Unit. Candidates will be contacted by a member of the Psychological Screening Unit, to schedule an oral POPE interview.
- Oral Peace Officer Psychological Evaluation (POPE) interviews are administered by appointment only.
- Candidates that do not appear for the oral POPE will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date.
- POPE date and time cannot be rescheduled.
- Candidates that do not provide requested information by the due date will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date.
- Candidates who are disapproved in the POPE will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date.
This is a comprehensive physical examination conducted by licensed physicians under contract with the CDCR to evaluate a candidate's overall physical health. All candidates going through PEM will undergo a visual genitourinary system examination. Candidates 50 years of age or older are required to undergo a rectal examination.
- The Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEM) is administered by appointment only.
- The PEM date and time cannot be rescheduled. Candidates that do not appear for the PEM will be eliminated and will not be able to reapply for 1 year from the elimination date.
- Candidates that do not provide requested information by the due date will be eliminated and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the elimination date.
- Candidates who are disqualified in the PEM will not be able to reapply for 1 year from the disqualification date.
Prior to reporting to the Basic Correctional Officer Academy (BOCA), candidates are responsible for ensuring they are free from tuberculosis with a certification from their physician.
After successfully completing all of the selection components, candidates are placed on the certification list, which gives them eligibility to be appointed as a Correctional Peace Officer.
An Institution assignment is based on departmental need. Each time an academy is scheduled, the Division of Adult Institutions or Division of Juvenile Justice provides OPOS with the Institution location and how many cadets are needed for each Institution. Candidates are not guaranteed an academy offer at any time while on the certification list.
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