Peace Officer Careers

CDCR expects to hire approximately 7,000 correctional officers... read more


Join Our Team Before You Apply Apply Now Cadets

Selection Components

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:


Written Examination and Qualifications Assessment

Written Examination and Qualifications Assessment is scheduled by appointment only. Candidates that do not appear for or withdraw from the Written Examination and Qualifications Assessment will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for one (1) year from the disqualification date. Written Examination and Qualifications Assessment date and time cannot be rescheduled. To learn more about the types of questions asked on the Written Examination, click here, the Sample Test. A Qualifications Assessment is a structured form with pre-determined scoring/rating criteria. It assesses a candidate’s experience, knowledge, and skills.


Physical Fitness Test (PFT) (Pass/Fail)

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.

To assess these abilities, you will need to:

  • 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.

PLEASE NOTE!

  • 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.


Personal History Statement (PHS)

The Personal History Statement (PHS) is a confidential questionnaire used in the Background Investigation to assist in evaluating applicant suitability for peace officer employment with 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.

The PHS is due from candidates at the time you check in for PFT. Failure to have the PHS completed, with the second page notarized will result in not being allowed to participate in the PFT and you will need to reschedule. The PHS is located on our website at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/career_opportunities/por/docs/PHS.pdf


Fingerprinting (LiveScan)

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.


Pre-Investigatory Interview (Pass/Fail)

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.

Pre-Investigatory Interview

  • 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.


Background Investigation (Clearance/Withhold)

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.


Written Peace Officer Psychological Evaluation (POPE)

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.

Written Psychological Exam

  • Written Psychological Exam date and time cannot be rescheduled.
  • Candidates that pass the written examination return in the afternoon to take the written psychological exam.
  • Candidates that do not return for the written psychological examination in the afternoon will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for 1 year from the disqualification date.

Vision Test (Pass/Fail)

This test checks a candidate's 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. If you need to have the form completed and you DO NOT bring it with you, you will NOT be tested.

For further detail please see our Vision Requirements Fact Sheet by clicking this link.


Oral Peace Officer Psychological Evaluation (POPE) (Pass/Fail)

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)

  • 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.


Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEM) (Pass/Fail)

This is a complete physical exam conducted by medical doctors 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. Additionally, male candidates age 50 and over will have a rectal examination.

Pre-Employment Medical Examination Process

  • Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEM) is administered by appointment only.
  • PEM date and time cannot be rescheduled. .
  • Candidates that do not appear for the PEM will be disqualified and will not be able to reapply for 1 year from the disqualification date.
  • 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 PEM will not be able to reapply for 1 year from the disqualification date.

Tuberculosis Screening

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.


Appointment Process

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.


Institution Assignment

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.


To view and print some files you may need to download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Get Adobe Reader