Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a CDCR employee?

The first step is to take an exam for the classification (job title) that you’re interested in. To learn more view the CDCR Exams web page.

What does it mean to be in the “top three ranks” on a certification list?

Names on a certification list are listed in order of rank. Your rank class is determined by your score. Persons in the top three rank classes are considered “reachable” for hire and will be contacted by the department for interviews. As those individuals are hired, decline positions, or become inactive, candidates in lower ranks will move up the list.

What are “waivers”?

Reachable candidates will receive employment inquiries from the department. If you are offered employment that you cannot or do not want to accept, you may waive the opportunity. Candidates on open lists are allowed three waivers, after which their names will become “inactive” on the list for that classification. Failure to respond to an employment inquiry will be counted as a waiver.

How do I find out where vacancies exist?

You can conduct a vacancy search through the CalHR website, view the CDCR departmental vacancy list, or contact us and speak to a CDCR recruiter.

I have some criminal history. Will this automatically disqualify me from CDCR employment?

We require that all applicants disclose any convictions of felony crimes, as well as misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. While the existence of history does not automatically disqualify you 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.

Does CDCR accept work visas?

For some classifications, CDCR accepts the H1B Visa. Be aware that obtaining an H1B Visa is a lengthy process and you must have a job offer before pursuing this avenue. CDCR does not currently participate as a sponsoring organization in the Exchange Visitor Visa Program (J1 Visa).

Exception: Existing law provides that in order to be appointed to a Peace Officer position, a person must either be a U. S. citizen or a person with permanent resident status who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship at the time of application. Denial of an application for citizenship shall result in disqualification from or termination of employment.

For more information specific to Medical and Peace Officer careers, please visit: