Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a CDCR employee?

All civil service employees must first take an exam for the classification (job title) in which they are interested (exam type varies by classification). Candidates who are successful on the exam will have their names placed on an employment eligibility list (also called a certification list). When there are vacancies, the department will contact, interview, and hire persons from that list.

How do I know if I’m qualified?

Minimum qualifications are specified on the exam bulletin for a classification. Exam bulletins are available on the CDCR and CalHR websites, and also include information such as exam type, application instructions, job descriptions, and salary ranges.

Can I still apply even if I don’t meet all the requirements?

Some classifications allow you to take the exam before you meet all the minimum requirements (i.e. length of job experience, education, license or credential requirements), on the condition that you meet those requirements by the time of appointment or within a specified timeframe after appointment. These conditions are detailed on the exam bulletins.

Where can I find the appropriate exams and/or applications?

All of our exams and applications are available on the CDCR website. The Standard State Application (form STD. 678) is also available on the CalHR website.

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 make changes to an exam or application that I already submitted?

Please contact the Office of Selection Services at 1.888.232.4584 or Our exam analysts can add or delete locations of interest, update your licensing or credential status, and revise your contact information on file.

I took the exam a long time ago. Am I still eligible or do I need to retest?

Candidates who are successful on the exam will have their names placed on a certification list, thereby establishing list eligibility. Your list eligibility will expire after a certain timeframe. (This timeframe is specified on the exam bulletin of the classification you tested for and is located on your “results” letter.) If you are not appointed to a position within that timeframe, you will need to take the exam again to reestablish your list eligibility.

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: