Hiring Process

There are 7 steps to our hiring process: Application; Written Examination; Physical Fitness Test, Background Investigation; Pre-Employment Medical Examination; Psychological Screening; and Eligible for Hire. Some of the steps may have smaller elements within them.

Watch this video and learn about the hiring process and how you can level up with CDCR.


Start the hiring process by applying online for the Correctional Officer (CO), Youth Correctional Officer (YCO), and or Youth Correctional Counselor (YCC) classification. CO applications are accepted on a continuous basis. YCO and YCC applications are accepted several times a year. After applying, you will receive an email notification within 7-10 business days with your written examination date.


Written Examination

The written examination is designed to evaluate applicant skills in the areas of grammar, spelling, punctuation, reading comprehension, and basic mathematics. The exam is one hour and forty-five minutes and has 53 multiple-choice questions. Candidates will receive examination results within 1-3 business days via email.


Physical Fitness Test

The Physical Fitness Test (PFT) evaluates each candidate’s strength, endurance, and agility as required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and functions expected of a CO/YCO/YCC. For more information view the PFT web page.


Background Investigation

The background investigation process consists of a thorough background investigation into each applicant’s past and current employment, residence history, relationships, credit responsibility, criminality, computerized voice stress analysis (CVSA) and fingerprint search.


Medical Exam and Vision Test

This is a comprehensive physical examination conducted by licensed physicians under contract with the CDCR to evaluate a candidate’s overall physical health, including vision, color vision, hearing, blood work, Respiratory FIT mask test, and a urinalysis drug screening.


Psychological Evaluation

To evaluate a candidate’s psychological suitability, the candidate will participate in a Written Peace Officer Psychological Evaluation (POPE) and an Oral Psychological Interview. This evaluation consists of a series of questions candidates respond to based upon their personal preferences.


Eligible for Hire

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. Generally, it takes 12 to 18 months for completion of the hiring process, but may take longer depending on process times.