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Correctional Peace Officer Careers
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:

Once your application has been received you will be notified within 30 days regarding the date of your Written Examination.

Candidates must contact their designated testing center by the day 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 six months from the disqualification date. Candidates that successfully complete the Written Examination will be scheduled to attend the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) in a subsequent month.

To learn more about the types of questions asked on the Written Examination, click here a Sample Test.

Correctional Officers (COs), Youth Correctional Officers (YCOs), and Youth Correctional Counselors (YCCs) must be able to respond to a variety of physically demanding activities to maintain the safety and security within a prison correctional 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 12-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 or facility.

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 it down

To successfully pass the PFT portion of the selection process, candidates must complete the course in the required time of 5 minutes and 5 seconds.

Please view the PFT VIDEO to watch an example of the nature of the course you may encounter.

NOTE: 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 six months from the disqualification date.

The background investigation is a very thorough investigation into applicant’s past and current employment, residences history, relationships, credit responsibility, and criminality. All candidates are expected to provide their investigator with needed documentation in a timely and complete manner. Dishonesty or omissions of information will be cause for disqualification. The background investigation includes a face-to-face interview with an investigator and on average takes approximately 90 days to complete from the date that the file is assigned

Personal History Statement (PHS)

The PHS is an extensive document used to collect information regarding applicants past residences, acquaintances, and employment histories. All candidates must submit their PHS, along with the notarized release (page 4), and other original documents upon check-in at the PFT. Candidates who are unable to provide a completed typed PHS document, notarized release, and related documents will not be allowed to participate in the PFT and must contact their designated testing center no later than their appointment date to reschedule.

Download the PHS

All responses to questions answered within the submitted PHS will be verified through the background investigation and Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) examination.

CVSA Examination/Fingerprinting (LiveScan)

As part of the background investigation process, all candidates will be required to submit to a CVSA examination. The CVSA examination is used to verify the veracity and accuracy of information submitted by applicants regarding, but not necessarily limited to: use of controlled substances, driving, criminal history, employment histories, and other suitability factors.

Candidates will be fingerprinted by Live Scan as a required part of the background investigation. Each finger is scanned into a computer database and checked against criminal records nationwide. Information received may include charges that have been dismissed.


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 more details the Personal History Statement.

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 and have it filled out by your eye doctor. Bring the completed form with you on your scheduled vision test date.

For further details please see our Vision Requirements Fact Sheet 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.

The Written POPE is available by scheduled appointment only.

Candidates that do not appear for their Written POPE must contact their assigned Testing Center to reschedule. The Testing Center phone numbers are:

  • Northern Testing Center (916) 255-1025
  • Central Testing Center (559) 445-6141
  • Southern Testing Center (909) 944-6697

Failure to reschedule may result in removal from the selection process and an inability to reapply for a period of six months from the disqualification date.

Candidates that complete the Written POPE return in the afternoon for the Vision Test

Peace Officer Psychological Screening Interview (Pass/Fail)

After completion of the written peace officer psychological evaluation and clearance of their background investigation, candidates will be contacted via email by staff from the Psychological Screening Program to schedule their psychological screening interview. Candidates are reminded to check their email on a daily basis, including email that is diverted to “junk” or “spam” email folders.

  • Peace officer psychological screening interviews are mandatory and conducted by a licensed psychologist. Psychological screening interviews are by appointment only.
  • Candidates should dress in business attire and bring their scheduling notice and valid photo identification such as a driver’s license, military ID, government ID, or passport to the interview. Candidates will not be admitted without valid photo identification.
  • Candidates shall be informed that once their psychological interview is scheduled there may be a $100 assessed to reschedule. This applies to candidates that do not appear for their psychological interview. An exception is when a candidate can submit documentation of an emergency situation or military duty.
  • Occasionally treatment records are required from previous professional providers before the psychological screening interview can be scheduled. Candidates that do not provide requested information by established due dates may face elimination from the selection process.
  • Candidates that do not appear for their scheduled psychological screening interview may be eliminated from the peace officer selection process unless a documented emergency resulted in the missed appointment. An accident report, vehicle repair bill, doctor’s note, etc., may be requested to substantiate the emergency.
  • Candidates who are eliminated from the peace officer psychological evaluation process will not be eligible to reapply for one year from the date of elimination.

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

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 as well as a urinalysis drug screening. Candidates 50 years of age or older are required to undergo a rectal examination.

PEM Process

  • The 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.

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