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How to Get a California State Job

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The California state government offers numerous jobs in departments ranging from the California Lottery, Folsom State Prison, the Highway Patrol and the Department of Education. Available job titles and location vary, but according to CBS Sacramento, many of the current openings as of 2014 are located in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and El Dorado counties.

State Employment Requirements

Specific employment requirements for jobs with the state of California vary and are specific to the position. With the exception of law enforcement positions, applicants do not need to be U.S. citizens. However, individuals who are not citizens must have work permits allowing them to legally stay and work in the country. Additionally, applicants must be able to speak, read and write in English. Most full-time positions require applicants to be at least 18 years of age, though some departments open jobs for high school students during the summer months through the Summer Youth Employment program.

Civil Service Examination

The state of California does not consider job applicants who are not on the eligibility list for the job's classification. Prior to applying for a specific job, applicants must take a state-issued civil service examination to get on the list. Exams may be written tests, oral tests or interviews. The exam bulletin, which can be found on the official state jobs website, outlines the testing process and required knowledge for each job classification. Once an applicant successfully passes the civil service exam, she will remain on the eligibility list for one to four years, depending on the position.

Review Vacancies and Apply

Once on the eligibility list, applicants can then apply for job vacancies. Each vacancy announcement outlines the application process that each individual must follow to be considered for the position. Candidates can search for vacancies by job title, department or county from the California Department of Human Resources vacancy search website. Each job listing contains the job description, contact information for the hiring agency and specific instructions for submitting an application.

Getting Hiring Preference

The state hiring process is designed to objectively hire the most qualified individual. Receiving a high score on the civil service examination will place candidates higher on the eligibility list. Additional skills that might give you a hiring preference are include being fluent in a second language, receiving a high score on the typing test if required, and relevant work experience or education. Most jobs require an interview as a part of the hiring process where applicants can highlight their skills and experience. Some jobs have additional requirements such as a medical exam, physical fitness exam and background check that applicants must pass.

Hiring Priority for Veterans

The state of California gives preference to veterans, spouses of veterans who are 100 percent disabled and widows and widowers of veterans. If the qualifying individual takes and passes an examination, he will be placed at the top of the eligibility list, regardless of his exact score. Applicants must submit a Veteran's Preference Application Form to qualify for hiring preference.

Complete a Probationary Period

If an applicant is hired, she must complete a six- to 12-month probationary period. During probation, employees receive training and regular evaluations. If an employee receives satisfactory evaluations, she is hired as a permanent state employee. Employees who receive poor evaluations, or who do not complete the required training, will be removed from civil service.


Maureen Malone started writing in 2008. She writes articles for business promotion and informational articles on various websites. Malone has a Bachelor of Science in technical management with an emphasis in biology from DeVry University.

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