The Civil Service System

Glossary of Important Terms
DCAS Exam Applications Accepted This Month
OC Exam Notice Archives
Promotion Exam Notice Archives

The City fills many of its positions through the Civil Service Process -- a process guided by the New York State Civil Service Law. The law is in place to help ensure that the hiring process is competitive and fair. Generally, the City uses examinations to measure a potential candidate's "merit" and "fitness" for the particular position. Taking an examination is the start of the hiring process that may lead to you getting a job with the City.

After each exam, the City establishes an "eligible to hire" list. This list consists of all candidates who pass the exam by rank order and is available to each City agency with open positions in the corresponding title. Candidates are contacted for interviews as the needs of these agencies require. New York State Civil Service Law requires agencies to review the top three scorers remaining on the list for appointment to a vacant position, a procedure known as the One-in-Three rule. Usually, a list is active for four years.
Some positions available within the City do not require an examination. These positions tend to require special skills that make recruitment for the positions particularly difficult.
See job opportunities

Exam Registration & Information
Each examination tests a candidate's qualifications for a particular Civil Service title. Before you register for any examination, click on the title of an exam open for filing in the schedule to review the official "Notice of Examination" (NOE) which describes the duties of the job and provides the education and experience qualification requirements, filing period, and exam date(s).

Review exam information for the title you are interested in:
Once you have read the Notice of Examination:

  • For a Non-Computerized Testing Center (CTC) exam that is open for filing, you can apply online by following the directions on the Online Application System (OASys).
  • For a Computerized Testing Center (CTC) exam, you must complete your application in person when you take the test at the CTC on one of the test dates listed in the Notice of Examination. If you intend to apply and fill out the education and experience form at a DCAS Computer Testing Center, bring your resume so you can provide accurate information regarding your prior employment, including dates and addresses of employers.
    Get directions to CTCs
See Notices of Examination at DCAS Exam Applications Accepted This Month

Important Information about Exam Registration
  Registration for an exam can only occur during the defined filing period. To assist us in processing your application, the Application Unit requests that you apply early in the filing period and it is preferred that you apply for non-CTC exams online using OASys. You can also complete an online application at one of the CTCs. If you choose to apply on paper through the mail follow the procedure described below in Section 1.d.
Get directions to CTCs

Learn More about Upcoming Exams
The information and forms you need to register for an examination are available throughout the City via the following avenues:
  1. Through City Government Resources:
    1. DCAS Exams for Jobs Website - Here you will find a complete and up-to-date list of Civil Service Examinations being offered for Open Competitive and Promotional (for current city employees only) exams. Click on the title you want to see to open the Notice of Examination for titles open for filing and information on for Licensing Exams (not for getting jobs with the City). This site can also be accessed from computers at libraries.
    2. Computerized Testing and Application Centers - Visit us at:
      • 2 Lafayette St. 17th Floor in lower Manhattan, two blocks north of City Hall Park; or
      • 210 Joralemon St. 4th Floor in downtown Brooklyn.
      The centers are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Notices of Examination and Application materials are available online at this location.
      Get directions to CTCs
    3. Automated Phone System - Call DCAS at (212) 669-1357.
    4. Written Request – If you do not apply online or at one of the CTCs, you can mail in a request for a paper Notice of Exam and application for an exam currently open for filing. To be accepted, written requests for application must include the examination title and exam number requested, a self-addressed stamped catalogue envelope of at least 9.5 by 12.5 inches, with at least $1.30 postage affixed to the envelope, and a money order for the exam application fee or proof of eligibility for fee waiver. To be accepted this request must be postmarked at least ten (10) business days prior to the end of the filing period. Mail your request to: NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Application Unit, 1 Centre Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007. Applications will not be provided or accepted in person at this address.
    5. Annual Exams and Jobs Schedule - The Exams & Jobs site provides an up-to-date schedule of exam titles by filing period. The site also contains the alphabetic list of exam titles, but this list is not updated after July 1 of each year. DCAS Yearly Civil Service Exam Schedule To see notices of examination for exams open for filing click on the title in DCAS Exam Applications Accepted This Month. For exam titles not currently open for filing the Exam Notice Archives contain the available prior Notice of Examination (OC Exam Notice Archives and Promotion Exam Notice Archives).
  2. The Chief-Leader: A weekly publication that focuses on government business also announces upcoming City and state exams. It is available at many newsstands throughout the City.

Paying Exam Application Fee

Application fees can be paid online by credit, debit, or bank card, or through the mail by money order. Those who apply online or at the CTC and pay the application fee with a credit, debit, or bank card will save $5.00 off the stated application fee. Cash is not accepted for fee payment.

Although applying online is preferred, you can still apply by mail and pay the application fee by money order payable to DCAS (Exams). If you choose to apply by mail and pay the application fee with a money order, indicate your name, Social Security number, and the number of the exam for which you are applying on the money order.

Note: Individuals who receive certain forms of public assistance, unemployment insurance benefit payments, and other similar benefits may have the application fee waived by submitting documentation of their fee waiver type: Exam Fee Waiver Information. The fee waiver documentation must be mailed to DCAS Application Unit 1 Centre Street, 14th Floor New York, NY 10007 along with the application receipt generated by OASys if you are applying online, or with your paper application package if you are applying through the mail. If you are applying for and taking a test at one of the two convenient CTC testing locations, bring the fee waiver documentation with you to the test site.

Keep copies of all completed documents you have submitted, including the money order receipt and application, and the Education and Experience Test Paper and special insert, if applicable.

Types of Tests in Examinations
Often, there is more than one "test" that makes up the examination and passing all tests determines if a candidate appears on the eligible list.
  1. Multiple-Choice Tests generally consist of 60 to 100 multiple-choice questions which offer answer options. The candidate records the selected answers on a Scantron sheet by coloring in circles with a No. 2 pencil or sits at a computer at a DCAS testing center and follows instructions for recording answers. Multiple choice tests that are not given at the computer testing centers are generally given on Saturday. The testing sites are usually high schools located throughout the city's five boroughs. If you require an accommodation due to a special circumstance, download the Special Circumstances Info to learn more.
  2. Education and Experience (E&E) Tests can be used to rank candidates or to determine if they meet the minimum requirements to be qualified for the exam title. Ranked E&E tests are used to fill positions in which specific experience and education are good indicators of a candidate's qualification for a particular position. It is important to be complete and accurate when completing the E&E test forms because the information you provide will be the only information used to rate this test. Download Foreign Education Info to learn more.
  3. Practical/Physical Tests require a candidate to demonstrate skill or fitness in performing specific job tasks. Examples include typing tests for clerical positions and physical ability tests for Firefighters and Sanitation Workers. In these tests, candidates are rated on their ability to perform the particular tasks of the position. Frequently, these tests are given in addition to a multiple-choice test.

What happens after you have registered to take a written, oral, practical, or essay exam that is not being offered at the DCAS Computer Testing Center
Usually, within two to-three months from the end of the filing period, each applicant is sent an "Exam Admission Card." This card confirms your exam registration and provides the date, time, and location for you to take the test. Review this information carefully, check that your exam registration information is correct and note the test date and time.

Note: If you do not receive your admission card by four days prior to the exam date, please visit the Examining Service Section at 1 Centre Street, 14th floor, New York, NY to get a duplicate admission card.

What happens after you have registered to take an Education and Experience (E&E) test
If no test date is posted in the Notice of Examination, candidates will be sent an "acknowledgement receipt" ninety (90) days after the end of the filing period.

Note: If you do not receive your acknowledgement receipt, please contact the DCAS Examining Service Section (in writing only) at 1 Centre Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

On the Day of the Non-CTC Exam

Non-CTC Exams are generally given on Saturdays in area public schools. Please report to the examination site at least one half hour before the designated start time.

You must have your Exam Admission Card and a No. 2 pencil for admission.

You will be given a maximum time limit, usually between two and a half and three and a half hours to take the test. Nobody will be permitted to leave the testing area until one hour has elapsed after the test begins.

On the Day of a CTC Exam
Appear at the CTC testing location on one of the test dates listed in the Notice of Examination. Bring your resume for completing the application online, a card or money order for exam fee payment, and documentation of fee waiver eligibility, if applicable.

After Taking a Test

Multiple Choice, Essay, and Oral Tests:
The City begins the process of validating an answer key and grading each examination. As part of this process, State Civil Service Law provides a limited period of time in which each candidate is eligible to protest proposed answers to questions. Any challenges received during the protest period are resolved by a panel of experts (See TVB below), and the final answer key is approved for test rating. Once the tests are rated, the list is created in rank order by passing score. An official version of this list is an Eligible List. City agencies use this list to hire employees. The creation of the eligible list usually occurs six to nine months after the test date. A list generally lasts for four years.
Upon publication or establishment of a list, the City notifies each candidate of their exam score and list rank. If you feel that there are any discrepancies, you may appeal your score at this time. City agencies use the list to call candidates for interviews. The rule of one-in-three allows agencies to interview and select one of the top three scoring individuals on the list for each available position.

Practical Tests:
Practical tests are generally work sample tests, rated on the spot by an expert examiner. Once testing is completed, a rank order list by test score is created for use by City agencies as described above.

Test Validation Board (TVB):
The applicant protest period for non-CTC exams usually begins in the fifth week after the test is given. Candidates then have thirty (30) days to submit written protests to the proposed key answers. Candidates must justify why their answers are as good as or better than the posted key answers. Typically, candidates will protest only those questions that they believe have an ambiguous wording or issues with the set of answers. The Test Validation Board (TVB) reviews each protest, making appropriate changes to an exam's answer key based on these reviews. The TVB traditionally consists of one representative of the union, a subject expert, and an exam expert. Upon completion of the TVB review a final answer key is established, the exams are rated and the hiring list is published and established.

There is a 30-day period after the exam results are released during which candidates are permitted to appeal the calculation of their final score.

Change of Address

In order for you to receive communications from DCAS, it is important that you keep your contact address up to date. If you change your address after filing for an exam, you should notify the Application Unit, in the following ways:

  • Call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) number 24/7 (212-669-1357) for instructions on how to receive a faxed copy of the change of address form.
  • Call Examining Services M-F 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (212-669-7240) to acquire a DCAS fax number to fax the old/new address info.
  • Visit the Customer Service window at 1 Centre Street, Room 1448 South, M-F 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. or visit one of the Computerized Testing and Application Centers at 2 Lafayette Street, 17th Floor in lower Manhattan or 210 Joralemon Street, 4th Floor in downtown Brooklyn, Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. to complete a change of address form.

Why Work for the City
The City of New York offers its employees excellent opportunities to pursue a rewarding career, while serving fellow New Yorkers as a public servant. As an employer, the City offers:
  • Hiring based on merit. You will be chosen for a job based on your demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • Career opportunities. The employees of New York City make sure the City ticks. As the largest local government in the United States, New York City employees perform many different challenging jobs.
  • Competitive salary and benefits. You will receive a valuable package of salary and benefits.
  • Career satisfaction. Most important of all, you will have a chance to make a difference for your family, neighbors, and community by joining public service.