The Professional Careers Opportunities (PCO) examination is one exam that is used by state agencies to fill more than 100 different entry-level professional job types across a wide range of disciplines - including health and human services, environmental conservation, human resources, administrative analysis, and transportation.

Job seekers with a bachelor's degree* from a qualifying institution can take the PCO examination to be considered for employment with New York State government. The next PCO examination is scheduled for April 6, 7, and 13, 2019.

The deadline to apply for the 2019 PCO examination is February 20, 2019.

For additional details about the examination, watch the PCO Introduction Video(External Link).

*If you expect to meet the educational requirements by September 1, 2020, you can be admitted to the written test - see the PCO examination announcement for details.


Most of the positions filled through the PCO examination require one- or two-year traineeships, during which individuals gain the necessary knowledge and experience to perform the full responsibilities of the position.

Most traineeships start at a level equivalent to a salary grade 13 and, after successful completion of the two-year traineeship, advance to the salary grade 18. A few traineeships start at the salary grade 11 or 13 and advance to salary grade 14 or 16. See below for salary information.

The full list of titles filled by the PCO examination can be viewed on the Job Titles List.

Generalist Job Titles - Candidates who pass the written test will qualify for the Generalist Job Titles. These titles are professional administrative titles in the areas of administrative operations, fiscal operations, human resources, and/or program implementation.

Select Job Titles - Candidates with specific education, certification, licensure, work experience, and/or language proficiency may also qualify for Select Job Titles. After you apply for the examination, you may complete the PCO Online Questionnaire. To be considered for Select Job Titles, candidates must pass the written test, and complete and submit the PCO Online Questionnaire.

Diversity Management Option - All Generalist and Select Job Titles may be filled using the Diversity Management Option, which is used for vacancies where there is a demonstrated need for the candidate to have an understanding of diversity management and equal opportunity principles to perform the essential duties and responsibilities of the position. To be considered for vacancies using the Diversity Management Option, candidates must complete and submit the PCO Online Questionnaire.

Salary Information 

Positions filled from the PCO examination are assigned to the Professional, Scientific & Technical (PS&T) bargaining unit or are designated as Management/Confidential (M/C) based on the duties performed. This assignment or designation determines the salary. Salaries are subject to contract negotiation.

Traineeship salaries vary depending on title. When hiring agencies contact you at the time a position is being filled, they will inform you of the starting salary, the length of the traineeship, and the full performance grade level of the position. The salary tables below reflect the current salaries as of January 2019. These salaries may change based on negotiated agreements.

Traineeship Hiring Rate
Equated to Salary Grade PS&T Traineeships M/C Traineeships
G-11 $38,464 $40,586
G-13 $42,986 $45,213
G-14 $45,455 $47,899
Full-Performance Level Hiring Rates
Equated to Salary Grade PS&T Traineeships M/C Traineeships
G-14 $45,455 $47,899
G-15 $48,027 $50,565
G-16 $50,772 $53,415
G-17 $53,568 $56,466
G-18 $56,604 $56,745
G-19 $59,671 $59,789
G-20 $62,726 $62,836
G-21 $66,052 $66,225

Examination Announcement  

Carefully read the entire examination announcement for important information about the PCO examination. Note that qualified candidates must complete and submit an examination application by February 20, 2019.

PCO Announcement.

If you are on the existing PCO eligible list (26-240) or the PCO-Select Titles lists (50-000), please be aware that your eligibility will expire within 30 days after the 2019 PCO lists are established.

How To Apply  

You will need a personal NY.gov ID to apply for this examination. If you do not have a personal NY.gov ID, please create an account(External Link) .

The application filing period is closed.

If you have already completed the application process but still need to complete and submit your questionnaire, return to the PCO Dashboard .

Test Guide  

To familiar yourself with the written test, please review the PCO Test Guide.


Once you have applied for the PCO examination, we recommend that you return to the PCO dashboard to view the questionnaire and collect all of the information you will need to complete the questionnaire, including documents related to your education, experience, licensure, certifications, and language proficiency. Answer all questions as completely and accurately as possible. Save the information entered on each page by clicking on the "Save" button at the end of each section. Review, save, and print your information before submitting the questionnaire.

If you have already completed the application process but still need to complete and submit your questionnaire, return to the PCO Dashboard.

After you submit your Questionnaire you can modify and/or add additional information to the Questionnaire. You must save and resubmit your Questionnaire for the updates to become part of your response record. You may resubmit your Questionnaire until the April 5th, 2019 deadline. No updates will be allowed after the deadline.

Test Sites 

The PCO exam is anticipated to be held in the following locations.

Albany: SUNY Albany, Hackett Middle School, Bryant and Stratton College, Colonie High School, Myers Middle School
Amsterdam: Lynch Middle School
Binghamton: Binghamton High School
Bronx: Bronx Community College
Brooklyn: Midwood High School
Buffalo: Southside Elementary School, Erie Community College
Fredonia: SUNY Fredonia
Hicksville: SUNY Old Westbury, Hicksville Middle School
Kingston: Kingston High School
Manhattan: Lower East Side Preparatory High School
Middletown: Orange County Community College
Nyack: Nyack High School
Port Jefferson: Comsewogue High School
Potsdam: SUNY Potsdam
Poughkeepsie: Poughkeepsie High School
Rochester: East High School
Saranac Lake: Saranac Lake High School
Saratoga: Saratoga Springs High School
Syracuse: Bryant and Stratton College
Troy: Hudson Valley Community College
Utica: Notre Dame High School
Watertown: Watertown High School

Contact Information 

For Frequently Asked Questions regarding the PCO examination, visit the FAQ page. If you do not find an answer to your question, please email pco@cs.ny.gov.