PCO FAQs

PCO Exam Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



This page contains a collection of answers to the most common questions about the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) program.

Technical questions about using the system

The Professional Career Opportunities Exam

Getting Started

The Application Process

Foreign Degrees and College Courses

The Written Test Process

The Questionnaire

Completing the Questionnaire

After I Take the Written Test

Appointment Information



Q. I don't remember my UserID and/or password, and can't log in. Who should I contact?

For help with your User ID and/or password, contact the Information Technology help desk at: fixit@its.ny.gov or 844-891-1786 and provide a phone number where they may contact you. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday, 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Please be as specific as possible when describing any problems, including what you were doing, or attempting to do, at the time you encountered the problem. You should contact the help desk as soon as possible to ensure that you will have sufficient time to submit your PCO application or Questionnaire responses.

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Q. What is the Professional Career Opportunities Program?

A. The Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) Program is an exciting new exam initiative of the Department of Civil Service that allows agencies to fill a variety of entry-level professional positions with New York State. The program provides college graduates an opportunity to compete for traineeships and full level professional positions in various state agencies with New York State Government in areas working in administrative operations, fiscal operations, human resources or program implementation. State agencies will be using this exam to fill more than 100 different job titles. All candidates who pass the PCO written test will qualify for the Generalist Job Titles that are entry-level professional job titles. In addition, candidates with specialized education or work experience who fill out the PCO Questionnaire may also qualify for Select Job Titles. The PCO is open to all interested candidates who have or will obtain a bachelor’s degree by September 1, 2018.

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Q. What is the Dashboard?

A. On the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) website you will find a "Dashboard" which will serve as a navigation tool to guide you through the PCO exam process. You should bookmark this in your browser so you can return to it easily at any time. From the Dashboard you will be able to apply for the exam, complete the education and experience questionnaire, and access exam information. Once you begin the PCO application, the Dashboard will be customized to display YOUR progress in the exam process.

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Q. What are each of the menu options on the Dashboard used for and when are they available to me?

A. The following is an explanation of the menu options on the left hand side of the Dashboard:

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Q. I am certified for employment through Section 55-b/c. Do I need to take the PCO examination?

A. While you are not required to compete in examinations in order to be considered for appointment, we recommend that you consider taking examinations as this will increase your opportunities for employment.

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Q. Do I already have a Civil Service User ID?

A. You have a Civil Service user ID if you are a public employee who uses Department of Civil Service applications. You will use the same ID here. You may also have a Civil Service user ID if you have previously applied on-line for Civil Service exams.

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Q. How do I get a Civil Service ID?

A. On the Civil Service Login page, click on the link that says, "Need a Civil Service ID?" You will be asked to provide some personal information. At the same time, you will select a user ID (of up to twelve characters) and a password that only you will know.

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Q. I forgot my Civil Service ID and/or password. How do I find out what it is?

A. On the Civil Service Log-In page, click on the link that says, "I forgot my User ID or password?" and follow the instructions.

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Q. Am I required to supply my Social Security number as part of my application?

A. If you do not supply your Social Security number, an identification number can be provided for you. Leave the Social Security Number field blank and submit the rest of your personal information. You will be told that the Social Security Number is missing, and given a link to use. Click on the link to have us generate an identification number for you. It is very important that you save the number because you will need it for future identification purposes. PLEASE NOTE that the generated identification number is ONLY for use for this examination.

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Q. What is the Professional Career Opportunities exam?

A. The Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) exam provides college juniors, seniors, and graduates an opportunity to compete for professional positions in various state agencies with New York State government.

The PCO exam consists of a written test and an optional online education and experience questionnaire. Candidates must pass the PCO written test in order to be considered for appointment. More than 50 Generalist Job Titles filled from this examination will be filled using only your score of 70 or higher from the PCO written test. Select Job Titles require specialized education and experience and are filled using a process called selective certification.

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Q. What is selective certification and how is it used?

A. Selective certification is the narrowing of the pool of candidates by requiring specialized education, experience, and/or language proficiency particular to the job title being filled. The PCO Questionnaire is used to identify PCO candidates who have the required specialized requirements. Only the names of candidates with a score of 70.0 or higher on the PCO written test who meet the specialized requirements for the Select Job Titles will be provided to agencies for consideration when hiring.

Candidates who wish to be considered for the Select Job Titles are required to fill out the online PCO Education and Experience Questionnaire prior to the written test. Certifications for the Select Job Titles will be generated based on the results of the PCO written test combined with the responses to the questionnaire. New York State agencies will be sent the names of people who received a score of 70 or higher on the PCO written test and who have the education, experience, and/or language proficiency requirements of the Select Job Title. The names and contact information for these individuals will be provided to the agencies in the order of the scores on the PCO written test.

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Q. Will I have an opportunity to update my PCO Questionnaire responses?

A. We expect to open the Questionnaire up annually to allow PCO eligibles to update their Questionnaire responses or submit the Questionnaire for the first time. The results of this update will change the Select Job Title lists and may add eligibles to the top of the Select Job Title lists.

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Q. What titles are filled from the Professional Career Opportunities exam?

A. The eligible list that results from the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) exam will be used by agencies to fill more than 100 different job titles. All candidates who receive a 70 or higher on the PCO written test will qualify for the Generalist Job Titles. Most Generalist Job Titles are two year traineeships that require a bachelor’s degree or higher in any field and are filled in the areas of administrative operations, fiscal operations, human resources or program implementation.

In addition, Select Job Titles require specialized education, experience, and/or language proficiency. Candidates who receive a 70 or higher on the PCO written test and who possess the specialized education, experience, and/or language proficiency requirements can be considered for these titles by completing the education and experience questionnaire.

Click here for a list of Generalist Job Titles and Select Job Titles.

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Q. What are the MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS to participate in the Professional Career Opportunities exam?

A. You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher by September 1, 2018 in order to participate in the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) exam. College Juniors and Seniors must expect to have a bachelor’s degree on or before September 1, 2018, in order to be admitted to the written test. Passing candidates, invited to job interviews, will be required to provide proof of degree at the time of interview; candidates who cannot demonstrate that they received their bachelor’s degree on or before September 1, 2018 will not be considered for appointment.

New York State residence is not required for most positions; however, you must be eligible for employment in the United States. If you require sponsorship (for example, through the H1-B Visa Program) you may apply. However, New York State agencies are not obligated to consider individuals who would require sponsorship for employment.

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Q. What happens if I am currently serving in the United States Armed Forces?

A. The Military Law provides certain rights pertaining to civil service examinations. A person serving on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States during the filing period for a civil service examination, or a person who has been honorably discharged after an examination filing period may be permitted to file an application for the Professional Career Opportunities Test (PCO) exam and take a military make-up exam.

You may contact the Department of Civil Service to find out more information about military make-up comparable examinations at: PCO@cs.ny.gov

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Q. Am I eligible for extra credits on the Professional Career Opportunities written test?

A. If you pass the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) written test, you may be eligible for extra credits to be added to your exam score if you are currently in the United States Armed Forces on full-time active duty (other than for training) or if you are a War Time Veteran or Disabled War Time Veteran. These credits can be used only once for any permanent employment in New York State. If you want to have these extra credits added to your exam score, you must answer the War Time Veterans questions on your application to take the PCO written test. You can waive the extra credits later if you wish. At the time of interview and appointment you will be required to produce the documentation, such as discharge papers, to prove that you are eligible for extra credits.

You may also be eligible for extra credits to be added to your passing exam score if you are the child of a police officer or firefighter who was killed in the line of duty in the service of New York State pursuant to Civil Service Law Section 85-a. For further information call the Department of Civil Service at (518) 473-8102 prior to submitting your application.

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Q. What should I do if my name, email address, or mailing address changes after I apply but before I take the written test?

A. If you have a change to your name, email address, or mailing address, you may log into your Civil Service account to edit that information at: https://www.cs.ny.gov/home/myaccount

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Q. Is my application processing fee refundable? How can the application processing fee be waived?

A. No. Once you have submitted your application including payment of your application processing fee, your application is completed. The processing fee is non-refundable. The application processing fee can be waived for applicants who are receiving public assistance, are unemployed and primarily responsible for the support of a household, or are a New York State employee represented by CSEA in Negotiating Units 02, 03, 04, or 07. The online application outlines the specific requirements to qualify for a fee waiver.

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Q. What if I took college courses or obtained a degree outside of the United States?

A. If your degree was awarded by an educational institution outside the United States and its territories, you must provide to the Department of Civil Service an independent verification of equivalency to a bachelor's degree received from an accredited institution in the United States. You will also need to provide the independent verification if you go on a job interview.

If you used college courses you obtained outside the United States to be approved for a Select Job Title, you must provide a course by course evaluation of these college courses done by an acceptable company to the agency when you go to a job interview. If you do not provide this course by course evaluation, you could be inactivated on the list for that job title until you can provide the evaluation.

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Q. How do I get an independent verification of the equivalency of college courses or degrees obtained outside of the United States?

A. Information about acceptable companies who provide verification can be found on the Internet at https://www.cs.ny.gov/jobseeker/degrees.cfm. You must pay the required evaluation fee.

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Q. I received a bachelor's degree in a foreign country and a master's or higher degree from a United State college. Do I need to submit a foreign degree evaluation?

A. You do not need to submit the foreign degree evaluation to the Department of Civil Service if you indicated in your PCO exam application the master's or higher degree you received from a United State college or university. You will need to provide an evaluation done by an acceptable company of the foreign degree and a course by course evaluation of your college courses to the agency when you go to a job interview, if you used the foreign degree or coursework to be approved for a PCO Select Job title.

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Q. How do I submit my foreign college course work and college degree information?

A. Prior to taking the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) written test, you must email or mail the independent verification of equivalency of your college degree (but not your course work) to PCO@cs.ny.gov or:

NYS Department of Civil Service
Attention: Staffing Section 1, PCO
Agency Building 1
Albany, New York 12239

After the PCO written test, you will need to supply the independent verification of your college degree(s) and any college courses you used to qualify for Select Job Titles to state agencies at the time of interview.

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Q. If I already applied to take a Civil Service exam in the past and provided my foreign degree information, do I need to submit this information to take the Professional Career Opportunities exam?

A. Yes, all applicants need to demonstrate how they meet the minimum qualifications by submitting the required information such as foreign degree equivalency each time they apply for an exam. However, if you submitted a foreign degree evaluation and it was approved for the 2014 PCO exam, you may not have to submit it for the 2017 PCO examination. Email PCO@cs.ny.gov to confirm you do not need to submit a new foreign degree evaluation.

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Q. What happens if I don’t submit my foreign degree information?

A. Prior to the PCO written test, you will be permitted to take the written test. However, if you do not submit independent verification of your foreign college degree equivalency to the Department of Civil Service at the address provided, you will be restricted from appointment and your name will not be provided to agencies for appointment consideration.

You will also be required to submit proof of your college course work and college degree equivalency to the hiring agency at the time of interview. You cannot be considered for appointment without proof of your degree and/or course equivalency. If you fail to provide independent verification of equivalency at the time of interview, your name will be inactivated on the eligible list resulting from this exam.

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Q. When and where will the Professional Career Opportunities written test be held and how will I be notified?

A. Due to the size of the candidate population for this examination, you may be assigned to either a morning or afternoon session on either Saturday, April 8th, 2017, Sunday, April 9th, 2017 or Saturday, April 15th, 2017 to take your test. Written tests are held in the following locations, although some may not be open for this test.

Albany
Amsterdam
Binghamton
Buffalo
Fredonia
Hicksville
Kingston
Middletown
New York City (Bronx)
New York City (Brooklyn)
New York City (Manhattan)
Nyack
Old Westbury
Port Jefferson
Potsdam
Poughkeepsie
Rochester
Saranac Lake
Saratoga
Schenectady
Syracuse
Troy
Utica
Watertown

Your admission notice will be sent to your mailing address approximately one week before the date of the written test. It will tell you where and when you are scheduled to appear. You will be assigned to the nearest OPEN location based on the postal ZIP code of the mailing address you provided on your application. You will not be permitted to request a day or time in advance or change your scheduled day or time. If you do not receive your admission notice by April 5th, 2017, please email us at AdmissionNotices@cs.ny.gov. Please provide your first and last name, address, and the last four digits of your social security number, and we will provide you with information you need to attend your written test. If you have an issue other than not receiving your admission notice, please contact our office at (518) 474-6470 in the Albany area or toll free at 1-877-697-5627. Please leave a clear concise message and provide your first and last name, the last four digits of your social security number, and a daytime phone number.

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Q. What if I need to take the test in another location?

A. The Department of Civil Service may make special arrangements for individuals who would prefer to take examinations in locations other than the location they would be assigned based on their mailing address ZIP code because of extenuating circumstances. You will need to phone the Test Administration Unit of the Department to discuss this request. In the Albany area, call 518-457-2487 [press 2, then press 2]. Outside of the Albany area, call toll free at 1-877-697-5627 [press 2, then press 2].

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Q. What if I need special accommodations to take the Professional Career Opportunities written test?

A. The Department of Civil Service makes accommodations for individuals who are disabled and need a special accommodation to compete in the examination. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation to participate in an examination must note this on their application. Further information is available from the Test Administration Unit of the Department of Civil Service. In the Albany area, call 518-457-2487 [press 2, then press 2]. Outside of the Albany area, call toll free at 1-877-697-5627 [press 2, then press 2]. For TDD services, call NY Relay at 711 (requires a fee) or 1-800-662-1220.

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Q. What if I am a religious observer and need to take the Professional Career Opportunities written test on an alternate test date?

A. The Department of Civil Service makes accommodations for individuals who need an alternate test date due to religious observance. Due to the size of the candidate population for this examination, you may be assigned to either a morning or afternoon session on either Saturday, April 8th, 2017, Sunday, April 9th, 2017 or Saturday, April 15th, 2017 to take your test. If you are a religious observer and cannot be tested on a particular day of the weekend due to a conflict with a religious observance or practice check the box on the application under "Religious Accommodation." We can make arrangements for you to take the test on the other day of that weekend.

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Q. What if I applied for other exams scheduled on the same test date?

A. If you have applied to take a written test announced by either one or several local jurisdictions (county, town, city) scheduled to be held on the same day as this written test, you must notify each of the local jurisdictions no later than two weeks before the test date to make arrangements for taking all tests at one test site. All tests will be held at the state examination center. For your convenience, contact information for all local civil service agencies is available on our website at: htt://www.cs.ny.gov/jobseeker/local.cfm

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Q. Will my application processing fee be refunded if I decide not to take the written test after I have applied?

A. No. Once you have submitted your application including payment of your processing fee information, your application is completed. The processing fee is non-refundable. You should read the exam announcement and the information on the PCO Dashboard carefully to determine if you wish to participate in the Professional Career Opportunities Test (PCO) exam process prior to submitting your application.

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Q. How long will I be given to take the Professional Career Opportunities written test and what types of questions will be on it?

A. You will have up to 2½ hours to complete the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) written test which will consist of multiple choice questions that will cover the following areas:

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Q. Is there a study guide for the Professional Career Opportunities written test?

A. The New York State Department of Civil Service has developed a test guide to familiarize you with the written test for the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) exam. This test guide provides a general description of the subject areas to be tested and an explanation of the different types of questions that will be presented. A Guide to the Written Test for the Professional Careers Opportunities (PCO) and Related Examinations is available on the Department website at https://www.cs.ny.gov/testing/statetestguides.cfm(New Window)

A booklet How to Take a Written Test(pdf945KB) is also available for individuals preparing to take a state examination.

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Q. Will I be allowed to bring my cell phone to the written test?

A. You will not be permitted to bring cell phones, beepers, headphones, or any electronic or other communications devices to the test site. The use of such devices at the test site in the test room, hallways, restrooms, building, grounds, or other areas could result in your disqualification.

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Q. What is selective certification and how is it used?

A. Selective certification is the narrowing of the pool of candidates by requiring specialized education, experience, and/or language proficiency particular to the job title being filled. The Select Job Titles filled from the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) exam require specialized education, experience, and/or language proficiency and are filled using a process called selective certification. Only the names of candidates with a score of 70.0 or higher on the PCO written test who meet the specialized requirements for the Select Job Titles will be provided to agencies for consideration when hiring.

Candidates who wish to be considered for the Select Job Titles are required to fill out the online PCO Education and Experience Questionnaire prior to the written test. Certifications for the Select Job Titles will be generated based on the results of the PCO written test combined with the responses to the questionnaire. New York State agencies will be sent the names of people who received a score of 70 or higher on the PCO written test and who have the education, experience, and/or language proficiency requirements of the Select Job Title. The names and contact information for these individuals will be provided to the agencies in the order of the scores on the PCO written test.

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Q. How will the online education and experience questionnaire be used?

A. Candidates who wish to be considered for any of the Select Job Titles including titles needing proficiency in a language other than English and titles needing an understanding of diversity management must fill out the online education and experience questionnaire prior to the written test. This online questionnaire will be the only basis for determining your eligibility for consideration to fill the Select Job Titles. The online questionnaire is optional as not all candidates who are successful on the written test possess the specialized requirements for the Select Job Titles. You can submit the questionnaire from January 20, 2017 to April 5th, 2017. Your examination score will be determined by your score on the written test and will not change as a result of the selective certification process as the questionnaire is not scored.

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Q. Have the questions changed since the PCO Questionnaire was first available in 2014?

A. Yes, therefore no prior submissions will be considered for this new holding of the PCO.

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Q. Who is eligible to fill out and submit the PCO Questionnaire?

A. Approved applicants for the 2017 holding of the PCO exam.

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Q. How will I know what PCO Select Job Title list I have been approved for/appear on?

A. You may see the Select Job Title lists you have been approved for by logging into the PCO Dashboard and clcking on View Results on the left side of the Dashboard page. Each time you submit the Questionnaire the listing of titles that you have been approved for could change. Howver, you will not be able to see Select Job Titles where you needed a master's or higher degree to qualify and you indicated you do not yet have the master's or higher degree. You may see the Select Job Title lists you are currently on by logging in to ELMS Online.

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Q. What should I do if I think I am qualified for a Select Job Title but don’t see it listed on my Dashboard record?

A. You should re-read the additional qualifications required for the title and recheck your questionnaire responses to see whether all of your education and experience information was submitted. As you completed each page, you were prompted to "Save" before you continued. If you did not save at the end of each page, you will have to re-enter the information and resubmit. You will be able to modify and/or provide additional information on your questionnaire even after you have submitted it, up to the submission deadline of midnight, Eastern Standard Time, April 5th, 2017.

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Q. What is the Diversity Management Option and how will it be used?

A. Diversity Management Option lists will be established for each PCO title. Where an agency needs to fill a position where the employee needs to have a cultural sensitivity or an understanding of diversity management and equal opportunity principles, the agency can request a list of the PCO eligibles who meet the Diversity Management Option minimum qualifications and the minimum qualifications of the job title being filled.

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Q. I indicated I have not yet received my degree. What impact will this have on the Select lists I should be approved for and what impact will it have on appointment?

A. When you indicate you have not yet received a degree, you may not be able to see in the View Results page the titles you would have been approved for if you had the degree. You would be approved for the title(s) in our systems. On the fifteenth of the month prior to the month you indicated you will receive your degree, your name will be activated on the list(s). State agencies will then be able to see your name on the list(s) and consider you for appointment. They will not, however, be able to appoint you until you provide them with proof of your degree.

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Q. I indicated I have not yet received my degree. I understand I cannot see in the View Results page the titles I would have been approved for if I had the degree. Can I contact you for the titles I will be approved for when I get my college degree?

No, we will not have access to the titles you will end up being approved for.

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Q. Do I have to submit a PCO Questionnaire?

A. No. Submission of the Questionnaire is voluntary. However, you may be approved for additional job titles if you fill out the Questionnaire, including those job titles that require employees to be proficient in a language other than English and those job titles that require an understanding of diversity management and equal opportunity principles. When you review the list of Select Job Titles at https://www.cs.ny.gov/pco/ pay close attention to the minimum qualifications required for each Select Job Title. If you have the required degree, coursework, experience, or language proficiency for one or more of the Select Job Titles you should complete and submit the online questionnaire.

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Q. I previously submitted the PCO Questionnaire. What happens if I don't update my information or don't have any additional information to add?

A. This new PCO Questionnaire has changed significantly from the last holding of the PCO examination and some of the minimum qualifications for Select Job Titles have changed as well. You must complete this new questionnaire to be considered for Select Job Titles for which you may qualify as we will not use responses from your previous submissions.

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Q. I previously submitted the PCO Questionnaire, what if I submit the Questionnaire again?

A. A new Questionnaire submission will be required for this holding as we will not be using any information from your previous Questionnaire submission. Your new Questionnaire information will be used by agencies seeking to fill positions after the results of the 2017 written test are issued.

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Q. What can I do to make the online questionnaire process go as smoothly as possible?

A. You should try to start and complete the online questionnaire process as early as possible. This will allow you time to resolve any questions or problems that may arise. You can submit the questionnaire from January 20, 2017 to April 5th, 2017. First we recommend that you review the questionnaire in its entirety and collect all the information you will need to complete the questionnaire. Then, set aside a block of time that is free of interruptions while you work on the questionnaire. Get together all your college transcripts so they are available when you answer the coursework questions. Answer all questions that apply to your education and work experience as completely and accurately as possible. Save the information that you enter on each page, by clicking on the "Save" button which is located at the end of each question or request for information. Review and print all saved information before you submit your completed questionnaire.

We encourage you to complete the questionnaire as soon as possible due to anticipated high level of activity on this site and to allow you the maximum amount of time to review and make changes to your responses.

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Q. Do I need to complete the questionnaire in one session?

A. You do not need to complete all parts of the questionnaire during one session. You may enter and save your responses to one or more sections, log out, and then return to complete other sections at a later time. Be sure to save all your entries and print a copy of your work before logging out and before you submit your completed questionnaire. However, you must submit your questionnaire by the submission deadline of midnight, Eastern Standard Time, April 5th, 2017.

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Q. How should I equate my college semester credit hours?

A. If your college courses are measured in quarter hours, you should multiply the number of quarter hours you received by .67 to equate the credits to semester credits. For example, if you have 90 quarter credits, it would equal 60 semester credits (90 times .67 equals 60).

If your college courses are not measured by semester credit hours or quarter hours, but by one (1) unit per course, equate one course to three (3) semester credit hours when completing the Coursework section of the questionnaire.

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Q. Why can't I indicate my work experience? When I go to the Employer Information page, all I see is select employer and no employer is listed.

A. You need to complete the Work Experience section of the Questionnaire before completing the Employer Information section. When you indicate the amount of experience that you have in response to a question in the Work Experience section, you have to provide the "Name of Employer(s)". If you do not indicate the employer's name, you should get an error message. After you answer questions that show you have the work experience needed for the Select Job Titles, you should go to the Employer Information section and fill out the information about the employer.

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Q. What if I am unsure of where I should enter certain education or experience on my questionnaire? What if I have a question about how to respond to specific questions on the questionnaire?

A. The questionnaire includes complete instructions for reporting your education and/or experience. The questionnaire is not a test and will not be scored, but to be fair to all candidates, our staff cannot provide individual assistance or directions on how you should respond to specific questions on the questionnaire. You should re-read the instructions carefully and answer as best you can.

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Q. What if I don’t have any of the specialized education, experience, or language proficiency requested on the questionnaire?

A. If your college degree, coursework, experience, or language proficiency is not requested on the questionnaire, it is not currently being evaluated for this exam holding. Only candidates with the requested information should complete the questionnaire.

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Q. Can I get timed-out while working on my questionnaire? I started to complete the questionnaire, but I left my computer and when I came back, I was signed out. None of the information I completed appeared when I signed back in. What happened?

A. Your log-in session will remain active as long as you save information or refresh any page within 30 minutes. After 30 minutes of inactivity, you will be required to log-in again. If you were in the process of filling out a form but did not save the information within 30 minutes, any information on that page will be lost. Only the information on that one page will be lost; any information you saved earlier will already have been saved.

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Q. I hit the back button to return to an earlier part of the questionnaire, and now I can’t continue. What happened?

A. This application is not designed to handle use of the back button. Please use the navigation provided on each page.

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Q. I completed the questionnaire and signed out, but when I returned none of my information was saved. What happened?

A. As you completed each page, you were prompted to "Save" before you continued. If you did not save at the end of each page, you will have to re-enter the information.

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Q. How do I know if my questionnaire was submitted correctly?

A. Before you submit your questionnaire, you will be prompted to review your choices. We recommend that you print a copy of your responses to keep for your own records because this will allow you to check the information before your final submission. When you submit your questionnaire, you will automatically receive a confirmation on the screen that your questionnaire has been successfully submitted.

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Q. What if I want to add information to my responses after I have submitted the questionnaire?

A. You will be able to modify and submit your questionnaire even after your initial submission, up to the submission deadline of midnight, Eastern Standard Time, April 5th, 2017.

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Q. Are there any benefits to submitting the PCO Questionnaire early?

A. Yes, if you submit the Questionnaire early you will have more time to go back into the PCO Questionnaire and continue to update it with information you forgot or may need to look up. You may resubmit the Questionnaire up until the deadline date for submission.

We encourage you to complete the questionnaire as soon as possible as we anticipate a high level of activity on our web site during this period; this will allow you the maximum amount of time to review and make changes to your responses.

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Q. What if I can't submit the PCO Questionnaire before the deadline?

A. The Questionnaire must be submitted before the deadline. We highly recommend that you submit the PCO Questionnaire as early as possible.

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Q. I was appointed from a PCO list, can I still submit the PCO Questionnaire?

A. As long as you apply and are approved for the 2017 holding of the PCO, you may submit a new questionnaire.

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Q. How will submission of the PCO Questionnaire affect my status on the Generalist Job Titles list?

A. Submission of the Questionnaire will have no impact on your status on the PCO Generalist Job Titles list.

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Q. After I take the written test, how long will it take to get my score?

A. It usually takes up to 90 days for the Department to process scores from a written test. We will send you an e-mail when the exam scores are available on the PCO Dashboard. If you receive a score of 70 or higher in the PCO written test, you should immediately click the Preferences button on the left side of the PCO Dashboard to update the information about your availability for a job. The Preferences button on the Dashboard will only be available to you after the written test is scored, if you pass the test.

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Q. Will I receive a paper copy of my Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) score notice?

A. No. The Department of Civil Service is providing candidates with online score notices for the PCO. Once eligible lists have been established, score notices will be available to candidates online at the PCO Dashboard.

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Q. How will I know when my online score notice is available?

A. The Department of Civil Service will send an email to all PCO candidates to let them know that the scores have been posted online. The email is being sent to the address we currently have on file for you. If you need to update your email address, go to https://www.cs.ny.gov/home/myaccount/. Remember: Keep your email address current in our system as the Department of Civil Service and State agencies will contact you about important information by email. If you have additional questions, email the PCO team at PCO@cs.ny.gov.

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Q. How do I access my online score notice?

A. To access your score for the PCO, log in to the PCO Dashboard and click on Written Test Score.

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Q. How do I find out where I stand on the eligible list?

A. Eligible lists for the PCO and for all civil service examinations are available online at: https://www.cs.ny.gov/elmspublic/index.cfm. Passing candidates should also update their Preferences to indicate the geographic areas, shifts, etc. for which they would accept appointment.

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Q. Can I review the scoring of my test to make sure my score is correct?

A. Candidates can review the scoring of their answer papers and the calculation of their final score at a computational review. To arrange for a computational review, follow the instructions provided in your Score Notice. This review does not extend to the test questions or special qualifications used in this examination program.

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Q. I’ve received my score, what happens next?

A. Agencies request the eligible list from the Department of Civil Service and send out "canvass letters" to enough high scoring eligibles to fill their jobs. A canvass letter is an inquiry into your interest in the job and its location, and your availability. Canvass letters are not job offers. If you receive a canvass letter, do not leave your present employment. You must return the canvass letter by the return date if you are interested in the job. If you return the canvass letter late, the agency is not required to consider you for that job, but your name will remain active for future canvasses. While the law does not require agencies to canvass or conduct interviews, in most cases they do. However, agencies are required to hire from the eligible list according to the rule of three.

If you are undecided about accepting a particular canvass inquiry, you should indicate that you are interested in being interviewed. If you are called for an interview and, after you have find out more about the job you decide you are not interested, you can always decline the job. You may call 518-457-4295 or write the Department of Civil Service to re-activate your name for agencies, locations, or types of positions you have declined. Our address is:

New York State Department of Civil Service
Attn: Employment Records Section
Agency Building 1
Albany, NY 12239

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Q. How is the eligible list used?

A. Passing candidates with a score of 70 or higher on the written test are placed on the eligible list according to score. Those with tied scores are listed together. The lists are provided to State agencies where the job openings are located. Agencies must follow the rule of three when selecting candidates to interview for a position.

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Q. If I pass the test will I get an interview?

A. The higher your score the better your chances are for getting an interview. Agencies first send out canvass letters to determine who is interested in the type of appointment at a certain location. Only those who reply on time and say they are interested and who are "reachable" within the rule of three may be appointed. As the list is used to hire people, and as people on the list indicate they are not interested in a position, agencies make their way down the list in score order.

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Q. Can I contact agencies directly about job vacancies?

A. Passing candidates may contact agencies directly to inquire about possible job vacancies. To be proactive in your employment search, you may also search for vacancies of titles filled from the Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) exam at https://statejobsny.com(New Window) You may search for vacancies listed in the section "For the General Public".

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Q. Will I get the job if I get an interview?

A. If you are the top scorer you might be considered for the job, but having a high score does not guarantee that you will be hired. The canvass and interview are equally important parts of the selection process. If you are interested return your canvass letter or telephone canvass call promptly and do your best to make a good impression during the interview. The interview is also an opportunity for you to learn if this is the job for you.

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Q. What is the rule of three?

A. All candidates with the highest score are immediately eligible for consideration for appointment. Candidates at lower scores can be considered only when there are fewer than three candidates at higher scores.

Any candidate’s eligibility for appointment depends not only on his or her score, but also on how many other candidates are at higher scores. The following two examples illustrate how this might work.

Example One
Score Candidates at this Score
100 1
95 1
90 1
In this case all three candidates at all three scores are equally eligible to be appointed. People may use the word ’reachable’ to describe this.
Example Two
Score Candidates at this Score
100 10
95 10
90 10
In this case, only the ten candidates at score 100 are eligible for appointment. If, however, through hiring or declinations the number of candidates at 100 is reduced to 2, then all 10 candidates at the score 95 can also be considered. Only if there were only 2 or fewer candidates at the scores of 100 and 95 can any of the 10 candidates at the 90 score be considered.

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Q. What should I do if my name, phone number, email address, or mailing address changes?

A. If you have a change to your name, email address, or mailing address, you may log into your Civil Service account to edit that information at: https://www.cs.ny.gov/home/myaccount

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Q. What should I do if I want to change the locations, shifts, etc. where I am willing to work?

A. You should go to ELMS Online after the written test is scored and the eligible list is established. We recommend that you update your preferences as soon as possible after that time.

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Q. What lists am I on now?

A. You can view the Select Job Title lists that you are currently on by loggin in to ELMS Online.

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Q. How long will my name remain active on the eligible list?

A. Your name will remain active on the eligible list(s) from the 2017 PCO exam until 30 days after the eligible lists from the next PCO examination are established. Your eligibility on the eligible list(s) from the 2014 PCO exam will expire 30 days after the eligible lists from the 2017 PCO exam are established. Your eligibility for appointment may change if you accept a job from the PCO eligible list.

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Q. Why does my PCO Score notice say I have a restriction and there is an Education Verification Required? I do not have a foreign degree and I'll be graduating in 2018.

A. Since you are not eligible for appointment from the PCO lists until you have your bachelor's degree, your name will be restricted on the PCO lists until the 15th of the month prior to the month you indicated you will graduate. Then agencies will be able to see your name and contact information prior to your graduation and consider you for appointment after you graduate.

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Q. What if I am hired to a title at the trainee level?

A. The majority of job titles filled through this exam require two-year traineeships during which trainees gain the necessary knowledge and experience to perform at the full level. Most traineeships start at a level equivalent to a G-13 and, after successful completion of the two year traineeship, advance to the G-18. A few traineeships start at the G-11, G-13, and G-14 levels and advance to G-14, G-16 or G-20 positions. You should read the Job Title Details for a trainee title to see its career ladder.

If you accept a trainee appointment to a Generalist Job Title that leads to a G-14, you will remain active on the Generalist Job Title eligible list for appointments that lead to grades higher than G-14 and, if you accept a trainee level appointment at G-16, you will remain active on the Generalist Job Title eligible list for appointments that lead to a grade higher than G-16. If you receive an appointment to a traineeship that leads to a G-18 your name will be removed from the eligible list for the Generalist Job Titles. Candidates who receive an appointment to a Select Job Title will be removed from that specific certification, but will retain their eligibility for other Select Job Titles and for Generalist Job Titles.

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Q. How can I be hired to a title at the higher trainee or journey level?

A. For most trainee titles, if you meet the qualifications for appointment to a higher level trainee or journey level appointment, you may be eligible for appointment directly to the higher levels. Advanced placement appointments are at the discretion of the hiring agency. For information about advance placment for a trainee title, you should read the Job Title Details page for that title.

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Q. What will my salary be?

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

Entry-level trainee salaries vary depending on title. The starting trainee salary, length of the traineeship and the full performance grade level will be indicated when the hiring agency contacts eligible candidates at the time a position is being filled.

Traineeship Hiring Rate
Equated to Salary Grade PS&T Traineeships M/C Traineeships
G-11 $36,246 $37,124
G-13 $40,507 $41,357
G-14 $42,833 $43,814

Full-Performance Level Hiring Rates
Equated to Salary Grade PS&T Traineeships M/C Traineeships
G-14 $42,833 $43,814
G-15 $45,257 $46,252
G-16 $47,796 $48,859
G-18 $53,339 $51,905
G-19 $56,229 $54,688
G-20 $59,108 $57,476
G-21 $62,242 $60,576

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Q. What if I am proficient in a foreign language?

A. You should indicate the language(s) in which you are proficient in the PCO Questionnaire. The eligible lists may be used to fill job titles that require proficiency in a language other than English. If you are considered for appointment to such a position, you will be required to pass a performance test to demonstrate your proficiency in the language at a level that will ensure your ability to perform the duties of the position.

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Q. Will I be required to have a physical/medical exam?

A. If you are being considered for appointment to the Select Job Titles of Industrial Hygienist or Public Health Specialist, you will be required to have a physical/medical examination prior to appointment to ensure that you are able to satisfactorily perform the duties of these positions with or without reasonable accommodations. Additional information will be provided by the hiring agency at the time of interview. You may obtain a complete statement of the physical and medical standards online at https://www.cs.ny.gov/ehs/forms.cfm(New Window) or by writing to:

Medical Review Unit
NYS Department of Civil Service
55 Mohawk Street, Suite 201
Cohoes, New York 12047

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Q. Will there be a background investigation?

A. If you are being considered for appointment to the Select Job Titles of Industrial Hygienist, Mental Health Program Specialist, or Resource and Reimbursement Program Development Specialist, your background will be investigated prior to appointment. This investigative screening is required because of the nature of these positions. Additional information will be provided by the hiring agency at the time of interview. All convictions must be reported. Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor or any falsified or omitted information may bar your appointment or result in removal after appointment. Each case is determined on its own merits, consistent with the applicable provisions of state and federal laws. You will be responsible for fingerprinting fees.

Click here for a list of Generalist Job Titles and Select Job Titles filled by this exam.

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