Professional Career Opportunities

What you need to know about the PCO

The Professional Career Opportunities (PCO) examination is 1 exam that fills more than 100 entry-level professional titles used by various state agencies across New York State. If you have, or will have, a bachelor's degree from a qualifying institution, the PCO is the most efficient way to be considered for employment with New York State government.

Diversity Management Option
The diversity management option is used to fill vacancies for which 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. Appointees may be assigned to analyze programs, identify problems and develop recommendations to ensure that the programs are responsive to the needs of the population which they serve.

Below you will find important information you should know about the PCO.


Degree Requirements

You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher

Graduating 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 the interview; candidates who cannot demonstrate that they received their bachelor’s degree on or before September 1, 2018 will not be considered for appointment, and will be inactivated on the eligible list.

Foreign Degree Requirements

If your degree was awarded by an educational institution outside the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency. You must pay the required evaluation fee. Information about acceptable companies who provide verification can be found at

You must email the independent verification of equivalency to:
or mail to:

NYS Department of Civil Service
Attention: S1PCO
Agency Building 1
Albany, NY 12239

You will not be considered for appointment until your degree has been verified.

Job Titles

The eligible list that results from this test will be used by agencies to fill more than 100 different job titles. Every candidate who passes 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 or program implementation.

In addition, candidates with specialized education and/or work experience may also qualify for Select Job Titles. To view the generalist and select job titles filled from this program see Job Title Details found on the PCO Dashboard.

Selective Certification of Eligible Lists

Candidates who wish to be considered for any of the Select Job Titles will be required to fill out an online education and experience questionnaire prior to the written test. The online questionnaire will be optional as not all candidates will possess the requirements for the Select Job Titles.

Lists for the Select Job Titles will be generated based on the results of the written test combined with the responses to the questionnaire. This process for generating lists is called selective certification.

When agencies are hiring for Select Job Titles they will receive only the names of candidates who passed the written test and meet the specialized requirements for the Select Job Titles.


The majority of job titles filled through this exam require one-year or 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 and G-13 level and advance to G-14 or G-16.

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 appointment that leads to a 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 have their names removed from that specific list, but will retain their eligibility for other Select Job Titles.

Advanced Placement

For all Generalist Job Titles and some Select Job Titles, if you meet the qualifications for appointment to a higher level trainee or journey level, you may be eligible for appointment directly to the higher levels. Advanced placement appointments are at the discretion of the hiring agency.

Language Proficiency

The PCO eligible list may be used to fill job titles that require proficiency in a language other than English. You must fill out and submit the online questionnaire to be considered for these positions. 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.

Eligibility for Employment

You must be legally eligible to work in the United States at the time of appointment and throughout your employment with New York State. If appointed, you must produce documents that establish your identity and eligibility to work in the United States, as required by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Candidates who require sponsorship (for example, through the H1-B Visa Program) may apply for the exam. However, New York state agencies are not obligated to consider individuals who would require sponsorship for employment.

Job Salaries

Positions filled from the PCO are assigned to the Professional, Scientific & Technical (PS&T) bargaining unit or 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 and may change based on negotiated agreements.

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

Admission to the Examination

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 written test. You will receive your notice to appear for the written test about one week before the written test. Your admission notice will tell you where and when you are scheduled to appear. You cannot request a day or time in advance or change your scheduled day or time. If you have not received your notice to appear for the written test by April 5th, 2017, please email us at 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.

Subject of the Examination

There will be a written test which you must pass in order to be considered for appointment. The written test is designed to test for knowledge, skills, and/or abilities in such areas as:

  1. Preparing written material - These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order. You must then choose, from four suggestions, the best order for the sentences.

  2. Understanding and interpreting written material - These questions test for the ability to understand and interpret written material. You will be presented with brief reading passages and will be asked questions about the passages. You should base your answers to the questions only on what is presented in the passages and not on what you may happen to know about the topic.

  3. Working and interacting with others - These questions test for the ability to accomplish work and maintain professional relationships with others in the workplace. Each question presents a situation and a number of possible approaches for handling it. Question topics may include working with supervisors and coworkers; interacting with members of the public; handling conflict; and managing workplace demands and priorities. The questions are not specific to any job title or place of work.

Test Guide

A test guide is available on the Department of Civil Service website: Window)

A link to this Test Guide can also be found on the PCO Dashboard.

Additionally, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the written test process by reading the publication How to Take a Written Test for State Civil Service Examinations available on the Department website at Window)