The majority of jobs in New York City government, up and down the wage scale, require applicants to take the civil service examinations. In other words, if you want to work in an administrative capacity for the borough of Brooklyn, or the City of New York, then you'll likely have to take a civil service test. Exceptions include elected officials and their appointees and staff, building trades*, and certain specialized positions. Learn more about job opportunities with the City.
To take a civil service exam, you have to apply in a specific way, at a specific time. Here are some basic things you'll need to know to navigate this vast system.
1. What is DCAS? The NYC Department of Citywide Administrative ServicesIf you are looking for a civil service job with the City of New York, you'll probably need to apply through DCAS, which is the acronym for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
- DCAS applies only to the five boroughs of New York: Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens.
- DCAS is the entity that administers civil service exams for City agencies, and lists job opportunities.
2. Where to Apply to Take a Civil Service ExamThere are three ways you can apply for a civil service exam (repeat, these are applications not for a job, but rather applications to take a civil service qualifying examination) if you happen to live or work in Brooklyn.
- Apply Online: Use the Online Application System. If you apply online, you receive a $5 discount. Online is the cheapest way to apply. Applicants need to set up an online account.
- Apply in Person in Downtown Brooklyn : There are just two offices where you can apply to take the test, one in Brooklyn. File an application in person, at 210 Joralemon St., in Downtown Brooklyn, near the Fulton Mall. You can make your payment here as well. If you wish to use a money order to pay, or have the fee waived, you must have your money order or documentation with you when you apply.
- Send in a Paper Application : You can pick up an application for yourself or someone else at 210 Joralemon St., in Downtown Brooklyn, and then mail it back.
For more information about registering for a Civil Service Exam and current fee information : Call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK from outside the city) and ask the operator "civil service information." (The TTY Number is (212)-504-4115.)
3. When to Take the Test? Check the Calendar of Civil Service ExamsGet organized: Use this calendar of civil service DCAS exams. It is organized by filing date, and alphabetically.
These annual calendars offer an overview of the exam schedule for the whole year. However, always double check the exam dates on the "monthly calendar" (located on the same website) because the exam schedule sometimes changes.
4. What Kinds of Jobs Does a Civil Service Exam Qualify You For?The City of New York is a huge employer.2011 Census figures indicate that city government employed over 440,000 people. (Source: Department of Labor Statistics, NY City)
And, you might find a job where you least expect to. For instance, information technology specialists might sound daunting but jobs under this umbrella include not only web developers and database administration, but also general management, quality assurance, tech writers, and project management.
5. More Basics about the DCAS Tests
- Many are computerized tests; some are not.
- Jobs with NY State and the federal government have different requirements; DCAS is New York City-specific.
- Tests differ by the kind of job you're applying for, obviously. For instance, firefighters take a different exam from say, purchasers, auditors, and property managers.
*Note that the Department of Buildings, not DCAS, now administers licensing exams for the building trades. For details, see DOB licensing information.