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General Questions

1. What is the mission of the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission?
2. Where are civil service jobs located?
3. What is the difference between civil service and non-civil service positions?

Application AND EXAMINATION Questions

4. Where can job seekers find information about civil service employment opportunities and submit applications?
5. What is Job Alert? How do I sign up to receive them?
6. When completing an application for a job posting what should I remember?
7. Why do I need to get my foreign education credentials evaluated and what organizations provide this service?
8. What are the different types of job postings and associated hiring processes for civil service jobs?
9. If I previously applied for civil service examinations at the Commission's website at www.scsc.pa.gov, may I continue to use the same account credentials when applying at www.employment.pa.gov?
10. I plan to apply for a job title that requires a written examination at an examination center. How do I schedule my examination?
11. How do I obtain my examination scheduling log-on credentials if I have forgotten my password?
12. How do I update the information stored in my NEOGOV account profile?
13. How do I obtain my NEOGOV log-on credentials if I have forgotten my Username and Password?
14. How can I check my examination scores for job postings for which I have applied?
15. Will I be able to find out my ranking on a civil service list?
16. What assistance is available for individuals with disabilities?
17. Where can I take a written (computerized) examination?
18. How soon may I be examined after I submit my application for a written (computerized) examination?
19. Does the Commission offer examinations on a Walk-in basis?
20. How can I prepare for a civil service examination?
21. How is a computerized examination administered?
22. What should I bring to the examination center?
23. What should I not bring to the examination center?
24. How do I cancel or reschedule my examination?
25. Can I retake a civil service examination (written examination or online examination)?
26. How long does it take to receive my examination results?
27. What can job seekers do if they believe they were made ineligible in error?
28. What can job seekers do if they believe an examination score is incorrect?

Hiring Questions

29. Is Pennsylvania residency required for employment?
30. Is the possission of a criminal conviction a bar to civil service employment?
31. Do veterans receive hiring preference?
32. Do individuals aged 60 and over receive employment preference?
33. Is employment or promotional preference given to job seekers in certain geographic locations in which jobs are located?
34. What happens after I am conditionally offered employment?
35. Can I be reinstated to a civil service position?
36. Can I transfer between agencies in the merit system?

1. What is the mission of the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission?

The State Civil Service Commission was established to administer a merit system of employment to ensure the hiring and promoting of the most qualified individuals for civil service covered jobs. The Commission develops and administers primarily written and online examinations and refers the most qualified job seekers for the use of agencies in hiring candidates into civil service covered positions. Hiring is accomplished through competition among qualified job seekers in the examination and interview processes to the exclusion of any non-merit considerations.

The Commission covers merit system covered jobs in 38 state agencies for a total of almost 53,000 civil service employees. Additionally, approximately 6,900 employees work in approximately 300 local government offices through contract with the Commission for the provision of merit system services.

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2. Where are civil service jobs located?

While the majority of jobs are located in state agencies in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, jobs exist all across Pennsylvania. There are a number of jobs located in district or regional offices, state parks and forests, engineering district offices, state correctional facilities, state liquor stores, veterans’ homes, state mental health hospitals and state centers for people with intellectual disabilities.  

At the local government level, civil service jobs exist within county agencies to include Children and Youth agencies, Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities agencies, Drug and Alcohol agencies, Area Agencies on Aging, as well as in Housing Authorities throughout the state. The State Civil Service Commission does not provide merit system services to any local government agencies located within Philadelphia County.

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3. What is the difference between civil service and non-civil service position?

Approximately 70% of Commonwealth jobs are covered by the civil service merit system. That does not include civil service jobs at the local government level. State agencies and occupation types that fall under civil service coverage are designated by provisions contained in the Civil Service Act. A primary difference between civil service and non-civil service is that to compete for a non-civil service position, job seekers are not required to take an examination. For civil service positions, initial entry into a civil service covered job requires appointment through a competitive examination process. Examinations may be administered at an examination center or completed online. While the processes may be different, both types of employment at the state level are subject to the same salary structures, as well as the same employee benefits and retirement package, when applicable. Each local government agency has its own pay, benefits and retirement package.

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4. Where can job seekers find information about civil service employment opportunities and submit applications?

Effective April 23, 2018, civil service jobs open for application are located on the Commonwealth’s employment website at www.employment.pa.gov. Since non-civil service job openings are also located on this website, job seekers may conveniently explore all jobs and apply for both types of positions at one location. To view job postings, click on the “Open Jobs” section. Each posting indicates if the job is civil service or non-civil service. Job seekers may sort the open jobs listing by posting date, job title, salary and also filter the listing by location, department, and job category. Job seekers are able to submit applications directly from the posting.

While some postings are open for application on a continuous basis, most are only open for a limited period of time. Since job postings change frequently, job seekers are encouraged to periodically check the website for updates and/or subscribe to receive Job Alerts. While each posting requires a separate application, the demographic, employment and education data that you input is maintained so you only need to update subsequent applications and respond to supplementary questions, when applicable.

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5. What is Job Alert? How do I sign up to receive them?

A Job Alert is an easy way for job seekers to learn of new jobs posted for application. If interested in this service, go to www.employment.pa.gov and click on “Open Jobs.” Then, click on “Subscribe to Job Alerts” and select the occupational categories of interest to you. By providing your email contact information, you will receive a Job Alert notice by email each time a new job opportunity is posted in your selected categories.

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6. When completing an application for a job posting what should I remember?

Since job seekers will only be considered if they meet the minimum experience and training requirements, it is important to carefully review the requirements listed on the posting before submitting an application. If you believe you qualify, describe your experience and training as accurately and completely as possible.  Include paid employment, volunteer work, dates of employment and all course work completed.

If you are relying on education acquired outside of the United States to qualify, you will need to provide documentation prepared by a professional foreign credentials evaluation organization.

Pay close attention to the application instructions included on the posting and be sure to apply by the closing date on the posting, if one applies.

Please note:  You will be unable to revise your application once it has been submitted.

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7. Why do I need to get my foreign education credentials evaluated and what organizations provide this service?

If you are relying on education acquired outside of the United States (U.S.) to qualify, we are unable to determine if your education is equivalent to that obtained in an accredited U.S. university or college. We rely on documentation prepared by professional foreign credentials evaluation organizations after they have reviewed your credentials against U.S. accrediting standards. A list of professional credentialing organizations which provide these services can be found on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website, at www.naces.org. Click on the “How to Find a Member” tab.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not endorse or regulate services performed by these or any other organizations. It may also be beneficial for you to obtain a course-by-course evaluation breakdown, as certain job titles require specific coursework.

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8. What are the different types of job postings and associated hiring processes for civil service jobs?

Each civil service job posting describes the hiring process used to fill the position. While some civil service jobs require job seekers take a written examination at an examination center, the majority only require job seekers to complete the application and answer job-related questions online.

The most common civil service postings are in the following categories:

Written Examination for Future Vacancies – This type of posting requires job seekers to submit an application and complete an examination at one of the Commission’s examination centers. Job seekers who meet the minimum requirements for the job title and receive a passing examination score are notified via email when openings are available. The examination score attained by the job seeker will be used for all individual positions for which they apply. Job seekers with the highest scores who apply to the openings are referred to the hiring managers for interviews.

Online Examination for Future Vacancies - This type of posting requires job seekers to submit an application for the job title but instead of taking a written examination at an examination center, job seekers answer job related questions as part of the application process. Job related questions are scored for job seekers who meet the minimum requirements. Job seekers with passing examination scores are notified via email when openings are available. The examination score attained by the job seeker will be used for all individual positions for which the job seeker applies. Job seekers with the highest scores who apply to the openings are referred to the hiring managers for interviews.

Current Vacancy Postings – There are two types of postings for current vacancies. In one version, the job seeker is first required to complete a written or online examination for the job title before submission of an application for a specific vacancy. The examination score attained on the written or online examination for the job title is used to determine the highest ranking job seekers of those who apply for the specific vacancy.

In the second type of vacancy posting, the job seeker submits an application for the vacancy and answers online questions developed for the specific vacancy. These questions are based on the most important duties in the job’s position description and the answers are scored for job seekers who meet the minimum requirements. Since questions may vary based on specific duties, job seekers may receive different examination results when they apply for multiple jobs that are assigned to the same job title.  In both versions of the job posting process, the job seekers with the highest scores are referred to the hiring managers for interviews.

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9. If I previously applied for civil service examinations at the Commission's website at www.scsc.pa.gov, may I continue to use the same account credentials when applying at www.employment.pa.gov?

Job seekers are required to have an account on www.employment.pa.gov. If you previously applied for a non-civil service job at this website, you can use the same account to apply for civil service jobs.  If not, after you create your account on www.employment.pa.gov, you will use that account to apply for all civil service and non-civil service postings.

Please note:  Your email address is used to identify your account. It is critically important for job seekers to remember the email address used to establish their account. You should continue to use the same email address when submitting applications for additional jobs.

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10. I plan to apply for a job title that requires a written examination at an examination center. How do I schedule my examination?

After you submit your application at www.employment.pa.gov, you will receive an email that provides instructions on how to establish a new account for the Commission’s examination scheduling system.  After establishing a new account, job seekers are able to schedule for any available written examination.

Please note:  The email address used when submitting your application at www.employment.pa.gov will be needed when signing into your account on the Commission’s website.

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11. How do I obtain my examination scheduling log-on credentials if I have forgotten my password?

You may reset your password for examination scheduling by going to the “On-Line Services” section of the Civil Service website (www.scsc.pa.gov), by entering your email address and selecting “Forgot Password?” You will be prompted to enter your First Initial, Last Name and Address Line 1 as you did when you initially set up your On-Line Services account. A verification email will be sent to you with a code to reset your password.

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12. How do I update the information stored in my NEOGOV account profile?

To update your account profile, sign in to the www.employment.pa.gov website and click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen. From the drop down, select "Profile." Job seekers may update the information previously submitted to the profile such as contact information, personal information, work experience, education, etc.

Please note:  While you are able to update your NEOGOV applicant profile information at any time, you will be unable to revise a specific application after it has been submitted.

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13. How do I obtain my NEOGOV log-on credentials if I have forgotten my Username and Password?

Job seekers may go to the www.employment.pa.gov website and click on the “Open Jobs” box and then click on “Continue to Open Jobs.” This will open a page that contains the listing of currently available employment opportunities. On that page, click on “Sign In” located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. In the Sign In box that opens, click on “Forgot Username?” or “Reset Password,” whichever is appropriate. If job seekers are unable to remember the email address they used to create their account, they will need to create a new account using a new email address. As this is not advisable, it is in the job seeker’s best interest to take note of the email address they use to create their initial account and apply to posted job opportunities.

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14. How can I check my examination scores for job postings for which I have applied?

You can access all of the email notifications you have received regarding specific postings you applied for by signing in to your www.employment.pa.gov account and viewing the messages in your Inbox. Your scores will be listed in the notices with the subject “State Civil Service Commission Notice of Examination Results.”

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15. Will I be able to find out my ranking on a civil service list?

Employment “rank on lists” will no longer be reported in the Commonwealth’s new employment application system.  Rankings will vary by job postings.

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16. What assistance is available for individuals with disabilities?

The State Civil Service Commission offers reasonable examination accommodations for job seekers with disabilities who are applying for a job title that requires a written examination. It is the job seeker’s responsibility to inform the Commission of specific needs when submitting an application. This information is confidentially maintained. A “Justification for Testing Accommodation” form must be completed and be on file before examination accommodations are granted. For job seekers who have not examined previously with the State Civil Service Commission, it is necessary to return the completed signed form to the Test Administration Division via email to RA-cs-TestAdmin@pa.gov or fax to (717) 783-3057.  Commission staff will work with you to schedule a convenient examination date and time at a Commission examination center. For more information about examination accommodations or to learn of other services, please visit  Applicants with Disabilities.

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17. Where can I take a written (computerized) examination?

The “Examination Information” section of the written examination postings include links to information about examination locations including directions to each facility. Written examinations are administered in the Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offices of the State Civil Service Commission on most weekdays.

Examinations are also administered in Erie, Johnstown, Lock Haven and Scranton. At these sites, examinations occur approximately 10 days each month. Examination dates at these locations are generally on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, including some evenings, and select Saturdays.

If a special situation requires examinations be held at a facility other than an established Commission examination center, information regarding the location will be provided in the “Examination Information” section of the job posting.

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18. How soon my I be examined after I submit my application for a written (computerized) examination?

Once you submit your application, you will receive notification that your application has been received. At that time, you may go to the Civil Service Commission’s “On-Line Services” to select an available examination location, date and time that fits your schedule. When you receive the online schedule confirmation, it is recommended you print the notice for your reference and bring it with you when you report for examination. You will need the “Application Confirmation” number listed at the top of that notice to log in to take your examination at the facility.

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19. Does the Commission offer examinations on a Walk-in basis?

Walk-in examination is an option on most testing days on a first-come, first served basis based on available seating. Available seating occurs when a job seeker scheduled for examination does not arrive or when a job seeker completes their examination early. More information is available on our Walk-in Testing” page.

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20. How can I prepare for a civil service examination?

The State Civil Service Commission does not provide study guides for specific examinations nor do we recommend the purchase of any study materials. However, the best method of preparing is to carefully read the job posting, particularly the “Examination Information” section. For written computerized examinations, you may wish to review books or search the Internet on the subject areas listed on the posting.

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21. How is a computerized examination administered?

A computerized examination is taken at a workstation equipped with a computer, mouse, keyboard, and headphones. On-screen instructions guide you through the examination process. Examination questions appear on the screen and only one question appears at a time. You select answers by pointing and clicking with the mouse or by typing answers in text boxes.

In cases where a calculator, audio, video, graphics and/or reference documents are associated with the examination, you access them by clicking on buttons displayed on the screen. The amount of time you have to complete the examination is constantly displayed in a window on the computer screen. A proctor supervises the examination room and is available to provide necessary assistance if you experience any technical or other issues.

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22. What should I bring to the examination center?

You must bring one form of identification that contains both your signature and a recent photograph such as a driver’s license or a non-driver’s photo identification card. You will not be permitted to take an examination without proper identification. You should also bring your “Application Confirmation” number with you. This number is provided to you when you schedule your examination and is needed to log in at the facility.

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23. What should I not bring to the examination center?

  • Since use of wireless communication devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) are strictly prohibited, you are strongly encouraged not to bring any devices. Calculators are also prohibited.
  • Do not bring originals of official documents such as DD-214s (documentation for veterans preference) and college transcripts. 
  • Do not bring food or beverages.
  • Do not bring unattended, minor children. Job seekers who report for an examination with an unattended, minor child will not be permitted to  examine.

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24. How do I cancel or reschedule my examination?

You may cancel or reschedule your examination by signing in to the "Online Services" section of the Commission website or by contacting one of the following telephone numbers:

Office Voice
​Harrisburg ​(717) 783-3058
​Philadelphia ​(215) 560-2255
​Pittsburgh ​(412)565-7666
​All Other Examination Centers ​(717) 787-2935
​Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) for hearing and speech disabilities or other individuals:  711

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25. Can I retake a civil service examination (written examination or online examination)?

Information about retesting appears on the job posting under the “Examination Information” section. If a retest is permitted, you must submit a new application in order to be retested. Your most recent examination score results will be the only score considered.

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26. How long does it take to receive my examination results?

Normally, you should receive your “Notice of Examination Results” via email within 15 business days from the date of your examination or from the time your application is received. When a new examination is announced, it may take additional time to establish a new list of eligible job seekers. In these cases, you will receive your examination results via email as soon as possible.

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27. What can job seekers do if they believe they were made ineligible in error?

The “Notice of Examination Results” sent via email to job seekers who are made ineligible provides specific instructions on how to challenge the result decision.

These directions specify that eligibility challenges must be submitted in writing and are only accepted via email to ra-cs-challenges@pa.gov. Job seeker responses must include the job seeker’s name, email address, the job title and a detailed explanation of the basis of the challenge. Responses must be received no later than thirty calendar days after the date of the Notice of Examination Results, or be rejected as untimely.

Please note:  The referral, interview and selection processes will not cease pending the resolution of submitted challenges, so job seekers who wish to challenge are encouraged to do so as soon as possible within the thirty day challenge period.

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28. What can job seekers do if they believe an examination score is incorrect?

Scores that result from a written examination taken at an examination center are based on the job seeker’s performance on the written examination. These scores are standardized based on the number of correct answers to the examination questions. The number of questions on a written examination is provided in the examination posting under the “Examination Information” section. Test subject areas and total number of examination questions are also provided.

Online examination scoring is also standardized. The score is based upon the answers to the experience and training supplemental questions provided by the job seeker which is substantiated by the information the job seeker included in the application.

Job seekers who believe an error was made in determining a score may request a review no later than thirty (30) calendar days after the date of the Notice of Examination Results. Requests for reviews are only accepted via email to ra-cs-challenges@pa.gov and must include the applicant’s name, email address, and the job title.

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29. Is Pennsylvania residency required for employment?

Most civil service jobs require job seekers to be a Pennsylvania resident or a former resident who meets certain requirements. To view the requirements, please visit Pennsylvania Residency Information. To determine if Pennsylvania residency is required for a particular job, please refer to the Required Experience, Training and Eligibility section of the job posting.

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30. Is the possession of a criminal conviction a bar to civil service employmentIs the possession of a criminal conviction a bar to civil service employment?

Governor Tom Wolf announced the “Fair Chance/Ban-the-Box” initiative. A conviction does not prevent you from applying or examining and is not necessarily a bar to employment. You may be asked to provide details of your criminal history if you are interviewed and after a conditional offer of employment is made for certain jobs. If applicable, the hiring agency will determine the job-relatedness of your criminal history record.

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31. Do veterans receive hiring preference?

Yes. Job seekers who pass civil service examinations (required for appointment to jobs covered by the State Merit System) receive additional benefits in recognition of their military service. These benefits are commonly referred to as veterans’ preference. The authority for veterans’ preference in Pennsylvania government is contained in The Military Affairs Code of August 1, 1975 (P.L. 233, No. 92), as amended.

Note:  Veterans’ preference does not apply to promotions.

More information can be found on the Veterans’ Preference page of the Commission’s website.

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32. Do individuals aged 60 and over receive employment preference?

Employment preference will be granted to job seekers aged 60 and over for jobs in the Department of Aging and Area Agencies on Aging. Job seekers may refer to the job posting to determine if this employment preference is granted.

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33. Is employment or promotional preference given to job seekers in certain geographic locations in which jobs are located?

For some agencies (such as, but not limited to, local government agencies), employment preference may be given to residents of the county, region and/or district in which the job is located. Also, promotional preference may be given to employees who work in the county, region and/or district where job openings occur. Refer to the job posting to determine if preference is granted.

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34. What happens after I am conditionally offered employment?

If you are interviewed and selected for a job, the hiring agency will verify the experience and training used to qualify you for the job title and then establish a start date.

You will serve a civil service probationary period to determine your suitability for permanent employment. When you successfully complete your probationary period, you will acquire regular civil service status.

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35. Can I be reinstated to a civil service position?

Yes. If you left civil service employment with regular status and in good standing, you may request to be reinstated to a job title equal to or lower than any civil service covered job you previously held with regular status, provided you are qualified for the job.

If you are a former civil service employee who is interested in reinstatement, it is your responsibility to pursue reinstatement. To determine job opportunities that are available for reinstatement job seekers, please visit the “Open Jobs” section of www.employment.pa.gov. Click on the Menu located in the upper left corner and select Commonwealth of Pennsylvania internal job postings. After finding a job of interest, please review the “Recruitment Methods” section of the posting to determine if the agency is accepting applications for reinstatement. Agencies may consider your request for reinstatement, but they are not required to do so. When filling vacancies, agencies have several options from which to choose including eligible lists from the examination process, transfers, promotions, demotions, reassignments and reinstatements.

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36. Can I transfer between agencies in the merit system?

A transfer may occur between state agencies, local government agencies, or state and local government agencies that have a contract with the State Civil Service Commission for merit system coverage.

If you are currently a civil service employee with regular or probationary status, you may transfer/reassign to job titles having the same or lower maximum salary rate as the job you currently hold. You must meet minimum experience and training requirements for the job for which you are seeking transfer/reassignment.

It is your responsibility to seek transfer/reassignment opportunities. Please visit the “Open Jobs” section of www.employment.pa.gov. Click on the Menu located in the upper left corner and select Commonwealth of Pennsylvania internal job postings.  After finding a job of interest, please review the “Recruitment Methods” section of the posting to determine if the agency is considering applications from transfer/reassignment applicants. When filling vacancies, agencies have several options from which to choose including eligible lists from the examination process, transfers, promotions, demotions, reassignments and reinstatements.

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