Government Employment Update
The federal sector hired 162,839 new federal employees nationwide and overseas
in 2013. Almost a third, 31 percent, were veterans. The
Department of Defense and the
Veterans Administration were the two largest
hiring agencies. The Affordable
Health Care Act includes over 100 new regulatory agencies and commissions and
more federal regulators will be needed to administer new EPA and OSHA
regulations and to manage the many other federal programs that have been
implemented by the current administration. Immigration reform will potentially
increase hiring of Border Patrol Agents and Customs Officers. Even with the
projected growth and hiring some agencies continue to offer voluntary early
retirements to address
There is considerable competition for anyone seeking federal employment
and those interested in working for Uncle Sam must develop a professional
federal style resume and application to
remain competitive and start the process early to improve their chances of success.
Service Exams / Required Entrance Exams / Mandatory Testing
Page updated 10/27/2014
Some occupations require specialized civil service tests and assessments. The tests
are used to validate physical and mental ability and skills required for
the position. The exams vary in length from several hours to half a day
or more. You will find required exams in law enforcement, the Foreign
Service, postal workers, air traffic control specialists, and other
related occupations. See the chapters on law enforcement and the Postal
Service for more information. The information listed below provides a
brief summary of the major occupations that require written exams and a
list of their web sites where you can go for additional information.
Careers With Mandatory Testing
Applicants for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Traffic
Control positions must graduate from an accredited Air Traffic Certified
Training Institution (AT-CTI). AT-CTI schools send names of students
enrolled in their program to the FAA. There is an AT-CTI database of names
for tracking purposes until graduation and recommendation. After enrollment
in an AT-CTI program, students take FAA's authorized pre-employment test.
This test determines an individual's aptitude to become an air traffic
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employs thousands of Border Patrol
agents. Applicants must pass The U.S. Border Patrol Logical Reasoning Test
to be considered for positions. The test evaluates how well applicants can
read, understand, and apply critical thinking skills to factual situations.
Agents must read and study laws, legal commentary, and regulations.
Applicants who successfully pass the entrance screening exam and are hired
will receive extensive training at their Border Patrol Academy. A free
60-page study guide is available on their Web site.
All applicants must successfully complete a thorough medical and
psychological exam, a polygraph interview and an extensive background
investigation. U.S. citizenship is required. Other proficiency tests may be
required to verify language skills, etc. Visit our CIA Jobs page listed
below for an introdcution to available CIA occupations and to required civil
In order to apply for a job, you must first register online. After
registering, you can apply to any vacancy currently posted. When applying to
a vacancy, carefully read and respond to the application questions.
The application process can take up to one year to complete depending upon
an applicant's qualifications and the current hiring needs of the FBI. It
includes passing a written civil service test, interview, polygraph examination, physical
fitness test, physical, and a thorough background investigation.
Application procedures for employment with the Department of State vary
according to your career choice. Foreign Service Officers, for example, must
pass the Foreign Service Officer Selection Process. Students must also meet
certain criteria and deadlines for the program they choose to enter.
Various positions with the IRS require assessment tests. IRS agents must
complete an accounting assessment process that takes approximately four to
five hours. It is composed of an accounting assessment and an interview with
a panel of experienced Revenue Agent managers.
The Postal Service has developed a new entrance exam titled Test 473 for
Major Entry-Level Jobs. The new exam is also referred to as the 473 Battery
Exam. All mail carriers must pass this exam with a score of 70 or higher.
Check for exam dates in your area on the USPS employment Web site.
The Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency with headquarters in
Washington, D.C. and more than 150 offices throughout the United States. The
agency is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of the
nation's leaders and extensive criminal investigations. Special Agent
applicants must pass the Treasury Enforcement Agents (TEA) written
TSA jobs require U.S. citizenship and successful completion of a full
back-ground investigation. In addition, persons interested in security
officer positions must pass a medical examination, be able to read, speak,
and write English, and pass a physical ability test, a drug and alcohol
screening, and an aptitude test.
Some Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) entry-level law enforcement
occupations require applicants to pass a written test as part of the
application process. Two of these tests include the ICE Immigration
Enforcement Agent Test and the ICE Special Agent Test. Test preparation
manuals are provided on the Web site to assist prospective applicants with
sample questions, test-taking tips and other guidance.
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