HR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q. What is Civil Service?

A. Every job in local government falls under the Civil Service System. A “Civil Service” employee can be anyone from a deputy sheriff, secretary, registered nurse, mechanic, nurse’s aide, attorney, accountant, laborer, food service worker, etc. Different jobs have different requirements. The Civil Service System is required by the New York State Constitution and is intended to ensure all positions are filled by merit and fitness.

Q. When is the Department of Human Resources open?

A. The department is open to the public between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, except on holidays observed by County Departments. Forms, study guides, important Civil Service information, exam and job announcements are available on this web site 24/7.

Q. How do I know what jobs are available?

A. Please apply for:

  1. Civil Exams
  2. Job Vacancies for non-tested or provisional openings
  3. Summer jobs

The titles and minimum qualifications of the positions are posted. This information, as well as applications and examination announcements, is available from the Monroe County Department of Human Resources. It is recommended that you register for automatic e-mail notifications or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so you do not miss the opportunity to apply for upcoming exams or job announcements. Positions which are posted and not subject to examination are posted for a minimum of 10 days.

Most positions/exams have a four month Monroe County residency requirement.

Q. What Civil Service Exams are currently being offered?

A. You can find current exam announcements in the List of Exam Announcements.

Q. How do I apply?

A. If you are interested in applying for employment with Monroe County, please apply on-line or print and complete each page of the exam application.

For assistance in completing your application, we highly recommend you refer to  the Application Completion Guidelines.

If you apply for more than one Civil Service Exam, you must complete one application for each exam you wish to take.

If you applied for more than one exam on the same date with more than one Civil Service Commission (County, City, State), you must complete a crossfiler form. The form is NOT used for taking multiple exams with a single Civil Service Commission. The crossfiler form allows multiple Civil Service Commissions to coordinate your exam material.

If the exam you are taking requires a qualifying typing performance test and you have already completed a typing test, please read and complete a Typing Test Waiver Form. The exam announcement will inform you if a typing test is required and the minimum words per minute required to qualify.

Q. Can an exception be made for an application deadline?

A. No. When applying for an exam, take note of the closing date for filing. Applications must be submitted online or filed in our office by 5:00 PM or postmarked by the closing date for the exam. No exceptions will be made.

Q. How specific do I need to be on employment dates on the application?

A. Please be as specific as you can. You must provide at least the month and year of your employment start and end dates. Vagueness on dates will not be resolved in your favor.

Q. Are hours worked per week actually important on the application?

A. Yes. You must enter the actual or average number of hours worked per week. This information is used when reviewing your application against the minimum qualifications to assess whether you have enough experience. In most cases part-time work is credited as follows:

    0-9 hours per week = no credit

    10-19 hours per week = 1/4 (one-quarter) of full-time work

    20-29 hours per week = 1/2 (one-half) of full-time work

    30 hours or more per week = full-time work

Q. What are Veteran's Credits and who is eligible for them?

A. New York State Civil Service law allows additional credits in examinations to successful candidates who have filed for and established their status as veterans or disabled veterans. These credits are granted at the time of establishment of the eligible list on the following basis:

  Open-Competitive Exams Promotional Exams
Veteran 5 pts. 2.5 pts.
Disabled Veteran 10 pts. 5 pts.

In most cases candidates may use their veteran's or disabled veteran’s credits to gain appointment only once to a civil serviced position in New York State or local government, but effective January 1, 2014, veterans who previously used credits for appointment to a position in New York State or local government AND, after his or her appointment, are subsequently classified by the Veterans Administration as disabled during time of war, are eligible for an award of additional veteran credits. Such candidates are entitled to 10 additional credits on civil service examinations, minus the number of credits already used for the prior appointment.

In order to be considered for veteran’s credits, candidates must file a VC-1 form and their military discharge papers (DD-214) to establish proof that they:

  1. Served on active duty with the Armed Forces in, as defined in Section 85 of the State Civil Service Law,
  2. Were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from such services, and
  3. Are a resident of New York State at the time of the establishment of the eligible list.

Disabled veteran’s Credits applicants must file a VC-4 form, in addition to the proof required above, to show that they have a war-incurred disability of at least 10% which is certified to be in existence at the time of application for additional credits.

The mere application for veteran's credits does not obligate an applicant to use such credits. Candidates who pass the examination will be notified of their standing on the eligible list with or without these additional credits. At the time of appointment eligible candidates will be asked to sign forms using or relinquishing these additional credits.

Q. How do I apply for Veteran's Credits?

A. Veterans wishing to claim additional examination credits must file a VC-1 form along with a copy of their military discharge papers (DD-214) no later than thirty (30) days after the examination date. No credit may be added after the eligible list has been established.

Candidates wishing to claim disabled veteran’s credits must also submit a copy of the VC-4 form to the Veteran’s Affairs office or Monroe County Veterans Service Agency.

Candidates who have previously submitted a copy of their military discharge papers (DD-214) to the Monroe County Department of Human Resources on or after January 1, 2013 do not need to resubmit them, but a new VC-1 form must be filed for each examination they apply for.

Any questions regarding veteran’s credits can be directed to the Monroe County Department of Human Resources at 585-753-1700.

Q. What happens after I apply for the test(s)?

A. Applications for examinations are reviewed approximately two weeks after the application deadline. Applicants who do not meet the minimum qualifications are notified by mail and are given one week to respond with additional information. Individuals who meet the minimum qualifications are notified by mail at least one week prior to the exam date of the location, time, room number and other instructions.

Q. What can I do if I receive a rejection letter from Civil Service?

A. The letter usually states that it appears that you do not meet the minimum qualifications for the examination. This means that you may not have provided enough information on the application to determine that you meet the minimum qualifications. Read the rejection letter closely, and then submit a letter providing the missing or unclear information. Civil Service will then be able to take a second look at your application and determine if you qualify.

Q. What will be on the test?

A. You can find out what areas each exam will cover from the exam announcement under the heading “Scope of Examination.” Announcements are posted approximately four weeks prior to the closing date for filing an application. Exam announcements are available in the Monroe County Department of Human Resources or on this web site.

Q. How can I prepare for the test?

A. New York State Civil Service publishes  "How to take a written test" and several study guides are for entry-level exam series. Monroe County Civil Service does not review or endorse any commercially available exam study guides, but the Central Library does have a Job Information Center that can be of assistance in exam preparation.

Q. Where are Civil Service lists used?

A. Monroe County departments, towns, villages, school districts, and suburban fire districts, the Monroe County Water Authority and Monroe Community College, use the lists resulting from these exams to fill competitive positions. Positions with the City of Rochester, including the Police Department and Fire Department, but excluding the City School District, are filled from exams administered by the City of Rochester Civil Service Commission. The State and Federal governments administer their own exams.

If you are interested in a job (untested) in a local government agency other than in Monroe County departments, apply directly to that town, village, school district, etc.

Q. When will I know my score on the exam and my rank on the Civil Service list?

A. Exam results are received from New York State Civil Service approximately three months after an exam is held. You will be notified by mail of your score and placement on the eligible list for that title. An eligible list is a ranked listing of all passing candidates from a Civil Service exam.  An eligible list is established for a minimum of one year but may be extended to a maximum of four years.  You may view eligible lists online.

Q. What if I have moved?

A. If you have moved since applying for or taking a Civil Service Exam, please complete the Change of Address Form and mail, fax or email it to our office. Be sure to fill out the form completely so your examination records can be accurately updated.

Q. Do I have to take a test?

A. Most positions require that you take an exam to be considered for a permanent job. These are called competitive positions.

For competitive positions when there is no list of tested applicants, a person may be appointed “provisionally” (temporarily) until the results of the next exam are established. The provisional employee must score high enough to be permanently appointed or else be removed from the job.

Q. What positions do not require a test?

A. There are three types of positions which do not require an exam.

  • Exempt positions are those where the employer decides the qualifications of applicants and chooses the person they want to hire. The process is similar to that found in private industry.
  • Non-Competitive positions have specific education and experience minimum requirements which you must meet. Employers choose from among the qualified people who apply.
  • Labor positions have no requirements. Employers may choose anyone for these jobs. However, they frequently select individuals with the best work record.

Q. Where do I get a W-2?

A. The Monroe County Controller's Office (585 753-1170) issues W-2 forms and will be happy to assist you. Please make sure your address of record is up-to-date with the Human Resources Department.

Q. What is 55-a and how can it help people with disabilities overcome barriers to employment?

A. 55-a refers to the section of New York State Civil Service Law which allows local governments to bypass the examination process when employing people with disabilities in entry-level civil service jobs. Click here for the 55-a Fact Sheet.

Eligibility is determined on a job-by-job basis. You may be eligible if you are certified as having a mental or physical disability which is a substantial barrier to employment, and you are qualified to perform satisfactorily the duties of a particular job.

The New York State ACCES-VR or the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped certifies disability based on recent information and determines if you are qualified to perform satisfactorily the duties of the job. Civil Service determines if you meet the minimum educational and/or experience qualifications for a particular job.

55-a is not a guarantee of employment. The program is voluntary and appointing authorities are not required to hire a 55-a eligible person. When an appointing authority is interested in hiring you, the job description will be reviewed by ACCES-VR or CBVH to assist you in determining your ability to perform the essential duties of the job.

Entry-level positions exist in technical, professional, administrative, and clerical areas. An eligible individual can contact Civil Service for assistance in identifying appropriate job titles. However, it is the individual’s responsibility to locate a suitable opening.

The 55-a Employment Program is voluntary and some departments and local jurisdictions may not participate. To ensure that you do not miss any employment opportunities, you should take all examinations for which you meet the minimum qualifications. Reasonable accommodations are provided for exam takers with disabilities to enable them to participate in the civil service examination process.

The Rochester ACCES-VR office is located at 109 South Union Street, Rochester, NY 14607 and be contacted at 585-238-2900.