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How to Get State of California AGPA Jobs

Use A CalCareer Account

As with all jobs with the State of California, we recommend starting the application process by creating your CalCareer account and building a template of your State Job Application (STD 678). Get those 2 steps completed first, and then you'll be well on your way. It'll make things a lot easier and set you up to easily submit your application in bulk.

Take the AGPA Exam

Check the Minimum Qualifications (MQs) for the AGPA classification here. You must meet the MQs to take the exam. Before you take the exam, you will have to certify that you have the necessary work experience, education or combination thereof, prior to being allowed to take the assessment.

After you've made sure you're qualified, take the AGPA exam online. It is a sell-assessment and should take about an hour. You will be asked questions about specific "tasks" as they relate to the class specifications. Your answers will be about your experience completing the tasks in school, through training, on the job, or that you don't have experience completing them. You must be signed into your CalCareer account to complete the exam. You can find the exam here. Make sure you read the exam bulletin before beginning.

Applying for Vacant AGPA Positions

After you’ve passed the exam you will be considered eligible for the classification and you can start applying for vacancies. You can check for open positions here. If you didn't pass the exam or got a low score, you'll have to wait 6 months before you take it again.

The minimum score to pass the exam is 70%, but most people hired into the Associate Governmental Program Analyst classification score over 80%.

Hopefully you've followed Step #1 and have your State Application (Std. 678) ready to go. If you didn't, do that now. Also, get the rest of the documents for your application package ready. The most common things that will be required along with your application are a statement of qualifications, transcripts and a resume.

A Statement of Qualifications is written specifically for an advertised position. Although you can start with a general version, job bulletins that required applicants to submit an SOQ usually have specific topics that want addressed.

You might be submitting your application 100 times, so you'll want to make sure it's perfect. When your application is ready, start applying. Hopefully you'll be applying online through your CalCareer account. You should apply for everything new that is posted and go back and apply for jobs that have already been posted. You can sort your job search by Final Filing Date. If you rather not check for new job postings every couple of days, you can register for CalCareer account notifications and receive an email each time a new job is posted.

After You've Applied

Once you've started submitting your application, you should also start getting ready for interviews. Patience is key at this stage. It could be a month or more before you hear anything, and it might take 25-30 application submissions before you get an invitation for an interview. AGPA is one of the most common positions in California state service, so cast a wide net to increase your odds of getting a call back.

If you have eligibility and you've submitted a quality application packet, you should start getting some calls for interviews. The time in which this happens can vary. It could be a couple of days, or it could be a couple of months. The average time is probably a few weeks, though. You’ll probably have to go on a lot of interviews. You'll probably also get quite a few letters letting you know that you weren't selected for an interview.

Don't get discouraged. Also, don’t stop applying for open positions; an interview is by no means a guarantee that you'll be selected. You’ve got to be aggressive at this stage; don't get complacent. Keep submitting your application and accepting job interviews until you get an official job offer.

Additional Notes and Advice

For the AGPA examination, Veterans' Preference points do apply. If you are a qualified Veteran, don't forget to follow the instructions listed in the exam bulletin to make sure your preference is awarded.

The State of California hiring process is pretty similar across all classifications. But for this particular class (one that is both in high demand and ubiquitous across the State), our best advice is to be persistent and play the numbers game. Start by casting a very wide net. The Associate Governmental Program Analyst classification is one of the 10 most common in the State.

Update your Conditions Of Employment to include counties near to where you want to work. For example, both CalSTRS and the Department of General services have offices in Yolo county, which is right across the river from downtown Sacramento. Even though you can see their buildings from Sacramento, you will not be contacted for vacancies if you only have Sacramento County selected as your work location preference. If you are open to moving, make sure you've selected all the places you'd like to move to, or select that you are interested in job anywhere in the State.

AGPA Exam Study Guide

We get a lot of people asking if there is a study guide for this exam. Unfortunately, there is not. The State of California uses a Training & Experience assessment method for the Associate Governmental Program Analyst classification. This means that the answers to the questions on the exam are about the specific work experience, training and education of the test-taker. There is no way to study for this. There is, however, a preview of the types of questions that will be on the exam. Job-seekers can find that information here.

Although not technically a study guide, we recommend reading this before jumping into the exam for 2 reasons:

  1. It'll give you a chance to think about how you'll answer the questions. You don't want to sell yourself short when taking an exam. Reading the questions ahead of time will let you think about and create an "inventory" of all aspects of your work experience, training and education that are relevant. You don't want to overlook anything when you actually take the exam.
  2. Previewing the types of questions on the exam will give applicants a general idea of how qualified they are and how high a score they are likely to get. Knowing this beforehand is a great way to determine what kind of experience, training or education you can focus on to make you a stronger candidate. Remember, you can only take the exam every 6 months and in some cases, it might be better to put off taking the exam until you're a more competitive candidate.

Thanks for reading!

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