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The State of California is an equal opportunity employer to all, regardless of age, ancestry, color, disability (mental and physical), exercising the right to family care and medical leave, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions), and sexual orientation.

It is an objective of the State of California to achieve a drug-free state workplace. Any applicant for State employment will be expected to behave in accordance with this objective because the use of illegal drugs is inconsistent with the law of the state, the rules governing civil service, and the special trust placed in public servants.


Persons who meet the minimum qualifications of the classification, as stated on this examination bulletin.

*Once you have taken the examination, you may not retake it for six (6) months.


If you have a disability and need special testing arrangements, you MUST mark the appropriate box on the State application and submit the Accommodation Request Form (STD. 679) with your application. This can also be found on the California Department of Human Resources website.


To apply for this examination, please complete and return the following:

  • Examination/Employment Application (STD.678) This can also be found on the California Department of Human Resources You may submit your application by mail or in person.
  • Supplemental Questionnaire Please make sure to fill out this form completely and submit it with the Examination Application (STD.678). Applications submitted without this document may not be accepted into the


Department of Forestry and Fire Protection 710 Riverpoint Court

West Sacramento, CA 95605 Attention: Examination Unit


Applications postmarked or personally delivered after the cut-off date will be retained and considered for the next examination administration.

All applications must include “from” and “to” employment dates (month/day/year), time base, and applicable civil service class titles. Applications received without this information may be rejected.


Dates printed on Mobile Bar Codes, such as the Quick Response (QR) Codes available at the USPS, are not considered Postmark dates for the purpose of determining timely filing of an application.

If using the United States Postal Service (USPS) for delivery, there is no guarantee that your application will be postmarked and arrive by the cut­ off date. If your application does not have a postmark and arrives after the cut-off date, your application will not be accepted into the current administration. Your application will then be retained and considered for the next examination administration. To ensure timely receipt of your application packet, it is recommended that you use either parcel service, or certified mail. Using one of these options will provide proof the application was sent prior to the cut-off date.


To obtain a position on the eligible list, applicants must receive a minimum rating of 70% on the examination. This exam will consist of the following:


 The performance examination consists of a computer-based test of multi-tasking ability under stress using CRITICALL software. Helpful information about the software can be found at:  CritiCall Test Descriptions. The examination will consist of a performance test weighted 100%.

Candidates will be provided: CritiCall test link.

Candidates will need the following: Access to internet, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers/Headphones.

More information regarding the examination will be sent to the email address provided on your application.

*Please ensure we have the correct email information on file*

 PLEASE NOTE: All exam questions are based on the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities listed in this bulletin and the Communications Operator classification specification, which is located on the CAL HR website. Use this information when preparing for this exam and retain this bulletin for your reference.



Education:   Equivalent to completion of the 12th grade,


Experience: Six months of experience in the California State service performing the duties of a Dispatcher-Clerk,


Experience: One year of experience in dispatching work involving the operation of radio communications equipment/systems,


Experience: Two years of experience involving a substantial amount of direct and telephone contact with the public and the responsibility to perform numerous tasks simultaneously.

NOTE: Applicants MUST submit the Supplemental Questionnaire which specifies the percentage of time spent per week performing duties involving direct and telephone contact with the public.


Successful candidates from this administration will be merged onto the current, existing eligibility list for the Communications Operator classification. Candidates’ list eligibility will be abolished 12 months after it is established unless the needs of the Department warrant a change in this period. It is recommended candidates apply for this examination if one or more of the following apply:

  • You are a Limited Term (LT)
  • You have not yet passed
  • You are a Temporary Appointment (TAU)
  • You are not on the current eligibility


This is the entry, working, and journey level for this series. Employees work under general supervision in a Communications Center following established policies and procedures to perform a variety of duties. Duties include operating multi­ frequency/channel radio telephone systems and computer-aided transmitting and receiving equipment to receive calls from field units, telephones, or other sources; filling out dispatch logs or typing entries into computer terminals; receiving and transmitting reports of incidents and requests for assistance; answering telephone requests for information; relaying calls for emergency services vehicles, other law enforcement agencies, or other assistance requested by field units.  At the full journey level, employees work under direction and perform all the above and select receivers and transmitters and adjust volume controls; dispatch units or other equipment to specific points as required; provide information as requested or required by officers in the field; and act as a lead person.


Knowledge of:

  • Active listening techniques to obtain accurate and detailed information
  • The use of computers for entering information into a database, generating documents, and communicating with others.
  • The structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar to effectively convey
  • The geography of California to identify the location of topography, main highways, counties, and principle cities.
  • Alphanumeric sequences to input pertinent information
  • Basic arithmetic

Skill to:

  • Deal effectively and appropriately with frustrated, angry, or otherwise emotional persons over the telephone, radio, and in the workplace to obtain pertinent information.
  • Effectively convey information verbally to relay information to appropriate
  • Exercise tact, courtesy, and patience in all contacts to maintain professional relationships.
  • Read maps quickly and accurately to ensure precise dispatching and
  • Effectively convey written information in English at a 12th grade level or equivalent to produce work product.
  • Use a computer to search the internet and/or database(s) to obtain necessary information needed for an effective job performance.
  • Communicate in writing in a manner that is mindful of the needs of the audience for effective correspondence.
  • Use various computer so ware and applications to convey information to type 40 words per minute accurately using a keyboard to complete work in a timely manner. U
  • Use a computer to creature documents in Microsoft

Ability to: 

  • Perform multiple tasks simultaneously or in rapid sequence to operate and monitor a multitude of radio frequencies and a variety of highly technical communication systems and equipment.
  • Maintain composure under stress to exercise sound judgement in situations with a high consequence of error.
  • Shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information to conduct research, think critically, and multitask.
  • Enunciate clearly using a well-modulated voice for radio
  • Hear and identify the content of phone and radio transmissions in the presence of significant background
  • Recognize when assistance is needed to know when to ask for
  • Work cooperatively with supervisors, peers, cooperators, and the general public to maintain good relationships with the Department.
  • Work independently with minimal supervision to be effective in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Reprioritize urgent assignments with short notice when new assignments are
  • Follow instructions precisely for an effective job
  • Employ active listening to attain a more complete and accurate accounting of events by giving full attention to what other people are saying and voicing follow-up questions at appropriate times.
  • Work for long periods of time to ensure continuity of communication
  • Think and act independently in order to react confidently, decisively, and quickly in emergency and non-emergency
  • Function in a highly structured chain of command environment for a successful job
  • Evaluate the content of a narrative or report to discern critical information from incoming calls.
  • Recognize the implications of new information to understand its impact on both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Read written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents                                                           to determine their content.
  • Recall a variety of situations and retain accurate information to a level sufficient to document that information into the appropriate system of record.
  • Adapt to changing work patterns to satisfy existing job
  • Recognize when something is wrong or likely to go wrong in order to prevent
  • Type quickly and accurately for an effective job
  • Complete work tasks thoroughly and with attention     to detail     to ensure
  • Reduce complicated information to simple, understandable language and explain it to others.
  • Concentrate on a task over a period of time in order to complete high-priority tasks without distractions.
  • Remain fair and unbiased when applying local, state, and federal laws, or department policies and procedures.
  • Utilize effective time management to prioritize
  • Sit for long periods of time to perform job
  • Identify complex problems and review related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives to reach better solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Adjust future actions to adapt to the needs, expectations, or actions of
  • Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make
  • Combine pieces of information to form general rules or
  • Think critically about alternatives by using logic and reasoning to judge the relative costs and benefits of potential
  • Identify problems or issues which impact the progress of work projects or
  • Compare the similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns to come to a conclusion


 Veterans’ Preference will be granted for this examination, pursuant to Government Code section 18973.1, effective January 1, 2014 as follows: 1) Any veteran, widow or widower of a veteran, or spouse of a 100 percent disabled veteran, who achieves a passing score in an entrance examination, shall be ranked in the top rank of the resulting eligibility list. Any veteran who has been dishonorably discharged or released is not eligible for Veterans’ Preference. 2) An entrance examination is defined, under the law, as any open competitive examination. And 3) Veterans’ Preference is not granted once a person achieves permanent civil service status. Veteran status is verified by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Directions to apply for Veterans’ Preference are on the Veterans’ Preference Application (Std. Form 1093), which is available at CAL HR Veterans Information.

Minimum Education and Experience

Education Required: None
Driver's License Required: Yes
Hiring Requirements for This Job:
  • Drug Testing / Screening
  • Background Checks
  • Reference Check
  • Minimum Hourly Wage: 23.24
    Maximum Hourly Wage: 36.21

    About Cal Fire

    Department of Forestry & Fire Protection