Want to be a Cop? Or a Dietician? Take the Exam!

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Civil-service exams for police officer and dietician are being offered this month.

© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons, Daderot

Civil-service exams for police officer and dietician are being offered this month.

Were it a city unto itself, New York’s municipal workforce would be bigger than Orlando, Reno, Baton Rouge and all but 72 other cities in the United States, and would be the second-largest municipality in New York State.

Translation: It’s big.

It’s also nearly always hiring, or at least getting ready to hire. And because most city jobs are civil-service positions, the first step to getting a municipal gig is usually an exam.

If you’ve time and a modest application fee and it’s a day other than Sunday, you can probably drop in to take a test today (see the list of available exams and times here) to be an officer for the NYPD or DEP police department or a school safety or traffic agent.

The longer list of tests being given this month is here, and includes opportunities for exterminators, dieticians and psychologists.

Government work gets derided a lot, sometimes for real inefficiencies, but often for dated or selective critiques of public services (Have you been to a New York State DMV office lately? It’s really a pretty smooth operation). Fact is, the civil-service system that operates every day at the city’s testing centers reflects one of the signal reforms of American governance, the rather remarkable outgrowth of an assassin’s bullet, the ascension of a very unlikely reformer and the local leadership of two future presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland.

Not that any of that will come up on the test.