BREAKING: Massachusetts to Implement New Yearly Civil Service Exams Fire and Police

Massachusetts plans to administer the entry level police and fire Civil Service exams annually going forward.

James Cowdell, the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance, confirmed the change to Live Boston 617 on Wednesday. Up until now, the exams have been administered once every two years.

“The overarching goal of annual testing is to provide enough qualified candidates to municipalities, particularly small to mid-sized cities and towns,” Cowdell said. “The eligible list for a civil service department will be refreshed by merging new candidates into a department’s existing eligible list, resulting in a list that is updated annually.” Individual test takers continue to maintain the statutory two years of eligibility.

Cowdell said the state’s Human Resources Division started reviewing the exam cycles and weighing them against customer needs about five years ago. Stakeholders then joined the conversation about two years ago. The change goes into effect with the fire entry exam being administered on October 30. The application period has already closed.

“The formal announcement of the October 2021 firefighter entry-level exam was announced on HRD’s website in summer 2021,” Cowdell said. “At that time, an email was sent to all civil service municipalities’ HR representative and fire chief, along with an FAQ regarding the annual exam.”

Cowdell said information on the police exam for spring of next year will be similarly announced in the next week or two. According to the Civil Service website, the exam will be administered on March 19, 2022 with the application period running from November 23 to January 4, 2022.

Currently, Boston, MBTA Transit Police and 144 Massachusetts cities and towns are covered by Civil Service. About three dozen communities have opted out, however more are looking to do the same.