PST Information Center

Applicant FAQs


Are you a legitimate business?

The agencies that we are providing testing services for have contracted with Public Safety Testing to conduct their written and physical ability testing. We serve as an independent testing service for those agencies. Please feel free to call any subscribing agency's Civil Service Examiner or Human Resources personnel to check on the veracity of our services. In addition, you'll see a link to our website on most of our subscribing agency's websites.

Do I take the test online?

No

We have testing sites at various locations around the region and they will be offered on a regular basis and typically on a Saturday, or Sunday. Weekday testing also occurs frequently. The information on where and when is on our website in the Test & Event Calendar.

May I test for agencies from different states?

Yes

You may take one written exam and one physical ability test and have your test scores sent to any agency we are testing for - and that you qualify for.  While the law enforcement physical ability standards are a bit different amongst the states, the events are basically the same (push-ups, sit-ups, running, etc). Be sure to carefully review the physical ability standards for each state described in our Information Center.

What dates do you currently have scheduled for testing?

Please see our Test & Event Schedule. Seating is limited and is on a first come first serve basis. Your seat is only confirmed once you have paid for your testing fees.

May I test for law enforcement and corrections officer at the same time?

Yes.

It is the same written exam but once again the minimum physical ability standards are different, the events are similar - however you'll still only have to take one written and one physical ability test. If you wish to apply for law enforcement and corrections agencies at the same time, you may do so by adding to your cart before you finalize your order.

Will I take my written and physical ability tests on the same day?

Yes & No

If you are a law enforcement or corrections applicant, you will. If you are a firefighter applicant, you will take your written exam and your physical ability exam on different days. While firefighter written testing will be offered at various locations around the region, the firefighter Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is conducted at our CPAT Testing & Training Center in Kent, WA.  Optional CPAT Orientations & Practice Tests will also be offered at our CPAT Center. See our current Test & Event Calendar for dates/locations.

How long will it take to test?

For law enforcement and corrections applicants, plan on approximately 6 - 8 hours for both the written and physical ability exams. For dispatcher applicants, plan on at least 2.5 - 3 hours for the written exam. For firefighter applicants, plan on approximately 4 - 4.5 hours for the written exam.  All applicants should plan and dress accordingly - wear the appropriate clothing and shoes and allocate more than enough time to complete the testing process.  Be sure to arrive early for registration.  If you are late for your scheduled test, you will not be allowed to test at that time.

What is done with my test scores?

Scores will be available to all of the agencies that you applied to only if you pass the required written and the physical ability tests (some agencies only require the written exam). These scores will available to each agency after PST audits & certifies them, usually within a day of the event.

Do you tell us where we rank?

No

We do not maintain eligibility lists or any form of "ranking" of candidates. Our contract with subscribing agencies is to provide them with your test scores and the information that you supply during the on-line application process. Each agency, through their established process (often additional testing), establishes an eligibility list and a "ranking" of candidates. Your "ranking" will differ amongst each of your agencies based on their rules.

After the agencies receive my scores, what will they do?

That is up to each agency, however most will invite a certain number of candidates to an oral board interview depending, of course, on the ranking of your score in comparison to other applicants interested in that agency and the needs of the agency at that time. They will have you fill out the necessary paperwork for their agency as well. Agencies may require other testing and an extensive background check. In addition, there are also required polygraph, psychological and medical testing.  It is a very thorough and lengthy process that does not occur quickly - be patient!

How long are my scores good for?

Your scores are good for one year from the date the agency certifies their eligibility list or for a length of time as determined by that agency. PST does not maintain any list or ranking of applicant scores. 

Does it cost to use your service?

Yes

When you consider the costs of taking time off of work, traveling many miles, hotel costs and other costs associated with testing for jobs and having those costs each time you want to test with every agency that you are interested in working, the testing fees associated with using our service are an investment in your time - and career. With our service, you only have to apply once, take one written exam and one physical ability test. Testing fees are based on the number of agencies to which you apply. Please see our fee schedules. Be sure to check with your accountant, but our testing fees may even be tax-deductible.**

I am not able to download the liability waiver form. How can I receive one?

A copy of the liability waiver form will be available in your account on our website. Please remember that you must bring your notarized liability waiver form to your scheduled test date. If you do not have your waiver notarized we will have a Notary Public available at the test site for a fee of $10. The notary will only be available until 20 minutes prior to the test beginning. If your waiver is not notarized, you will NOT be allowed to test.

I am not yet comfortable providing my credit card number online. Is there a way to pay by check?

Yes

You will have the option during the online registration process to pay by check. All you will do is print out your online receipt and mail it to us with your check or money order. However, one advantage of paying online with your credit card is that you are confirmed for the time, date, and location you have chosen for your written exam testing time. If you choose to pay by check and the testing facility is filled to capacity by the time your application is processed by our office, you will possibly be asked to move your testing time. We use PayPal, a proven, secure and reputable online service for credit card transactions.

I was recently invited to an oral board interview. Do you offer any help in preparing for them?

Yes

Every 3-4 months we offer a workshop on preparing for the hiring process with emphasis on the oral board interviews - a critical stage in the hiring process and a step that few adequately prepare for. Instructors are experienced law enforcement and fire service professionals that have conducted hundreds of interviews, background investigations and have hired many public safety employees. Workshop dates are noted in our Test & Event Calendar

I am eligible for veteran's preference points. When will those be considered?

Veteran's preference (or any other preference) points will be factored in by each agency that you have applied to. They will collect your Form DD-214 and any other needed documentation.

Can I change my written testing date, time and/or location?

While we discourage changes, we certainly understand that it is sometimes required. Please login to your account and follow the steps from "My Schedule" on the dashboard. There is a non-refundable $10 processing fee for rescheduling tests, and is subject to the availability of seating at your requested time/date/location. Please do not call our office to request a reschedule as we are not able to process these requests by phone.

Can I cancel my test once it is scheduled?

Cancelations made PRIOR TO your scheduled test date/time will incur a $15 processing fee. There are no refunds for a missed test date.  Test cancellation requests are processed from your account in the "My Schedule" section.  Click on the "Reschedule" link next to your test date and follow the steps to cancel your test.

What about refunds?

  • There are no refunds on or after your scheduled written and/or physical ability exam date.
  • There are no refunds once you have started any examination.
  • There are no refunds for missed test dates.
  • There are no refunds or rescheduling of the CPAT Orientation & Practice Test dates or times. Requests to reschedule your CPAT date or time prior to your CPAT date will incur a non-refundable $25 rescheduling fee. These fees must be paid in advance when scheduled. If you miss your scheduled event, there is no refund because space availability is very limited at each event. It is very important that you attend your scheduled event.

Can I keep testing to increase my score?

No

Applicants may test only once every 90 days (~3 months). If you fail the written exam, you must wait at least 90 days (~3 months) before you test again and you may test for any agency, including those on your original test date. If you fail the physical ability test, (PFAT or CPAT), you have one re-test opportunity within 90 days.

Firefighter candidates must complete the CPAT within 180 days (~6 months) of your written examination. The sooner that you complete your CPAT, the sooner your scores are available to the agencies. If you fail the CPAT, you have one re-test opportunity. If you fail the re-test, you may re-take the written exam 90 days (~3 months) from your original written exam date.

If I'm interested in applying to agencies that subscribe to your service after I have tested, do I need to re-apply and test again?

Not necessarily. If you indicate during the application process that you want to be notified of any new subscribing agencies, our system will automatically notify you as soon as they become available. If you have completed testing within the previous 180 days (~6 months) and you want your scores sent to an agency or agencies that were not available at the time you had originally tested, you will have the option to send your highest score to that agency for an additional fee. Agencies will determine if they desire scores from previously-tested applicants and under what conditions.

How do I learn about new subscribing agencies?

We can automatically notify you via email if you sign up for such service. Please login to your account to set up Notifications/Opt-in.  If you are not a registered applicant you may visit the contact us page and sign up to be notified when new agencies are available.

I cannot afford the testing fee - is there a waiver?

You may apply for a testing fee waiver and you must show proof of a verifiable financial hardship. Once we receive your completed testing fee waiver form, we will evaluate it and respond to you as soon as possible. Please submit this form at least two weeks prior to your desired test date. The waiver form may be found by clicking here: Testing Fee Waiver Form.

What is the Personal History Statement and do I have to fill one out?

The Personal History Statement is designed to assist public safety agencies in the background investigations of candidates.  Many of the agencies we test for require the applicant to complete the PHS within one week of testing.

The PHS is one of the most important, if not the most important document you will complete as a public safety applicant.  It is critical that you are completely truthful and thorough as you complete the PHS.  Many candidates are disqualified for untruthfulness, inaccuracies or omissions in their PHS.

You will need to have the latest version of Adobe Reader on your computer to be able to view, edit, and save this document correctly. If you do not have Adobe Reader  you can download it free from https://get2.adobe.com/reader/.  More information on the PHS can be found here.

I am a Communications Officer/Dispatcher candidate, where do I take the typing test?

You will need to complete and pass the typing test PRIOR to your scheduled written exam date. To take the typing test, please login to your account and follow the steps under "My Typing Tests".  You must also select your highest score to forward to the agencies you applied to.

The passing score is 35 words per minute with an accuracy of 90%, however, if you are applying for Cowlitz County 911, NORCOM Dispatch, Port Angeles Dispatch, Port Of Seattle Dispatch, SNOPAC 911, SECOMM, Thurston County 911, or Valley Communications (ValleyCom), the minimum passing score is 40 WPM with 90% accuracy. If you are testing for Spokane Valley Sheriff's Office Communications they require 45 WPM with a 90% accuracy rate. Your scores will not be sent to departments if you do not pass the typing test. You are only allowed 3 attempts on the actual test. The results will be passed on to the agencies along with your written test score. Typing test results from other websites or departments will not be accepted.

I live outside of your test sites in Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. Am I able to take the test in my area?

Yes and No. There are certain agencies that will accept scores from candidates who take the test out of state. More information about the out of state testing scheduling process and the agencies who allow this process can be found here: https://www.publicsafetytesting.com/outofstate

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What are your policies regarding CPAT Rescheduling, Cancelling, Re-Testing?

CPAT Orientation & Practice tests:

  • There are no refund or rescheduling of your Orientation and Practice Test dates or times.

CPAT Test:

  • Requests to cancel or reschedule your CPAT date or time prior to your scheduled CPAT date will incur a $25 non-refundable fee.

CPAT Re-Testing:

  • If you fail the CPAT, you have one re-test opportunity. If you fail the re-test, you must re-take the written exam six (6) months from your original written exam date.

What are your policies regarding Adding Agencies, Refunds, Changes, Bad Checks, etc?

Adding Agencies

You may add an agency or agencies to your application after you have registered and prior to your written test.  The fee for this is the difference between what you have already paid and what the fee would have been had you applied to that agency or agencies at the time of your application.  The same policy applies to new agencies that become available after your application and prior to your testing.**

You may not add agencies that were available on your exam date to your application AFTER you have taken the written exam, regardless of any changes an agency may make to their current hiring status.  New agencies can be added as described below.

If you have completed testing (written & physical ability tests) in the previous six (6) months** and you want your scores made available to an agency or agencies that were not available at the time you had originally tested (e.g., “new agencies”), you may choose to send your scores to that agency or agencies for an additional fee. The “new” agency will determine whether they will accept previous scores and the parameters for such scores.  You may opt to receive notifications from PST when new agencies are available by logging in to your account and opting in to New Agency Notifications.

Testing / Re-Testing

Law Enforcement / Corrections Applicants

Law enforcement/Corrections applicants may take only one written exam within a 90 day (~3 month) period; however, if you fail the written test, you must wait 90 days (~3 months) to test again for any agency. If you fail the physical ability test you have one (1) retest opportunity to pass a physical ability test within 90 days (~3 months) from your written exam date. The physical ability retest fee is $35 (non-refundable). Please login to your account to schedule your physical ability retest date. An agency may require more restrictive timelines than provided here. You must pass both the written and physical tests for your application and scores to be made available to the agencies to which you have applied for.

Dispatcher Applicants

Dispatcher applicants may take only one written exam within a 90 day (~3 month) period; however, if you fail the written test, you must wait three (3) months to test again for any agency.  You must have successfully complete the PST typing test prior to your written examination date (and no longer than 60 days prior).  You must select and designate your highest typing test score in your My Account prior to your written exam date.  You have an unlimited number of attempts to take the practice test, 3 attempts to take the actual typing test, and may not take the typing test more than those 3 times within a 7 day period.

An agency may require more restrictive timelines than provided here. You must pass both the written and typing tests for your application and scores to be made available to the agencies to which you have applied for.

Firefighter Applicants

Firefighter applicants may take only one written exam every 90 days (~3 months). However, if you fail the written exam you must wait at least 90 days (~3 months) from your written exam to test again for any agency. You must pass a CPAT within 180 days (~6 months) of your written test date in order for your scores to be made available to your agencies. If you fail a CPAT test you have one (1) retest opportunity to pass the CPAT. The CPAT retest fee is $119. Please login to your account to schedule your CPAT.

Cancelations and Rescheduling Policy

Cancelations prior to your scheduled testing date will incur a $15 cancelation fee.  The fee to cancel your CPAT or Interview Skills Workshop is $25.

Rescheduling your written test date and/or location will incur a non-refundable $10 fee.  The fee to reschedule your CPAT or Interview Skills Workshop is $15.  All reschedule requests are subject to availability of seating at your requested time/date/location, and must be made through the My Account page on our website. All reschedule requests must be made within 7 days of a missed test appointment, except CPATs.  There are no refunds or rescheduling tests 7 days after your missed test date.

Refunds

  • There are no refunds on or after your scheduled written and/or physical ability exam date. 
  • There are no refunds once you have started any examination.
  • There are no refunds for missed test dates.
  • There are no refunds for CPAT Practice Tests.
  • There are no refunds for missed CPAT Tests.
  • There is no rescheduling after 7 days of a missed test date.

Bad Checks

Checks that are returned NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds) will be charged a $30 processing fee.

* or as requested by Agency
** Pricing subject to change