Exam Bulletin – Agent

Statewide Open – Continuous Filing

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Download a printable copy of the Agent Examination Bulletin by clicking the PDF download button.

Exam Code:
Exam Type:

Class & Schem Code:

Salary Information:
A: $4,762 – $5,839
B: $5,427 – $6,977
C: $6,255 – $8,649

*The salaries used in this bulletin are the latest available from the state controller’s office but may not reflect the most recent salary adjustment.

Examination Application Cut-Off Date: October 16, 2020

Continuous Testing

ABC Human Resources office will accept examination packets on a continuous basis. Applications will be reviewed to ensure the minimum requirements for participation in this exam are met. Possession of the entrance requirements does not assure a place on the eligible list. Once you have taken the examination, you may not retest for 11 months from the examination date. Applications postmarked or personally delivered after the current advertised exam cut-off date will not be processed until the next exam administration.

Who Can Apply

Persons who meet the minimum qualifications of the classification, as stated on this examination bulletin. All applications/resumes must include “to” and “from” employment dates (month/day/year), time-base, and applicable classification titles.

Minimum Qualifications

Either I

Experience: One year of experience in the California state service performing duties of an Agent Trainee, Alcoholic Beverage Control, or at a comparable level performing investigative duties. (Applicants who are within six months of satisfying the experience requirement for this pattern will be admitted into the examination, but they must satisfactorily complete one year of experience in the class before they can be considered eligible for appointment.)


Experience: Two years of experience as a peace officer (as defined in the California Penal Code Section 830 et. seq.) performing investigative work as part of regular enforcement activity.


Education: Equivalent to graduation (four-year degree) from an accredited college/university. (Students in their senior year in college will be admitted to the examination, but they must produce evidence of graduation or its equivalent before they can be considered eligible for appointment.).

Acceptable course work and degrees must be completed at an accredited institution. Course work and degrees completed outside of the United States must be evaluated by a Commission-approved foreign transcript evaluation agency before it may be used for credentialing purposes.

The Position

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, conducting independent investigations of criminal and/or administrative violations committed on or about alcoholic beverage control licensed premises by licensees, their employees, and/or members of the general public; and interpreting and explaining the provisions of the laws, rules, and regulations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, Penal Code, Health and Safety Code, and Vehicle Code.

Agents will perform plain clothes assignments and undercover operations; provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies and others; make physical arrests; conduct high-profile criminal investigations; collect and preserve evidence to support administrative action and/or prosecution; and write, secure, and serve arrest and search warrants.

These positions exist in various locations throughout California.

Definition of Salary Ranges

Range A

This range shall apply to individuals who do not meet the criteria for payment in Range B or Range C.

Range B

This range shall apply to individuals who have satisfactorily completed the equivalent of 12 months of experience in Range A of the same class and may apply to persons who have the equivalent of 12 months of satisfactory experience outside of State service performing duties similar to those of the class beyond the experience required to meet the minimum qualifications of the class.

Range C

This range shall apply to individuals who have satisfactorily completed the equivalent of 24 months of experience in Range B of the same class and may apply to persons who have the equivalent of 36 months of satisfactory experience outside of State service performing duties similar to those of the class beyond the experience required to meet the minimum qualifications of the class.

ABC Employee Benefits

  • Employer/Employee Paid Health and Dental Insurance
  • Employer Paid Vision Insurance
  • Paid Vacation/Sick or Annual Leave Benefits
  • 10 Paid Holidays
  • Peace Officer Retirement 2.5% at 57
  • Employer Paid Disability Insurance
  • Defined Benefit Retirement Program (Upon Vesting)
  • Employee Paid Deferred Compensation Program (401K and 457)
  • Flexible Work Schedules and Work Hours
  • “Plainclothes” Assignment
  • Recruitment and Retention Pay $200 for Orange County
  • Education Pay Differential
  • Pre-Tax Reimbursement for Medical Care, Child Care, and Parking Programs
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Career Development/Professional Advancement

Equal Employment Statement

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.

Drug Free Statement

It is the objective of the state of California to achieve a drug-free state work place.  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.

Filing Instructions

Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis. Testing will be scheduled as needed. To apply for this examination, please complete and return the following:

Completed applications and all required documents must be received or postmarked by the Cut-off Date. 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. Applications may be personally delivered between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday (except State holidays), to ABC Human Resources. Applications will not be accepted via email, fax, or inter-agency mail.

Mail or File in Person:

Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Human Resources
3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100 Sacramento, CA 95834

Do Not Submit Applications:

  • To the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR)
  • Through Email
  • Through Fax
  • Through Inter-Agency Mail

Examination Information

Testing is held in Sacramento and Cerritos California; your testing region will be determined by the address provided on your application. Applications received after posted cut-off dates will be included in the following administration. Candidate test dates are based on their application filing period in accordance with the following table.

2020 Application Filing Periods

Exam Application
Cut-Off Date
Written Test Date
Written Test Date
February 28, 2020 Rescheduled to:
August 8, 2020
Rescheduled to:
August 22, 2020
Extended to:
July 3, 2020
Rescheduled to:
August 8, 2020
Rescheduled to:
August 23, 2020
October 16, 2020 November 21, 2020 November 21, 2020

Required Identification: Accepted applicants are required to bring either photo identification (driver’s license) or two forms of signed documentation when they appear for the examination.

Failure to complete any of the required forms or failure to appear for the scheduled written examination will result in elimination from the examination. All information submitted for consideration at every phase of the selection process must be accurate, complete and truthful and will be subject to verification. Any inaccuracy and/or omission may be considered intentional and may be cause for elimination from the examination and/or subsequent verification.

All accepted applicants will receive a notice in the mail approximately three weeks prior to exam date with pertinent information regarding the exam.

Special Testing Arrangements

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodation to participate in this examination, please mark the box in question #10 on the STD. 678 “Examination Application” and attach the completed Accommodation Request Form (STD. 679) (PDF).

Examination Scope

The examination will consist of a written test, weighted 100%. To obtain a position on the eligible list, a minimum rating of 70% must be attained.

Knowledge Of

  1. Investigation techniques and procedures;
  2. Rules of evidence and court procedures;
  3. Laws of arrest, search and seizure;
  4. Legal rights of citizens;
  5. Service of legal process;
  6. Knowledge of the Alcoholic Beverage Control and related statutes and regulations;
  7. Interviewing techniques;
  8. Duties of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies; and
  9. Provisions of the laws, rules, or regulations enforced or administered.

Ability To

  1. Interpret and apply laws and regulations to specific situations;
  2. Gather and analyze facts and evidence;
  3. Reason logically, draw valid conclusions, and make appropriate recommendations;
  4. Communicate effectively;
  5. Prepare written documents and accurate detailed investigation reports clearly and concisely;
  6. Follow written and oral instructions;
  7. Participate effectively in investigations and interviews;
  8. Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with Federal, State, local law enforcement agencies, and others;
  9. Analyze situations accurately, think and act quickly in emergencies, and take an immediate and effective course of action;
  10. Develop, organize, prioritize, and manage multiple case investigations, work plans, and other assignments or tasks; and
  11. Review and evaluate the work of others; and provide guidance and constructive feedback.

Skill To

Perform investigatory work; and plan, organize, and direct investigations.

The Written Exam

Will consist of questions that measure knowledge in the areas of:

  1. Written Communication
  2. Arithmetic Calculation
  3. Reading Comprehension

View the ABC Agent Study Guide (PDF).

Eligible Exam List Information

For those who pass the exam, a list will be established for Alcoholic Beverage Control. The names of successful competitors will be merged on the list in order of final scores, regardless of date. The names will remain on the eligible list for a period of 18 months.

Please Note: Once you have taken the examination, you may not retest for 11 months from the examination date.

Veterans’ Points

Veteran’s Preference Credits will be awarded in 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 veteran’s preference.
  2. An entrance examination is defined, under the law as any open competitive examination.
  3. Veterans Preference is not granted once a person achieves permanent civil service status.

The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has information on how to apply for Veterans Preference on their website and on the Application for Veterans Preference form (CalHR 1093) (PDF).

Career Credits

Career Credits do not apply for this examination.

Minimum Age

Minimum age for appointment: 21 years.

Physical Characteristics

Good health, sound physical condition, freedom from any physical or mental condition that would interfere with the full performance of the essential duties of a peace officer; effective use of both hands, both arms, and both legs; strength, endurance, and agility; normal hearing; normal vision (20/20) or vision corrected to normal; color vision must be adequate to successfully perform the job measured by the Ishihara Pseudo-Chromatic Plate Test or for persons failing the Ishihara, the Farnsworth D-15 Arrangement Test; and weight in proportion to height.

Training Information

Applicants who do not have the required provisions of the California Penal Code or training courses prescribed by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training will receive training after they are hired unless they already possess a POST Basic Certificate.

Behavioral Standards

Pre-employment behavioral standards for the selection and testing of peace officer candidates have been established. While taking into account youthful indiscretion and experimentation, these standards are designed to ensure that peace officer personnel have demonstrated a history of sound judgment, maturity, and honesty, as well as a respect for and adherence to the laws of the State of California and the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. Positions of public trust require people who have demonstrated honesty, sound judgment, personal discipline, and responsibility.


Felony Disqualification

Pursuant to Government Code Section 1029, persons convicted of a felony are disqualified from employment as peace officers except as provided under Welfare and Institutions Code, Division 2, Chapter 3, Article 8, Section 1179(b), or Division 2.5, Chapter 1, Article 4, Section 1772(b). Except as provided for by these statutes, persons convicted of a felony are not eligible to compete for, or be appointed to, positions in peace officer classifications.

Firearm Conviction Disqualification

Anyone who is restricted for employment-related purposes from accessing, possessing, carrying, receiving, or having under his/her control a firearm or ammunition under all applicable State or Federal laws is ineligible for appointment to any position in peace officer classifications.

Persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in the amended Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 are disqualified from appointment to peace officer classifications.

Requirements Prior to Employment

Citizenship Requirement

Pursuant to Government Code Section 1031(a), in order to be a peace officer, a person must either be a U.S. Citizen or be a permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for U. S. Citizenship. Any permanent resident alien who is employed as a peace officer shall be disqualified from holding that position if his/her application for citizenship is denied.

Background Investigation

Pursuant to Government Code Section 1031, persons successful in peace officer examinations shall be required to undergo a thorough background investigation prior to appointment including voice stress analysis or a polygraph test.

Medical Requirement

Pursuant to Government Code Section 1031, persons appointed to peace officer classifications shall undergo a medical examination to determine that he or she can perform the essential functions of the job safely and effectively.

Psychological Requirement

Pursuant to POST Regulations 1002(a)(7) requires psychological screening of applicants for peace officer classifications prior to appointment date. This test will consist of a written examination and an interview by a psychologist.

Training Requirements

Under provisions of Penal Code Section 832, successful completion of a California Peace Officers Standards and Training approved academy, or possession of a California Peace Officers Standards and Training Basic Certificate or equivalent, as well as successful completion of the Department’s Field Training Officer Program, is a requirement for permanent status in this classification.

Drug Testing Requirement

Applicants for positions in these classes are required to pass a drug-screening test.

General Information

  • The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) reserves the right to revise the examination plan to better meet the needs of the service if the circumstances under which this examination was planned change. Such revision will be in accordance with civil service laws and rules and all candidates will be notified.
  • It is the candidate’s responsibility to contact the ABC Human Resources Office at (916) 419-2557 three days prior to the written test date if she/he has not received his/her notice for the examination.
  • If the candidate’s notice of oral interview or performance test fails to reach him/her prior to the day of the interview due to verified postal error, she/he will be rescheduled upon written request.
  • Applications are available online at the California Department of Human Resources Offices website, and at local offices of the Employment Development Department.
  • If you meet the requirements stated on this bulletin, you may take the examination, which is competitive. Possession of the entrance requirements does not assure a place on the eligible list. Your performance in the examination described on this bulletin will be compared with the performance of others who take this test, and all candidates who pass will be ranked according to their scores.
  • Examination Locations: When a written test is part of the examination, it will be given in such places in California as the number of candidates and conditions warrant. Ordinarily, interviews are scheduled in Sacramento and Cerritos; however, locations of interviews may be limited or extended as conditions warrant.
  • Eligible Lists: Eligible lists established by competitive examination, regardless of date, must be used in the following order:
    1. Sub-divisional Promotional
    2. Departmental Promotional
    3. Multi-departmental Promotional
    4. Service-wide Promotional
    5. Departmental Open
    6. Open

    When there are two lists of the same kind, the older must be used first. Eligible lists will expire from one to four years unless otherwise stated on this bulletin.

  • General Qualifications: Candidates must possess essential personal qualifications including integrity, initiatives, dependability, good judgment, and ability to work cooperatively with others, and a state of health consistent with the ability to perform the assigned duties of the class.
  • Interview Scope: If an interview is conducted, in addition to the scope described on this bulletin, the panel will consider education, experience, personal development, personal traits, and fitness. In appraising experience, more weight will be given to the depth, breadth and recency of pertinent experience and evidence of the candidate’s ability to accept and fulfill increasing responsibilities than to the length of his/her experience. Evaluation of a candidate’s personal development will include consideration of his/her efforts towards self-development. Evaluation of a candidate’s personal development will include consideration of his/her recognition of his/her training needs; his/her plans for self-development; and the progress he/she has made in his/her efforts toward self-development.
  • High School Equivalence: Equivalence to completion of the 12th grade may be demonstrated in any of the following ways:
    1. Passing the General Education Development (GED) test;
    2. Completion of 12 semester units of college work;
    3. Certification for the State Department of Education, a local school board or high school authorities that the candidate is considered to have education equivalent to graduation from high school; or
    4. For clerical and accounting classes, substitutions of business college work in place of high school on a year-for-year basis.


Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Human Resources Unit
3927 Lennane Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 419-2557
If hearing impaired, call the California Relay Service.
1 (800) 735-2929 From TDD Phone
1 (800) 735-2922 From Voice Phone

TDD is Telecommunications Device for the Deaf and is reachable only from telephones equipped with a TDD device.