To transfer within your department or to another department, you must seek out vacancies and compete for them.

A department may decide to accept applications only from its own staff, but it is not obligated to give them preference. You may be competing against other State employees seeking transfers or Training and Development assignments, former State employees seeking to reinstate, and persons on examination lists.

During budget cuts, vacancies may have to be filled by someone who is about to be laid off or who is on a reemployment list.

Location of Vacancies

Departmental personnel offices receive job vacancy announcements from other departments and should post them where all employees can see them.

You can use the Vacant Positions Database on this home page under "Search Exams and Job Vacancies". It will allow you to search for vacancies by class title, department, and location.

You may also contact the personnel offices of departments in which you would like to work. For information about State offices in other areas, you can look in the State Telephone Directory or local telephone directories; there is no central list of State offices by geographic location.

Time Off For Interviews

If you are being interviewed from an eligible list or are taking a State examination, you are entitled to Administrative Time Off, but you must give your immediate supervisor at least two days' notice.

If you are seeking a transfer, you may be required to use your vacation.

Giving Notice

After you have accepted a new job, you and your supervisor negotiate the amount of time needed to wrap up your pending assignments, but the department can hold you for up to 30 days. You cannot circumvent this restriction by resigning and reinstating to the other department. If you try to reinstate within 30 days of resigning, you must obtain the consent of the department from which you resigned.


Probationers: You are allowed to transfer to another department even if you are on probation in your first State job, but you will have to begin probation again. Also, you will not have a right of return to the first department should you fail probation in your new department. Departments may establish a minimum period an employee must be in an assignment before being eligible for internal transfers.

New Probation: If you transfer to a different department, even in the same class, you can be required to serve a new probation. While you are on probation, you may apply for promotional examinations for both your old department and your new one.

Transferring List Eligibility

Transferring your eligibility from one promotional list to another is possible; but depending upon the circumstances, you may not be permitted to do so. The final decision is made by the department where you wish to transfer your eligibility.

Sick Leave, Vacation, CTO

Sick leave and vacation credits are always transferred, but Compensating Time Off (CTO) is not.


The SENIORITY CREDIT you have earned for layoff purposes MAY BE LOST if you transfer to a classification that has a collective bargaining agreement restricting seniority to time served in a particular bargaining unit. If the new department undergoes a reduction in force, you may be the first to be laid off regardless of your previous State service. Therefore, it is essential that you determine what the status of your seniority will be before you transfer to a new department. This information can only be obtained from the personnel office of the prospective new department.

Relocation Expenses

The State may pay relocation expenses in certain circumstances. Please consult with your new employer. You can also review your bargaining contract/MOU and the CalHR rules for more information.

Reinstatement From Voluntary Demotion

If you take a voluntary demotion for personal reasons, you may apply for vacancies in the higher class. It is not necessary to take the examination again.

To Another Class

If you find an interesting vacancy in another class at about the same level as yours and that your knowledge, skills, and abilities qualify you for, you may not have to take the examination. This process applies to current employees wishing to transfer and to former employees wishing to reinstate.

Under State Personnel Board Rules 250 and 430 - 433, you may transfer from one job class to another without examination if you meet the minimum qualifications of the class to which you wish to transfer, the levels of duties, responsibility, and salary of the two classes are substantially the same and the two classes are not in the same series. The transfer must not constitute a promotion, and the State may establish policies to limit transfer to certain classes.

Salaries: "Substantially the same salary" means that the maximum salary of the highest paying class you were permanently appointed to from an eligible list and the maximum salary of the other class are no farther apart than two salary steps minus $1. To determine the maximum salary of a class to which you may transfer: (1) Multiply the top step of your current class by 1.05; (2) round off to a whole number; (3) multiply that number by 1.05; (4) round off to a whole number; and (5) subtract $1. To be sure you are comparing the top salary rates, not your own salary, check the "State of California Civil Service Pay Scales." If either class has Alternate Ranges, use the lowest range unless there is a 21 in the Footnotes column. For classes with Footnote 21, treat each Range as a separate class.

Duties and Responsibilities: The hiring department makes the final decision about what is " substantially the same."

Competing: The greater change you seek, the greater challenge you face. You will be competing against applicants who were successful in a job-related examination or who are already in that job class.

Other State Jobs

The staffs of the Supreme Court, the Appellate Courts, the Legislature, the University of California, and the California State University are NOT in the civil service. State Personnel Board transfer policies do not apply. You will be an "open hire." If you later reinstate to State service, you will be considered an "open hire."

More Information

We answered the most frequently asked questions about transferring within State civil service. If you still have questions, contact your personnel office.