Deputy Sheriff

$44.80 - $79.27 Hourly
$7,765 - $ 13,741 Monthly
$93,184 – $164,902 Annually
(includes possible incentives and differential pay)

Correctional Officer

$36.65 - $59.15 Hourly
$6,353 - $10,252 Monthly
$76,232 - $123,032 Annually
(includes possible incentives and differential pay)

For more information, email or call Angelica Carbajal (831) 454-7662

The Hiring Process

Step 1: The Application Process

Deputy Sheriff Lateral:

If you are a lateral applicant, please call or email Angelica Carbajal for more information and expedited processing at 831-454-7662. Pay step placement is dependent on experience.

Deputy Sheriff Trainee:

Prior to applying for the Deputy Sheriff Trainee position, you must submit proof of a POST Entry‐Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB) Written Exam with a T-score of 46 or better, or proof of National Testing Network (NTN) with a score 65% or higher on the video judgement, 70% or higher on reading, and 70% or higher on writing. Here is the link to sign up for the NTN Once your application is processed, you will be invited to the next step of the examination process, the Physical Ability Test and Selection Interviews. To submit proof of your T-score you may 1) mail or personally deliver a copy to the County of Santa Cruz Personnel Department located at 701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 or 2) fax it to (831) 454-2240, or 3) email a copy to:

Where do I take the Written Exam?

The exams are administered by South Bay Regional Police Academies. Click here to view the schedule and locations of the next PELLETB exam and to register for the exam. You can visit the POST website to learn more about the PELLETB written exam. Click on the link below to visit the “Applicant preparation guide for the POST Entry Level Law Enforcement Test Battery” on the POST website.

Correctional Officer:

Once your application is processed, applicants will be invited to the next stage which will consist of the Adult Corrections Officer written exam administered by the Personnel Department, a Physical Ability Test and Selection Interviews. In lieu of the Correctional Officer written exam, we will also accept NTN and Pellet B Test scores. Applicants will need a 42 or higher on the Pellet B. Here is the link to sign up for the Pellet B National Testing Network (NTN) requires a 65% or higher on the video judgement, 75% or higher on reading, and 70% or higher on writing. Here is the link to sign up for the NTN

These steps will be administered either all in one day or on separate dates. You can visit the Board of State and Community Corrections website to learn more about the Adult Corrections Officer exam. Click on the link below to visit the “Candidate Orientation Booklet.” The booklet provides an overview of the exam format and some sample questions. The booklet is not intended to be a study guide but rather aimed at reducing test anxiety and giving candidates some information about what to expect on the test.

Step 2: Physical Ability Test

Deputy Sheriff Trainee or Lateral:


The Physical Ability Test (PAT) involves exertion and risk of injury and you may wish to consult a physician. You will be required to read and sign a release of liability before participation. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for physical activity. PAT components: Part 1: Run 220 yards in 1 minute or less. Part 2: Drag 165-pound dummy 60 feet in 1 minute or less.

Correctional Officer:


PAT Components: Part 1: Run 220 yards in 1 minute or less. Part 2: Drag 165-pound dummy 60 feet in 1 minute or less.

PAT location:


The Physical Ability Test will take place at Sheriff’s Office Headquarters, 5200 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz, CA 95062. You must pass the PAT examination to be placed on the eligible list to be considered for employment with the County of Santa Cruz.

Step 3: Selection Interviews


Selection interviews are conducted by Sheriff’s Office employees such as the Hiring and Recruiting Lieutenant or Sergeant, Deputy Sheriff’s or Correctional Officers. Several standard job specific questions are asked of each candidate during the interview. The interviewers also review the candidate’s PHS and may ask questions regarding information contained within the PHS. A follow-up interview may be necessary and scheduled with the Sheriff’s Office Hiring and Recruitment Team. If the applicant is selected to move forward in the hiring process, he/she will be notified, and the candidate will move forward to the next step, the background investigation. Consider the following as a guideline to prepare for the selection interview.

Be prepared:

  • Research the position you are applying for and our agency. Read the job description and research our website.
  • Speak with current employees about our agency if possible. - lf possible, sign up for a ride along or attend a jail tour.

Possible areas of evaluation:

  • Your experience and education related to the position.
  • Communication skills.
  • Your ability to problem solve.
  • Integrity.
  • Community awareness.
  • Knowledge of our agency.
  • Duties of a Deputy Sheriff or Sheriff’s Correctional Officer.
  • Why are you interested in a law enforcement career?
  • What you have done to prepare for the position?

We often conduct the physical ability test and oral interview the same day, so workout clothes are permissible during test day. Business clothing is appropriate for all other professional appointments.

Step 4: Background Investigation

The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a thorough investigation of your background. You will be scheduled for a background interview with a Background Investigator. The Background Investigator will review your Personal History Statement (PHS) and ask additional questions. Your PHS should be complete and accurate. You can download the most recent version of the Personal History Statement – Peace Officer 2-251 at the following link:

You will be requested to authorize organizations and individuals who know you, to release and verify relevant information about you.

The Background Investigator will contact prior employers, co-workers, relatives, landlords and personal references. Information provided during these contacts may result in other individuals being contacted.

The investigator will check into your employment history, credit status, driving record, education, work eligibility, criminal history and other pertinent information.

Step 5: Polygraph Exam

If you have been selected to continue forward and begin a background investigation, as part of the background process, you will be scheduled for a polygraph examination. You will be asked to determine if you were honest with the background investigator, truthful on your application, any criminal involvement, traffic history, illicit drug use, and/or any other pertinent information discovered or revealed during the background investigation, including employment and military history.

Step 6: Psychological Evaluation

Viable candidates for the Deputy Sheriff or Correctional Officer positions will meet with a professional psychologist for an evaluation of your fitness and suitability for police work with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. All candidates must be found to be free from any emotional or mental condition which might adversely affect the exercise of the powers of a peace officer and be free from job-relevant psychopathology, including personality disorders and/or abnormal behavior. The evaluation will consist of the administration of written psychological tests, as well as a clinical (in person) interview with the screening psychologist.

Step 7: Interview with Sheriff Jim Hart

Candidates will be scheduled for an appointment with Sheriff Jim Hart for final approval. Your qualifications, communication skills, and many other job-related factors will be evaluated relating to your suitability and fitness to begin a career with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.

Message from Sheriff Jim Hart

Step 8: Medical Evaluation

As the final step of the process, individuals being considered for employment will be scheduled for a medical examination by a licensed physician to ensure that they are free from any medical or physical condition which might adversely affect their ability to perform essential job functions of a Peace Officer or Correctional Officer.

For inquiries regarding career opportunities at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, please contact our Recruitment and Hiring Unit.

Angelica Carbajal (831) 454-7662

Sgt. Jake Pruger (831) 454-7680