This is what it takes to become a sanitation worker

An old, industrial space in Long Island City has been turned into a mock-up of the streets of New York, giving candidates for the city’s Sanitation Department an opportunity to show their stuff.

It’s the physical test to become one of New York’s strongest, administered by the city agency in charge of civil service exams, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, also known as DCAS.


What You Need To Know

  • The exam to become an NYC Sanitation worker is being offered for the first time since 2015
  • It’s is administered by the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services
  • The Sanitation Department has more than 7,600 uniformed employees
  • The exam includes a multiple choice test and a physical test

“You’ll take the multiple choice test first. The eligible list will be established, and then sort of in score order, you will be called to take the physical test once the list is established,” said Rob Alexander, Assistant Commissioner for the DCAS Bureau of Examinations.

The tests are usually given every four or five years. The department says in an average year, they hire between 250 and 400 new workers. Candidates must be at least 17-and-a-half-years-old to take the exam, but unlike the NYPD and FDNY, there is no age limit. The exam features two timed rounds and plenty of lifting — up to 95 pounds in some cases. It’s all about working around obstacles like snow banks and parked cars.

The city is trying to spread the word about the exam, and it hopes to attract a diverse group of candidates. So far, the number of registrants is down from the last exam in 2015, when more than 92,000 people signed up.

“As many people as want can apply. There’s no limit into the applications we can take in,” Alexander said.

Registration closes at midnight on June 30. Testing will begin in September.

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