Although it might not look tough enough, landing a job in the NYC Sanitation Department is one of the toughest jobs one can get. It’s also highly competitive, with over 30,000 people appearing for the exam each session. The job is also well-paying and the workers essential for the residents of NYC, especially since New York is now being flagged as the dirtiest city in the country according to joint data released by the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Among all the 40 cities which were considered for the report, New York tops the dirtiness index with a score of 317.8.
From taking care of the casual daily trash being thrown out by thousands of residents to clearing up any hurdles created by unforeseen circumstances (such as storms and accidents and hurried policy decisions), NYC Sanitation Department bears a burden of huge responsibility on its shoulders. The city of New York, it’s widely speculated, would suffer grave consequences if the Sanitation Department stopped working or ran out of workers.
It’s for this reason that the Sanitation Department conducts a Sanitation Exam every 4 years, hiring recruits through a detailed and demanding testing system in conjunction with the Civil Services Commission. The last NYC Sanitation exam was conducted in 2015, and the hiring is still underway.
The NYC Sanitation exam is not without its many and strict requirements, both academic and otherwise. These are:
- Age 17 and a half or older (for sitting in the exam)
- A high school diploma at the least
- Hold a commercial driver’s license (if you pass the exams)
- The written exam is the first step of the process. The last written exam was conducted in February 2015, whereas the next has a 2020 deadline.
- If you pass the written test, you become eligible for the next, “superman test.” This is a rigorous physical test. The test involves demanding physical exercise such as hoisting trash cans, scaling fences, and running with weights under both hands. Here’s a detailing of what is included in this test:
Phase 1.1: Drag 4 wastebaskets, each weighing 30 pounds, to a garbage truck model parked at a distance of 8 feet.
Phase 1.2: Drag the 5th wastebasket with a 35 pound bad placed inside, lift and place the bag inside the container.
Phase 1.3: Repeat Phase 2 and replace plywood receptacles from the garbage truck model.
This phase must be completed in 3.31 minutes.
A two minutes rest is then given to applicants.
Phase 2.1: A total of 8 items, weighing between 8 to 55 pounds, must be dragged to and placed inside the container.
Phase 2.2: Carry those 8 items over a parked car and a simulated snowbank and place them in the container.
Phase 2.3: Carry 6 items between cars that have been double parked.
Phase 2.4: Carry 7 items over a model of a railroad tie and place them in the container.
This phase must be completed in 6 minutes.
- The Pre-Orientation: you will have to submit relevant documents such as:
Proof of Residency
- Based on how well you did on the written and the physical tests, you will be placed on a list of rankings. You will then have to give the Medical Test, which includes but isn’t limited to:
- The Final Processing: If required and if you reach that stage, you will have to submit additional documents and fill out forms, etc.
- Training: Based on the ranking mentioned above, you will be called by the FBF over a period of 4 years for training. The decision of when they call is entirely the Sanitation Department’s, whereas you can track your progress and the hiring procedure on the listthey provide online.
Things to Note
The NYC Sanitation Department’s Hiring works in very different ways as compared to other Civil Service Commission exams. Their list goes public only a year after the exam has been taken and they continue hiring until their current list expires. For instance, the NYC Sanitation exam of 2007 saw 29,000 out of 32,000 applicants pass the written test. Hiring around 500 workers a year, the NYC Sanitation Department froze their next scheduled exam to give the people on the then current list a better chance. The 2015 list will expire in 2019, until when the Sanitation Department will continue to hire. According to the NYC Sanitation’s Twitter account, the last hired number was 3304. The next exam hasn’t been scheduled yet, and is probably going to take place as the current list expires.
The Age and the Wait
It’s best to take the test when you turn 17, keeping in mind the long wait—which can at some times extend to as many as 9 years. Of course, in order to receive your driver’s license you will have to be 21 years of age, so in the case that you do climb up their list you won’t be getting the job. You will, however, bag the “reinstated” status. Successful applicants down the list who don’t get called within the 4 year period are encouraged to sit for the exam again.
The tests and the listings and the calls aren’t the end of the hiring process. Once you do get the final call, you will have to receive professional training in an academy based in Brooklyn. You will learn how to use front-end loaders and other heavy machinery, along with getting formal training on how to operate the sophisticated sanitation equipment.
The salaries for NYC Sanitation workers begin at $33,746 and jump to $69,339 once you cross the five-and-a-half year mark. The exam itself is the most popular exam in New York, with thousands eagerly waiting for the next session. More details can be found out at the official website of the City of New York.