LEAP – priority hiring program for jobs with the State of California

LEAP Limited Examination and Appointment Process

is an alternate selection process designed to facilitate hiring of individuals with disabilities to jobs with the State of California

LEAP is designed to help people with disabilities become employed in the California state civil service. An alternative to the traditional testing process, the LEAP process allows applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities on the job during a “Job Examination Period”

How to Get Certified for the LEAP Program


Since LEAP is a program for people with disabilities, those wishing to use it must meet the disability criteria set out in the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA), i.e. you must:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that limits one or more major life activities; OR
  • Have a record or history of such impairment or medical condition; OR
  • Be regarded as having such an impairment or medical condition

IMPORTANT: if you currently receive DOR services – i.e. you have an individual plan for employment – you have already satisfied the above criteria and automatically qualify for LEAP. Contact your DOR counselor who can certify you without requiring further documentation.


To be certified, please take documentation of disability, as well as a photo ID, to your local Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) Office. It is recommended that you contact your local office ahead of your visit to arrange same.

IMPORTANT: Before you visit DOR to be certified, make sure you create a CalCareers account.

CalCareers is the online job search platform administered by the California Human Resources Department (CalHR) where you will conduct your job search. If you do not have a CalCareers account when you visit DOR, your LEAP certification may be delayed.

A DOR counselor will review your documentation and certify you by adding your information into CalHR’s database. Your LEAP status will be associated with your CalCareers account.


Having been certified, you will be ready to conduct your state job search. You will follow the same sequence of steps that candidates using the traditional state hiring process utilize:

  1. Take Self Evaluations (also known as exams) for state classifications for which you qualify.
  2. Target specific vacancies
  3. Apply for vacancies using your CalCareers account in accordance with the directions in the individual job posting that interests you

NOTE: Hiring managers who receive your application will be unaware that you are a person with a disability unless/until you are hired. At that point, you will be evaluated by means of a Job Evaluation Period (JEP), an on-the-job performance evaluation.

Your job performance will be reviewed in writing at least twice during the evaluation period. If performance standards are met you will then be appointed to civil service status. (The appointment could be permanent or limited term as specified in the job bulletin for the particular position).

NOTE: LEAP candidates hired on or after July 1, 2016 do not serve a probationary period.


Verification of disability sufficient to determine that the LEAP eligibility criteria have been met can include any of the following:

  1. Medical records;
  2. Letter of diagnosis on a medical doctor’s letterhead;
  3. Education records that document a learning disability;
  4. A recent letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that notes the award or continuation of SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits based on your medical condition; ORA recent Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) issued by SSA showing that you receive the benefits indicated at 4 above.

An obvious impairment (such as a missing limb) will automatically qualify you under FEHA criteria.


For certification questions, contact:

For questions on Exams (Self Evaluations) and the job application process contact:

You may also wish to attend a FREE CalHR Lunchtime Seminar where you can ask any questions about state hiring.