To become a Massachusetts Court Officer, a candidate must complete a thorough application and screening process involving 10 separate steps. A candidate must successfully complete each step.
How to Become a Massachusetts Trial Court Officer
Table of Contents
Step 1: Court Officer Entry Exam
To be eligible to apply to be a court officer a person must first take and receive a passing score on the Court Officer Entry Exam. Entry Exams are offered periodically by the Trial Court and are advertised in advance on the Job Opportunities page, through media outlets, and by distribution to educational institutions
- Court Officer Entry Exams were offered in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2021. A future exam is scheduled for Spring 2022.
Step 2: Submit application
Individuals who pass the Entry Exam can submit a job application in response to a Court Officer job vacancy posting when offered. Vacancy announcements appear in the Trial Court Job Opportunities section.
- Currently, applications for the position of Court Officer are not being accepted.
- Candidates who submitted applications in response to the Court Officer job postings remain in processing. Applicants should remain alert for correspondence from the Trial Court pertaining to the status of your application sent to the e-mail address on record.
Step 3: Qualifications assessment
Applications for Court Officer must meet the minimum qualifications for the position outlined in the Job Posting for further consideration. An applicant’s work experience, education and training as documented in the candidate’s application and resume will be assessed in relation to court officer job requirements. Due to the large volume of applications normally received and the limited number of positions available, not all candidates who meet the minimum qualifications may be continued in the hiring process.
Step 4: Physical Abilities Test (PAT)
Candidates must successfully complete a Physical Abilities Test (PAT). The PAT is designed to measure strength, agility, endurance and aerobic capacity in relation to court officer duties and functions. Passing the PAT qualifies the candidate for further consideration. Visit the Court Officer Physical Ability Diagram to view a description of the PAT. PAT results are valid for one year before appointment.
Additional Resources for Step 4: Physical Abilities Test (PAT)
Step 5: Panel interview
Applicants who pass the PAT may be invited to participate in an interview conducted by a panel of court security and/or law enforcement professionals. Based on the qualifications of the applicant and the number of positions available, not all candidates who pass the PAT may be interviewed. The Trial Court utilizes a Behavior Based Interview format designed to elicit examples from applicants that describe how, through their work experiences, education and training, they possess the desired job related knowledge, skills, and abilities. Candidates are assessed based on how well the information they provide meets or exceeds the expectations for the position. Candidates are encouraged to provide the panel with well-articulated and supported work-related, academic and life experiences that demonstrate they have the ability to be a court officer.
Step 6: Criminal record check
Candidates continued for further processing following the panel interview are considered finalists for the position. Provided they execute a consent waiver, a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check will be conducted. Past felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions resulting in incarceration and other offenses depending on severity, date or frequency of offense, and their relevance to the duties and qualifications of a court officer can result in disqualification from the selection process. Candidates will be provided within an opportunity to dispute the accuracy of their CORI record before a determination is finalized.
Step 7: Background investigation
A background investigation will be conducted on candidates remaining under consideration. The investigation is used to verify information provided by the applicant on their application, resume, during the panel interview, and at the various other steps of the application process. The investigation may include checks of employment, police, financial, education, and military service, as well as interviews with family members, neighbors, supervisors, co-workers, and friends. Applicants may be asked to provide supplemental information to facilitate this process.
Step 8: Medical examination & drug screening
At this stage candidates are afforded a medical examination and a drug screening performed by a Trial Court vendor to assure candidates are capable of performing essential job functions and are drug-free. The Trial Court Security Department has adopted the Massachusetts Initial Hire Medical Standards for public safety positions as the applicable medical standard for court officer new hires. These standards can be found in the Physical Ability Test guide. It is the position of the Security Department that drug abuse contributes to decreased productivity, safety, and efficiency in the workplace. It is also inimical to the ideals of the public safety and criminal justice professions. Candidates receiving a confirmed positive test for the illegal use of drugs will be disqualified from consideration. Medical exam results are valid for up to a year and drug screening results are valid for 90 days before appointment.
Step 9: Appointment
Candidates selected to be a court officer will receive a formal job offer from the Trial Court. Job offers and their locations are often made with consideration for an applicant’s place of residence or willingness to relocate to meet the operational needs of the Trial Court. The number and location of job offers are determined based on the staffing needs of the Security Department.
Step 10: Completion of academy training
Newly hired court officer recruits are assigned to a Court Officer Academy class for initial training prior to starting their initial court assignment. The training academy is 8-weeks in duration and is conducted at the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree. The academy program includes about 400 hours of training that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed of a court officer. Court officer recruits must remain overnight at the academy for the first 2-weeks (weekends excluded). The training curriculum involves academics, practical skills, and requires the participation and successful completion of a daily physical fitness program. The Health and Wellness Guide and Addendum provides information pertaining to the academy physical training regimen and standards. It is intended for use by candidates to prepare for this facet of the training. Successful completion of each aspect of the curriculum is a requirement for graduation from the academy and employment as a court officer. Applicants should review the Court Officer Recruit Manual. Academy rules and standards are strictly enforced.