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California code enforcement officers work with property owners and city and county attorneys as well as health, police and fire officials to prevent and correct a variety of code violations affecting both private and public property in the state. Although not all agencies require their enforcement officers to obtain certification, certification is a definite career plus. It requires you to successfully complete enforcement courses and pass a certification test.
The certification exam offers three modules: basic, intermediate and advanced. All tests are open book and timed. The Basic Certification exam has 200 questions concerning 14 subject areas. The Intermediate exam contains 240 questions covering 16 subject areas. The Advanced exam contains 275 questions covering 17 subject areas. Common subject areas include: ethics, inspection protocols, vehicle abatement, dangerous buildings, case preparation for administration and civil and criminal cases.
Prepare through Coursework
A certain number of courses are required for certification unless the applicant has previous law enforcement and/or construction industry experience. Regardless of whether you have to take the courses or not, one of the best ways to prepare for the exam is to complete as many related courses as possible. The California Association of Code Enforcement Officers offers courses regularly.
Prepare with Study Guide
LawTech Publishing offers a study guide for the exam called the "California Code Enforcement Sourceguide." It covers relevant subject areas and is endorsed by the California Association of Code Enforcement Officers . Many answers on the test are found in this guide.
Start the exam with a quick overview, glancing at the question formats and the total number of questions. Read directions carefully. Because it the California Code Enforcement Exam is timed, divide the number of questions on the test by your allotted amount of time, leaving extra time to go over all your answers. Skip questions you cannot answer quickly and come back to them at the end of the exam.
Mary Gallagher runs Mary Gallagher Planning (mgaplanning.com), an urban planning and consulting business in San Francisco. She is the former assistant planning director for San Francisco and planning director for San Mateo. Gallagher has been writing about real estate, development and land use for numerous websites since 1995. She holds a master's degree in historic preservation planning from Cornell University.