exams in 10 questions

The organization of competitions and exams in 10 questions


Most territorial civil service competitions and examinations are organized by the management centres. What are the types of contests? What is the difference between a competition and a professional exam? Who are they for?

Public service competition: a guarantee of equality, despite everything

01. What are the different types of local public service competitions?

The principle of recruiting civil servants by competitive examination, from which only the law can derogate, is now laid down by article L320-1 of the general civil service code (CGFP). There are three ways to organize competitions:

external competitions, open to candidates with proof of certain diplomas (or the completion of certain studies),internal competitions or the  third competition (read questions n°3 , n°4 and n°5 ).

Competitions for the territorial public service may also be opened by specialty and, where applicable, by discipline, when the special status so provides (CGFP, art. L325-26).

In addition, the competitions are organized by categories A, B and C.

Those in category A provide access to employment frameworks corresponding to management and design functions, as well as teaching functions (bac+3 level).

Those in category B allow access to middle management and application or writing positions (baccalaureate level, sometimes post-baccalaureate).

Those in category C give access to executive positions often requiring mastery of a trade (cook, electrician, etc.). No degree is most often required. However, for certain professions, specialized professional qualifications are required (CAP, BEP). Access to certain category C job frameworks can be direct, without competition.

While most competitions take the form of tests (competition on tests), in some cases they may be competitions based on qualifications, or even on qualifications and work: the selection of candidates is then based on a file that they are asked to provide. Sometimes, the selection on file is also accompanied by tests.

02. What is the difference with a professional exam?

A professional examination concerns, in principle , candidates who are already civil servants, more specifically those holding a rank in the territorial public service and who wish to progress within their employment framework or within the framework of immediately superior employment.

Thus, the examinations are organized within the framework of internal promotion and include one or more tests (in general, a written test and a professional interview). Internal competitions are open to any agent who is already a civil servant, but not only from the territorial public service ( read question n°4 ).

03. Who are the external competitions for?

External competitions are open to candidates who have certain diplomas or have completed certain studies.

The level of diploma varies according to the hierarchical category (A, B or C) to which the employment framework to which the competition allows access belongs. A candidate without a diploma but having professional experience may, when the nature of the duties justifies it, be admitted to take part in a competition if his experience leads to a qualification equivalent to that sanctioned by the required diploma.

04. Who can pass the internal competitions and the third competition?

Internal competitions are reserved for agents already in post in an administration or a local authority, provided that they justify a minimum length of service  and, where applicable, that they have received a certain training.

Military personnel , magistrates and agents working in an international intergovernmental organization can also access these competitions.

These competitions are also open to candidates who provide proof of a period of service in an administration, organization or establishment of a Member State of the European Community or other than France, whose missions are comparable to those of the public administrations and establishments in which civil servants exercise their functions, and who have, where applicable, received in one of these States training equivalent to that required by special statuses for access to the employment frameworks considered (CGFP,  art. L325-3 and following ).

For access to certain employment frameworks (that of territorial attaché in the administrative sector, for example), the special status may provide for the organization of a third competition (or “third way competition”). are accessible to candidates who justify the exercise of a professional activity, one or more local elected mandates or one or more activities as a manager, including volunteer, of an association for a period of time in principle specified by the specific status of the employment framework concerned (CGFP, art. L325-7 ).

05. Who organizes the various competitions and exams?

The management centers (CDG) are responsible for organizing most competitions and examinations for the territorial civil service.

More focused on the training of agents, the National Center for the Territorial Public Service (CNFPT) only organizes category A+ competitions, that is to say for those allowing access to employment executives. territorial administrator, territorial curator of heritage, territorial curator of libraries, chief engineer and henceforth those of the officers falling under the framework of employment of design and management of professional firefighters (decree n ° 2022-1507 of the 1st December 2022 ).

The CDGs are responsible for most of the competitions and professional examinations. They even have exclusive rights to organize competitions and professional examinations for access to category A and B job managers in the administrative, technical, cultural, sports, entertainment, municipal police and professional firefighters sectors (to with the exception, therefore, of those in the medico-social sector), for affiliated and non-affiliated communities. Non-affiliated communities can thus organize category C competitions and examinations themselves, as well as those of category A and B of the medico-social sector.

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