Veterans' Preference

Recognizing that sacrifices are made by those serving in the Armed Forces, Washington State has enacted laws to assist veterans seeking State employment. Veterans of the Armed Forces as defined in RCW 41.04.005 have been given some degree of preference in appointments to state jobs. (WAC 357-16-110)

Preference - Competitive Service

If an employer administers an examination prior to certification, the employer must grant preference to veterans as defined in RCW 41.04.007, by adding veterans' scoring criteria status in accordance with RCW 41.04.010.

For purposes of complying with RCW 41.04.010, examination is defined as eligible candidate's final examination score, plus any veterans' scoring criteria or other applicable results. Veterans' scoring criteria is only added to passing score. (See WAC 357-01-170)

Veterans' preference is a percentage added to the passing examination score for honorably discharged1 veterans and disabled veterans. The percent preferences, from RCW 41.04.010 are added as follows:

Ten percent veterans' preference score

Ten percent to a veteran who served during a period of war or in an armed conflict as defined in RCW 41.04.005 and does not receive military retirement. The percentage shall be added to the passing mark, grade, or rating of competitive examinations until the veteran's first appointment. The percentage shall not be utilized in promotional examinations.

Five percent veterans' preference score - Period of war

Five percent to a veteran who did not serve during a period of war or in an armed conflict as defined in RCW 41.04.005 or is receiving military retirement. The percentage shall be added to the passing mark, grade, or rating of competitive examinations until the veteran's first appointment. The percentage shall not be utilized in promotional examinations.

Five percent veterans' preference score - Active duty

Five percent to a veteran who was called to active duty  while employed with the state or any of its political subdivisions, or municipal corporations. This percentage shall be added to promotional examinations until the first promotion only.
All veterans' scoring criteria may be claimed upon release from active military service, or upon receipt of separation orders indicating an honorable discharge, issued by the respective military department.

Preference - Non-Competitive Service

If no examination is administered prior to certification, the employer must refer eligible veterans2 eligible veterans' surviving spouses or surviving registered domestic partners, or the spouse or registered domestic partner of an honorably discharged1 veteran who has a service connected permanent disability or total disability to the employing official under the provisions of RCW 73.16.010 as long as the veteran or veteran's spouse or registered domestic partner meets the competencies and other position requirements. 

Important Information
Be sure to answer the questions related to time serving in the Armed Forces when completing your profile and submitting applications.

Still have questions or unsure of what percentage you are eligible for?
Contact us for assistance.

Email: CareersHelp@des.wa.gov
Phone: (360) 664-1960 or 1-877-664-1960
Washington Relay Service (for hearing impaired): 7-1-1 or
1-800-833-6388


1 Discharge must be Honorable. General discharge under honorable conditions does not qualify.

2 Qualifying veterans of any war of the United States, or of any military campaign for which a campaign ribbon shall have been awarded, or any surviving spouses or registered domestic partners of eligible veterans, or spouses or registered domestic partners of honorably discharged veterans who have a service connected permanent and total disability, may obtain preference when applying in the state's online recruiting system at careers.wa.gov.