How to Become a Police Officer in Vermont
To work in law enforcement in Vermont is to have a rewarding career in a beautiful setting. Vermont is a small New England state and has the second smallest population of any state in the country. There are still plenty of opportunities for working as a cop or deputy, though, as the population has been growing by nearly 3% since 2000 and the unemployment rate is only 3.7%, much lower than the national average.1 Anyone hoping to work in law enforcement in Vermont may choose to be a state trooper, a sheriff’s deputy, or work for any local police department.
Vermont Police Officer Requirements
The standards for becoming a peace officer in Vermont, as well as the certification process and training, are set by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council (VCJTC). To work in law enforcement in the state, new recruits must be certified by VCJTC, and to be certified individuals must attend basic training at the Vermont Police Academy. To be admitted to the academy, new recruits must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass medical and psychological examinations
- Pass a comprehensive background check
- Pass a physical fitness test
- Achieve at least a 70% score on a written entrance exam
Individual agencies may also set additional requirements for their new recruits. They may also require additional training either before or after the Vermont Police Academy basic training course.
Vermont Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements
The Vermont State Police (VSP) only formed in 1947, but is now the largest law enforcement agency in the state, responsible for serving half of the population of Vermont.2 VSP troopers patrol state highways, respond to emergency calls, and investigate crimes, among other specialized duties. In addition to the VCJTC requirements, new troopers must:
- Be at least 20 years old at time of application
- Have vision correctable to at least 20/40 in one eye and 20/20 in the other
- Not have used illegal drugs one year prior to applying
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
- Be registered with the Selective Service System (male candidates only)
- Be a resident in Vermont by the end of training
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Not have tattoos or piercings considered to be offensive when visible in uniform
- Not have been convicted of a felony
New recruits who are accepted and offered employment as a trooper must attend the Vermont Police Academy for basic training, as well as additional training specific to the VSP, before being certified.
Vermont Sheriff Deputy Requirements
Vermont is a small state and only has 14 counties. Each of these maintains a sheriff’s department or office with a staff of deputies responsible for law enforcement within the county. Each department sets its own procedure and requirements for hiring deputies, but all new recruits must meet the state standards for law enforcement at a minimum, and must attend the state academy for basic training before being certified.
Chittenden County is Vermont’s most populous county with its seat in Burlington. In fact, Chittenden is home to one quarter of the state’s residents. The Chittenden County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for patrolling the county and protecting and serving the population. To be considered for a position as a deputy, new recruits begin by submitting an application. With the application, candidates must include a picture, a copy of a birth certificate, and educational documentation. The minimum requirements for being considered are the same as those set by VCJTC.
The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department serves the scenic county, which includes the county seat of Rutland, as well as rugged and rural areas like the Green Mountain National Forest and the White Rocks National Recreation Area. The Rutland County Sheriff is always accepting applications for part-time deputies. In order to apply, new recruits must pass a screening process and fill out an application. They then must pass the written test and other exams required by the Vermont Police Academy.
Police Departments in Vermont
Vermont does not have many big cities, and in fact the largest city, Burlington, is the smallest city in the country to be the largest in its state. There are opportunities for hopeful new cops to work in a medium-sized city like Burlington, or South Burlington, but there are also positions available in the many small and rural towns and villages throughout the state. These smaller departments offer new recruits the chance to work and live with residents and to really get to know the people they serve.
Burlington may be Vermont’s largest city, but it has a population of just over 42,000 residents. The Burlington Police Department (BPD) maintains a force of 100 full-time sworn officers and 36 civilian employees.3 The BPD is always on the lookout for new recruits to join the dedicated force of officers patrolling the city. The department requires that new officers meet the same requirements as set by the VCJTC. To be considered, candidates must first fill out an application and a personal history information packet.
South Burlington is the state’s second largest city, but is only half the size of Burlington. The South Burlington Police Department is dedicated to serving the residents of the city and fostering a safe environment for everyone. Candidates for a position as a full-time officer with the police department must meet the VCJTC minimum standards, but priority is given to those with an associate’s degree, two years of experience working in law enforcement, or two years of military service with an honorable discharge.
Police Training Academies in Vermont
There is only one police training academy in Vermont. The Vermont Police Academy, located in Pittsford, serves all new recruits in the state. The academy course for full-time law enforcement agents runs for 16 weeks and is a live-in academy. Agencies may require additional training for their new recruits, before or after the 16-week course. Some of the courses cadets take include:
- Animal cruelty investigation
- Basic tracking
- Basic crime scene investigation
- Fingerprint certification
- Search and rescue
- Vermont drug recognition expert
Vermont Police Jobs Outlook
There are currently 1,210 cops and sheriff’s deputies working in the state of Vermont.4 The number of positions available for those hoping to work in law enforcement is expected to grow. According to projections, this field will grow by 13.3% over the next seven years, which is more significantly higher than the growth seen in most other states.5 This amounts to an average of 70 new positions opening up every year in the state.5 The average salary for cops and deputies in Vermont is $44,870.4
For more information about current law enforcement openings, take a look at our Police Jobs page.
Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Vermont
|City||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Northern Vermont nonmetropolitan area||480||$39,900|
|Southern Vermont nonmetropolitan area||430||$45,890|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Vermont: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/vermont
2. Vermont State Police: http://vsp.vermont.gov/
3. Burlington Police Department: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Police
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Vermont: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_vt.htm#33-0000
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm