How to Become a Police Officer in Vermont
Working in law enforcement in Vermont can provide you with a rewarding career in a beautiful setting. Despite the state’s relatively small size, there are still plenty of opportunities to work as a cop or sheriff’s here, as the population continues to grow and the state enjoys a low unemployment rate.1 Those hoping to find work as law enforcement officers in Vermont must meet the requirements set by the state as well as any additional requirements held by the hiring department. Continue reading to learn more about these requirements and what it takes to launch a police career in Vermont.
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, recruits must meet the VCJTC’s minimum standards plus the standards of the hiring department and attend basic training at the Vermont Police Academy. The minimum requirements state that 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) is now the largest law enforcement agency in the state.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 visible while in short-sleeved 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. The starting salary for Vermont state troopers is $48,708.2
Vermont Sheriff Deputy Requirements
Vermont has 14 counties. Each of these maintains a sheriff’s 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 (in fact, it is home to one-quarter of the state’s residents) and has its county seat in Burlington. The Chittenden County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is responsible for patrolling the county and protecting and serving the population. The minimum requirements for being considered as a sheriff’s deputy with the CCSO are the same as those set by VCJTC.
The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) serves the scenic county that takes Rutland as its name and county seat. Rugged and rural areas like the Green Mountain National Forest and the White Rocks National Recreation Area also fall within Rutland County borders. The Rutland County Sheriff is always accepting applications for part-time deputies. In order to apply, prospective recruits must meet state standards.
Police Departments in Vermont
Vermont does not have many big cities, and in fact, the largest city, Burlington, is one of the smallest cities in the country to be the largest in its state. However, there are opportunities for hopeful new cops to work in a medium-sized city like Burlington or South Burlington, as well as 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. Altogether, an estimated 1,450 police officers work in Vermont.4
Burlington is Vermont’s largest city, with a population of just over 40,000 residents.5 The Burlington Police Department (BPD) maintains a force of 105 full-time sworn officers and 36 civilian employees.5 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 and start the competitive hiring process, candidates must first fill out an application and a personal history information packet. The starting salary for BPD officers varies with law enforcement experience but starts at a base of $50,676 per year.5
South Burlington is the state’s second-largest city. 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 typically 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
- Drug recognition
Vermont Police Jobs Outlook
There are currently 1,450 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, jobs for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Vermont will grow by 1.5% through 2026, with an average of 90 annual openings (including replacements).6 The average salary for cops and deputies in Vermont is $49,070.4
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||620||$46,940|
|Southern Vermont nonmetropolitan area||460||$47,860|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.4
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Vermont: https://www.bestplaces.net/state/vermont
2. Vermont State Police: https://vsp.vermont.gov/
3. Burlington Police Department: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Police
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Vermont: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_vt.htm
5. Burlington Police Department: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Police
6. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm