How to Become a Correctional Officer in Vermont (Steps and State Requirements)

Ever considered a fulfilling and rewarding career in the field of corrections? As a correctional officer in Vermont, not only do you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of inmates, but there is also significant potential for career advancement. In this comprehensive guide on how to become a correctional officer in Vermont, we’ll lead you through the steps to achieving this goal, covering everything from education and experience to benefits and compensation.

What you’re about to learn in this guide:

  • Become a Correctional Officer in Vermont by meeting educational, experience and background check requirements.

  • Physical fitness standards must be met with age/gender specific scores.

  • Training program includes on the job instruction, career advancement opportunities & benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.

Vermont Correctional Officer Requirements

Understanding the requirements for becoming a correctional officer in Vermont is the first crucial step towards this career. Let’s begin by discussing the necessary:

  • Education

  • Experience

  • Background checks

  • Physical fitness standards

The assigned facility is required for this position, as we are an equal opportunity employer.

Education and Experience

To qualify for correctional officer jobs in Vermont, candidates must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent and two years or more of full-time work experience.

  2. Have one year or more of college-level coursework and one year or more of full-time work experience.

  3. Have two years or more of college-level coursework.

Applicants with prior military experience or relevant experience in a corrections environment, such as Northern State Correctional Facility or Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, are preferred for correctional officer positions in Rutland, Vermont.

Consider that an associate’s degree may serve as a viable substitute for the two-year experience requirement. Further, gaining additional experience in military service or working in a correctional setting can enhance your application for a correctional officer position, irrespective of your educational background.

Background Investigation

A thorough background investigation is an essential part of the hiring process for correctional officers in Vermont. This process ensures that detention and rehabilitation services adhere to the legal standards of the state. While the specific criteria used to disqualify an individual from the background investigation process are not publicly available, it is recommended to consult with the Vermont Department of Corrections or contact the relevant authorities for further information.

The background investigation process for Vermont correctional officers includes a comprehensive review of the applicant’s background and character, which may involve:

  • FBI fingerprint submission

  • Polygraph exam

  • Employment verification

  • Education verification

  • Criminal history check

  • Verification of sex/violent offenses

Ensuring that you have a clean background is crucial for a successful career in corrections.

Physical Fitness Standards

Physical fitness is another key requirement for becoming a correctional officer in Vermont. Good health is vital to be able to do the job, irrespective of any special consideration. Reasonable accommodation can further ease the process. As a correctional officer, it is essential to be able to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus. This skill is required in order to carry out evacuation procedures, including possible search and rescue operations..

The physical fitness test for Vermont correctional officers consists of a 2000-meter row and a 1.5-mile run. Candidates who are injured will be provided with a tailored physical training program. The passing score for the Vermont correctional officer physical fitness test is a minimum of the 40th percentile or higher, with age and gender-specific standards in place. Not passing the physical fitness test may affect your eligibility for continued employment as a correctional officer at any prison.

Training Process at Vermont Correctional Academy

Now that we’ve covered the essential requirements for becoming a correctional officer in Vermont, let’s delve into the training process at the Vermont Correctional Academy.

In this section, we’ll provide insight into the curriculum, duration, and structure of the training program.

Curriculum Highlights

The Vermont Correctional Academy provides an intensive five-week instructional program for new correctional officers, equipping them with the essential skills necessary to become successful corrections professionals. The academy’s curriculum for new correctional officers consists of:

  • An eight-week formal training program

  • An introduction and overview of corrections

  • The basics of human change

  • On-site training supervised by staff at the new facility

  • Pre-Academy Field Training, which includes job shadowing and on-the-job training.

This comprehensive intensive training program covers a range of practical skills, including:

  • Corrections profession knowledge

  • Classroom and hands-on training

  • Introduction to corrections

  • Officer security skills

  • Communication

  • Conflict resolution

  • Emergency response

  • Inmate supervision

The goal of this program is to produce highly trained, professional, and competent correctional officers who are prepared to face the challenges of their role.

Duration and Structure

The training program at the Vermont Correctional Academy spans eight weeks. The daily schedule typically takes place from 9 am to 3 pm, although this may vary. It is important to note that the breakdown of the five-week training program for different skill sets is not specified in the available information.

In addition to the formal training program, new officers are required to attend one week at the designated correctional facility and five weeks at the Vermont Department of Corrections’ Training Center. This combination of on-site and classroom training ensures a well-rounded education for new correctional officers.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training for new correctional officers includes:

  • Two-week training period

  • Focus on honing communication skills in correctional environments

  • Emphasis on problem-solving, conflict resolution, active listening, and other soft skills

For those interested in specialized roles, Pre-Academy Field Training is available during the on-the-job phase, involving one week of job shadowing at a work site, coupled with on-the-job training based on predefined learning objectives. This hands-on experience provides valuable insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of a correctional officer.

Career Advancement Opportunities

A career in corrections is ripe with numerous opportunities for growth and advancement. This segment will delve into the various promotional opportunities and specialized roles available to correctional officers in Vermont, and underscore the value of further education and training.

Promotions and Specialized Roles

Correctional officers in Vermont can pursue promotional opportunities, such as joining specialty teams like the Honor Guard, Crisis Intervention, and Peer Support. Additionally, they may advance to positions like Correctional Facility Supervisors and Correctional Service roles, which involve supervision, custody, treatment, and training of inmates, as well as specialized casework and counseling.

Specialized roles in Vermont correctional facilities may include mental health counselors, substance abuse counselors, and correctional case managers. Securing these positions may require additional training or education beyond the basic requirements for entry-level positions, making continued professional development essential for career advancement.

Further Education and Training

Pursuing further education and training can be highly beneficial for correctional officers in Vermont who are looking to advance their careers. Benefits may include the potential for promotion, specialized assignments, increased pay, and leadership development opportunities. The Vermont Department of Corrections offers tuition assistance or reimbursement programs, as well as other education-related benefits through the employee assistance program or professional development assistance.

In addition to the mandatory training at the Vermont Correctional Academy, correctional officers may seek additional training or education to further their careers, such as obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology, criminal justice, or a related field. These advanced qualifications can open doors to specialized roles and promotional opportunities within the Department of Corrections.

Benefits and Compensation

Now that we’ve covered the steps to become a correctional officer and the potential for career advancement, let’s examine the benefits and compensation offered to correctional officers in Vermont, including salary, health insurance, and retirement plans.

Salary and Pay Scale

The salary and pay scale for correctional officers in Vermont depend on factors such as experience and geographic location. Here are some key details:

  • The average salary for a correctional officer in the state is approximately $44,191 to $47,963 annually, which is slightly lower than the national average of $47,920 per year.

  • The starting salary for a Correctional Officer I in Vermont is $40,446 per annum.

  • Positions in Burlington have a starting annual salary of $29,120.

Factors that can contribute to a correctional officer’s salary in Vermont include:

  • Length of service

  • Job title

  • Compensation package

  • Shift work and hours

  • Perceived workplace danger and risk

  • Remuneration and benefits

This is an important consideration when contemplating a career in human services.

Health Insurance and Retirement Plans

Vermont correctional officers are eligible for health insurance plans through the Vermont State Employees’ Retirement System (VSERS). These plans typically include medical, dental, and vision coverage. For further details, please refer to the Vermont State Treasurer’s website at link.

In addition to health insurance, correctional officers in Vermont have access to the Vermont State Employees’ Retirement System (VSERS) and the Vermont State Retirement System (VSRS), which are the public pension plans provided by the State of Vermont for state employees, including correctional officers. For more information about these retirement plans, please visit the Vermont Treasurer’s website at and the Vermont Human Resources website at

Additional Perks

Beyond salary and benefits, correctional officers in Vermont enjoy additional perks that contribute to their overall compensation package. These include:

  • Paid leave

  • Retirement plan

  • Health insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Differentials

  • Tuition reimbursement

  • Free tuition to the Community College of Vermont

Other benefits available to Vermont correctional officers include an employee assistance program and housing assistance programs, such as transitional housing and services for reentry, rental assistance, housing search, and retention. These additional perks can make a career in corrections even more rewarding and fulfilling.

Applying for a Correctional Officer Position in Vermont

Armed with this knowledge, you are ready to pursue a career as a correctional officer in Vermont. This final section will guide you through the application process, including finding job listings, submitting an application, and preparing for interviews.

Job Listings

To locate job listings for correctional officer positions in Vermont, start by visiting the Vermont Department of Corrections website. Additionally, the department maintains a social media presence to advertise job postings.

Job vacancies for correctional officers may also be listed in:

  • Local newspapers in Vermont

  • Resources such as Vermont Job Link

  • The Vermont Department of Corrections

  • The State of Vermont job listings

These can be valuable sources of information on available positions.

Submitting an Application

Visit the Vermont Department of Corrections website to apply for a correctional officer position. The application will be available on their website for you to complete. The application process is primarily online, making it easy and convenient to submit your information.

When submitting an application for a correctional officer position in Vermont, you may need to provide the following documentation:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Driver’s license with no major driving infractions

  • Two years of full-time work experience

  • Clean criminal record

Be prepared to submit these documents as part of the application process.

Preparing for Interviews

To prepare for a correctional officer interview in Vermont, follow these steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Vermont Department of Corrections and gain an understanding of the role of a correctional officer.

  2. Prepare responses to common interview questions, emphasizing relevant experience.

  3. Dress professionally for the interview.

  4. Be ready to answer scenario-based questions.

  5. Research the specific facility where you’re applying.

During the interview process, your skills in areas such as:

  • Communication

  • Problem-solving

  • Decision-making

  • Teamwork

  • Ethical conduct

will be assessed. Demonstrating your proficiency in these areas will increase your chances of being selected for a correctional officer position in Vermont.


In conclusion, becoming a correctional officer in Vermont is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice with significant potential for growth and advancement. By meeting the necessary requirements, completing the comprehensive training program at the Vermont Correctional Academy, and taking advantage of the numerous benefits and compensation options, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in the field of corrections. Now, it’s time to take the first step toward your new career and begin the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is Vermont Corrections Academy?

The Vermont Corrections Academy is an 8-week training program held in Newport, with an objective to equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed to serve as an entry-level correctional officer.

What’s the most a correctional officer can make?

Correctional Officers can make up to $103,000 a year, with the highest salaries found in California where they can earn an average salary of about $81,100. Prisoners mainly work in prisons, performing duties like processing new prisoners, ensuring security, and keeping incidents of violence among inmates under control.

What should I say in a correctional officer interview?

I am a dependable, hard-working individual who is motivated to bring value to the team. I have strong communication and conflict resolution skills, and I am eager to continue learning and developing my knowledge and abilities.

How do I become a correctional officer in Vermont?

To become a correctional officer in Vermont, you must have two years of college course work, two years of military service or professional work experience, possess a valid driver’s license and have near normal vision and hearing. Additionally, you must attend the six-week residential academy at the Vermont Correctional Academy followed by two weeks of on-the-job training at your worksite.

Are there any specialized roles available for correctional officers in Vermont?

Yes, there are specialized roles available for correctional officers in Vermont, such as mental health counselors, substance abuse counselors, and correctional case managers.

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