How to Become a Correctional Officer in Vermont

The Department of Corrections is one of the State’s major departments in Vermont. The Department’s career possibilities are outstanding, with plenty of room for promotion. Most correctional professionals begin as Correctional Officers. Many progress to jobs in our Central Office as Correctional Facility Supervisors, Correctional Service Specialists, Community Correctional Officers, Probation and Parole Officers, Superintendents, and Directors.


Vermont Correctional Officers operate in a system that believes in the fundamentals of human transformation. Intensive training prepares entry-level Correctional Officers for a profession that combines security duties, human services, and leadership potential. This profession is enjoyable on many levels and requires diverse talents. The ideal applicant possesses excellent communication and leadership abilities to maintain order and control and solid judgment to make sound judgments in high-stress circumstances.

Incumbents in this class are responsible for the supervision, custody, treatment, and training of inmates confined in a correctional facility. Duties are performed under the supervision of higher-ranking staff and per operational procedures of the assigned facility. 

Male police officer is talking to a prisoner


Candidates must pass all levels of background investigation applicable to the position.  Vermont and national criminal record checks, as well as DMV and adult and child abuse registry checks, as appropriate to the position under recruitment, will be conducted on candidates, except for those who are currently classified as state employees seeking transfer, promotion, or demotion into an AHS ranked position or are persons exercising re-employment rights.

Minimum qualifications include:


  • High school graduation or equivalent AND two (2) years or more full-time work experience OR,
  • One (1) year or more of college-level coursework AND one (1) year or more of full-time work experience OR,
  • Two (2) years or more of college-level coursework.

Physical Requirements:

Sufficient physical condition to perform the job’s essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation. As a Correctional Officer, it is crucial to understand that one of the critical tasks associated with the job is the ability to don a self-contained breathing apparatus and perform evacuation procedures, potentially including search and rescue functions. 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working in a correctional setting
  • Military experience


Before attending the academy, new Correctional Officers will do a week of shadowing at their home facility. Shadowing involves working side by side with a seasoned officer. This will allow new officers to see the job, talk to staff and inmates, and get a real feel for their new careers. Next, they will start the five-week academy. 

The academy is an intensive educational experience that includes traditional classroom and hands-on training in a structured environment to prepare the trainee for the role of Correctional Officer. Training is structured to provide the trainee with the basic knowledge of the job, i.e., key control, logbooks, headcounts, and advanced communication techniques. After the academy training experience, there is a formal graduation, an important rite of passage into the Department. 

For the next two weeks, trainees will be doing on-the-job training (OJT). This is when trainees work one-on-one with a Field Training Officer (FTO) at their home facility. Their FTO will verbally review and then demonstrate how to do tasks. The CFO will then observe the trainee completing these tasks, ensuring they are proficient in them. This process ensures trainees are skilled in all aspects of their new careers and helps them learn their facility’s local policy and procedures. The FTO is assigned to you and is there to help during and after the two weeks of OJT. 


Training waivers may be partial or complete and shall only be granted based on equivalent training that the individual applicant has completed.

The Vermont Criminal Justice Council may establish any supplementary or remedial training necessary to equate previous training with current Council standards as a condition of certification.

If the Council determines that the applicant meets the requirements of these rules, the Executive Director shall issue such certificates as appropriate. If the Council determines that the applicant does not meet these rules, the Executive Director shall notify the applicant, stating the reasons for such denial. 


College-level coursework can be used to meet the minimum qualifications for Correctional Officer positions. Vermont also provides tuition reimbursement for up to 50% of tuition costs. This program offers financial assistance for post-secondary and graduate level courses related to the employee’s current job or other career-related positions in the State government.  

The Department of Corrections, in conjunction and cooperation with the Department of Personnel, will make available a certain amount of money to assist Department employees with their pursuit of educational interests. The intent is to support employees’ academic endeavors, which ultimately benefit the Department by increasing professionalism within the organization. The course must reflect/complement the Department of Corrections duties (i.e., business, psychology, cyber, criminal justice, etc.). All permanent, classified employees are eligible to apply.

Some schools in Vermont offering Criminal Justice degrees include:

Castleton: Criminal Justice

Northern Vermont University: Criminal Justice


The Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the average salary for Correctional Officers in Vermont as $50,320.

Additional Benefits Include:

Correctional Officers are offered a great career opportunity as State employees, but it’s more than a paycheck. The State’s total compensation package features an impressive set of employee benefits that are worth about 30% of your total compensation, including: 

  • 80% State paid medical premium
  • Dental Plan at no cost for employees and their families
  • Flexible Spending healthcare and childcare reimbursement accounts
  • Two ways to save for your retirement: 


    • The State of Vermont continues to operate a Pension Plan for its Employees that was initially created in 1944.
    • Under this defined benefit plan, employees and the State contribute to a trust fund. Your actual retirement benefit is determined by a formula that contains three aspects: your service credit, your age at retirement, and your average final compensation. You will be vested in the Vermont State Employees Retirement System when you have attained five years of creditable state service.


  • Like a 401K, the Deferred Compensation 457 plan is a savings and investment plan for your retirement. The Vermont State Retirement System oversees the investment options and establishes the program. All contributions can be made on a pre-tax or after-tax basis, depending upon the accounts you elect. 
  • Participation in the Deferred Compensation plan is voluntary. You determine how much you wish to contribute to the plan, that amount is then deducted from your paycheck and transferred directly to your Deferred Compensation account.
  • The Deferred Compensation plan is available to all state employees and other public agencies such as municipalities, school districts, boards, and commissions if the public agency has elected to offer it.
  • Work/Life Balance: 11 paid holidays each year and a generous leave plan; many jobs also allow for a flexible schedule
  • Low-cost group life insurance
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Incentive-based Wellness Program
  • Qualified Employer for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Employee Support 


Vermont’s Department of Corrections has immediate openings for Correctional Officers. Correctional Officers in Vermont work in a system that believes in the basics of human change. Intensive training prepares entry-level Correctional Officers for a career that blends security work, human services, and leadership opportunities. This work is rewarding on many levels and draws on a wide range of skills. The ideal candidate has strong communication and leadership skills to maintain order and control and strong judgment to make good decisions in high-stress situations. 


Vermont Department of Corrections

Core Civic (Private Prison Contractor)