Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Vermont

According to the Vermont Department of Labor, the state's economy continues to experience modest job growth and low unemployment rates. Through 2024, the state projects that it will add approximately 10,500 jobs each year. However, some occupations, including many of those suitable for individuals who earned an online criminal justice degree in Vermont, may experience even stronger growth.

the state projects that employment for police and sheriff patrol officers will grow by 7% through 2024

For example, the state projects that employment for police and sheriff patrol officers will grow by 7% through 2024. The number of detective and criminal investigator positions should increase even faster, at a rate of about 11% over that same time period. Entry-level jobs in the field, such as correctional facilities officers and private security guards, should also experience above-average growth. Many of these jobs require some kind of postsecondary education, and enrolling in one of Vermont's online criminal justice degree programs can prepare you to take advantage of these opportunities.

Students who opt to earn an online criminal justice degree in Vermont experience many benefits. For example, many online programs offer courses asynchronously, allowing you to watch lectures and complete assignments at your convenience.

In addition to allowing students to adopt their own learning schedule, online programs can also be less expensive. Many schools charge distance learners similar tuition rates, regardless of their state of residence. Additionally, online learners do not have to pay for room and board or commute to and from campus. According to the Urban Institute, the average annual cost of room and board at a four-year public college in the U.S. was $9,800 in 2016. Furthermore, some schools do not charge online students for certain campus services or fees, such as the use of athletic facilities.

Online criminal justice degrees in Vermont also provide more diverse educational opportunities, allowing you to take classes or pursue a course of study that is not readily available at your local college or university. However, prospective students should know that online programs require a great deal of time management and self-discipline. Before enrolling in an online program, be sure to carefully consider whether this style of learning is right for you.

It is incredibly important to make sure that you attend an accredited school. Accreditation ensures that an institution meets certain educational standards and adequately prepares its graduates for jobs in their field. If you attend an unaccredited school, you risk missing out on financial aid opportunities, and the credits you earn may not transfer to other institutions.

In Vermont, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges administers regional accreditation for nonprofit colleges and universities

Three primary types of accreditation exist: regional, national, and specialized. Six agencies oversee regional accreditation in the United States; this is the most common designation and tends to be the most respected of the three forms of accreditation. In Vermont, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges administers regional accreditation for nonprofit colleges and universities.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) authorizes 10 bodies to provide national accreditation to schools and programs. For-profit, vocational, and religious institutions tend to receive national accreditation. Finally, specialized accreditors work within a particular discipline or field of study. Many criminal justice programs receive accreditation from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

To determine whether or not your program is accredited, review the ED's website, which contains a database of all accredited postsecondary programs and institutions.

All criminal justice jobs in Vermont require a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, earning a college-level criminal justice degree in Vermont can improve your prospects of finding a job and getting promoted.

As an example, the Vermont State Police specifically recommend that aspiring troopers pursue some form of higher education. Many local law enforcement agencies in the state also prefer to hire candidates with at least an associate degree, offering higher salaries and stipends to individuals who have completed some college-level coursework. Additionally, some sheriff's departments in Vermont specifically require candidates to hold an associate or more advanced degree.

To qualify for federal jobs or senior-level law enforcement positions, you will likely need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field. For some specialized roles, such as crime scene investigators or forensic science technicians, departments may seek out candidates with a master's degree in criminal justice or the natural sciences.

In addition to a high school diploma or college degree, all law enforcement, corrections, and security professionals working in Vermont must meet certain licensing and training requirements established by the state.

Vermont's Criminal Justice Training Council (CJTC) certifies all law enforcement officers working in the state. To receive certification, individuals must complete the state's 16-week training academy, although an abbreviated training session is available for individuals who want to become part-time police officers. To qualify for either training opportunity, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED certificate, and pass a written exam and criminal background check. Vermont State Troopers attend the same police academy, but applicants to this position must be at least 20 years old.

The Vermont Department of Corrections requires all of its officers to attend the Vermont Correctional Academy, which hosts an eight-week training program. Like the police academy, applicants must be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal background check.

The Vermont Board of Private Investigative and Security Services licenses both private investigators and private security guards. Investigators must have either a license from another state or two years of investigatory experience with a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency. Security guards must complete 40 hours of training on subjects related to emergency response and professional security ethics and conduct. All armed criminal justice professionals in Vermont must receive at least 16 hours of training from a licensed instructor in order to receive their firearm certification.

Licenses in the field of criminal justice do not automatically transfer from state to state; however, Vermont does offer a waiver process for individuals who hold a law enforcement or private security license issued by an agency in a different state.

In addition to licensure, many criminal justice professionals opt to obtain certifications to demonstrate their expertise in a particular area. For example, CJTC offers certifications to law enforcement officials in areas like fingerprint collection and analysis and DUI enforcement.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for protective service occupations in Vermont was $20.57 in May of 2017; this translates to a mean annual salary of $42,780. These numbers fall below the mean pay rates for all occupations, both in the state and across the nation as a whole. However, more advanced occupations, such as detectives and criminal investigators, pay significantly more than average salaries. Individuals interested in these positions should be prepared to pursue additional training or earn an advanced degree.

the mean hourly wage for protective service occupations in Vermont was $20.57 in May of 2017; this translates to a mean annual salary of $42,780

Generally speaking, criminal justice occupations in Vermont should experience moderately strong growth through 2024. Projections Central -- a clearinghouse for state-level economic data -- projects that employment for police and sheriff's patrol officers in Vermont will grow by 7% during that period. Similarly, the employment for first-line supervisors of police and detectives is projected to grow by 6.1% over that same time frame. Careers in corrections and private security will likely see positive but more restrained growth.

The table below includes employment and compensation data for several careers in this field. If these positions appeal to you, you may want to consider earning a criminal justice degree online in Vermont.

Protective Services Occupations in Vermont

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Firefighters 280 $18.66 $38,810
Fire Inspectors and Investigators 40 $26.90 $55,950
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 220 $39.41 $81,970
Fish and Game Wardens 40 $28.05 $58,350
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 1,450 $23.59 $49,070
Security Guards 1,100 $16.00 $33,280
Transportation Security Screeners 80 $18.76 $39,020
Source: BLS, May 2017

Court and Corrections Occupations in Vermont

Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average annual Wage
Lawyers 1,140 $50.92 $105,900
Paralegals and Legal Assistants 670 $24.81 $51,610
Correctional Officers and Jailers 550 $21.38 $44,460
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships can help students pay for their online criminal justice degree in Vermont. Many national organizations offer awards to students who plan to major in a criminal justice field, and local organizations also provide financial aid to Vermont residents who attend colleges or universities in the state.

Criminal Justice Scholarships

Women in Federal Law Enforcement Scholarship Program $2,500

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to women pursuing a degree in criminal justice. Applicants must have completed at least one full year of college and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Scholarships $1,500-$2,500

Who Can Apply: To apply to any of NOBLE's scholarship programs, students must be accepted to an accredited academic institution and be committed to working in the field of criminal justice. They must also demonstrate financial need and have a minimum 3.8 GPA. View Scholarship

Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: The American Correctional Association encourages minority students planning to work in criminal justice to apply for this award. Applicants must be attending or accepted to a four-year college and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Crimcheck Criminal Justice Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Applicants to this award must be pursuing a postsecondary education with the intention of starting a career in criminal justice. Students must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Brian Terry Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: The Brian Terry Foundation awards scholarships to students currently seeking an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation and a personal essay. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Vermont Residents

Vermont Incentive Grant $850-$12,050

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Vermont residents enrolled in an undergraduate program at a participating college or university. They must also demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Harry and Vi Bradley Memorial Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: This program is open to Vermont residents who plan to attend an in-state school and major in a public safety field, like law enforcement. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, and community service. View Scholarship

G. Jason and Maria Vance Conway Memorial Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Vermont residents with financial need who plan to attend an accredited institution. Students must submit an essay and a letter of recommendation. View Scholarship

Vermont Sheriffs’ Association William Graham Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be a dependent of a member of the Vermont Sheriffs' Association. The association offers awards based on financial need, academic achievement, and community involvement. View Scholarship

Nichols Family Scholarship $6,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship serves students who have overcome adversity or hardship in their lives. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Law Enforcement Agencies in Vermont

Professional Organizations

Individuals who earned an online criminal justice degree in Vermont can join professional associations to develop connections with others working in the field. These organizations often host networking events; share professional development and continuing education resources; and promote job opportunities in law enforcement, security, and corrections. They may also advocate on behalf of members for better wages and working conditions. The list below contains several organizations serving criminal justice professionals in Vermont.

Vermont Police Association

VPA represents law enforcement professionals in Vermont and works to improve police-community relations in the state. Its members include both officers and police department staff.

Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police

Representing senior police officials, VACP facilitates cooperation across law enforcement agencies, sponsors police training, and advocates for legislation on behalf of the police profession.

Vermont Sheriffs’ Association

Through a newsletter and regular events, VSA connects and represents sheriffs and sheriffs' deputies working in Vermont.

Vermont Troopers Association

VTA is a professional association for state police. In addition to resources for current professionals, it offers a $1,000 scholarship for students seeking a degree in law enforcement.

Community Justice Network of Vermont

In close collaboration with officials from the state’s department of corrections, CJNV supports restorative justice programs at 20 community centers across Vermont.

American Correctional Association

ACA represents correctional facilities professionals across the country. It also works to improve the standards and practices of the criminal justice system.

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