HVAC Training Schools & Certifications in Vermont (VT)

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Autumn brings the beauty of fall colors to Vermont (VT) and the beginning of cold and harsh winters. Vermonters cope with several feet of snow and below-freezing temperatures. Winter gives way to spring thawing and mud. Summers come early and can be mild until August’s heat settles in.

The overall climate can be humid, and as a result, Vermont residents and businesses need heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort throughout seasonal extremes. Furthermore, the mainstays of Vermont’s economy are manufacturing, agriculture, and animal products—all of which require year-round refrigeration (HVAC/R).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019), 860 Vermonters were employed as HVAC installers, mechanics, and maintenance workers. HVAC and HVAC/R contractors and technicians receive local training and support from the Plumbers, Fuel Gas Fitters, and HVAC Association of New Hampshire (PGFHVAC), which serves the greater New England area. Additionally, local chapters of national associations can offer networking, advocacy, and even employment expense discounts; these organizations include the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Air Conditioning Trade Association (ACTA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC), the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).

HVAC and HVAC/R technicians in VT perform a variety of jobs. Each job has specific requirements, and technicians must be able to use an assortment of tools. Some are basic hand tools, such as wrenches or pipe cutters. Other jobs require specialized tools, such as monoxide testers, voltmeters, or combustion analyzers. When equipment needs repair, technicians troubleshoot and test components to find the problem. They may have to remove and replace defective parts. Repairs can require knowing how to weld or braze parts. The HVAC technician job description includes installing, servicing, and repairing systems that control air quality, airflow, and temperature in buildings. They travel from one work site to another, sometimes daily. Worksites include residences, offices, warehouses, factories, hospitals, and stores. Each job has specific requirements.

The technicians must be able to read blueprints and be familiar with building codes. They install electrical and water lines for new equipment, and also connect systems to supply lines, air ducts, controls, and other components, then test and calibrate all equipment. Technicians must be proficient in trade math to do calculations such as heat loads and losses. They also have a role in educating consumers on how to conserve energy and reduce pollution. Each customer is provided with a complete written record of all work performed and suggested recommendations. It’s important to note that VT-based technicians are responsible for keeping their licenses and certifications in good standing. All work must be performed in compliance with safety practices.

This article covers accredited HVAC programs in Vermont, including discussions of salary prospects, industry growth, and credentialing requirements.

Career Outlook for HVAC Technicians in Vermont

The demand for HVAC technicians nationwide continues to grow. According to the BLS (May 2019), the number of openings in HVAC is expected to rise 4 percent nationwide between 2019 and 2029. That’s as fast as the U.S. average for all occupations (4 percent). Several factors contribute to the nationwide growth of the HVAC and HVAC industry:

  • New commercial buildings and residences
  • The increasing sophistication of climate control systems
  • The contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution
  • Replacing, retrofitting, or upgrading older systems

Consumers depend on their HVAC and HVAC/R systems, and technicians able to perform maintenance and repairs typically have stable work regardless of economic conditions. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers held 342,040 jobs nationwide in 2019, according to the BLS (May 2019). Contractors employed 66 percent of HVAC/R mechanics and installers, and seven percent of technicians were self-employed. The remaining technicians work for schools, wholesale companies, or other businesses.

Vermont technicians may have to service outdoor equipment during adverse weather conditions as repairs cannot wait until the weather improves. Technicians usually work full-time, with overtime hours during peak seasons.

To demonstrate the demand for HVAC workers, one needs to look no further than online job boards. For example, Indeed (2021) posted 26 listings for HVAC positions in Vermont, including jobs with organizations like GSK Climate Control, Saint Michael’s College, and Lennox International. A similar search on Monster (2021) showed 54 results at a wide array of companies, including AstenJohnson, Hirezon, Transform Home Services, Sears Holdings Corporation, Transform Home Services, and Perrigo, among others.

HVAC Professional Salary in Vermont

The BLS (May 2019) reported that nationally, HVAC/R mechanics and installers receive a median annual salary of $48,730. Vermont technicians received a median salary of $53,450, which is higher than the national average.

Of course, the cost of living in VT is higher than that of many states. By illustration, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) indicated that Vermont was the 13th most expensive state in the country. This analysis indicates that an average salary in Vermont will not go quite as far as it would in a more affordable state like Pennsylvania or even New Hampshire. In more detailed terms, here were the salary percentiles in this occupation in the US and Vermont specifically:

United States Vermont
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 860
Annual mean wage $51,420 $52,920
10th percentile $30,610 $39,050
25th percentile $37,660 $45,510
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $53,450
75th percentile $62,070 $60,280
90th percentile $77,920 $65,360

Salary figures do vary slightly by the source of data. Payscale (2021)—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—found the following percentiles among its HVAC respondents nationwide:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,316
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

HVAC Apprenticeships in Vermont

It is possible to join the workforce and learn how to be an HVAC technician through hands-on training, but this route has become more difficult over the years. Most workers in Vermont now participate in an apprenticeship program or attend classes. Training opens up more employment opportunities. Workers also may start at higher wages and earn more during their career.

The Vermont Department of Labor registers apprentices. Applicants first find an approved employer who will sponsor them for on-the-job training, then enroll in classroom coursework. Many HVAC apprentices in Vermont attend Vermont Technical College, although some companies provide in-house classes. Students can also attend classes at union training centers.

The Department of Labor also maintains a list of potential sponsors for those interested in pursuing an apprenticeship in any trade. Apprentices can also find apprenticeship opportunities through the Vermont Job Link or local chapters of the industry associations mentioned in the introduction to this page.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Vermont

Rather than becoming apprentices, other aspiring HVAC professionals in VT may choose to enroll in an academic program. When choosing a school to attend, applicants need to make sure that the institution is accredited, which means a third-party organization has evaluated either the specific program or the institution as a whole for its curriculum, faculty, and learning outcomes. A wide range of independent organizations grants accreditation to institutions of higher learning.

For HVAC programs specifically, the most prominent program accreditation entities are the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation, and HVAC Excellence, although there were no programs in VT approved by either organization as of February 2021.

Vermont Technical College

Vermont Technical College offers an HVAC course at the Randolph Center campus as part of the architectural engineering technology program. The HVAC course focuses on system design, rather than installation, maintenance, or service. Classes and labs include:

  • Basic HVAC calculations
  • Design conditions
  • Load estimating
  • Duct and piping sizing
  • HVAC equipment selection
  • Energy conservation
  • Mechanical codes

Students are required to have completed classwork in environmental systems, the fundamentals of fluids and thermodynamics, and mechanical/electrical codes and loads as before taking the HVAC course. The cost of the course is $15.00. Students may also take online courses through the college.

Vermont Technical College offers two-degree programs at the Randolph Campus, which may be of interest to students wanting to know more about HVAC system design and engineering. The first is an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in architectural and building engineering technology that requires 65 credits and the other is a bachelor of science (BS) degree in architectural engineering technology, which requires 124 credits. Notably, both programs are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  • Location: Randolph Center, VT
  • Accreditation: ABET
  • Expected Time to Completion: BS (four years); AAS (two years)
  • Estimated Tuition: $613 per credit

Green Mountain Technology and Career Center

Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hyde Park offers two separate one-year programs for high school students. Students who choose to enroll spend one year on heating systems and one year on air conditioning and refrigeration. Graduates will be eligible for the Bronze Oil Heat Technician Certificate as well as the EPA Section 608 certification. Both these certifications require students to pass a course-specific test before the certification is awarded.

Students applying for these programs should have strong science and mathematical skills. They should also be willing to work in groups and understand the importance of teamwork. Mechanical ability and tool knowledge are a plus but not a requirement. There are endless employment opportunities available in these fields. Some students might be hired by local Vermont companies and trained “in-house” while working in the industry, while others may pursue further education in technical colleges.

The program includes instruction on topics such as soldering and brazing, electricity, heating theory, oil burners, refrigeration, air conditioning, and HVAC systems.

  • Location: Hyde Park, VT
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: One or two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the college for a customized tuition assessment

River Bend Career and Technical Center

River Bend Career and Technical Center in Bradford offers a construction academy and residential energy program to introduce students to the operation of HVAC systems. There are two levels of the program available to students, who are also eligible to earn college credit in these technical school courses.

The curriculum of the program provides students with technical training in all forms of residential construction emphasizing alternative energy and energy efficiency. Building design, estimating, blueprint reading, safety on the worksite, site work, building codes, stairs, foundations, insulation envelopes, timber framing, roof systems, stress skin panels, framing, and finish work are all part of the process. Knowledge gained in this program can be used by students for designing and building projects of various complexity and sizes.

  • Location: Bradford, VT
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: N/A
  • Estimated Tuition: N/A

These and similar programs are accredited through their respective school districts. Tuition and fees are determined by the school districts, but many are free to current high school students. Programs change from time to time to meet the needs of the various trades. Adult courses and continuing education courses are also available at some centers.

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Vermont

Federal law requires all HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants to obtain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 certification. Certification requires passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. Four levels of certifications are available based on the size and type of equipment. The Type IV universal certification allows technicians to work on all equipment. Various organizations offer classes and administer the exam.

Technicians may obtain additional training and certifications from industry organizations. These include the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES); North American Technician Excellence (NATE); and the aforementioned HVAC Excellence. Each organization has information on certifications offered, fees, and expiration dates available on their website. Check out the full HVAC certification guide.

The State of Vermont Division of Fire Safety is the agency responsible for licensing the trades. HVAC and HVAC/R technicians have been licensed as Type S (Speciality) electricians. Type S licenses don’t require the general licensing process for electricians. Applicants for Type S licensing must have completed an accredited training and experience program or had acceptable training and experience, within Vermont or outside.

Applicants must also pass an examination on refrigeration or air conditioning. Fees are charged for the exam and issuance of the license. Licensees are required to obtain continuing education credits to renew their licenses.

Lastly, different cities have varying laws on HVAC credentials. To ensure that one remains in compliance with the law, all VT-based technicians in this field are strongly encouraged to reach out to local government offices to ensure they have all necessary permits and certifications.

Farheen Gani

Farheen is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).