HVAC Training Schools in Vermont (VT)

Connect With HVAC Schools

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 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 season 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 2017), 890 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, the Air Conditioning Trade Association, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association.

HVAC and HVAC/R technicians in VT perform a variety of jobs. Each job has specific requirements, and technicians must be able to use a 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. Their job description includes installing, servicing, and repairing systems that control air quality, air flow, and temperature in buildings. They travel from one work site to another, sometimes daily. Work sites 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. They then test and calibrate all equipment. Technicians must be proficient in trade math in order to do calculations such as heat loads and losses. They also have a role in educating consumers as to 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 (Oct. 2017), the number of openings in HVAC is expected to swell 15 percent nationwide between 2016 and 2026. That’s much faster growth than the U.S. average for all occupations (seven percent). Several factors contribute to the nationwide growth of the HVAC and HVAC industry:

  • New commercial buildings and residences
  • Increasing sophistication of climate control systems
  • 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 332,900 jobs nationwide in 2016, according to the BLS (Oct. 2017). Contractors employed 64 percent of HVAC/R mechanics and installers, and nine 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 can’t wait until the weather improves. Technicians usually work full-time, with overtime hours during peak seasons.

To demonstrate the demand for HVAC workers, check out local job boards. For example, Indeed (Jan. 2018) posted 75 listings for HVAC and HVAC/R positions in Vermont. A company in Williston wanted an HVAC installer and qualified technicians able to work on residential and light commercial systems. A Winooski company needed an HVAC/R service technician with at least five years experience. Middlebury College offered $15.68/hr for a technician capable of installing/renovating plumbing and HVAC systems.

HVAC Professional Salary in Vermont

The BLS (October 2017) reported that nationally, HVAC/R mechanics and installers receive a median annual salary of $45,910. Vermont technicians received a median salary $47,830, slightly better 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 2017) indicated that Vermont was the twelfth most expensive state in the country. Please keep that in mind while evaluating the following salary prospects.

According to the BLS (May 2016), these were the national percentiles among all HVAC and HVAC/R workers across the country:

United States (332,900 HVAC workers): $48,320 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $28,440
  • 25th percentile: $35,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,910
  • 75th percentile: $58,960
  • 90th percentile: $73,350

U.S.: $23.23 average hourly salary

  • 10th percentile: $13.67/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.04/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.07/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.35/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.26/hr.

By comparison, the Green Mountain State boasted slightly higher average and median wages, but a smaller range overall than national figures:

State of Vermont (890 HVAC workers): $49,310 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $35,330
  • 25th percentile: $41,720
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,830
  • 75th percentile: $57,330
  • 90th percentile: $65,140

VT: $23.71 average hourly salary

  • 10th percentile: $16.99/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.06/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.99/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $27.57/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $31.32/hr.

Finally, the BLS designated three regions within the state. Not surprisingly, the Burlington area paid HVAC professionals the highest wages on average:

Burlington-South Burlington (410 HVAC workers): $51,970 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $36,070
  • 25th percentile: $42,960
  • 50th percentile (median): $50,900
  • 75th percentile: $61,450
  • 90th percentile: $71,530

$24.99 average hourly salary

  • 10th percentile: $17.34/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.65/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $24.47/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $29.54/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $34.39/hr.

Northern Vermont Non-Metropolitan Area (160 HVAC workers): $47,060 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $34,450
  • 25th percentile: $40,510
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,220
  • 75th percentile: $49,840
  • 90th percentile: $62,760

$22.62 average hourly salary

  • 10th percentile: $16.56/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $19.48/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.74/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $23.96/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30,18/hr.

Southern Vermont Non-Metropolitan Area (320 HVAC workers): $46,950 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $35,150
  • 25th percentile: $41,240
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,700
  • 75th percentile: $53,570
  • 90th percentile: $60,960

$22.57 average hourly salary

  • 10th percentile: $16.90/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $19.83/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.45/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $25.76/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.31/hr.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Vermont

It was possible to join the workforce and learn how to be an HVAC technician through hands-on training. That has become more difficult over the years, and 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 employer who will sponsor them for on-the-job training and they must be approved. Applicants also begin coursework. Many attend Vermont Technical College, although some companies provide in-house classes. Students can also attend classes at union training centers.

The state’s Labor Department maintains a list of sponsors. At the time of this writing (Jan. 2018), four HVAC companies are willing to sponsor apprentices, located in Bradford, Morrisville, Williston, and South Burlington. Apprentices can also find apprenticeship opportunities through the Vermont Job Link. Local chapters of the industry associations mentioned in the introduction are also a source of apprenticeship programs.

Rather than becoming apprentices, other aspiring HVAC professionals in VT may choose to enroll in an academic programs. When choosing a school to attend, it’s important to make sure that it’s accredited to ensure that education provided by the institution meets acceptable levels of quality. Various independent organizations grant accreditation. In this career field, 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 January 2018.

That said, there are other regionally accredited training options available. For example, the 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 (A.A.S.) degree in architectural & building engineering technology. It requires 65 credit hours and includes coursework in HVAC and energy-conscious design. Students may also earn a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in architectural engineering technology. It requires 124 credit-hours and expands on the coursework described above. Notably, oth programs are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The 2017-18 tuition was set at $563 per credit-hour. Students are responsible for additional fees. All amounts are subject to change without notice.

Several other schools in Vermont offer courses useful to individuals wanting to become an HVAC or HVAC/R technician. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hyde Park: The school is a technical high school for students wanting to acquire industry credentials and skills. They spend one year on heating systems and one year on air conditioning and refrigeration.
  • Stafford Technical Center in Rutland: The Center gives high school students introductory courses in energy conservation, HVAC, blueprint reading, and electrical/plumbing/HVAC system design. They practice their skills by building a residence.
  • River Bend Career and Technical Center in Bradford: Their Construction Academy and Residential Energy program introduce students to the operation of HVAC systems.

These and similar programs are accredited through their respective school districts. Tuition and fees are determined by the school districts. Programs change from time to time to meet the needs of the various trades. Adult courses and continuing education courses are 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 the size and type of equipment, and 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.

The State of Vermont Division of Fire Safety is the agency responsible for licensing the trades. HVAC and HVAC/R technicians are 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.