Accredited HVAC Schools 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. At the time of this writing (Dec. 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 or local chapters of the industry associations mentioned in the introduction to this page.
Rather than becoming apprentices, other aspiring HVAC professionals in VT may choose to enroll in an academic program. When choosing a school to attend, it is important for applicants 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 December 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 (AAS) degree in architectural & building engineering technology that requires 65 credit hours and includes coursework in HVAC and energy-conscious design. Students may also earn a bachelor of science (BS) degree in architectural engineering technology, which requires 124 credit-hours and expands on the coursework described above. Notably, both 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, including:
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.
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.
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.