Vermont Contractor Licenses

Different types of home improvement work requires a license or certificate when you’re in the state of Vermont. Get a better understanding of the rules with this article, that we’ll try to keep as up to date and accurate as possible.

When your line of work involves construction building, home improvement, or any other discipline involving infrastructure and public safety, chances are you’ll be required to have a license or permit to be allowed to do business in the state of Vermont.

Although some states require a state-level general contractor’s license to do construction or renovation work under their jurisdiction, Vermont however does not require one. There are however licenses and certification you need to acquire for certain trades and services. You might want to read on to find out if you need a contractor’s license for your profession or not.

Vermont Contractors Licensing Board

The state of Vermont does not have a common or a collective licensing board per se, but it does have separate boards for separate professions. As with general contractor licensing boards, they are solely responsible in issuing, revoking, renewing or suspending licenses in certain professions.

Electrical Licensing Board

The Electrical Licensing Board is responsible for implementing technical requirements that involves electrical installations on public buildings or in residential homes.

Under the Department of Public Safety, there are rules, statutes and adopted codes that determine the licensing of electricians. You can find all the information you need on the state website here.

You can direct your questions or inquiries by emailing, calling or visiting them at:

Division of Fire Safety; Licensing
1311 US Route 302 – Suite 600
Barre, VT 05641

802-479-7564
[email protected]

Plumbing Examining Board

The Plumbing Examining Board is responsible for implementing rules and codes that are sanctioned to protect the general public of Vermont, in regards to their health and welfare. This involves all water-related systems and installations in public buildings and home residences. Either connected to the public sewage system or not.

You can learn more about issuance, suspensions, renewals, revocations and fees of plumbing licenses by clicking here. If you have questions or inquiries, you can contact them at:

Division of Fire Safety

1311 US Route 302 – Suite 600

Berlin, Vermont 05641-2351

802-479-7564

[email protected]

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors Division

There may not be a state board for Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, but there is a division that recognizes safety codes that are legislated in the state. This includes carbon monoxide poisoning, risk of fire, and even explosions.

Before anyone can do business related to boilers and pressure vessels, inspectors are required to have their National Board Commission certification. For more information about the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, you can click here. It includes all the information you might need including inspection codes, applications, trainings, commissions and certificates.

Moreover, the inspector must also hold a Commissioned boiler inspector certification under the state of Vermont. You can contact them at:

Division of Fire Safety; Licensing

1311 US Route 302 – Suite 600

Barre, VT 05641

802-479-7564 (phone)

[email protected]

Elevator Safety Review Board

As with other boards, the Elevator Safety Review Board is responsible in assuring that trades and services under their belt are safely and correctly installed, while abiding with the rules and codes within the state. Services mentioned may include but are not limited to, installation of elevators or conveyances, repairs and maintenance, inspections. Rules and codes can be found here.

For more information, you can contact them at:

Division of Fire Safety

1311 US Route 302 – Suite 600

Berlin, Vermont 05641-2351

802-479-7564

[email protected]

Why Should you Get A Contractor’s License

There may be a number of factors why a contractor should get licensed in a certain state, but the true reason would ultimately be determined by the legislation that is administered under a state’s jurisdiction. One does not simply enter a state and conduct trades and services that may affect the health and welfare of the general public. One shall have a contractor’s license, or at least have certifications that allows that person to do contractual work within their field of profession.

Here are a few other reasons why you should consider having a contractor’s license:

  • You will have credibility. Consumers, business owners, and even other licensed contractors will have a modicum of respect in your profession. This gives you the advantage of having a higher chance in getting hired than unlicensed contractors.
  • Insurance benefits between you and your client. Unlike dealing with unlicensed contractors to which insurance does not exist, you and your client can reap the benefits of being insured of any accidents or mismanagements that may occur. To put it simply, you will otherwise be liable for any public damages and medical bills of your workers.
  • You will receive higher wages. With a license on your hand, you can ask for a higher pay. Although you may have invested a lot in getting your license, you can easily gain it back within a few months, and it’s an investment well worth it.

Why Should you Hire a Contractor with a License?

As a homeowner, there’s nothing more frustrating than projects or construction works that were agreed on that don’t go according to plan. The worst part of it is you can’t do anything when dealing with contractors with no license. That is why you should always consider hiring a contractor with a license.

Here are a few other reasons why you should hire a licensed contractor:

  • You will not be liable for any damages or accidents. The general contractor usually has insurance but it is better to make sure by asking your hired contractor. Accidents happen and this will save you a lot of money in the long run.
  • You can file a complaint when a project is unfinished or not done according to your agreement. Many homeowners do not know this, but it is quite helpful to avoid any extra charges or expenses.
  • The job follows the federal government’s rules and codes. Licensed contractors should have good knowledge of any legislation that the state may have imposed regarding building constructions, home improvements and/or renovations. This keeps you on the safe side of the law.
  • Staying clear of fraud. We can’t deny the fact that there are scammers out there looking for their next prey. Hiring a licensed contractor at least gives you the assurance that their name is listed on the registry and will most likely have very low chances of doing fraudulent behavior.

Can You Become Your Own General Contractor in Vermont?

In most cases, there are no laws or codes against a homeowner acting as his own general contractor. There are repercussions however, and it does not bode well to the homeowner. It has its own benefits, for sure, but it is mostly a financial one. Before jumping in to a project, may it be a home renovation or construction, consider a few factors that will most likely be your biggest challenges.

  • Do you have the experience or knowledge in pulling off construction work?

Watching or reading DIY’s or Do-It-Yourself resources is not enough when doing decent-sized construction work. You will need to ask someone about their experiences and how well they handled it. Not to mention your knowledge in using power tools. Some of them are extremely dangerous when not used properly.

  • Do you have the time, money and strength to finish the job?

A simple wall construction in your backyard takes days, if not weeks in the hands of inexperienced construction workers. You might want to check your schedule to make sure you can actually finish the project. Otherwise, you will have to spend a little extra, which in turn negates the reason why you’re doing your own construction job yourself all along. Finally, consider the manpower it needs to do the job you’re planning on doing. It may look simple on paper, but doing it in real life takes a lot of energy and stamina.

Are you Aware of all the regulations a homeowner must adhere to?

This is one of the perks of hiring a licensed contractor. They are well-versed in the state regulations and/or local codes that you won’t need to bother with them. In the state of Vermont, you may be allowed to use asbestos in your project, but you are still required to handle and dispose of them accordingly under the Vermont Regulations for Asbestos Control, which could be very relevant if you have old asbestos siding installed.

How to apply for a Contractor’s License

Similar to most states, Vermont is not issuing a general contractor license on a state-level. They issue licenses to a specific set of disciplines and provide certifications on certain trades and services instead. Some of which are electrical licenses, plumbing licenses, asbestos and lead abatement certifications.

To learn more about state licensing and other certifications in Vermont, you can click here.

To learn more about Asbestos and Lead abatement in Vermont, you can click here.

Contractors licenses offered in Vermont

Here is a list of contractors’ licenses that are offered in the state of Vermont. You can find other state-regulated professions here.

Electrical License

A contractor is not allowed to do electrical work on public or home properties unless he/she holds a state-issued license in Vermont. Depending on your education or experience, you can choose from either the 4 types of classifications to apply to.

Apprenticeship

Fee: May vary from apprentice sponsorships.

Requirement: Apprenticeship programs have different requirements and/or qualifications. You might have to contact the Vermont Department of Labor Career Resource Center near you.

Journeyman Electrician

Fee: $115 for a 3-year term + $10 for certificate fee + $65 examination fee.

Requirements: Applicants must have completed the state’s apprenticeship program from at least 2 years ago upon application. Be informed that affidavits are not accepted, but only certificates of completion.

Exam: Pass an open book examination consisting of 90 questions within 4 hours.

Master Electrician

Fee: $150 for a 3-year term + $10 for certificate fee.

Requirements: Applicants must have completed the state’s electrical journeyman program in a span of 2 years. If not available, you can submit a signed affidavit from previous employers confirming you of 12,000 hours of electrical work experience instead.

Exam: Pass an open book examination consisting of 105 questions within 4 hours.

Specialist Electrician

Fee: $115 for a 3-year term + $10 for certificate fee.

Requirements: Applicants must have undergone a formal training from an accredited school program and at least 2,000 hours of experience in the span of 1 year. If no formal training was performed, applicants must at least have 4,000 hours of experience in the span of 2 years for eligibility.

Specialist Electrician Classifications:

A1. Automatic Gas/Oil Heating

B2. Outdoor Advertising

C3. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

D4. Appliance and Motor Repairs

E5. Well Pumps

F6. Farm Equipment

G7c. Commercial Fire Alarms

G7g. Gas Pumps/Bulk Plants

G7k. Electrical Locksmith

G8l. Lightning Rod Installers

G7s. Solar Panel Installers

More information including license application for an electrician’s license in Vermont can be found here.

More information about the examination can be found here.

You can purchase your national electrical code handbooks from the International Code Council shop here.

Plumbing License

Before a contractor can do plumbing work in Vermont, he/she must hold a license from either 4 of the classes that are issued by the state government.

Apprenticeship

Fee: May vary from apprentice sponsorships.

Requirements: Not all, but most programs require a GED certificate or at least a high school diploma. For more information, contact Vermont Department of Labor Career Resource Center near you.

Journeyman Plumbers

Fee: $90, valid for 2 years + $10 certification fee + an examination fee of $64.

Requirements: Applicants are eligible for a journeyman plumbing license either with a certificate of apprenticeship completion from accredited programs; OR anyone that has at least 12,000 hours of experience in the said field of profession that is accepted by the Plumbers Examination Board.

Exam: Pass an open book examination consisting of 75 multiple-choice questions within 3 hours.

Master Plumbers

Fee: $120, valid for 2 years + $10 certification fee + an examination fee of $65.

Requirement: Applicant must have at least 1-year experience as a journeyman; OR have at least 14,000 hours of experience in accordance to the rules and codes acceptable by the board.

Exam: Pass an open book examination consisting of 105 multiple-choice questions within 4 hours.

Specialists Plumbers (Water Heater, Heating System)

Fee: $50, valid for 2 years + $10 certification fee + $130 examination fee for both exams.

Requirement: Applicants must have at least 2,000 hours of experience during his/her apprenticeship under the Vermont Department of Labor; OR at least 4,000 hours of on-the-job experience with a signed affidavit from a specialized or master plumber, together with a 144-hours of training within a year.

Exam: Pass an open book examination consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions in water heating and 30 multiple-choice questions in water heater.

Specialists Plumbers (Water Treatment)

Fee: $50, valid for 2 years + $10 certification fee + $65 examination fee.

Requirements: Applicants must have at least 4,000 hours of experience with an affidavit that is signed by a water treatment specialist plumber or a master plumber. Applicants should also have completed Vermont’s board-certified course in water treatment.

Exam: Pass an open book examination consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions within 2 hours.

You can purchase plumbing handbooks from the International Code Council shop here.

More information about the examination can be found here.

Application for state-issued plumbers license can be found here.

Elevators and Conveyances Contractor License

Under the state’s legislation towards elevators and conveyances, a contractor shall apply for a license to do work in Vermont. This includes installations, design, operation, repairs and maintenance.

Elevator Mechanic License

Fee: Elevator Mechanics License is at $75.

Requirement: Applicant must have at least 4 years work experience, education included related in the elevator industry. Applicant must also hold a certificate of completion from a national certified training program related in the field of industry.

Exam: Pass the mechanic examination from the NAEC or any national-recognized education program that is recognized and approved by the CET or state department.

Lift Mechanic License

Fee: The Lift Mechanic license fee is $50.

Requirements: A combination of at least 2 years of work experience and an educational training related to the field of profession. Applicants must also hold a certificate of completion from an apprenticeship program that is recognized by the department.

Exam: Pass the department-administered examination in regulation to the current codes and standards.

Elevator Inspector License

Fee:  The elevator inspectors license fee is $150.

Requirement: Applicant must provide a documented 4 years of combined work experience and education credits related to the field of profession. One must also hold a QEI or Qualified Elevator Inspector certification. Moreover, applicant must have an insurance coverage with a total of $3,000,000 general aggregate and $1,000,000 per occurrence.

Exam: Not required, but QEI certification requires one. You can click here to learn more about QEI certification and examination.

You can purchase elevator mechanic code books here.

More information about licensing and examination can be found here.

For elevator mechanic license applications, click here.

Boilers and Pressure Vessels Inspectors

The state of Vermont does not issue a license for the boilers and pressure vessels trade, instead it requires a national commissioned inspector and a state commission certification.

National Boiler and Pressure vessels Commission

Fee: An authorized Inspector requires an application fee of $35 and $15 for each endorsement.

Minimum Requirements: Applicants must be employed by an authorized inspection agency or organization. They must also present a high-school diploma or at least 12-year equivalent of education. To add to it, they must have undergone 80-hour training from a certified program that acknowledges the ASME BPV Code. For other qualifications, you can find them here.

Exam: The passing rate is 70% and you can find all the information here.

To learn more about the National credentials, commissions and endorsement applications, register here.

Vermont Boiler and Pressure Vessel Commission

Fees: Authorized Inspector requires an application fee of $35 and $15 for each endorsement.

Requirements: Operators must have initial operating inspections by state-approved boiler inspectors.

Exam: Not required.

More details about Vermont’s Boiler and pressure vessel commission can be found here, and application can be downloaded here.

NOTE: If you can’t find your contract licensing listed above or under the state-regulated professions, you might want to contact your local government for any other licenses, permits or certifications.

Certifications and Permits offered in Vermont

To help protect and promote public health safety, the state has issued contractor certificates to acknowledge and adhere to the safety regulations and acquire permits and certifications for various trades and services conducted within the state.

Oil Burner Installers

They are responsible for the repairs, maintenance, installations and inspections of oil burning equipment.

Fee: $60 application fee for a 3-year term certification.

Requirements: The applicant must have an 8 hour training course with at least 2 hours of training in the prevention of any leakage and proper inspection. An applicant may present a gold certificate provided by NORA if no certificate of training is available.

Exam: Please refer to NORA’s requirements.

More information can be found here.

Sprinkler System Designers I3 & I4

They are responsible for the repairs, maintenance and installations of fire sprinkler systems.

Fees: $150 application fee for a 3-year term certification.

Requirements: Applicants must have an engineering license regulated by the state or have at least a level III certificate in a related field from NICET.

Exam: Pleaser refer to NICET’s requirements.

More information can be found here.

Fire Alarm Systems Inspectors

They are responsible for testing and inspecting fire alarm systems.

Fees: $90 application fees for a 3-year term certification.

Requirements: Applicants must hold a valid state-issued Journeyman electrician license, or a master electrician license, or a Type-S Journeyman electrician for fire alarm systems.

Exam: Please refer to Electrical License examination requirements.

More information can be found here.

Chimney Sweep

They are responsible for the inspection, cleaning and maintenance of chimneys, including the use of solid fuel.

Fees: $30 application fees for a 3-year term certification.

Requirements: Applicants must have a valid certificate from the CSIA or Chimney Safety Institute of America. Applications can be found here.

Exam: Pass a 100-question exam in 1 hour and an open book exam in 1 hour 30 minutes. More information can be found here.

Emergency Generators Installation

They are responsible for the inspection, installation, repairs, testing and maintenance of emergency generators.

Fee: $30 application fee for a 3-year term certification.

Requirements: The applicant must present a document that covers training or work experience related to the field of the profession, in a manner acceptable by the department.

Exam: Not required.

Domestic Fire Sprinkler

They are responsible for the limited inspection, installation and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems of home residence consisting of 1 or 2 families.

Fees: $60 application fee for a 3-year term certification.

Requirements: Applicants must have experience or training that is acceptable by the fire safety department. They must also undergo an 8 hour training course.

Exam: Not required.

Apply for a certificate of fitness (Oil burners, Fire extinguishing systems, chimney sweeps, and emergency generators) by clicking here.

Apply for a TQP certification (Fire alarm systems, fire sprinklers, sprinkler designers, and domestic fire sprinkler system) by clicking here.

For more information about certificates and permits, click here.

Asbestos and Lead Related Trades and Services

Engaging in a business that involves Asbestos and/or Lead materials requires contractors to follow regulations that are issued by the state government. These involves maintenance, inspections, renovations, demolitions and abatement.

You can find all the information you need here.

You can contact them at:

Asbestos & Lead Regulatory Program

108 Cherry St., PO Box 70

Burlington, VT 05402

(802)-863-7220 / (800)-439-8550

Fax: (802)-863-7483

License Renewal

Fortunately, you can renew your license online in the state of Vermont. You must still be registered to be eligible for renewal however, and you can start by clicking here. Do note that renewal of licenses can take time depending on the department’s current work load. It is highly advised to renew your contractor’s license ahead of time. You will be notified 6 weeks prior to the expiration date as a reminder.

For questions and more information about license renewals, you can call the state department’s Renewal Clerk at (802)-828-1505

Contractor License Search and Lookup

Before signing with an individual or an agency, it is wise to check and verify their licenses first. You can easily search or lookup a contractor’s license, either by individual or as a whole business entity here. The database consists of useful information such as verification of education, training and examinations.

Electrical license lookup, on the other hand, is done using this extensive database that covers anyone with the respective license

Contractors’ License Reciprocity

The state of Vermont has an electrical license reciprocity agreement with the state of New Hampshire and Maine. This includes journeyman and master licenses.

For plumbing license reciprocity, one might need to contact the state’s department of fire safety. Reciprocity is acceptable as long as foreign states have equivalent standards to Vermont’s. These would be your journeyman, master, and specialty plumbing licensure.

Cities and Towns in Vermont Requiring Contractors’ Licenses and Permits

You have to remember that a local government such as cities, towns, and municipalities not only adopt the rules and codes of state-issued licenses, but they may also have some of their own, which will affect you on a local level.

Here are some of the biggest cities in Vermont along with their contractors’ licenses, permits, and certification requirements.

Burlington City

Plumbing in Burlington City requires a state-issued license and a permit with a target date and location before engaging in business. They must also abide by Burlington’s plumbing code of ordinances that can be found here.

Although a homeowner can perform the plumbing work on their own home, a plumbing license is required when outsourcing to public buildings and rental home residences. You still have to work you with a pluming permit however. More information can be found here.

Electrical work on the other hand requires that contractors have a permit when doing work within the city’s jurisdiction, including owner-occupied homes. Moreover, electrical inspections are also required when jobs involve wiring and/or inspection.

As with plumbing, Burlington follows the state’s electrical safety rules and license codes. You can find more information on the city’s permit procedures, codes and forms here.

You can contact them directly at:

Department of Public Works

645 Pine Street, PO Box 849

Burlington VT, 05401

(802)-863-9094

Fax: (802)-863-0466

South Burlington City

Construction Building in South Burlington requires a permit. You will have to complete an application form that requires a set of documents, fully representing the scope of the construction work. You can learn more about it here.

Electrical Work in South Burlington will require a licensed electrician. In addition, you shall have acquired a valid zoning permit. Depending on the scope of the work, you will be required to pay a fee. You can find the application form and fixture fees here.

As with electrical work permits, plumbing work also requires a valid zoning permit with a licensed plumber. Typically, an inspector will have to assess the construction work. You can click here for more information about the South Burlington’s Permit.

You can get more information by contacting them at:

Department of Planning & Zoning

City Hall, Burlington, VT 05401

(802)-865-7188

Fax: (802)-865-7195

Rutland City

Depending on the type of construction work you’re planning on doing in the city of Rutland, you may or may not be required to present a zoning permit or building permit. You can learn more about the fees and requirements on their official website.

In regards to licenses, you still have to have state-issued professional licenses related to the work. This includes electrical, plumbing, asbestos abatement, and lead abatement. You can click here to learn more about state licensing.

Learn more about Rutland’s certification and permits at:

Building & Zoning Department

PO Box 969

Rutland, VT 05702

(802)-773-1800

Barre

Construction building in the city of Barre is regulated with strict codes and ordinances that you can find here. Before you can apply for a building permit, you will have to pay a reasonable fee of $10, plus building application fees that vary depending on the project’s square footage.

Zoning permits is another matter in Barre. Depending on activities you may or may not engage in and other determining factors, there are zoning application fees. You can learn more about the total fees and find the application form here.

Just like the other towns and cities in Vermont, the city of Barre adopts state-issued licenses. There are still city-regulated ordinances however that require compliance, including electrical service and wirings, demolition inspections, building constructions and other special events. You can find them here.

To learn more about Barre City’s licensing and permits, contact them at:

Department of Public Works

6 N Main St.

Barre, VT 05641

(802)-476-0250

Montpelier City

Montpelier City requires Building Permits and Zoning Permits before an individual or a business entity can do construction work within the city.

For Plumbing Works, a valid license and permit may be required depending on the size of the project. Minor maintenance such as pipe, faucets and drainage repairs. This also applies when doing Electrical Work. Small repairs, removal or wire reconnections on an existing electrical equipment are classified as minor electrical work. Applications and requirements can be found here.

You can ask your questions at:

Public Works

39 Main Street

Montpellier, VT 05602-2950

(802)-223-9508

Fax: (802)-223-9524

Colchester

The town of Colchester does not require a state-issued construction permit, but it does require contractors to have their electrical and plumbing licenses and permits from the Division of Fire Safety.

You can learn more about permits by contacting them at:

Department of Public Safety

Division of Fire Safety

Williston, VT

(802)-879-2300