There are many types of home improvement, and in the state of Vermont, you are required to obtain your license according to your trade or specialty to work in most types of construction. If you are looking to get a general contractor’s license in Vermont, you will have to specify your trade, take an exam (or have experience), and pay the proper fees.
In many cases, you will need to provide proof of adequate liability insurance, bond insurance, and workers’ compensation (if you are employing other contractors). It is vital to grasp an understanding of the different requirements for obtaining licensure in Vermont — below is a breakdown of how to do so.
Vermont General Contractor License Requirements
Vermont does not issue an overall general contractors license. This means that you cannot get a general contractors license at the state level.
Vermont does, however, separate their licenses into trades — for which you will need to be licensed at the state level. Electricians and plumbers, however, are licensed at the state level, while other sensitive types of construction work — such as asbestos and lead abatement — require special certification.
As mentioned above, most small businesses require liability insurance to mitigate risk, but the exact amounts required and the associated costs of liability coverage can vary depending on local jurisdictions. Regardless of what type of coverage you have, you will want to keep your certificate of insurance handy for clients as well as local licensing boards. Surety bond requirements are also taken care of at the local level, so the process for getting bonded and insured varies by location. Make sure to shop around between bonding companies to make sure you are getting the right coverage. The exact cost of a bond can vary depending on the type of license, monetary limit, experience, and present/future financial responsibility.
Who Needs a Contractors License?
Since general contracting work is not licensed at the state level, you will need to check with your local county and city for requirements about licensing and certificates, according to your trade or specialty.
County and city regulations within Vermont require licenses for plumbing, electrical, and elevator and lift mechanics contracting work. You can find information on these licenses — and the specialties within them— at the Division of Fire Safety.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in Vermont?
Since Vermont does not require a general contractors license at the state level, you need to understand your local county and city requirements. In many cases, experience and examination will be needed to obtain your license for plumbing, electrical, and specialty trades mentioned above.
A NASCLA commercial contractors license is not recognized by the state of Vermont; however, reciprocity with other states is:
- Electrical licenses have reciprocity with Maine and New Hampshire;
- Asbestos and lead abatement certifications from another state can be petitioned for the state of Vermont to provide you with a certificate in without repeat training;
- A plumber‘s license obtained in another municipality or state, depending on the requirements of the said state, may exempt you from the exam in Vermont.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Each electrical and plumbing license for Vermont at the state level is dependent on experience; apprentice, journeyman, master, or specialist. It is vital that you go through the proper application processes, take the exams, and understand the fees attached to each license:
Vermont Electrical Licenses:
You must have one of the state-issued licenses in one of the classes below to do electrical work in the state of Vermont. For detailed information on getting your electrical license, see our guide for that particular license type.
Visit the Vermont Department of Labor Career Resource Center to understand apprenticeship program requirements, sponsorships, and fees.
Applicants must complete the apprenticeship program and apply in no more than two years after completion.
- $115 for a 3-year license;
- $10 certificate fee;
- $65 examination fee.
Upon completing the state’s electrical journeyman program in two years, or a signed affidavit confirming from previous employers of 12,000 hours of electrical work, you can apply to become a master electrician.
- $150 for a 3-year license;
- $10 certificate fee;
- Open book exam.
A specialist electrician license can be obtained after you have had 2,000 hours of training in a year at an accredited school program or 4000 hours of experience in two years. Classifications of a specialist electrician can be found at Vermont Division of Fire Safety website. More information can be found at the Vermont Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Safety website.
- $115 for a 3-year license;
- $10 certificate fee.
Vermont Plumbing Licenses:
To do plumbing work in the state of Vermont, you must hold a license from either of the following state-issued classes. See the plumbing page for further details about becoming a licensed plumber in the state of Vermont.
Vermont plumbing apprenticeship license is much the same as an apprenticeship electrical license and that fees may vary depending on sponsorships. Many programs require a high school diploma or a GED.
An aspiring journeyman plumber needs a certificate of apprenticeship or 12,000 hours of experience recognized by the Plumbers Examination Board.
- $90 for a 2-year license;
- $10 certification fee;
- $64 examination fee.
To obtain a master plumber‘s license you will need to have a year of journeyman experience, or 14,000 hours of experience recognized by the Plumbers Examination Board. You will also be required to take an open book exam.
- $120 for a 2-year license;
- $10 certification fee;
- $65 examination fee.
The state of Vermont issues a license for specialist plumbers working on water heaters and heating systems, as well as a separate license for plumbers doing water treatment work. Each comes with their own requirements, and examinations and fees.
To become a specialist plumber working on a water heater or heating system, you must have 2,000 hours of experience in your apprenticeship under the Vermont Department of labor or 4,000 hours of job experience working under a specialist or master plumber. You also need 144 hours of training and must pass an open book exam.
A specialist plumber working in water treatment will need to have 4000 hours of experience under a specialist or master plumber. You will also need to pass a Vermont board-certified watercourse treatment program. Additionally, you will need to pass an open book exam.
- $50 exam fee for a 2-year license – for all Water Heater, Heating System, and Water Treatment specialist plumbers;
- $10 certificate fee for our specialist plumbers;
- $130 examination fee for Water Heater and Heating System specialist plumbers;
- $65 examination fee for Water Treatment specialist plumbers.
Vermont Contractors Exam
For the licenses you can get in the state of Vermont, and specialty classifications, there is an exam attached. This means fees and scheduling will need to be in order. You can find exam information for your electrical license, including scheduling, fees, and locations through the International Code Council State of Vermont Contractor/Trade Examination Information Bulletin.
Additional information, forms, and programs for your plumbing license in the state of Vermont can be found at the Plumbers Examination Board website.
Although an exam for your elevator inspector license is not required by the state of Vermont, the Qualified Elevator Inspector requires a certification if you are doing lift work— which involves an exam.
The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors will require you to be certified, which also includes an exam.
Contractors Exam Fees
As described above, your exam fees depend on which trade you will take exams for as well if you are taking an exam at an apprentice, journeyman, master, or specialty level. Testing information can be found in the Vermont Contractor/Trade Examination Information Bulletin. Additional information such as fees, scheduling, and exam locations can be found at the International Code Council website.
Vermont Contractors License Application
Since there are many trades, specialties, and classifications you can get your license for in the state of Vermont, it is up to you to understand which forms are required to obtain each license. For your electrical, plumbing, boiler and pressure vessel inspector, and lift and elevator licensing information — including application forms, codes, and regulations for all specialties — visit the Vermont Division of Fire Safety website. Or contact them at:
1311 US Route 302 – Suite 600
Barre, VT 05641
Vermont Contractor Registration and Permitting Requirements
There are certain hoops that general contractors need to jump through in order to abide with local laws surrounding registration and permit requirements.
Vermont State Business Licenses and Registration
Businesses that operate within Vermont are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax.
Vermont Business Registration
For information about general business and occupational licenses, visit the Vermont Official State Website.
Vermont Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
For general information about registering a business to report and collect taxes, including tax withholding, sales/use tax, etc., Visit Vermont’s Official State Website’s Agency of Administration and Department of Taxes page.
Vermont Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
Businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state workers’ compensation insurance program. For information about Vermont’s workers’ compensation regulations and forms, go to the Vermont Department of Labor website.
Vermont Contractor License Lookup and Verification
To look up a contractor or business to validate contractors license, view the Vermont Secretary of State website licensee lookup.