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How to become a heat pump installer in Scotland

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Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in Scotland.

Learn about the skills required and the colleges currently offering courses to become a heat pump installer in Scotland.

The Sustainable Energy Supply Chain programme supports business to make the most of the transition to net zero, providing access to funding, training and resources in renewable technologies, such as heat pumps. 

Reducing emissions from our homes and buildings is one of the main ways we can help reduce Scotland’s contribution to climate change. Alone, these emissions account for around a fifth of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Heat pumps are set to play a role in reducing emissions in homes and buildings as they are suitable for almost all homes. With the demand for heat pump installations increasing year on year in Scotland, more installers are looking to upskill.

Why is it important to upskill on heat pumps?

Over the course of the next Parliament term, the Scottish Government will invest almost £1.8 billion of capital funding in heat and energy efficiency to help secure the accelerated rollout of both energy efficiency and zero emissions heat installations.

This comes as part of the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy, which aims to achieve net zero greenhouse gases by 2045. This aim directly affects the heating in our homes and buildings.

By 2030, emissions from homes and buildings will have to fall by 68% against 2020 levels. This will require:

  • The vast majority of the 170,000 off-gas homes (currently using fossil fuels) switching to zero emissions heating systems.
  • At least 1 million on-gas homes switching to zero emissions heating alternatives.
  • An estimated 50,000 non-domestic buildings switching to zero emissions heating alternatives.

This represents a change on a massive scale – from the 3,000 net zero heating systems currently installed in Scotland in a year to 200,000 per year by the late 2020s.

The Scottish Government views heat pumps as the most immediate net zero heating solution, as they are suitable for almost all homes and may also reduce energy bills, depending on the system you are replacing.

Find out more about the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings strategy here.

What do you need to become a heat pump installer in Scotland?

The Scottish Government has proposed the following skills requirements:

  • SVQ 3 Domestic plumbing and heating at SCQF Level 7, or
  • SVQ 3/SCQF 6 Install, commission and maintain refrigeration systems, or
  • SVQ 3/SCQF 6 Install, commission and maintain air conditioning systems, or
  • SVQ 3/SCQF 7 Service, maintain and commission building engineering services, or
  • SVQ 3/SCQF 6 Heating and ventilating: industrial and commercial installation.

In addition, you will need the following mandatory qualifications:

  • NOS Mapped – Install and commission fuel systems: emergent technologies.
  • Water byelaws/regulations.
  • Domestic vented and unvented hot water storage.

For any work carried out on pre-1919 buildings, you will require the SQA Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older and Traditional Buildings.

Heat pump installation

Where can I upskill on heat pumps in Scotland?

Many colleges across Scotland offer training on ground and air source heat pumps. Courses can take around three days to complete and in some cases these can be done in the evenings or at weekends.

View a list of the colleges currently offering courses below:

The Heat in Buildings strategy will transform Scotland’s buildings and the systems that supply their heat. Learn more about the opportunities and support available for your business via the Sustainable Energy Supply Chain programme.

Last updated: 25 April 2022