HVAC license requirements vary from state to state in the US. The rules and regulations are different for individuals to comply with. Licenses in a few states allow you to work freely in other US states, while some states might not need a license, a few of them demand a local one.
The demand for HVAC services is inevitable in the real world. All property owners often count on professionals to attend their HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance jobs. So if you want to create a good clientele, who would depend on your skills to get the HVAC job done, you must get a license first.
Even though your state doesn’t need a license or certification from you to let you operate, owning one will give you a competitive advantage as customers readily trust your brand when they are sure you are a licensed HVAC service provider.
And to acquire that, you must know what your state requires from you.
Besides brand reputation, you must know the state licensing requirements to start your HVAC business. Without it, your company might be penalized. And you don’t want to be penalized, do you?
So, this blog will talk about the 7 steps to getting an HVAC license but first, let’s understand the basic HVAC license requirements of 17 important US states.
Basic HVAC License Requirements by 17 US States
To help budding entrepreneurs in the HVAC industry, this section briefly elaborates on 17 important US states’ HVAC licensing requirements. You can learn more about it by connecting with the respective licensing authorities. Some of the state-wise license requirements are:
HVAC contractors must acquire a license for operating in Alabama from the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors. You need to pass an exam to obtain the qualification for the license.
Alaska demands that potential HVAC contractors to hold a license for operating in this state. To obtain that, you will first have to qualify for a Mechanical Administrator license, following which you can acquire the Alaska HVAC contractor’s license. In some of the HVAC trades, Alaska’s license board demands you have a journeyman experience in dedicated fields.
Arizona needs you to be licensed to work as an HVAC contractor in the state. You must acquire the license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. You need at least four years of HVAC specialty experience to be eligible to apply for this license.
California asks its HVAC contractors to obtain a license issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board. The condition in the state is that an HVAC contractor would need a license for any job request with a price quote of over $500.
HVAC contractors of Colorado do not need any license to operate in the state. But, they can opt for certification for operating in this trade. Some specific jobs associated with plumbing or electrical work might need local licenses. So, consult the respective department to know further about your local licensing needs.
6. District of Columbia
District of Columbia Board of Industrial Trades is the authority to issue the HVAC license in the state. You must be a journeyman with an apprenticeship for specified years before applying for an HVAC contractor’s license in the state.
Florida has various licenses to authorize your HVAC contractor jobs in the state. Department of Business and Professional Regulation offers you four types of licenses which include:
- Class A State Certified Contractor
- Class A State Registered Contractor
- Class B State Certified Contractor
- Class B State Registered Contractor
Class A licenses have no work limits, whereas Class B licenses limit the intensity of projects you can take.
HVAC contractors get their license from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to run their business or independent services in the state. You should hold at least four years of supervisory experience as a journeyman, foreman, or contractor to apply for this license.
There is no state licensing rule in Kansas for HVAC contractors. But, there are local requirements on services that you decide on offering to the customers. Therefore, consult the respective departments to learn about the local licenses needed to operate your HVAC business in Kansas.
To work as an HVAC contractor in Michigan, you need a proper license from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Construction Codes, Mechanical Division. To obtain this license, you will have to choose the classification in which you want to pursue your HVAC career.
11. New Mexico
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department provides this license to HVAC contractors to conduct business operations in the industry. You must have two to four years of experience concerning the HVAC classification you chose to obtain the license.
12. New York
There is no such requirement for a state license in New York for HVAC contractors. But research the local licenses you might need to offer different HVAC services in the state.
Connect with Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board for the HVAC contractor’s license to operate in Ohio state in the US. Applying for this license requires at least five years of HVAC technician experience.
Pennsylvania needs no license for HVAC contractors to run their business in the state. But city licensing and permits are essential for the businesses to offer select services. One should research and obtain them before commencing with business operations.
The Texas Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board will issue the state license to HVAC contractors for their business in the state. One should have at least four years of experience in the HVAC field within the past six years to be able to apply for this Texas HVAC license.
HVAC contractors working in Washington will need a state license to run a business. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries will provide you with the HVAC mechanical license.
17. West Virginia
The HVAC contractors of West Virginia must hold an air conditioning license in the state to offer the associated services. The West Virginia Department of Commerce Division of Labor will issue the license to contractors. One needs to pass the trade exam, business exam and law exam, to be eligible for this license.
This section briefly explained only 17 important US states and their HVAC licensing requirements. If you don’t find your state listed above, you can refer to the linked resource to get insight into licensing requirements of all of the remaining US States.
Now that you are aware of what your state requires from you to grant you the HVAC license, follow onto the next section to learn the entire step-wise process of acquiring it.
7 Simple Steps to Get HVAC License
To educate you on the overall process of acquiring an HVAC license, here are the seven steps for you to follow:
1. Determine the licensing and certifications that you need
Using the information stated in the previous section, you can determine what licensing you need to operate as an HVAC contractor in your state and across the United States. Remember, there is no nationwide licensing for HVAC contractors, and only the state authorities offer such licenses.
Licensing is proof that an HVAC contractor meets all the necessary criteria for running a business in the state. But, certification, on the other hand, justifies that an individual has all the skills to operate technical and practical tasks associated with HVAC. The certifications you acquire can be either voluntary or obligatory.
Apart from the mandatory certifications, the contractors can also take additional voluntary examinations to obtain more certificates to strengthen their professional portfolio. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has some mandatory certifications for HVAC contractors to acquire before starting a business in any state of the United States, which include:
- EPA Type 1 Certification for working with small appliances
- EPA Type 2 Certification for working with high-pressure systems
- EPA Type 3 Certification for working with low-pressure systems
- Universal EPA Certification for working with all systems
2. Get the necessary training and practical experience
Basic training and experience are mandatory for obtaining a license in any state or working locally in license-free states. The minimum education requirements demand you to have a high school Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) degree.
Following that, you can advance to get your necessary professional training. Look for an HVAC training program as a stand-alone course or as part of a college program. Training programs will last up to 2 years and will prepare you with all the skills necessary for handling air conditioning and refrigeration technicalities.
3. Obtain your apprenticeship experience
After the training, you must start your search for an apprenticeship program, where you will be paid for the on-the-job training. In an apprenticeship program, you will be working with a professional HVAC contractor to learn the practical implementation of the skills taught in the training program.
A minimum of 3 to 5 years of apprenticeship experience or journeyman experience is needed for you to apply for a contractor’s license. Hence, this step is crucial for getting an HVAC license.
4. Pass the licensing examination
The states with mandatory licensing requirements mostly have an examination for the aspirants to pass before qualifying for the license. The local, municipal, and state authorities require individuals to pass this examination.
To get a green signal to operate with refrigeration works, you need to pass the federal EPA certification exam as well. Take courses and prepare well for such examinations, as it will be the deciding factor for you to run your HVAC business.
5. Collect the documents and submit them
As you have cleared the examinations and are qualified to obtain an HVAC license, make sure you submit all the supporting documents, which include:
- Copy of business registration in the state
- Personal details about company owners and managers
- Criminal background check documents
- Surety bond
- Insurance policy
Talk to your licensing authority about what other documents you might have to produce. After you have all the documents in hand, submit them to the licensing authority.
6. Maintain your HVAC license
You abide by the rule to pay an annual fee decided by the licensing authority to keep your HVAC license eligible for running a business. Any violation of this rule will terminate the status of your license.
7. Maintain the current status of your certification
Every certification you acquire will have different criteria for renewal after the expiry period. EPA requires a Section 608 certification which never expires. But the other certifications, such as HVAC Excellence, NATE Certification, and others, last for a limited period.
You must monitor the certifications and their renewal dates to keep them current. Following that, you can continue using them in your portfolio to prove your experience and expertise in the industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can an HVAC contractor become EPA certified?
There is a Section 608 certification that is applicable for contractors operating with all systems. It is a technician certification that can be obtained by clearing an examination for which one can register over the official website of EPA.
Is it important to have journeyman experience to get an HVAC license?
Most of the state licensing requirements have demanded prior practical experience in the HVAC industry. Therefore, being a journeyman for around 4 to 5 years can justify that requirement for the smooth execution of your licensing application.
What is an HVAC certification?
HVAC certification is the pathway for individuals to prove their skills and knowledge in the industry through an examination. On successfully passing the examination, the applicants get a certificaten they can use in their portfolio to state their expertise in this field.
How much do HVAC technicians earn in the state of California?
The average base salary for HVAC technicians in California is around $31.11/hour. On annual figures, an HVAC technician earns an average annual price of $62,361. Businesses in different states are hiring proficient technicians for their teams at a good payout to ensure productivity in the work output.
The process of being an HVAC contractor is quite straightforward. But, you need to invest a lot of your time and effort to train yourself with degrees and practical knowledge to start a business in this industry.
This article briefly explained all the state-licensing requirements for operating as an HVAC contractor or business in the respective states along with complete step-wise procedure to acquire it.
If you already have a high school diploma degree, skip to Step 2 and your successive step would be to acquire the mandatory EPA certification and other voluntary certifications.
Following that, you can get your apprenticeship and continue the steps to obtain an HVAC contractor’s license. During your apprenticeship, you can take the help of your mentor or HVAC professional to understand the key skills you need to find solutions to tough problems.
Starting and running an HVAC business needs administration efforts. Therefore, along with the practical field knowledge, emphasize learning business management skills. Initially, you will be running all the major administrative tasks of the business. Later, you can hire or outsource efficiently.
To manage your HVAC business operations, you can choose the best HVAC software for your business.