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HVAC Certification: How to Get an HVAC License (State by State)

Academy / HVAC License

Getting your HVAC certification is an important part of growing your HVAC career. An HVAC certification sets a standard for the industry’s safety, professionalism, and quality. In many U.S. states, getting certified is a necessity in order to start an HVAC business or work in the field.

If you’re looking to get your HVAC license, you’ve made a good choice, as HVAC is in high demand in the U.S. The industry has been growing steadily and is expected to hit $82.5 billion by 2026. As the industry grows, there will be a greater need for HVAC contractors (sometimes referred to as HVAC technicians), meaning joining the industry will be a solid career move.

HVAC contractors make an average of $49,535 per year. As you increase your license level, you also increase your salary potential. On average, after contractors add three years of experience under their belt, they see a yearly pay increase of 22%. Regardless of your level, having your HVAC license can be a huge advantage to you as an HVAC contractor, especially if you want to level up your skills and really master your craft.

Let’s get started helping you get HVAC certified.

Make sure to bookmark this page for future reference on obtaining an HVAC license in the United States.

What is an HVAC contractor license?

An HVAC contractor license grants technicians the ability to install, repair, and maintain HVAC systems. They can complete work such as:

  • Installing HVAC systems in commercial or residential properties
  • Cleaning and replacing air filters
  • Installing solar panels, thermostats, and humidistats
  • Inspecting piping systems for leakages
  • Troubleshooting HVAC system issues
  • Inspecting and cleaning duct systems

Not only is an HVAC license required in most states, but it demonstrates an individual is trained and qualified to conduct installation and repair work. Depending on your state, there might be different requirements for you to work in HVAC, run your HVAC business, or be considered a professional HVAC contractor.

How many certifications are there for HVAC?

Many states offer HVAC license types (or AC licenses in warmer climates) that dictate the type of work you’re allowed to complete, the projects you’re allowed to work on, and the supervision level required when working.

Across most states, there are three levels of licenses available:

  • HVAC Apprentice license: States offer apprenticeships or something similar to those in training. It doesn’t require previous experience and requires individuals to work under the supervision of a master technician.
  • HVAC Journeyman license: This license is the next level technicians get after completing an apprenticeship program. It requires a few years of training under the supervision of a master or contractor technician and you’ll have to pass an exam. Work permissions under a journeyman license vary, but it usually includes work capabilities with some restrictions.
  • HVAC Master license: This license is for more experienced technicians who have garnered more experience beyond a journeyman level. It usually has no restrictions or limitations on the type of work a technician can complete and usually requires testing to earn.

Section 608 Technician Certification

To be eligible for the HVAC license, some states require technicians to take an EPA-approved test to earn Section 608 Technician Certification. The Code of Federal Regulations, Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, states that “technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release ozone-depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere must be certified.”

There is no federal law mandating this certification for HVAC technicians, but if you’re working in the industry, you’re expected to know the rules of compliance to protect yourself and the environment when dealing with refrigerants. Refrigerants provide cooling for air conditioning and refrigerator units, which can harm the environment.

If you’re interested in getting this certification, here’s a list of approved section 608 technician certification programs.

An EPA-approved certifying organization must administer the tests. The exam covers industry and equipment-specific topics; once you get your certification, it doesn’t expire. To help you prepare and study, use these example test topics for the EPA-approved exam.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Safety Training

When it comes to your personal safety, there’s no hard and fast course requirement but some employers might require you to take the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety training course. After all, it won’t hurt you to know too much about workplace safety.

Can you do HVAC work without a license?

Not all regions require a license to perform HVAC work, with some states allowing entry-level technicians to work under supervision without a license. But if you’re found working unlicensed in a region requiring licensing, you could face serious financial consequences and legal charges.

For example, in Michigan, contractors found to be working without a license will face a minimum fine of $5,000, with fines potentially being $25,000 and jail time.

To avoid penalties, double-check with your local and state governments on the licensing requirements regulations.

Why get an HVAC license?

Even if your state doesn’t require you to get HVAC certified, there are still benefits to getting your license:

  • It’s expected when you work at some companies
  • You’ll be able to start work sooner because certifications often mean you work an apprenticeship which will give you valuable, hands-on experience
  • In the coming years, there will be a lot more HVAC technicians in the field. That means that having an HVAC certification will give you a leg up on the competition down the road.
  • A certification can also allow you to charge more for services; clients will pay for the peace of mind of working with a certified technician.

Whether it’s mandatory or not, getting HVAC certified is one of the best tools an HVAC professional can have.

HVAC license requirements by state

HVAC contractor license requirements differ by state, as do the various HVAC licenses available. The requirements to earn these various licenses increase as you grow in levels, with the HVAC master license requirements being the most tedious.

The following states do not offer state-wide HVAC licenses:

  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Utah
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Contractors in these states will need to double-check with their local governing body for any HVAC licensing regulations.

Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow one state’s license to be active in another state. These agreements vary, with some states allowing individuals to be exempt from the entire license application process while other reciprocity agreements exempt technicians from part of the application process. Check with your local state licensing department for more information on the specifics of your state’s HVAC license reciprocity eligibility.

Jump to your state in the table below to learn more about how to earn your HVAC license.

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Alabama

To perform any HVAC work within the state, individuals are required to get their Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors license from the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Contractors.

Applicants must submit an application showing proof of obtaining the required work hours and pass an exam to receive their license.

Ready to get started? Get our complete guide to becoming a licensed Alabama HVAC technician.

Alaska

License regulations vary depending on the level of HVAC work you do. Those working at a journeyman level are not required to get a license, but those working as mechanical administrators must earn their license. Licenses are issued by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

To gain a mechanical administrator license, technicians must complete 4 years of experience at a journeyman level.

After completing the required work experience, applicants must submit an application and pass a licensing exam. Applications will also need to include reference forms from three individuals employed in the mechanical industry confirming an applicant’s qualifications.

Arizona

To work on HVAC projects valued at over $1,000, technicians are required to be licensed in Arizona. Licenses are issued by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC).

There are three different classifications of HVAC licenses:

  • Specialty Commercial C-39 Air Conditioning and Refrigeration license
  • Specialty Residential R-39 Air Conditioning and Refrigeration license
  • Specialty Dual CR-39 Air Conditioning and Refrigeration license

All three of these classifications require individuals to have at least four years of experience and successfully pass both the Statutes and Rules Exam and the applicable Trade Exam.

Arkansas

License regulations vary depending on the level of HVAC work you do. Licenses are issued by the Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing.

There are six different license classifications:

  • Class A: allowed to work on heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems without any horsepower limitations
  • Class B: allowed to work on air conditioning units with a maximum cooling capacity of 15 tons and heating systems with a maximum of 1 million british thermal units/hour
  • Class C: allowed to work on components of HVAC/R equipment with air conditioning systems below 15 tons and heating systems with a maximum of 1 million british thermal units/hour (not allowed to install or replace any HVAC/R equipment)
  • Class D: allowed to work with sheet metal as it pertains to HVACR systems (not allowed to sell, repair, or install HVAC/R systems)
  • Class E: allowed to work on refrigeration systems with no limitations on horsepower (not allowed to conduct work involving the sale, installation, or service or air conditioning systems)
  • Class L (only available for ages 65+): grants a license holder a “lifetime” authorization to work on HVAC/R systems with air conditioning units not exceeding 15 tons and heating systems not exceeding 1 million british thermal units/hour

Applicants must show proof of meeting the required work experience and pass the relevant examination to earn their license.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC technician in Arkansas.

California

An HVAC license is required in California if the total cost of a project is more than $500. If a project exceeds $500, you’ll need to get a contractors license. Licenses are issued by the Contractors State License Board.

To gain a C-20 contractors license, technicians need to meet the required experience under the supervision of a licensed contractor and pass the licensing exam. Applicants must also obtain the necessary insurance and bonds to be eligible.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC contractor in the state of California.

Colorado

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area

Connecticut

To perform any HVAC work, technicians must obtain their licenses from the state’s Department of Consumer Protection.

To gain an apprentice license, individuals must complete a 4-year apprenticeship program that provides training and on-the-job experience.

To qualify for journeyman license, technicians must complete their apprenticeship program and pass a licensing exam.

To receive a contractor license, technicians must have completed at least 2 years of work as a journeyman. They also need to successfully pass a trade exam as well as a Business and Law exam.

For journeyman and contractor licenses, technicians can apply for a limited or unlimited license. A limited license permits them to work in a specific industry within the trade, whereas an unlimited license allows them to work in any area of the industry.

Delaware

Individuals must possess a license to operate HVAC work in Delaware. Licenses are issued by the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners.

To get an apprentice license, applicants must register with the state and enroll in an approved training program.

To gain a journeyman license, technicians must show proof of completing an apprenticeship program and meet the work experience requirements. At least two years of experience must be completed under the supervision of a master HVAC technician.

Those looking to get a master license must have earned their journeyman certification and pass the relevant licensing exam.

Florida

Technicians must receive their contractor license to perform HVAC work in Florida. Licenses are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

The state offers a registered contractor license or a certified contractor license. A certified license allows you to work anywhere in the state, whereas a registered license only allows you to work within the local boundaries of which you received your license.

Both of these licenses have classifications that offer different allowances for the systems you’re permitted to work on:

  • Class A: no limitations on the unit size
  • Class B: permitted to work on units that do not exceed 25 tons of cooling or 500,000 BTU of heating

To get a certified contractor license technicians will need to gain the required work experience and successfully pass a trade exam as well as a business and finance exam.

To receive a registered contractor license individuals will need to check the requirements of their local legislation.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC contractor in Florida.

Georgia

You’ll need a contractor license from the State Construction Industry Licensing Board if you want to perform HVAC work in Georgia.

There are two classifications for contractor licenses, Class 1 or Class 2. Class 1 only permits work on systems that do not exceed 175,000 BTU of heating and 60,000 BTU of cooling. Class 2 does not have any system restrictions.

To get a contractor license, applicants must meet the necessary work requirements and pass a licensing exam. Applicants for the Class 2 license must also provide proof of work experience on systems that have more than 175,000 BTU of heating and 60,000 BTU of cooling.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC technician in Georgia.

Hawaii

For projects with a total cost greater than $1,000, you’ll need to get an HVAC contractor license. Licenses are issued by the Professional & Vocational Licensing Division of the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

To get a C-52 contractor license, technicians must obtain the necessary work experience and pass the state licensing test. Applicants also need the required insurance to be eligible for the license.

Idaho

Technicians must receive a license to perform HVAC work in Idaho. Licenses are issued by the Division of Building Safety.

To gain an apprentice license, individuals must complete a 4-year apprenticeship program that provides training and on-the-job experience. Apprentices can only perform work under a licensed journeyman or contractor’s supervision.

To qualify for a journeyman license, technicians must complete their apprenticeship program, gain the required work experience, and pass a licensing exam. Journeyman technicians can perform work under the supervision of a licensed contractor.

To receive a contractor license, technicians must complete at least two years of work as a journeyman and pass the licensing exam. Contractors can perform HVAC work without supervision.

Illinois

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

Indiana

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

Iowa

Individuals need to be licensed to perform any HVAC work in Iowa. Technicians can receive their licenses from the state’s Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board.

To gain an apprentice license, individuals must complete an apprenticeship program and provide proof of employment under the supervision of a licensed journeyperson or master.

To qualify for a journeyman license, technicians must complete their apprenticeship program, gain the required work experience, and pass a licensing exam.

To receive a master license, technicians must have completed at least two years of work as a journeyman and successfully pass the licensing exam.

To gain a contractor license, technicians must hold a license from the state board and pass a contractor licensing exam. Technicians must also provide a bond and unemployment number (even if they don’t have employees) to be eligible for a license.

Kansas

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

Kentucky

Those looking to perform HVAC work in Kentucky will need to earn a license from the Department of Housing, Building & Construction.

To qualify for an apprentice license, individuals must show proof of work experience under the supervision of a licensed master contractor.

To receive a journeyman license, technicians must complete two years of work experience under the supervision of a master contractor and pass a licensing exam.

To gain a master license, technicians must complete at least two years of work as a journeyman and pass the contractor licensing exam. Contractor applicants must also provide proof of the required insurance.

Louisiana

To work on HVAC systems in Louisiana, individuals will need to receive a contractor license, but only if the project exceeds $10,000.

To earn a mechanical contractor license, applicants must meet the minimum training requirement via enrollment in an HVAC certification course apprenticeship program. Applicants must also pass the required examinations and submit a financial statement showing a minimum net worth of $10,000.

Maine

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

Maryland

It’s a requirement to hold a license to perform HVAC work in Maryland. Licenses are issued by the Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors. All applicants must first register as apprentices to start gaining experience.

To earn a journeyman license, technicians must complete three years of work experience as an apprentice under the supervision of a master contractor, as well as pass a licensing exam.

To receive a limited license, technicians need to have worked as a licensed journeyman for two years, earning a minimum of 1,000 hours prior to application. Applicants must also successfully pass the licensing exam.

To qualify for a master license (restricted or general), technicians must have completed at least three years of work as a journeyman, earning a minimum of 1,875 hours before application. Applicants must also pass the licensing exam.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC technician in Maryland.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts only requires a license for technicians performing work in refrigeration. Licenses are issued by the Division of Professional Licensure Office of Public Safety and Inspections.

To qualify for a refrigeration apprentice license, individuals must enroll and complete an apprenticeship program.

To receive a refrigeration technician license, technicians must have completed a minimum of 6,000 hours as a refrigeration apprentice.

To gain a refrigeration contractor license, technicians must have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours as a refrigeration technician.

Michigan

To perform HVAC work in Michigan, contractors will need to receive their contractor license. Licenses are issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

To earn a mechanical contractor license, technicians must fulfill the experience requirement by completing an apprenticeship program or earning on-the-job experience. Applicants will also need to pass the licensing exam.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC contractor in the state of Michigan

Minnesota

There is no state-wide HVAC license in Minnesota. Rather technicians need to become licensed at the local level.

While the requirements vary based on each municipality, technicians generally must have completed a series of training and on-the-job work experience to qualify for a license. To earn a journeyman or master license, applicants must also pass a licensing exam.

Missouri

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

Montana

Technicians aren’t required to be licensed in Montana, but there are other regulations they must abide by. Technicians must work under a licensed contractor or must become licensed contractors themselves. Licenses are issued by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

An independent contractor exemption certificate (ICEC) is for technicians operating as sole proprietors. To earn this license, technicians must have their EPA 608 certification and submit an application.

construction contractor license is for technicians who will be employing fellow technicians. To receive this license, applicants must submit an application and obtain the necessary worker’s compensation insurance to receive their license.

Nebraska

Nebraska doesn’t offer a state-wide HVAC license. Instead, technicians need to become licensed at the local level.

While the requirements vary based on each municipality, technicians generally must have completed a series of training and on-the-job work experience to qualify for a license. To earn a journeyman or master level license, applicants must also pass a licensing exam.

Nevada

HVAC technicians in Nevada aren’t required to be licensed, but contractors performing HVAC work will need to get their license.

Nevada offers a few different contractor license classifications depending on the type of work you’ll be doing:

  • C-1 Plumbing and Heating license: allowed to work on subclassification work such as sheet metal, insulation of pipes and ducts, and heating, cooling, and circulating air
  • C-21 Refrigeration and Air Conditioning License: allowed to work on subclassifications such as refrigeration, air conditioning, sheet metal, solar air conditioning, chilled and hot water systems, and industrial piping

To get either contractor license applicants must meet the work experience requirement and obtain a Nevada state business license. Applicants will also need to submit a financial statement with their application.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire doesn’t require a license for HVAC technicians, but they offer license options for gasfitters and oil heating technicians.

New Jersey

Technicians in New Jersey will need a license if they want to conduct HVAC work in the state. Licenses are issued by the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors.

To earn a master HVAC contractor license, applicants must demonstrate the completion of an accredited training program or provide proof of fulfilling the required work experience. Applicants will also need to pass a licensing exam.

New Mexico

To perform HVAC work in New Mexico, technicians must receive a license from the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Construction Industries Division. Technicians can work as a journeyman under the supervision of a licensed contractor, or they can earn a contractor license themselves.

To receive a journeyman certificate of competence, applicants must meet the required training hours and pass a licensing exam.

To gain an HVAC contractor license, applicants must have completed the required work experience with a journeyman license. In addition to work experience, applicants must also pass a licensing exam and obtain a $10,000 surety bond.

New York

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

North Carolina

To legally work as an HVAC technician in North Carolina, technicians must get their license. Licenses are issued by the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors.

There are three groups within the HVAC license:

  • Heating group 1: permitted to work on water-based heating systems in any building
  • Heating group 2: permitted to work on forced air heating and cooling units greater than 15 tons
  • Heating group 3: permitted to work on forced air heating and cooling units less than 15 tons

With all of these groups, applicants can either choose to earn a technician level license or a contractor license.

To gain a technician license, applicants must complete the required hours for their group license of choice and take the relevant exam.

To receive a contractor license, applicants must acquire 2 years of full-time work experience in the group category of their choice. Applicants must also pass a licensing exam to earn their license.

North Dakota

North Dakota does not have a state-wide license requirement for HVAC technicians. Some municipalities may have regulations that require local certification, but there isn’t a state-wide license. The state does require any contractor who works on a project valued over $4,000 to have a contractor license.

There are a few contractor license classifications available:

  • Class A: allows work on a contract over $500,000
  • Class B: allows work on a contract up to $500,000 per job
  • Class C: allows work on a contract up to $300,000 per job
  • Class D: allows work on a contract up to $100,000 per job

To gain a contractor license applicants must submit an application that shows proof of work experience and a statement from the Workforce Safety & Insurance affirming the contractor is within good standing. Applicants must also register their business with the Secretary of State.

Ohio

HVAC technicians are required to be licensed in Ohio, but only for commercial projects. Licenses are issued by the Department of Commerce.

To receive a commercial HVAC contractor license, applicants must have served for at least five years as an HVAC technician and pass a licensing examination.

Oklahoma

To work on HVAC systems in Oklahoma, technicians must obtain their license. Licenses are issued by the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board.

Journeyman and contractor licenses offer two classifications: restricted and unrestricted. A restricted license allows technicians to work on units up to 25 tons and 500,000 British thermal units.

To qualify for a mechanical apprentice license, individuals must register as an apprentice and fulfill the required training under the supervision of a journeyman or contractor.

To receive a journeyman license, technicians must complete three years of work experience and pass the licensing examination.

To gain a contractor license, technicians must complete four years of work experience and pass the licensing examination.

Oregon

Oregon requires HVAC technicians to be licensed to work within the state. Licenses are issued by the Oregon Building Codes Division Office and contractor licenses are issued by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

There are two classifications of the Limited Energy Technician license:

  • Class A: can work on all systems, including communication systems, signaling systems, and specialized systems (such as HVAC systems).
  • Class B: can work on all systems except signaling systems.

To gain a Limited Energy technician license, applicants must complete a board-approved apprenticeship course to fulfill their training hour requirements and pass the licensing exam.

Oregon also offers two kinds of contractor licenses.

The board must approve applicants to get a Limited Maintenance Specialty Contractor HVAC/R license.

To gain a CCB (commercial and residential contractor) license, applicants must complete the required education and pass a licensing exam. Applicants must also show proof of obtaining the required surety bonds.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania doesn’t have a state-wide HVAC license requirement. Technicians must instead check with their local jurisdiction to see if certification is required.

While the requirements vary based on each municipality, technicians generally must have completed a series of training and on-the-job work experience to qualify for a license. Applicants will also need to pass a licensing exam to earn a journeyman or master level license.

Rhode Island

To perform HVAC work in Rhode Island, technicians must earn their license from the state’s Department of Labor and Training, Division of Professional Regulation. The state has a couple of HVAC licenses available depending on the area of work you want to focus on:

  • Sheet metal technician: Grants permission to install, maintain, and service sheet metal systems used in HVAC systems.
  • Refrigeration/Air Conditioning Technician: Grants permission to install, maintain, and service heating and air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
  • Pipefitter: Grants permission to assemble, install, and maintain pipe systems and related hydraulic and pneumatic equipment for steam, hot water, heating, cooling, lubricating, sprinkling, and industrial production and processing systems.
  • Sheet metal master contractor: Grants permission to run your own business, offer your sheet metal services and employ other technicians.
  • Pipefitter master contractor: Grants permission to run your own business, offer your pipefitter services and employ other technicians.
  • Refrigeration master contractor: Grants permission to run your own business, offer your refrigeration services and employ other technicians.
  • Contractor master: An independent contractor specialized in one of the HVAC categories who holds additional training and experience beyond categorized contractor licenses.
  • Master mechanical contractor: Available for technicians with over 10 years of experience within their specific field.

All of the license types above, except for the contractor and mechanical contractor, have two classifications – Class 1 and Class 2.

To get a Class 1 license for any of the license types, technicians must have at least one year of experience and pass the category’s license exam.

To receive a Class 2 license for any of the license types, technicians must have at least three years of experience and pass the category’s license exam.

To get a Contractor Master license, applicants must have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering or Business Administration plus four years of experience in their specific HVAC category. Applicants will also need to pass a licensing exam for their chosen category.

To earn a Master Mechanical Contractor license, applicants must hold at least 10 years of experience working as a Rhode Island Pipefitter Master I or Refrigeration Master I.

South Carolina

HVAC Technicians are required to be licensed in South Carolina, but not right away. Entry-level workers aren’t required to be licensed as long as they work under the supervision of a licensed technician.

The two licenses available are statewide contractor licenses. The Mechanical license permits technicians to work on commercial projects over $5,000, and the Residential license permits working on residential projects over $200. These licenses are issued by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

To get a Mechanical Contractor license, applicants must have at least two years of experience and successfully pass both a technical exam and a Business and Law exam.

To gain a Residential Specialty HVAC Contractor license, applicants must have at least one year of experience and successfully pass both a technical exam and a Business and Law exam.

South Dakota

There isn’t a state-wide HVAC license requirement for South Dakota. HVAC license regulations are mandated at the local level, so technicians will need to check the specific requirements for their local jurisdiction.

While the requirements vary based on each municipality, technicians generally must have completed a series of training and on-the-job work experience to qualify for a license. Applicants will also need to pass a licensing exam to earn a journeyman or master level license.

Tennessee

Tennessee offers statewide HVAC licensing but only at the contractor level. Technicians can receive other licenses at the journey or master level through their local jurisdiction. Contractor licenses are issued by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

To gain a CMC Full Mechanical Contractor license, applicants must be trained in HVAC and plumbing. Applicants will need to be pre-approved by the board before being eligible to take the exam.

To get a CMC-C Mechanical – HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor license, applicants must meet the required training and education requirements and pass the exam. Some municipalities require technicians who apply for this license already have their Limited Electrician license, but this requirement depends on the local jurisdiction.

Texas

Technicians interested in performing HVAC work in Texas must earn their license from the state’s Department of Licensing & Regulation.

registered technician license allows technicians to start earning experience under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor. To get this license, applicants must submit an application and pay any fees.

To get a certified technician license applicants must have completed at least two years of work under a licensed HVAC contractor. Applicants must also complete 2,000 hours of an HVAC training program and pass a technical exam to earn their license.

To receive an HVAC contractor license, applicants must have at least 4 years of experience under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor or have worked as a certified technician for at least 3 years. Applicants must also pass a licensing examination and will need to secure the required insurance.

Read our full guide to getting certified as an HVAC contractor in Texas.

Utah

Utah doesn’t offer statewide licenses for technicians but does require a contractor license for HVAC business owners. Licenses are issued by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

To get a Specialty Contractor license, applicants must complete a 25-hour pre-licensure course and show proof of meeting the experience requirement. Applicants must also show proof of financial responsibility, secure the required insurance, and pass a licensing exam.

Vermont

State-wide licensing is not required.

Virginia

Technicians in Virginia must be licensed to provide HVAC services. Licenses are issued by the Board for Contractors.

To get a journeyman license, applicants must satisfy the education requirement via university courses or trade school and complete the necessary work experience. Applicants must also pass a technical examination.

To receive a master license, applicants must have completed one year of work as a licensed journeyman or must have accrued at least 10 years of verifiable experience. Applicants will also need to pass an exam.

There are three contractor levels available with varying requirements.

  • Class A: no limitations on the project size and cost.
  • Class B: permitted to work on individual projects with a cost of $120,000 and a yearly total of projects less than $750,000.
  • Class C: permitted to work on individual projects with a cost of $10,000 and a yearly total of projects less than $150,000.

To get a Class A contractor license, applicants must hold at least five years of experience and have at least $45,000 in business capital.

To get a Class B contractor license, applicants must hold at least three years of experience and have at least $15,000 in business capital.

To get a Class C contractor license, applicants must hold at least two years of experience.

All contractor license classifications must pass a licensing exam and secure the required insurance coverage.

Washington

Washington doesn’t have an HVAC-specific state-wide license. Rather technicians must be licensed electricians with a specialty in HVAC. Licenses are issued by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

An EL01 journey electrician license permits work on commercial/industrial projects and specialty electrical categories (like HVAC work). To be eligible for this license, applicants must meet the required training and classroom hours while registered as an electrical trainee and pass an exam. Beginning July 2023, trainees will be required to complete an apprenticeship program to be eligible for the exam.

An HVAC/refrigeration systems (EL06A) license permits work on up to 30 volts and limited line voltage work within HVAC/R systems only. Applicants must meet the required training and classroom hours and pass the licensing exam.

An HVAC/refrigeration – restricted (6B) license permits HVACR work on up to 30 volts and limited voltage line work within small HVAC/R systems (250 volts, 125 amp, single phase). Applicants must meet the required training and classroom hours and pass the licensing exam.

West Virginia

HVAC technicians must be licensed to perform HVAC work within the state. The West Virginia Division of Labor issues the licenses.

To get an HVAC technician license, applicants must complete at least 2,000 hours of experience working under the supervision of a licensed technician and pass a licensing exam.

To earn an HVAC contractor license, applicants must register their business with the state and obtain the necessary insurance. Applicants will also need to provide a wage bond status affidavit to their application as well.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin doesn’t have a state-wide licensing requirement for HVAC technicians. Regulations are set at the local level, and technicians can be certified through their local jurisdiction. There is an optional state-wide certification that satisfies any local licensing regulations.

To earn the statewide HVAC Qualifier certification, applicants must obtain four years of experience through a traditional apprenticeship program or on-the-job training. Applicants must be approved by the Division of Professional Credential Processing and successfully pass the licensing exam.

To receive an HVAC contractor license, applicants must submit an application and pay relevant fees.

Wyoming

State-wide licensing is not required; verify with your local jurisdiction for requirements in your area.

How long does it take to get HVAC certified?

It can take between six months to two years to get HVAC certified through an apprenticeship program or up to five years through an HVAC appreciation program. The certification process depends on the type of courses you are taking and the type of path you’re taking to HVAC certification.

Here are the steps you need to take to certification:

1: Get your high school diploma if you haven’t already.

There are various options for step 2.

2a: If you want, you can complete an accredited HVAC program. Many of them also include certification for Section 608.

This could take six months to two years to complete.

2b: Complete an HVAC appreciation program. This can take three to five years to complete. These programs are often run jointly by local organizations.

Apprenticeship is a great way to get on-the-job training. After working as an apprentice, it’s common to move on to a journeyman role.

At this level, there’s less supervision, so HVAC technicians can get a sense of what it would be like working on their own.

Cost of HVAC certification

The cost of earning your HVAC certification varies based on your state’s licensing regulations and the type of training you choose to meet your state’s licensing requirements.

Across most states, technicians can fulfill their license education requirements through a variety of educational programs:

  • Apprenticeship: between $500-$2,000
  • Vocational training: between $1,000-$15,000
  • University/college: between $5,000-$15,000 per year

For specific HVAC school costs check out your state’s licensing process to see what education requirements you need to fulfill.

Does an HVAC license increase your earning potential?

Yes, earning your HVAC license increases your earning potential. By obtaining your license, you can take on larger projects and ultimately earn more money. The national average for HVAC technicians is $49,535. However, that average increases as you gain experience and raise your license level. Certified technicians earn 35% more than apprentice technicians, and service managers on average earn 47% more than certified technicians.

For a full breakdown of the earning potential of an HVAC license, check out our Essential HVAC Salary Guide. With geographical salary averages, experience earning breakdowns, and license level salaries, it has everything you need to start your HVAC career on the right foot.

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