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Michigan HVAC License: How to Get Certified as an HVAC Contractor in MI

December 20, 2022 7 min. read
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The HVAC industry is on an uphill trajectory, making now the perfect time to get licensed and start your career. If you’re looking to dive into the world of HVAC, look no further than Michigan. As a state that has hot summers and even colder winters, Michigan is the perfect place to jumpstart your HVAC career. 

HVAC professionals are already in high demand, with the need increasing daily. The Bureau of Labor expects the industry to see a 5% growth by 2031. This need is especially true in a state like Michigan, where heating and cooling services are required. This high demand is probably why HVAC technicians in Michigan earn a salary of $45,258.  

Interested in earning your HVAC license in Michigan but unsure where to start? We’ll cover everything you need to know:

Make sure to bookmark this page for any future Michigan HVAC license questions.

Do you need a license to do HVAC work in Michigan?

Yes, an HVAC license is required in Michigan to work on heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. The state doesn’t offer technician or master level licenses. Instead they offer a contractor license that has several classifications. Contractor licenses are issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

With your contractor license, you’ll be allowed to fabricate, install, maintain, service, and repair the following systems: 

  • Warm-air heating systems
  • Water heating pumps
  • Ventilating systems
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Ducts, registers, flues, humidity and thermostatic control, and air filters connected with any of these systems

Types of HVAC licenses in Michigan

Michigan offers one type of HVAC license; a mechanical contractor license. Within the contractor license, there are several classifications of expertise. Applicants can choose what classification they want to become certified in, but they must have at least three years of work experience within that classification.  The contractor classifications are as follows:

  • Hydronic heating and cooling and process piping
  • HVAC equipment
  • Ductwork
  • Refrigeration
  • Limited heating service
  • Unlimited heating service
  • Limited refrigeration and air conditioning service
  • Unlimited refrigeration and air conditioning service
  • Fire Suppression
  • Specialty license

Within the Specialty license classification, there are additional categories applicants can choose from:

  • Solar Heating and Cooling
  • Solid Fuel and Vented Decorative Gas Appliances
  • LP Distribution Piping
  • Fuel Gas Piping
  • Fuel Gas Piping and Venting

Michigan HVAC license requirements

To be eligible to earn your mechanical contractor license, there are a few requirements you’ll need to meet:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a social security number or taxpayer identification number
  • Have at least 3 years of experience in the HVAC industry
  • Pass the exam
  • Pay any application fees
  • Complete a background check
  • Secure the necessary insurance and bonds

How do I get my HVAC license in Michigan?

Generally, it takes about 3-4 years to get your Michigan mechanical contractor license.  The time it takes varies depending on how you get the required experience.

The process to earn your contractor’s license is as follows:

  1. Gain the necessary experience: To be eligible for a mechanical contractor license, you’ll need 3 years of experience. How you earn this experience is up to you: it can be from an apprenticeship, on-the-job training, or an accredited college or trade school. The only requirement is that you have work experience within the specific license classification that you’re applying for.
  2. Apply for your license: Once you’ve earned the necessary training, you can apply online or via mail to take the exam and obtain your license. Applications must be submitted with a $300 processing fee. 
  3. Take the exam: There are 14 different trade exams depending on what classification you’re testing for. Exams are administered by PSI exams and you’ll need to receive at least a 70% to pass. 

If submitting your application by mail, applications can be mailed to:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Bureau of Construction Codes / Skilled Trades Licensing Section

P.O. Box 30255, Lansing, MI 48909

Michigan HVAC license test

There are 14 different licensing exams that cover various classifications within the mechanical contractor license. Applicants must apply for the license exam related to the classification they’ll be working in. All exams (other than the HVAC Equipment exam) are 55 questions long, and applicants will have 1 hour to complete them. The HVAC Equipment exam is 150 questions long, and applicants have 3 hours to complete it.

The exams cover different topics based on the classification you’re testing for. In general, the exams all include topics around:

  • heating and cooling principles theories
  • installation of HVAC equipment and systems
  • installation of ductwork, gas piping, venting
  • knowledge of codes and standards

If your license application is approved, you’ll be contacted by PSI to schedule your licensing exam. You’ll receive a Candidate Information Bulletin with information on each exam and resources to help you prepare. Exams are held at PSI locations across the state and offer testing times 6 days a week.

Michigan HVAC license reciprocity

Some states have reciprocity agreements available that allow your state license to be active within other states. Michigan does not currently offer any reciprocity for HVAC licenses. However, new legislation was released that allows current military personnel, veterans, and their dependents to be eligible for license reciprocity. Applicants will need to check with the Board to determine if their criteria is eligible for reciprocity.

Michigan HVAC license costs

The cost of a Michigan HVAC license varies depending on the specific route you take for your education and training. In general, earning a license tends to range between $350-$15,000. 


  • Apprenticeship: programs range from $0-$1,000 
  • Trade schools: tuition can start as low as $600 per semester
  • Accredited college/university: tuition starts at about $15,000 per year


  • Application fee: $300
  • Exam fee:  $50 (except for the HVAC Equipment exam, which is $100)

Payments can be made online, by mail, check, or money order.

Michigan HVAC license renewal 

You’ll need to renew your license every three years to keep it active. You’ll receive a notice 45 days before your license is set to expire. License renewals cost $75 and can be completed online through the LARA portal. If you don’t renew your license within 45 days of the expiration date, your license will be closed, and you will have to repeat the application process. You can follow the renewal instructions for more information on how to renew your license.

What happens if my HVAC license expires? 

You must be mindful of your license’s expiration date to avoid missing it. Check the status of your license using the LARA portal licencee verification lookup.

If your license expires, stop performing any HVAC work immediately to avoid penalties. If found to be working without a mechanical contractor license, you could face a fine of up to $5,000 or up to a year in jail time. To avoid consequences, ensure you stay up to date and renew your license before it expires.

Requirements for business owners

Looking to start an HVAC business? You’ll need to take a few additional steps beyond getting your contractor license. On average, it costs between $3,000-$12,000 to get things going.

Before starting your business,  you’ll need to establish what kind of company structure you’ll use:

  • Sole proprietorship: for business owners working alone
  • Partnership: a business with two or more partners
  • LLC/corporation: option for a business with two or more employees that incorporates liability

Once decided, you’ll need to apply for a small business license and get the right insurance. You’ll need the following insurance:

  • General liability insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Worker’s compensation insurance

The specific insurance costs will vary based on each business, but you can find some insurance plans as low as $29 per month.

After registering your business and acquiring the needed insurance, your next step is securing your business’s equipment. Contractors typically pay $200-$300 on basic tools and equipment to get started.

Does an HVAC license in Michigan increase your earning potential? 

Yes, earning your HVAC license increases your earning potential. The more classifications you earn for your mechanical contractor license, the more projects you can take on, which results in higher take-home pay.  The average salary for an HVAC technician in Michigan is $45,258. The more experience you gain, the higher your earnings. After 3 years, technicians see a jump in salary of 22%, which is an additional $7,433 in your pocket each year!

Wondering how much you can earn as an HVAC contractor? Our Essential HVAC Salary Guide shows how much your earning potential increases based on your title, geographical location, and years of experience. It will also help you as you grow in your HVAC career, with resources available on how to determine wages for your employees or services offered.

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