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Ohio HVAC License: How to Become an HVAC Professional

November 2, 2023 7 min. read
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If you’re looking to get into one of the most lucrative trade industries in the country, getting your Ohio HVAC license is a great investment. Demand is growing nationwide, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Buckeye State currently employs over 13,000 HVAC contractors.

The average annual salary for an HVAC contractor in Ohio is around $43,000, but that jumps to over $48,000 for more experienced pros. Plus, you stand to earn even more money if you start your own HVAC business.

In this guide, we’ll cover the key things you need to know about becoming a licensed HVAC contractor in Ohio.

If you’re serious about getting your Ohio HVAC license, check out our other free HVAC business resources. You’ll get templates, business advice, and guides to help you launch a successful HVAC career.

Do you need an HVAC license in Ohio?

Yes, you need a license from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) to do various types of contracting work in the state, including HVAC and refrigeration. The OCILB is a division of the Ohio Department of Commerce and follows regulations outlined in the state’s revised code to license and register certain types of construction work. 

As a licensed HVAC contractor, you can perform installation, repair, and maintenance work on any systems used to heat, ventilate, or cool buildings in the state of Ohio.

Anyone who wants to do refrigeration work alongside traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services in the United States also needs to become a certified technician under Section 608 of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Air Act. The EPA defines Section 608 Technicians as anyone who performs the following work: 

  • Adding or removing the refrigerant component of an appliance
  • Adding or removing the hoses and gauges from an appliance to measure its pressure
  • Any other activity that may involve exposing the byproducts from refrigeration

Types of HVAC licenses in Ohio

While some states offer different types of HVAC licenses based on your level of experience or education, the OCILB only offers a single HVAC contractor license. With a full HVAC contractor license, you can work on any type of heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system in the state. For Section 608 Technicians (including HVAC contractors who will work with refrigerants), the EPA’s Clean Air Act offers these certification types:

Section 608 Technician TypeDescription
Small Appliances 
(Type I)
Certified individuals can work on smaller appliances. 
Journeyman HVAC MechanicHigh-Pressure
(Type II)
Certified individuals can work on or dispose of medium-to-high-pressure appliances, except those requiring a Type I certification.  
(Type III)
Certified individuals can work on or dispose of appliances and equipment that use a vacuum for cooling purposes. 
UniversalCertified individuals can work on or dispose of any type of equipment or appliance that uses refrigerants. 

Ohio HVAC license requirements

You will need to meet the requirements set out by the OCILB to become a licensed HVAC contractor in Ohio. The Construction Industries Licensing Board outlines the following requirements that potential HVAC contractors must meet before licensing: 

  • Individual must be at least 18 years of age
  • Be legally allowed to work in the United States
  • Demonstrate at least five years of working in the HVAC trade, three years of experience working as a registered engineer, or relevant military experience
  • Have a criminal record clear of disqualifying offenses outlined in the Ohio Code
  • Pass both the Business & Law and HVAC Trade exams with a score of at least 70%
  • Possess a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability coverage

If you plan to perform both HVAC and refrigeration work in Ohio, you will also need to write the EPA’s test for one of the four types of refrigerant technician certifications.

How do I get an HVAC license in Ohio?

In order to get your HVAC license in Ohio, you need to follow the licensing steps outlined by the OCILB: 

  1. Fill out the OCILB Exam Application form, select HVAC contractor, and include all the necessary information:
    1. Status as a US citizen or documentation of legal residence
    2. The contact information of the company you will work for as a contractor
    3. Proof of your five years of experience with copies of permits and W-2s
  2. Once approved by the Board, complete and submit a background check proving you have not been convicted of a disqualifying offense (this must be completed before you take your exam)
  3. Write and pass both the Business & Law and HVAC Contractor Trade exams with a score of at least 70%
  4. Secure at least $500,000 in contractor liability insurance coverage

Apply through the OCILB’s online portal or by sending the notarized application form to the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board office at the following address:

6606 Tussing Road
P.O. Box 4009
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-9009 

Ohio HVAC license exam

In Ohio, all contractor licensing is carried out by the testing vendor PSI. To get your HVAC contractor license, you will need to write two exams: the Business & Law exam and the HVAC Contractor Trade exam. Here’s some key information you should know before writing the exam: 

Business and Law ExamNumber of questions: 50
Time to write: 2 hours
Passing score: 70% (35/50)

Main Topics:
• Business Organization
• Licensing
• Estimating and Bidding
• Contract Management
• Project Management
• Insurance and Bonding
• OSHA Record Keeping and Safety
• Personnel Regulations
• Financial Management
• Tax Laws
• Lien Laws
HVAC Trade ExamNumber of questions: 100
Time to write: 4 hours
Passing score: 70% (70/100)

Main Topics:
• General Knowledge and Requirements
• Warm Air Heating and Air Distribution
• Ventilation and Exhaust Systems
• Air Conditioning
• Piping Systems
• Equipment and Appliances
• Testing and Inspection

If you have any questions about writing these exams through PSI, check out the vendor’s candidate information bulletin.

Note that the state exams might not be the only tests you need to pass in order to work in the HVAC industry; if you plan to perform refrigeration work, there are also the federal exams required under the EPA’s Clean Air Act. You will find more information about the Section 608 Technician Certification test topics on the EPA website. 

Does Ohio reciprocate HVAC licenses?

Reciprocal licenses allow contractors from out-of-state to apply directly for an equivalent license in another state, expediting the process. 

Provided you’ve taken a state-recognized test, the OCILB will reciprocate your HVAC license if it comes from one of the following states:

If you have been grandfathered in by the governing body of one of these states, you are not eligible for a reciprocal license.

How much is an HVAC license in Ohio?

The Department of Commerce’s fee table outlines exactly how much you need to pay in order to get certain licenses in Ohio. To get your initial HVAC contractor license, you can expect to pay at least $190. 

Licensing stageFees
Background CheckContact Vendor
Exam$69 (each)

Keep in mind that there will also be fees associated with getting your $500,000 in general liability coverage and getting certified by the EPA as a Section 608 Technician, should you require it for your work. 

Ohio HVAC license renewal

All contractor licenses in Ohio are renewed through the CILB on either a one- or three-year interval. Section 608 Technician credentials do not expire and do not require renewal.

You can renew your HVAC license online using the OCILB’s eLicense portal or by filling out the physical form. 

As of September 2018, all contractors in Ohio need to complete at least eight hours of online continuing education in their field to qualify for renewal. If you have a three-year license, you will need to complete 24 hours of online education before renewal. 

What happens if my HVAC license expires? 

If you think that your Ohio HVAC license may have expired, you need to stop all work immediately. Working as a contractor without a license in the state comes with a variety of consequences, including license suspension, civil legal action, and even permanent injunctions.

You can use the Ohio contractor license lookup portal to determine the status of your certification. From there, you need to pay any late fees and either renew or reactivate your license. 

How to start an HVAC business in Ohio

After securing your Ohio HVAC contractor license and building up your experience, you’re ready to take the next step toward a brighter financial future: starting your own business. 

The state website provides a first-stop business resource page for anyone interested in venturing out on their own. The page contains information on all the steps you need to take to operate a business in Ohio, including: 

  1. Choosing a business name and a legal structure
  2. Registering with the Secretary of State’s office
  3. Meeting all business tax requirements
  4. Meeting any additional insurance requirements
  5. Worker’s compensation practices

Once you’ve met the Ohio business requirements, there are some practical steps to starting an HVAC business that you’ll also want to consider—like pricing HVAC jobs, finding the necessary equipment, and setting up your HVAC business software

Does an HVAC license in Ohio increase your earning potential? 

Yes, getting your HVAC contractor license in Ohio increases your earning potential by helping you take on work that is regulated by the OCILB. 

HVAC workers with 3-5 years of industry experience earn roughly $40,000 in Ohio, but that number jumps to well over $50,000 as you gain more experience. Plus, you can earn significantly more when you start your own HVAC business. 

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