To get Arizona HVAC certification, you need three things: skills, knowledge, and certification. Acquiring skills and knowledge can be done easily through study and practice, but you really need a license if you want to work as an HVAC technician in Arizona carrying out repairs and services. To achieve this you can complete a training course or you could start out as an apprentice and learn from a journeyman who will supervise and teach you the role of an HVAC technician.
While getting a license requires you to pass the licensure exam, the rewards are great. After all, there is a really high demand for HVAC technicians in Arizona. In fact, you get to earn a mean yearly income of $45,000 by working as a professional HVAC technician in the state.
What are the Minimum Requirements for Arizona HVAC certification?
If you are interested in a career as an HVAC technician in Arizona, the minimum educational requirements you must have are a high school diploma and certification from a specialized training course. There are a lot of vocational courses that you can take up in Arizona. The Refrigeration School in Phoenix, for example, can be a good start.
When working as an HVAC apprentice you will aquire a wide knoweldge of the industry. Basically, you’ll learn everything there is to know about repair and how the industry works. This will include relevant knoweldge effecting the HVAC industry in the building of homes and commerical premises showing you where ductwork should be installed. You’ll learn subjects such as mechanics, basic physics, and electronics. You’ll also be introduced to all the tools and equipment that are used in the process. Some of these equipment includes plumbing equipment, construction tools, and torches.
Aside from HVAC repair, you’ll also learn the basic construction of homes so you’ll know how and where to perfectly install an HVAC unit. In this career, you have to know basic concepts of pipe handling and be adept as an electrician. You’ll also learn some business concepts just in case you want to lead your own team of technicians in the future.
You must also learn how to fix refrigerated appliances. However, you need to enroll in formal refrigeration classes and study the regulations that govern refrigerants. The guidelines that involve refrigeration can be found in Section 608 of the Clean Air Act.
All HVAC technicians have to know how to diagnose, repair, and install parts to existing machinery. This can include leaking refrigeration units and you must also know how to do replacement jobs in case the existing machines malfunction.
Apprenticeship and Ongoing Education
You are considered an apprentice if you work under a certified HVAC technician or a journeyman. Typically, as an apprentice, you don’t require an EPA certification since you are under the supervision of a licensed technician. This is a great step in getting Arizona HVAC certification.
After you’re done with your course, the learning doesn’t stop as the practical application of theories now begins. You have to be always updated with the current laws and regulations affecting HVAC and refrigeration machinery. This includes housing regulations (with regard to appliance installation) and environmental protection laws. If you want to become a successful HVAC/R professional, you need to pursue a continuing education.
Aside from that, you should also maintain records. Training will teach you how to properly keep records, especially when it comes to refrigerants. However, before you can even handle refrigerants, you need to be properly licensed first.
What Are the EPA Certification Requirements?
To begin your Arizona HVAC certification, you should have an EPA Section 608 technician certificate. Before you can do so, you need to pass an EPA approved examination before you can get a license. There are three types of certifications you can get. The Type I certification is for repairing small appliances, while Type II is for high-pressure appliances. Lastly, the Type III certification is for repairing low-pressure appliances.
You may also choose to get a Universal Certification so you can service all sorts of appliances. Currently, the two well-known schools that offer the best on-site training for the Universal Certification are the Refrigeration School in Phoenix and the Universal Technical Institute in Scottsdale. Keep in mind that your credentials will never expire after you got certified.
How to Become a Contractor?
If you want to open up your own business or become a certified contractor in Arizona, you need to apply for a contractor license. There are two types: the AZ R-39/C-79 which include CR-39 specialty license for Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating, and the CR-79 specialty license for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Including Solar.
To apply for a contractor license, you must have 4 years of work experience and pass two exams namely the Business Management exam and the AC and Refrigeration exam. These exams will allow you to get the CR-39 license. If you want to get the CR-79 license, then you also need to pass the Solar exam.
When you take the exam, you’ll be asked to take either a written or computer-based test. The locations are held in Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, or Flagstaff. Take note that there are examination fees that need to be paid in advance; otherwise, you won’t be allowed to take the exam. If you are serious about Arizona HVAC certification, it is wise to take the exam.
PSI Exams hold these examinations, so you can visit the PSI Exams page to know more details about the application. You’ll also find the necessary registration forms and list of requirements there.
What You Should Know about the Exam?
Once you’ve already applied and are ready to take your test, you have to start preparing and gathering information as much as possible. The first part is the Trade exam which tests your knowledge of repairs and mechanics. You’re given a time limit of three hours and thirty minutes.
Next is the Business Management exam which has a time limit of approximately three hours. It contains the Solar Exam section which has an allocated time limit of 75 minutes.
You may also find an outline of the exam from PSI online. You can also bring study materials in the examination review center. If you don’t have one, you can find a number of them in bookstores. Aside from that, you can find a lot of information about the exams in the Candidate Information Bulletin (this is where you can find your registration form).
When you get into the exam room, you may bring your copy of the Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR Part 1926 (OSHA), the International Mechanical Code 2009, the International Plumbing Code 2009, and the International Fuel Gas Code.
You may not write anything on your reference materials. If you do so, it will be considered cheating and your examination will be forfeited. This will be a major blow to your Arizona HVAC certification.
Aside from study materials, you are allowed to bring your writing tools and calculator into the exam room. If you take 0a computer-based exam, you won’t need any writing materials (unless you’ll need them for writing your calculations). Once you finish answering all questions, you’ll be able to see your test scores on the screen right away.
There are several reference materials which you can study but are not allowed inside the examination room. They’re as follows:
- Modern Refigeration and Air Conditioning, lthouse, Turnquist, Bracciano, 19th or 20th edition, Goodheart-Wilcox
- Low Pressure Boilers, Frederick M. Steingress, Daryl R. Walker, 2009, 3rd edition, American Technical Publishers, Inc.
- ACCA Ductulator, Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Solar Water and Pool Heating Design and Installation Manual, 1997, Florida Solar Energy Center.
As you can see, the path to getting Arizona HVAC certification is a pretty long and tedious one with a lot of processes. However, it can be a really rewarding path with regard to career growth and monetary gain. The only thing you need to do is follow all of the necessary rules and regulations to allow you to work or operate your business legally. Without your license, you won’t be recognized as an official technician.
Take note that even if you do get your licenses, your learning shouldn’t stop. Technology and laws change from time to time. If you still want to be relevant for years to come, you have to constantly update yourself with the latest trends in your field. There are tons of training programs throughout Arizona, and as solar technology keeps evolving, so does the trade.
California is the state next door, click here to find out about California HVAC certification requirements.