While not every HVAC business requires its employees to have an HVAC license, many states have recently made it illegal to install or repair HVAC systems without proper licensing and certification. Even in those states that have not made this a legal issue, it is highly recommended for any HVAC technician or technician-in-training to apply for the necessary license, as this demonstrates responsibility and an investment in the job. If you want to work as an HVAC contractor in Texas, it is very important to study this guide.
HVAC License Educational Requirements
Before an individual can receive his or her HVAC technician license, it is necessary to complete the required training and coursework. Many technical and vocational schools offer programs that are dedicated solely to HVAC technician instruction, which can be completed within approximately two years. These courses should be followed up with hands-on training. Apprenticeships—which offer classroom instruction and job training simultaneously—are another viable option. After completing of these programs, students can begin taking the steps to apply for their licenses.
HVAC License and Certification Exams
The air conditioning technician license certification process is not fulfilled solely through coursework and on the job HVAC training. After completing an HVAC apprenticeship or graduating from an accredited college program, students must pass a heating ventilation and air conditioning certification exam. These multiple-choice exams, designed by either the EPA or NATE (North American Technician Excellence), test technicians on the knowledge deemed essential by the HVAC industry. Both the EPA and NATE require technicians to take a core exam as well as one exam in the technician’s chosen specialty field. This is very important to become an HVAC contractor.
Specialty HVAC Licenses
The specialty fields offered by the EPA are designated as Type I, Type II, or Type III certifications, which offer licenses to work on small appliances, medium to large appliances, and low pressure appliances, specifically. These licenses can be obtained separately, or a technician can opt to take exams for all three to achieve EPA universal certification. In addition to its core exam that provides technicians with a general HVAC license, NATE also offers over 20 different specialty exams in selected areas of expertise, which offer licensing in specific systems like air conditioning and gas heating.
State Prerequisites for HVAC Licensing
In addition to successfully passing the NATE or EPA certification exams, technicians may also be required to meet certain other specifications. Because the requirements for an HVAC technician license are monitored at the state as opposed to the national level, the prerequisites for obtaining these licenses can vary greatly. For example, to qualify for an HVAC license in Rhode Island, a technician must have at least four years of job experience, while Connecticut requires only two years, and Colorado has no set stipulations at all and allows HVAC businesses to determine the requirements.
The basic requirements and fees for obtaining an HVAC license will vary by state; in some places it may cost $100 to sit for the certification exam, while in others it may cost only $30. Additionally, some states allow technicians to take the exam online, while other places still require all licensing exams to be administered on paper at a designated testing site. Technicians should contact their state contracting board for details. By now we hope you have a good understanding on the licensing needed to become an HVAC contractor.