Do you plan to pursue an HVAC career in the state of Oklahoma? If so, then you’re on the right path. The demand for HVAC technicians in the state is actually high. As a result, there are tons of amazing career opportunities you can find in the state’s HVAC industry. In fact, they’re one of the top earners in all trade careers in the US. Before you can start working on any HVAC-related project, you should follow state laws when it comes to Oklahoma HVAC certification and licensing. In this article, we’re going to talk about the processes involved in getting your license from apprentice to contractor.
On average, you can earn $20.40 per hour as an HVAC technician in the state of Oklahoma. Top paid HVAC technicians earn as much as $29.99 per hour. The average annual HVAC salary is $42,350 for entry-level technicians and $62,250 for those with more experience and skills.
Though the average salary for HVAC professionals is slightly lower in Oklahoma compared to the rest of the country, the state of Oklahoma is experiencing a rapid and steady growth. This means better and bigger opportunities in the future.
The huge demand and the availability of amazing opportunities for Oklahoma HVAC professionals make this path a great idea.
Taking Part in an Oklahoma HVAC Apprenticeship Program
Just like most professions, undergoing an apprenticeship in the HVAC industry is recommended. Doing so will help you learn the ins and outs of the trades and also acquire many of the necessary skills. To ensure that you’re enrolled in a legitimate program with a licensed contractor, you are required to register by the state of Oklahoma. To do so, you and your licensed contractor must fill out an application form which you submit to the state.
You should be 14 years of age or older to enroll in the apprenticeship program. You should also pay a $25 fee for the first card and $20 for the renewal which is done every year. Additionally, you have to fill out a form which confirms that you are allowed to work in the USA. The form should be notarized, thus you should expect to spend a bit more.
Job Opportunities for HVACR Journeyman and Contractor
Oklahoma HVAC certification and licenses belong to the “Mechanical” category with the licenses being distributed by the Construction Industries Board. There are two licensing categories for HVAC professionals which are as follows:
- HVAC Journeyman/Contractor
The HVAC journeyman/contractor is classified into three different types in Oklahoma:
- Limited Journeyman/Contractor – this license allows you to handle cooling units or HVAC systems not exceeding 25 tons. For heating units, you can work on HVAC systems not exceeding 500,000 BTU/h per unit. You’re also allowed to deal with natural gas piping, refrigeration, in addition to sheet metal.
- Limited Residential Journeyman – this permits the servicing of detached one or 2 family homes not exceeding three stories in hight. With this HVAC license, you can service cooling systems not exceeding five tons or heating systems below 150,000 BTU/h.
With a limited residential journeyman license in Oklahoma, you can also install HVAC-related components like kitchen vent hoods, clothes dryer, and the like. But, you are not allowed to weld, solder, or attach electrical connections. There is no associated license for this classification. Instead, you have to apply as a limited contractor if you want to carry out any residential jobs.
- Unlimited Journeyman/Contractor – this HVAC license removes any restrictions that a Limited Journeyman license has. Therefore, you can freely work on any heating or cooling unit regardless of its size.
- Refrigeration Journeyman/Contractor
By obtaining a refrigeration journeyman/contractor license, you can handle refrigeration units or systems. However, you need to obtain an EPA Section 608 certification if you need to handle refrigerants. It is mandated by federal law under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Oklahoma HVAC Certification and Licensing Requirements
You should be 18 years of age or older to pursue a career in the HVAC field in Oklahoma. Moreover, you should comply with one of the requirements below:
- At least three years of hands-on experience on any HVAC-related project that can be backed up with proof
- A combination of one of the following:
- 27 months of hands-on experience plus at least 375 hours of academic and technical training and a vocational diploma in an approved institution
- More than 12 months of experience and 1,000 hours of training and education plus an associate’s degree
- At least 500 hours of education program and 24 months of hands-on experience along with a vocational diploma
- At least 334 hours of education program, a vocational diploma, and 28 months of experience
- A vocational diploma from an education program with a minimum of 250 hours, and at least 30 months of work experience
- A verifiable HVAC license if you obtain it from another state
- Equivalent experience if you have served in the US military
If you have your Oklahoma HVAC certification and license from a different state, it should be updated, in good standing, and comply with all the requirements in terms of experience and training. Additionally, experience should be verifiable.
As long as you meet the correct combination of experience and training as listed in the above requirements, you should then proceed to submit your application. You have to pay $75 for the application fee if you are applying as a HVAC journeyman. If you want to take the HVAC contractor examination, you should pay $330. You need to fill out the same application as that of the journeyman. Afterward, submit your application to the Board. You will then receive a notification regarding your schedule for the exam.
In order to become an HVACR contractor in the state of Oklahoma, you should comply with all the requirements of a journeyman technician along with another 12 months of experience. You should also put up a $5,000 surety bond, and in addition prove that you have $50,000 liability insurance, and a worker’s compensation.
Oklahoma HVAC Licensing and Examination
After the approval of your application, you will then be sent instructions about how you can get in touch with PSI Exams to sort out your examination date and in what location you will sit it. You’ll also receive further information and help regarding study resources. Some of the recommended materials you should consider are the following:
- Oklahoma Fine Schedule of the Construction Industries Board, Oklahoma Code, Title 158, Chapter 10, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Worker’s Compensation Act, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 85, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Rules of Workers’ Compensation Court, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 85, Chapter 4, Appendix, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Mechanical Licensing Act, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 59, Chapter 43A, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Mechanical Industry Regulations, Oklahoma Code, Title 158, Chapter 50, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Lien Law, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 42, Chapter 3, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
Since the exams are open book, you can bring reference materials with you. Also, you need to get at least 70% passing score. The allocated time and number of questions for each exam vary. You can check the following for reference:
- Journeyman limited – 60 questions in 3 hours
- Journeyman unlimited – 70 questions in 3 hours
- Contractor limited – 80 questions in 3 ½ hours
- Contractor unlimited – 90 questions in 4 hours
- Refrigeration contractor – 80 questions in 3 ½ hours
Additionally, these are the topics included in the exams:
- Electrical knowledge and controls
- Heating systems safety
- Natural gas air distribution systems
- Refrigeration & air conditioning systems
- Refrigeration equipment and components
If you apply for the journeyman and contractor Oklahoma HVAC certification and license, you should also complete the business and law exam of Oklahoma.
To keep your license, you should obtain 6 continuing education credits in a span of 3 years. You can inquire for the list of accredited programs from the Board. The process of license renewal involves filling out a renewal form and paying a renewal fee of $75 for journeyman and $200 for a contractor. This fee will increase to $300 if you apply one month after your contractor license runs out.