State Certification Guides O-S

Rhode Island HVAC Certification and Licenses

In the state of Rhode Island, certifications and special licenses are not required to perform HVAC-related jobs. However, you can pursue various degrees and training to further advance your career opportunities in the field. The average annual salary of an HVAC technician in Rhode Island reaches to $55,000. If you are an entry-level technician who wants to become a highly paid professional, this article will guide you with the right Rhode Island HVAC certification for you.

For the most part, this article will help you learn about the examination process and basic requirements. These are necessary for those who aim to become a licensed HVAC contractor or a licensed refrigeration technician. Also, national certifications are important for better credentials.

The following are the requirements needed for all refrigeration journeyman and master classes. Each of these class is offered in limited and unlimited licenses.


Class I – Journeyperson Refrigeration (Unlimited)

Before you can apply for this license, you need to be employed. The classification of Journeyman I Unlimited is presented with certain requirements. The minimum total requirement for your training period is 10,000 hours. This should be accompanied by at least 144 hours of trade-related education in any approved apprenticeship programs in Rhode Island. As an apprentice, you must successfully finish the program and get a copy of the completion certificate.

If you cannot finish the full 10,000 training hours, there are still some options available for you to pass the program. You can take alternatives to the required period when you can meet any of the following conditions:


  • A 2-year education in any approved and accredited school recognized by the Department of Labor in the state of Rhode Island.
  • A Refrigeration Journeyperson Class I license obtained from other states may only exempt you from other exams except for the Refrigeration Journeyperson Class I.
  • A notarized resume with 5 years of experience as a journeyman attached to the submitted application.


Other requirements will demand your competence in the following areas:


  • You must be proficient in soldering and evacuation as well as in testing and charging systems that use a suction line.
  • You must have all of a Refrigeration Journeyman Class II technician’s proficiency.
  • You must be able to recognize mechanical and electrical problems and read blueprints. A familiarity with supports and pipe hangers is also equally essential.
  • You must have the knowledge about State Building Codes and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.


Class II – Journeyperson Refrigeration (Limited)

Just like a Class I journeyperson, you should be under a contractor’s supervision. Of course, you are expected to meet some educational requirements. The minimum job training period needed is 4,000 hours with at least 288 hours of trade-related education. You must be a registered apprentice who has completed a program in the state’s approved institutions.

Having two years of education in registered and accredited schools recognized by the state’s Department of Labor can also reduce your apprentice program period. Relatively, an out-of-state Class II Refrigeration Journeyperson license can allow you to proceed to the examination. If ever license is unavailable, you can attach your notarized resume with 5-years of HVAC experience as a journeyman to your application.

Your competence in the field should cover these areas of knowledge:


  • Knowledge of electrical systems such as the three-phase and single control and wiring systems. You should also know how to charge and test minor closed systems while simultaneously balancing and adjusting them.
  • Comprehensive familiarity and knowledge about the use of refrigerants, solder, gases, fluxes, and torches.
  • Knowledge about the State Building Codes, OSHA, and the International Mechanical Code.

A Class II Refrigeration Journeyperson can apply for the Class I license through re-applying for the apprenticeship program of Refrigeration Journeyperson I. You should undergo 6,000 hours of job training with 432 hours of related trade training. You should also work under a Refrigeration Master I or Journeyman Refrigeration I. You will be able to do installations to a minimum of 20-ton cooling systems, 3 tons of cooling products, and 1 Horsepower freezing units.


Class I – Master Refrigeration (Unlimited)

If you are a holder of master class I unlimited license, you can consider yourself self-employed. To qualify, you must obtain one of the following licenses:


  • Journeyperson Refrigeration I License
  • Master Refrigeration II License
  • Master Refrigeration Class I out-of-state license with a passed examination result for the same license in the state
  • If you have no license, you should have at least 6 years of experience shown in a notarized resume, including one year as a contractor, and send in with the application

Other trade-related requirements include proper registration and an established location for your business and vehicles. It is, of course, essential to have a regular location for your business and professional knowledge as a Journeyperson I, II, and Master II technician. These HVAC certification and licenses will allow you to work in different areas of HVAC and Refrigeration.

You also need a deep level of understanding and knowledge about state and federal tax laws and worker’s compensation. Additionally, your familiarity with BOCA State Building Codes and OSHA laws is important to ensure a safe workplace.


Class II – Master Refrigeration (Limited)

A holder of Master Class II license can also be considered self-employed. However, in order to obtain this license, you must first get a Journeyperson Class II license which is active for a minimum of 3 years. Out-of-state workers have to meet the same requirements for Master Class I.

As a master class II license holder, you need a load of knowledge about writing, controls, blueprint and layout reading, and all requirements of the Journeyperson Refrigeration Class II license. Your work will be limited to installing up to 20-ton cooling systems, 3 tons of cooling product, and 1 horsepower freezing. Your business requirements are also the same as that of Master Class I.


About Apprenticeships

If you are looking for an opportunity to learn a hands-on experience that allows you to not only know new skills but to also develop some strong connections inside the HVAC community, then you should try to enroll in an apprenticeship program. In Rhode Island, apprenticeships will require you to have a signed commitment and spend 144 hours of study and full-time work.

These apprenticeship programs are often sponsored by labor groups and employers. Local sponsors can help you get enrolled in an apprenticeship program. In fact, the Rhode Island Apprenticeship Program ensures you a wonderful learning experience as an apprentice. However, this does not guarantee you will land a job afterward.

Contractors can train one apprentice for every two license holders. A properly registered apprentice will be directly supervised by either a Refrigeration Journeyperson I or II, or a Refrigeration Master I or II.

 Steps to Getting Licensed

In Rhode Island, you need to submit the needed requirements along with your application in order to acquire an HVAC contractor license. You need to complete the application form, which can be found here, along with the following:


  • Passport size photographs or a copy of your driver’s license
  • Your packet’s last two pages with a signed and notarized application
  • A $75 application fee
  • A notarized and detailed statement about every work-related experience on the letterhead of the present or past company signed by your employer


A complete apprenticeship is required for all sprinkler fitter, sheet metal journeypersons, refrigeration technicians, and journeyman pipefitters. Out-of-state applicants are required to provide a proof of active license from their state. The proof, though, needs to be original; photocopied documents will not be accepted. The licensing fees can range from $60-240 depending on the field and class you are going to get licensed in. The fee for a Master Mechanical Contractor is $480.


EPA Certification Requirements

As an entry-level technician, you can make yourself more marketable by obtaining an EPA 608 certification. An EPA certification will allow you to handle and purchase refrigerants.  Undoubtedly, that is essential in the industry of HVAC. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, you can achieve three levels of HVAC certification depending on the equipment you plan to handle.


Final Notes

As an HVAC contractor or refrigeration technician, having a Rhode Island HVAC certification and license allows you to pursue your career in the trade. It will also open opportunities for you to be your own boss.

Just because you have your licensing and Rhode Island HVAC certification, it doesn’t mean you can definitely go and work in the neighbouring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts, so be sure to check their requirements as well.

Rhode Island HVAC certification