With the increase in demand for HVAC technicians and contractors in Tennessee, following the HVAC career path has become a lucrative undertaking. The main reason is due to the state experiencing temperature extremes during both summer and winter. As such, air conditioning is necessary in the summer, and hearing in the winter. To pursue a career, you should know about Tennessee HVAC certification and licensing requirements.
If you want to consider a career which allows you to become your own boss, then you should consider the career of an HVAC contractor. Aside from giving you the ability to manage your own business, being an HVAC contractor also ensures a lifelong lucrative income and tons of HVAC job opportunities.
Responsibilities of an HVAC Contractor
Before you can become a contractor in the state of Tennessee, you should first obtain your Mechanical HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor License. This is particularly necessary if you want to work on commercial systems above $25,000.
You don’t have to personally take the exam to get the license. In fact, if you have a qualifying agent who’s working for you, you can just have him take the exam in your place. To take on contracts or make bids on projects that exceed $25,000, you should be a licensed HVAC contractor.
As an HVAC contractor, you should have knowledge of the principles and theories regarding heating and cooling along with HVAC equipment. You have two responsibilities to carry: one as a businessman and the other as a journeyman. Also, you are required to have knowledge regarding load calculations, fire prevention, and various safety measures.
With your Tennessee HVAC certification and license, you can take on any ventilation-related project as well as installation or replacement of a ductwork. You can also maintain, repair, service, install, or replace an HVAC unit or appliance that has heating or refrigeration elements. It also includes the maintenance, installation, and repair of gas piping for furnaces. However, you are not allowed to take on electrical work; but since modern HVAC systems will require a bit of electrical work, it’s also recommended to obtain an electrical contractor license.
HVAC techs who are under the supervision of a contractor don’t have to obtain a Tennessee HVAC certification or license whilst they’re working under a licensed contractor. As a contractor, it is your role to oversee the entire project from start to finish. You should also get a liability insurance for all projects you work on.
The Licensing Process
If you want to work as an HVAC technician instead, you don’t need to enroll in a vocational program unlike most states do. However, it is highly recommended if you want to learn the ins and outs of the trade.
In the event you want to start working right away, you can work as an apprentice under the supervision of a licensed journeyman. In essence, this means that you will work under a licensed contractor’s guidance.
Also, you need to pass the trade exam in order to become the qualifying agent for the contractor you’re working with. When you start as an apprentice, you have to read various books regarding heating and cooling principles along with various repair practices. Doing so will allow you to advance further in your career and get hold of a wider range of options.
To become a qualifying agent for the contractor you’re working with, you are required to take and pass a trade exam and the Business and Law exam in the state. The Business and Law exam is required to show your knowledge and understanding when it comes to running a business that is within the implemented guidelines by the state’s law.
The licensing process is supervised by the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors.
One of the requirements for licensing is a CPA-approved financial statement which should be submitted to the board. The license will be owned by the business unless you are both the qualifying agent and business owner. Basically, you need the following requirements:
- A $250 application fee
- Proof of worker’s compensation and liability insurance
- Financial statement
- Passing exam score
Once the board receives your application, you will receive a call for interview. However, there are a lot of cases when this won’t happen. If you have your HVAC certification and license from another state, you can apply for a license reciprocity agreement. However, this is only applicable to the examination requirement and is limited to states within Tennessee’s borders. Therefore, you still need to comply with other requirements.
Your license is valid for two years, and you will have to renew it every two years. You will receive a reminder three months before the expiration date. It’s highly recommended to renew your license one month prior to avoid missing the deadline. If you miss the date, you are given one whole year to renew your license without any requirements. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to work on any HVAC related projects during the duration, unless you have renewed your license.
The Examination Process
The examination for Tennessee HVAC certification and licensing is supervised by PSI exams. Before you can take the test, you should first provide proof and information regarding your employee. There are several testing centers throughout the state which are as follows:
- Johnson City
It is highly recommended to arrive at the testing center 30 minutes in advance. If you arrive late, you won’t be able to take the exam. It will also forfeit the $57 registration fee you paid for the trade exam and the Business and Law exam.
You are given a tutorial that will help you understand the basics of taking the exam. The Business and Law exam is open book and includes 50 questions and a time limit of 140 minutes. Topics include contracts, environmental safety, risk management, and tax laws.
The trade exam, on the other hand, includes the best practices and knowledge in the HVAC industry. It is also open book and includes topics like refrigerants, heating and cooling principles, ducts, electrical knowledge, and piping.
EPA Certification Requirements
You are required to obtain an EPA certification under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act if you handle refrigerants. An EPA certification is divided into three types: Type I, Type II, and Type II. The certification you’ll get will depend on the appliance or unit you want to work on.
If you want to deal with appliances of all types and sizes, it is recommended to obtain the Universal license. However, if you want to deal with a single type of unit, one licensing type is enough. Without an EPA certification, you can’t recover, purchase, or charge refrigerants. Fortunately, since this is a countrywide certification, you can use it from state to state. It also never expires.
Starting your career as an HVAC technician or contractor in Tennessee is an excellent and lucrative choice. As an HVAC contractor, you can bid and work on projects less than and exceeding $25,000. However, you need to obtain a Tennessee HVAC certification and license first.
Meanwhile, if you work as a technician, you don’t need any licensing requirement. However, you should work under a licensed contractor. Regardless of which path you take, you can surely enjoy the opportunities that working as an HVAC professional in Tennessee brings.
Tennessee boarders with a lot of states, so be sure to check their requirements if you are likely to get work there as well:
- Alabama HVAC Certification
- Kentucky HVAC Certification
- South Carolina HVAC Certification
- North Carolina HVAC Certification