Do you want to start a HVAC business and you need a HVAC contractor license? If YES, here is quick guide on how to get a HVAC technician license in USA.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry deals in heating system, ventilation, and air – conditioning of a facility or a space (automobile, plane, ships, trains et al). The truth is that heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning are interconnected. HVAC systems are designed to provide ventilation, reduce air infiltration, and maintain pressure relationships between spaces.

A HVAC technician is a highly skilled professional who installs and maintains ventilation and refrigeration systems. They also carry out safety, air quality and energy efficiency tests and inspections by integrating heating, cooling and ventilation systems with air ducts and power-supply systems.

HVAC technicians also install and repair related electrical wiring and control devices. Some HVAC technicians take specialized training to work within areas such as solar heating, radiant heating or refrigerants.

It is mandatory for HVAC technicians that want to practice in the United States of America to acquire the needed license before they can be permitted to operate. There are 3 steps to follow if you want to secure your HVAC business license in the United States of America;

3 Preliminary Steps to Getting a Business License for your HVAC Company

  1. On-the-job Training

One of the routes that you can follow in the bid to qualify for a HVAC business license in the United States of America is on – the – job training. Once you are able to acquire the required training and experience in the industry, you can then go ahead to apply and obtain a HVAC license.

  1. Attend Technical College

Another option that you can follow in order to qualify for a HVAC license is to complete a HVAC technician training program offered by an accredited technical college, trade school or community college. These programs take anywhere from six months to two years.

Depending on the program, graduates earn a certificate or an associate degree. Coursework includes safety procedures, the operation of HVAC equipment and related skills like blueprint reading and installation of electrical wiring and control devices.

  1. Become an Apprentice

Apprenticeship programs take three to five years. Students work full time, putting in 2,000 hours a year. Apprentices also complete 144 hours of classwork per year.

Industry and union organizations sponsor apprenticeship programs, often in cooperation with local community colleges or technical schools. Prospective apprentices must be 18 and above and have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma. They also must pass a drug screening and basic math test and have a valid driver’s license.

General Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Licensing Requirements in the United States of America

In the United States of America, before you can practice as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician, you are required by law to apply and obtain licensing, and it is mandatory in some states.

  • Vermont and Arizona are states that do not have licensing requirements, but you must write and pass a written exam.
  • Texas accepts a passing score on the North American Technician Excellence exam for HVAC technicians in addition to registration with the state government.
  • Other states have a variety of licensing exams they administer or accept.
  • The federal Environmental Protection Agency requires certification of HVAC technicians who handle refrigerants.
  • Any HVAC technician who works with refrigerants must pass a written exam in one or more of three areas: small appliances, high-pressure systems and low-pressure systems.
  • Employers often want to see professional credentials even when there is no state mandate. For this reason, it’s wise to obtain certification from a recognized industry or trade organization. Certification is awarded for passing a written exam.
  • Eligibility to take these exams involves one to two years of work experience and might also include completing formal coursework.
  • Certification is also available for those who take courses in specialized areas like handling refrigerants.

Getting a Business License for your HVAC Company in Each State of the United States

6. Colorado

Interestingly, Colorado is one of the states that does not require licensing for HVAC contractors or technician who wants to practice in the state. Please note that local licensing may be required and it is possible to become certified, hence the need to visit the local authority to make the necessary enquiries.

7. Connecticut

If you are interested in practicing as an HVAC technician or contractor in Connecticut, it is mandatory to apply and obtain HVAC license or journeyman license. Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify for an HVAC license in Connecticut;

  • You will need to have completed a registered apprenticeship program or the equivalent.
  • You will need to pass an exam and pay an application fee.
  • For a contractor license, you need to show you have two years as a licensed journeyman. You need to pass a contractor’s exam, as well as a business and law exam.

Please note that the license must be renewed annually.

8. Delaware

Delaware is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who wants to work as a HVAC technician or run a HVAC company to apply and obtain HVAC licensed. The license is issued by the Delaware Department of Health, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Licensing Board.

Please note that there are two license types which determine the type of work you are permitted to do. Master HVACR Restricted is able to provide work in one specialty area. To provide service in more than one specialty area, you must hold a Master HVACR license.

Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify for an HVAC license in Delaware;

  • You must supply proof of a journeyman’s certificate and at least two years of experience under a master contractor, or at least seven years of work experience under a master contractor.
  • You must pay the required application fee

9. District of Columbia

If you are interested in practicing as a HVAC technician or contractor in District of Columbia, it is mandatory to apply and obtain HVAC license or journeyman license.

The license can be obtained from the District of Columbia Board of Industrial Trades. Please note that aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a journeyman or master contractor in District of Columbia;

  • You will need to pay an application fee
  • You must pass the written exam.
  • The licensed must be renewed every two years.

11. Georgia

If you are interested in practicing as a HVAC technician or contractor in Georgia, it is mandatory to apply and obtain HVAC license or journeyman license. The HVAC license is issued by the Division of Conditioned Air Contractors of the Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Please note that there are two categories of licenses – Class I which is restricted and Class II which is unrestricted.

Please note that aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a journeyman or master contractor in Georgia;

  • Both licenses require passing an exam and applicants must be pre-approved by the state.
  • Class I applicants must have four years of experience, while Class II applicants must have five years of experience.
  • A $10,000 cash or surety bond is required in the county where you are planning to work.

12. Hawaii

Hawaii is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who want to work as HVAC technician or run a HVAC company to apply and obtain a HVAC license. The license can be obtained from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Please note that aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a journeyman or master contractor in Hawaii;

  • You will need to pass a business and law, as well as a trade exam.
  • To qualify, you must have four years of experience out of the previous ten years in full-time supervisory work as a journeyman, foreman, supervisor, or contractor in the specialty field you are applying to be licensed for.
  • You must show proof of worker’s compensation insurance, liability insurance ($100,000 per person; $300,000 per occurrence and $50,000 property damage).

13. Idaho

The state of Idaho is amongst the few states that requires everyone who work in the HVAC industry to be licensed and this include apprentices, journeymen and contractors et al. Please note that in Idaho, there are two classes of HVAC contractor licenses – Contractor and Specialty Contractor – and both are awarded by the Idaho Division of Building Safety.

Please note that aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a HVAC technician or contract;

  • You must show proof of at least 24 months of experience as a HVAC journeyman or, for the special contractor license, 24 months in that specialty.
  • A $2,000 compliance bond is required.

14. Illinois

Illinois happens to be one of the states where there is no licensing requirement on a state level. Nevertheless, there are HVAC license requirements on the local level. It is important to check the licensing requirements in the county or city in which you plan to work as an HVAC contractor or technician.

15. Indiana

Indiana is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements.

So, if you want to work as a HVAC contractor or technician in Indiana, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

16. Iowa

The state of Iowa is amongst the few states that require everyone who work in the HVAC industry to be licensed and this include apprentices, journeymen and contractors et al. HVAC contractors must be licensed by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board.

Please note that aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a HVAC technician or contract in Iowa;

  • You must hold a HVAC master level technician license or employ at least one person with that license.
  • You must show a permanent place of business and proof of being properly insured with a bond.
  • You must pay the required application fee

17. Kansas

Kansas is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in Kansas, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

18. Kentucky

Kentucky is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who want to work as HVAC technician or run a HVAC company to apply and obtain a HVAC license. HVAC contractors must be licensed by the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction in order to work in Kentucky.

Please note that aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a HVAC technician or contract in Kentucky;

  • Applicants must have a valid Kentucky Journeyman Mechanic license for at least two years, and must have been under the direct supervision of a Master HVAC contractor.

You will need to pass a trade exam, as well as a business and law exam

  • You must have general liability insurance of at least $500,000.
  • Eight hours of continuing education is required to renew the license.

19. Louisiana

If you are interested in practicing as a HVAC technician or contractor in Louisiana, it is mandatory to apply and obtain HVAC license or journeyman license. The HVAC license is issued by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.

Please note that a commercial license is required for any project exceeding $50,000 in value, including labor and materials. Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a HVAC technician or contract in Louisiana;

  • You will need to pass a trade exam either in the subspecialty you play to work in or for a Mechanical Work Contractor license which covers all subspecialties.
  • You also need to pass a business and law exam.
  • You are required to pay an application fee.

20. Maine

Maine is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in Maine, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

21. Maryland

If you are interested in practicing as a HVAC technician or contractor in Maryland, it is mandatory to apply and obtain HVAC license or journeyman license. The HVAC license is issued by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors in the state of Maryland.

Apart from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify to obtain the license;

  • You will need to have been licensed as a Journeyman HVAC technician for three years and must have worked under the supervision of a licensed Master HVAC Contractor.
  • There are three different licenses – Master HVACR Contractor, Master Restricted HAVCR Contractor and Limited HVACR Contractor – and you must pass the exam for the specific license you require.
  • You must show proof of general liability insurance and property damage insurance.
  • You are required to pay the application fees.

22. Massachusetts

In Massachusetts if you want to work as A general HVAC contractor, you do not require a state license to work, unless you want to work specifically in refrigeration niche. But a refrigeration contractor, who works with more than 10 tons of refrigeration must be licensed.

Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a HVAC technician or contract in Massachusetts;

  • You will need to complete 100 hours of classroom theory education at an approved school
  • Pass an exam
  • Show that you have had 2,000 hours of experience as a licensed refrigeration technician.
  • Pay the required application fee

23. Michigan

If you are interested in practicing as an HVAC technician or contractor in Michigan, it is mandatory to apply and obtain mechanical contractor license. This license is issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Construction Codes, Mechanical Division. The licensing is very specialized and you’ll need to choose the classification you want to work in. There are also specialty licenses.

Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a mechanical contractor in Michigan;

  • You will need to pass an exam
  • To be eligible to write the exam, you must show at least three years experience in every work classification you want to receive a license for
  • You must pay the required application fee.

24. Minnesota

Interestingly in Minnesota, there are no state licensing requirements for HVAC contractors but anyone who intends working as an HVAC technician or contractor in Minnesota should apply for mechanical contractor’s license and they are expected to file a $25,000 surety bond with the Department of Labor and Industry.

Please note that there may be local licensing requirements hence the need to make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

25. Mississippi

If you are interested in practicing as an HVAC technician or contractor in Mississippi, it is mandatory to apply and obtain mechanical HVAC license. This license is issued from the Mississippi State Board of Contractors. Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to become licensed as a HVAC technician or contractor in Mississippi;

  • Applicants must pass a trade exam, as well as a law and business management exam.
  • In addition, you will need to show details of any HVAC experience,
  • You are required to show proof of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance
  • You are required to submit a financial statement
  • You are required to pay the application fee.

26. Missouri

Missouri is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as a HVAC contractor or technician in Missouri, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

27. Montana

In Montana, the law is kind of different. For example, if you want to work as a HVAC contractor who does not plan to hire employees, there is no license requirement, but you are required by law to register with the Department of Labor and Industry.

Please note that if you plan to hire employees, you will be required to apply and obtain a general construction contractor license before you can carry out your job as a HVAC technician. In order to obtain general contractor license in Montana, there is no testing or experience required, but you will need proof of worker’s compensation insurance.

28. Nebraska

Nebraska is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in Nebraska, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

Please note that as a contractor working in the state, you will need to be registered with the Nebraska Department of Labor and if you have employees you must show proof of worker’s compensation.

30. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in New Hampshire, just make sure to check for any project permit requirements before you start work on any large projects.

32. New Mexico

New Mexico is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who want to work as HVAC technician or run an HVAC company to apply and obtain HVAC licensed. HVAC contractors must be licensed by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify to apply for a license;

  • You will need to show proof of two to four years experience, depending on the classification you are applying for.
  • You will need to pass a trade exam, as well as a business and law exam,
  • You must submit a bond.
  • You need to complete five hours of continuing education to renew your license
  • You are required to pay the application fee.

34. North Carolina

North Carolina is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who wants to work as HVAC technician or run a HVAC company to apply and obtain HVAC license. HVAC contractors must be licensed by the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors.

Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify to apply for a license;

  • You must show two years experience, with up to half the amount able to be covered by completion of an academic or technical training course.
  • You are required to pass four parts of an exam
  • You are required to provide a surety bond.

35. North Dakota

In North Dakota, the rule is kind of different because, as an HVAC contractor working on any projects worth $4,000 or more, you will need a state license from the North Dakota Secretary of State. For a state license, you need to apply and show proof of worker’s compensation insurance and liability insurance.

Please note that there are more licensing requirements on the local level and you need to check these in the county or city you intend working or carrying out your project.

36. Ohio

If you are interested in practicing as an HVAC technician or contractor in Ohio, it is mandatory to apply and obtain mechanical HVAC license. This license is issued by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify to write the exam;

  • You must show five years of experience as a HVAC technician
  • You are required to pay the application fee.
  • You must show proof of liability insurance.

37. Oklahoma

If you are interested in practicing as a HVAC technician or contractor in Oklahoma, it is mandatory to apply and obtain mechanical HVAC license. This license is issued from the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board and fall under the umbrella of Mechanical Contractor licenses. Interestingly, there are multiple categories of licenses available.

Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify to sit for the exam and obtain your license;

  • You must show proof of at least four years of experience in HVAC, or show a combination or educational hours plus years of experience. The number of hours of experience required varies depending on the type of education you received.
  • You will also need proof of general liability insurance
  • You are required to present a $5,000 surety bond.

38. Oregon

Oregon is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who want to work as HVAC technician or run a HVAC company to apply and obtain HVAC license. Interestingly, there are two license types – Limited Maintenance Specialty Contractor – HVAC/R License and Commercial and Residential Contractor License – both of which are issued by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

Please note that the limited license does not require an exam, but you will need to show four years of experience in installation and have completed recognized training in HVAC/R. The CCB license requires you to complete 16 hours of education and sit for an exam. You also need to show proof of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.

39. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in Pennsylvania, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

40. Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, there are multiple categories and classes of state licenses that a HVAC contractor must have in order to be able to work in Rhode Island. Some of the basic licenses are:

  • Refrigeration Master Class I (Unlimited) – to qualify, you must have held a refrigeration journeyperson I license for one year or a refrigeration master II license for one year.
  • Refrigeration Master Class II (Limited) – to qualify, you must have held a refrigeration journeyperson II license for at least three years.

41. South Carolina

South Carolina is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who wants to work as HVAC technician or run a HVAC company to apply and obtain HVAC license. HVAC contractors must be licensed by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Apart from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, you are also expected to;

  • Have at least one year of HVAC experience under the direct supervision of a Master Heating and Air contractor or a licensed HVAC contractor.
  • You will also need to pass an exam and pay a bond.
  • If you hold a Master Heating and Air License from the South Carolina Municipal Association or you’re a S.C. Mechanical Contractor for HVAC, you are not required to take the exam.
  • You are required to pay the application fee.

42. South Dakota

South Dakota is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as a HVAC contractor or technician in South Dakota, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

43. Tennessee

In Tennessee, as a HVAC contractor, you are required to have a state license before bidding on projects costing $25,000 or more. If you are qualified for a HVAC contractor license, you will be awarded a Tennessee Mechanical HVAC Refrigeration Contractor License from the Board for Licensing Contractors.

Please note that in order to receive a license having met the basic requirement as stated above;

  • You will need to pass the trade exam, as well as the business and law exam.
  • You must also show proof of liability insurance.
  • You must also pay the required application fee.

45. Utah

Utah is also one of the states that makes it mandatory for anyone who want to work as HVAC technician or run an HVAC company to apply and obtain HVAC licensed. HVAC contractors must be licensed by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

Please note that there are a number of subclasses under the HVAC contractor license, depending on the type of work you plan to do. Aside from meeting the basic requirements as stated above, in order to qualify to sit for the exam and obtain your license;

  • You must show proof of four years of full-time work experience in the past ten years
  • You must pass a trade exam, as well as a business and law exam.
  • You must also show proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
  • To renew your license, you need to complete six hours of continuing education.

46. Vermont

Vermont is also one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in Vermont, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

47. Virginia

If you are interested in practicing as an HVAC technician or contractor in Virginia, it is mandatory to apply and obtain mechanical HVAC license. This license is issued from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Please note that there are three classes of contractor licenses (A, B and C), depending on the value of the work you plan to do. The requirements for each license type include:

  • Class A – complete an eight-hour pre-licensing course, show five years’ experience and $45,000 business capital, pass the trade exam and law exam, and show proof of insurance.
  • Class B – complete an eight-hour pre-licensing course, show three years of experience and $15,000 business capital, pass the trade exam and law exam, and show proof of insurance.
  • Class C – complete an eight-hour pre-licensing course, show two years of experience, pass the trade exam and law exam, and show proof of insurance.

48. Washington

If you are interested in practicing as an HVAC technician or contractor in Washington, it is mandatory to apply and obtain mechanical HVAC license. This license is awarded by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Please note that apart from meeting the basic requirements, in order to be eligible for a HVAC mechanical license in Washington;

  • You need to have a HVAC certificate from an accredited school
  • You will need to pass an exam.
  • You are required to pay the mandatory application fee.

49. West Virginia

The state of West Virginia requires all HVAC contractors or technicians who want to practice in the state must hold a state air conditioning license issued by the West Virginia Department of Commerce Division of Labor. Please note that apart from meeting the basic requirements, in order to be eligible for a HVAC mechanical license in West Virginia;

  • You must pass the trade exam, as well as the business and law exam.
  • You must also show proof of worker’s compensation insurance.
  • You are required to pay the mandatory application fee.

50. Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, it is important to state that obtaining certification if you want to work as an HVAC technician is not mandatory, but becoming certified as a HVAC Qualifier may help your business, and it will cover the requirements of local jurisdictions.

If you meet the basic requirements and the state requirements, you will be licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. In order to meet this requirement;

  • You will need to pass an exam
  • You must have at least 1,000 hours of experience per year for four years, or at least four years in a mechanical engineering school or accredited college, or a total number of four years with a combination of education and experience.
  • You are required to pay the application fee.

51. Wyoming

Wyoming is one of the states that has no HVAC licensing requirements on the state level but there are many local governments that do have requirements. So, if you want to work as an HVAC contractor or technician in Wyoming, just make sure to check the requirements of the county or city in which you plan to work.

Joy Nwokoro