The answer to the above question will depend on the type of HVAC equipment you intend to buy and your location in the United States. However, in most places, you won’t be able to buy certain vital equipment required for an HVAC system without a license.
Note that licensing, insurance, and bonding requirements for HVAC professionals differ from one state to another. HVAC professionals are experts when it comes to installing, repairing, and maintaining heating and cooling systems in residential and commercial buildings.
These experts tend to work in a wide range of capacities, from renovating and restoring residential HVAC systems to massive construction endeavors. Most often, prospective HVAC-training recruits will have to obtain a high school diploma to begin an apprenticeship program or join a trade school.
After finishing an HVAC apprenticeship training program, and paying an application fee, a good number of states offer journeyman or Class A or Class B HVAC contractor’s licenses. Some others however necessitate specialty licenses for air conditioning and refrigeration, solar, and other energy systems.
In the United States, federal-level EPA statuses under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act necessitate certification for technicians who oversee, handle, repair, or take care of equipment that could emit refrigerants into the environment. Note that any technician who gets involved in any refrigerant line-pressure tests or repairs or adds refrigerants to existing air-conditioning or refrigeration systems will have to obtain the EPA section certification.
What Licenses Does An HVAC Contractor Need?
To operate as an HVAC contractor, you will have to obtain the necessary permits and authorizations. Some of them include;
HVAC and general contractor licenses
This is, without doubt, one of the most important licenses you need when starting out as an HVAC technician. Note that the exact one you need will vary, as such it is pertinent you research your state and city to find out.
For instance, anyone looking to operate as an HVAC operator or start an HVAC business in Kentucky will have to obtain an HVAC Contractor license. To apply, you will have to submit a comprehensive application that will include your passport, examination score certificate, evidence of general liability insurance, and evidence of employment.
There are also States where HVAC contractors are expected to acquire a general contractor license. For instance, HVAC contractors in North Dakota who perform works worth over $2,000 are all expected to be licensed.
Home improvement contractor license
In most places, you will have to obtain a state home improvement contractor license before you can conduct any residential work.
For example, States like Pennsylvania have no known general contractor or HVAC contractor license requirement; howbeit, anyone who carries out residential services in the state will have to register with the Office of the Attorney General as a home improvement contractor.
Other HVAC business license requirements and registrations
Coupled with the HVAC contractor licenses noted above, there are numerous other licensing, permit, and tax registrations that might very well be imposed on your business. They include;
- Basic business operation license. You will have to obtain this license from the city where you intend to conduct business, or from the local county.
- Federal tax ID (EIN) number. Although not necessarily a license, it is important to every business in the United States and it is provided by the IRS. It is also referred to as a tax identification number or employer identification number.
- State tax ID number. This one will have to be acquired by applying to your state’s Department of Revenue or Taxation.
- DBA/fictitious business name registration. This becomes necessary if you need another name for your business. The registration of Doing business as (DBA) or a fictitious business name will have to be with the appropriate state or local agency.
- Zoning and land use permits. This will vary from one location to another, however, have it in mind that it can still prohibit certain business activities in designated areas.
- Building permit. If your intention is to remodel or build a commercial space, then you will have to apply for this permit.
- Sales tax license/sellers permit/resellers permit. This permit or authorization is primarily required for sales tax purposes and the name will vary from one state to another
- Workers’ Comp Insurance. In the United States, this insurance is a must if you have at least one employee.
Requirements for Obtaining HVAC Contractor Licenses
The necessary requirements to obtain this license will vary from one state to another. Also note that even in the same state, it can still vary from one city or municipality to another. To obtain an HVAC license, you might be expected to do one or more of the following:
- Be experienced from working a minimum amount of years as a journeyman, foreperson, or supervising employee
- Complete a trade exam
- Complete a state exam
- Satisfy EPA Section 608 technician certification requirements
- Make available a contractor bond
- Adhere to insurance requirements
- Scale a background check
How Much Does HVAC Certification Cost?
How much it cost to obtain your HVAC license or certification will differ based on the state or granting agency. However, the cost will range from around a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Note that this will encompass other expenses, including course registration fees, coursework and materials, examination fees, renewal fees, and possible reinstatement fees if your certification lapses or expires.
HVAC professionals are experts when it comes to installing, repairing, and maintaining heating and cooling systems in residential and commercial buildings. These experts tend to work on anything from renovating and restoring residential HVAC systems to massive construction projects. You won’t be able to buy certain vital equipment required for an HVAC system without a license.