One of the last, and most-important steps in becoming a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician is earning your HVAC certification or license. While you may hear differing opinions on the necessity of this step, the truth of the matter is that there are far more reasons to become licensed and certified than there are not to.
Is HVAC Certification & Licensing Mandatory?
Guidelines for HVAC certification and licensing vary from state-to-state and, in many cases, industry-to-industry. In general, however, a good rule of thumb to remember is that your state will determine whether or not it’s mandatory that you become licensed, while employers and industry standards will usually dictate if a certification is required.
State-by-State License Requirements
|States That Require an HVAC License|
|Alabama||Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning
& Refrigeration Contractors
|Alaska||State of Alaska, Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development||commerce.state.ak.us/dnn/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/MechanicalAdministrators.aspx|
|Arizona||Arizona Registrar of Contractors||www.azroc.gov/l_class.html|
|Arkansas||Arkansas Department of Health||www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/environmentalHealth/ProtectiveHealthCodes/Pages/HVACRTestingInformation.aspx|
|California||California Contractors State License Board (CSLB)||www.cslb.ca.gov/|
|Connecticut||Heating, Piping, & Cooling Work Examing Board||ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1624&q=276068&PM=1|
|Delaware||State of Delaware, Division of Professional Regulation||dpr.delaware.gov/boards/plumbers/hvacrlicensure.shtml|
|District of Columbia||District of Columbia Board of Industrial Trades||www.pearsonvue.com/dc/industrial_trades/|
|Florida||Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation||www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/index.html|
|Georgia||Georgia Professional Licensing Boards Division||sos.ga.gov/index.php/?section=licensing|
|Hawaii||Hawaii Board of Licensing||hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/boards/contractor/|
|Indiana||State of Indiana Professional Licensing Agency||www.in.gov/pla/|
|Iowa||Iowa Department of Public Health, Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board||www.idph.state.ia.us/PMSB/LicensureDetail.aspx?id=DF31CC19-3BFB-473B-90F7-D702F53ABC66|
|Kansas||Kansas Department of Revenue||www.ksrevenue.org/|
|Louisiana||Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors||www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/|
|Maryland||Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation||www.dllr.state.md.us/license/hvacr/|
|Massachusetts||Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security||www.mass.gov/eopss/consumer-prot-and-bus-lic/license-type/refrigeration/refrigeration-technician-license.html|
|Michigan||LARA Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs||www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-35299_10575_33813_33819-45140–,00.html|
|Mississippi||Mississippi State Board of Contractors||www.msboc.us/|
|Nebraska||Nebraska Department of Labor||dol.nebraska.gov/center.cfm?PRICAT=2&SUBCAT=5G|
|Nevada||Nevada State Contractors Board||www.nvcontractorsboard.com/contractor_license_requirements.html|
|New Mexico||New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department||www.rld.state.nm.us/construction/Mechanical_Plumbing.aspx|
|North Carolina||North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire
|North Dakota||North Dakota Secretary of State||sos.nd.gov/business/contractors|
|Oregon||Oregon Apprenticeship and Training Division||www.oregon.gov/boli/atd/pages/a_ctrades_hvaccont.aspx|
|Rhode Island||Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training||www.dlt.ri.gov/profregs/MechLawsRules.htm|
|South Carolina||South Carolina Residential Builders Commission||www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/residentialbuilders/index.asp?file=HVAC.htm|
|Tennessee||Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance||www.tn.gov/regboards/contractors/|
|Texas||Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation||www.tdlr.texas.gov/acr/acr.htm|
|Utah||Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing||www.dopl.utah.gov/licensing/contracting.html|
|Virginia||Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation||www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/Tradesmen/|
|Washington||Washington State Department of Labor and Industries||www.lni.wa.gov/tradeslicensing/|
|West Virginia||West Virginia Division of Labor Contractor Licensing||www.wvlabor.com/newwebsite/pages/contractor_licensing.html|
States That Don’t Require an HVAC License
The 17 states appearing in the following list do not require HVAC professionals to hold a license.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Dakota
Types of Certifications
As stated above, the industry you work in and, sometimes your employer, usually determine which types of certifications you need for a specific type of job. The following provides a brief look at some of the major certifications that an HVAC technician may be expected to carry.
EPA Technician Certification
It is a federal requirement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that anyone who works with the types of ozone-depleting substances used in most central cooling units be certified under Section 608. This is a nationally-recognized certification and you will be required to hold it before becoming eligible to work on any air conditioning or refrigeration systems.
One of the largest nationally-recognized certifying organizations in the U.S., HVAC Excellence offers training and certification in a wide range of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry areas. Certificates available from this organization include:
- Certified Subject Matter Educator
- Employment Ready Certifications
- E.A.T. and H.E.A.T. Plus
- Master Specialist Certifications
- Professional Level Certifications
- Specialty Certifications
National Occupational Competency Testing Institute
The NOTCI offers training and testing in conjunction with the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Educational Foundation (PHCC) to provide HVAC-R certifications. Exams offered both online and at approved testing centers.
North American Technician Excellence
Commonly referred to as NATE, this organization specializes in HVACR certifications and is recognized by virtually all employers around the country. This body has been in existence since 1997, and identifies itself as the largest certifier of HVAC technicians in the U.S.