How to Get Your HVAC Certification and HVAC Licensing

An HVAC technician can enjoy a variety of benefits including job stability and a hands-on career field. As you complete your HVAC training, make sure to get the right certification and licensing to start you out on a good path to success.

Just follow these 4 simple steps:

  1. Complete an HVAC training program.
  2. Take your HVAC certification or licensing or exams.
  3. Apply for an HVAC apprenticeship.
  4. Apply for entry level HVAC technician jobs.

1. Complete an HVAC training program.

Enroll in an HVAC training program at a local HVAC training school. You can usually complete these programs in less than 2 years. Some colleges may even award you with an associate degree in the process.

2. Take your HVAC certification or licensing exams.

Licensing in Colorado

Some states will require heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers to be licensed, others will not. Colorado happens to be one of the states that allow licensing for HVAC technicians to be handled at the county level. Each county may or may not require licensing through their respective building departments. However, it is a good idea to look into it if it’s available, for the purpose of doing work that requires permits.

For details on how to get your Heating Mechanic IV license in El Paso County, for example, visit the Contractor Licensing & Registration page at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (Pikes Peak RBD) website.

HVAC Certification

If you choose to work in refrigeration you will need to be certified in EPA 608, as required by federal law. For this you must pass a written exam specific to the types of equipment and refrigerants you will be handling. Most quality HVAC training programs include federal EPA 608 training and certification preparation.

Being certified in the HVAC field can allow for higher paying jobs. In the HVAC Excellence program there are several certification exams to choose from for students just starting out. Professional level certifications are also available and require employment verifications and core testing to advance your career. Check them out!

15 Employment Ready HVAC Certifications

  1. Electrical – Suggested prerequisite for all other certifications in the HVAC Excellence program
  2. Light Commercial Air Conditioning
  3. Air Conditioning
  4. Basic Refrigeration and Charging Procedures
  5. Electric Heat
  6. Gas Heat Certification
  7. Oil Heat
  8. Residential and Light Commercial Hydronic Heat
  9. Heat Pump
  10. Carbon Monoxide
  11. System Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Procedures
  12. Fuel Oil Combustion
  13. Natural Gas Combustion Analysis
  14. Carbon Monoxide and Combustion Analysis
  15. Light Commercial Refrigeration

Take advantage of what’s out there, like specialized HVAC training schools, hands-on training, and a multitude of certifications. Now that you know what you have to do and where to get it done, you can be on your way to a new career as an HVAC Technician.

3. Apply for an HVAC apprenticeship.

After completing your HVAC training, you may choose an apprenticeship as your next step. Simply apply to or enroll in an apprenticeship program with an experienced HVAC organization in your area. Learn everything they have to offer and put it to practice. Your apprenticeship may last anywhere from 6 to 36 months.

4. Apply for entry level HVAC Technician jobs.

You can also enter the HVAC field directly after completing a training program and receiving your degree and/or certifications. Many HVAC contractors and employers often hire entry level HVAC technicians to “train in” to their organizations.

Many HVAC programs offer career placement assistance for graduates. Contact your local HVAC training school today and you can be on your way to a rewarding career in HVAC with a good transcript and a healthy resume.

Sources

  • Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, Contractors Licensing and Registration, pprbd.org/contfiles/ContLicensing.aspx
  • HVAC Excellence, Technician Certification, hvacexcellence.org/EmploymentReady.aspx
  • United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 Edition, bls.gov/oco/ocos192.htm

The Difference Between HVAC Certification and HVAC License

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians are skilled tradespersons that install heating and cooling systems. Additionally, they maintain and repair the system when problems arise. This may be in a residential setting or for commercial facilities. Those who work for a retailer are often responsible for selling service contracts to clients.

Types of Certification

Becoming HVAC certified will depend on the type of certification that you desire and the training that you have achieved. Since many people work in the field under a licensed HVAC person, they may have some experience before taking classes. Those who have over a year of experience in installation and at least 2 years in maintenance will have a wider choice when it comes to the type of HVAC certification they choose.

In order to become certified, the proper classes must be taken. Before doing so, a high school diploma or GED is required. This is required for admittance to most accredited HVAC training programs. These programs offer classes in the installation and repair of HVAC as well as reading blueprints, temperature control, construction and equipment design. The programs are available at various schools and colleges as well as online.

The programs are generally from six months to two years and depending on the length of the course, upon successful completion, the student will receive a certificate or an associate’s degree. There are also opportunities available for those who join the Armed Forces to receive specialized training in the HVAC field.

Licensing

After completing the training program successfully, earning a certification or a degree, sitting for the HVAC licensing exam will be required by most states to work in this field. The licensing exam will differ somewhat from one location to another. The main consideration is the knowledge of all the aspects of installation and repair of HVAC systems. In addition, some licensing exams require the applicant to know electrical codes.

If the career chosen will include working with refrigerants, a separate certification is needed for this field. This includes high and low-pressure refrigerants and servicing small appliances. When this career is chosen at an early age, usually while in high school, it is beneficial to take classes that can help in preparing the student for the classes they will take next. The basic recommendations are mathematics, physics, electronics and mechanical drawing.

There are additional licenses needed if the HVAC career will include contractor services. This is often a career that is chosen after learning the other aspects of HVAC. The qualifications to apply for a license as an HVAC contractor include being at least 18 years of age, speaking and reading the English language and four years of verifiable experience in warm heating.

If the applicant meets these qualifications, they must take an ICC examination. The International Code Council (ICC) develops these exams and they are in charge of giving them for many states. They are given at approved testing sites across the nation and are required for anyone that represents themselves in any way as an HVAC contractor.

As seen, the HVAC career is quite diverse. It can include various aspects of this profession, each having their own requirements and licenses.