According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians and engineers are in high demand across the country. If you’re looking for a certification program to help you get a head start in the HVAC industry, read on below.
With the increasing demand for and complexities involved in HVAC technologies, HVAC technicians will continue to find job opportunities. The need for qualified professionals means that you will need to develop the right set of skills and know-how to perform installation, repair, and maintenance work.
The BLS has predicted agrowth rate of 4 percentfor HVAC technician jobs through 2026 (just as fast as ALL occupations). If you are contemplating an HVAC career, keep reading for everything you need to know about the certification process.
Table of Contents
What is an HVAC Certification License?
- Apply for an HVAC degree at NEIT!
HVAC technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration units, and systems in various commercial and residential spaces. As mentioned above, with the increasing complexities in HVACR technologies, aspirants must acquire certification to cater to today’s customers’ needs.
Although not mandatory in all states, an HVAC certification license is a great way for HVAC technicians to upgrade their skill set and showcase their credentials and competency to potential employers or customers.
The Benefits of Becoming a Certified HVAC Technician
Being an HVACR certified technician comes with its own set of advantages. Here a look at some of the top benefits of getting certified:
- Understanding the fundamental principles of HVAC systems and the science behind it
- Develop a wide range of skills in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration
- Be adept at analyzing the air quality, gauging humidity levels, and understanding temperature control mechanisms
- Get the edge over other HVAC technicians applying for the same job as you in the market
- Get opportunities to work on large-scale projects and showcase your skills and competencies
- Show your clients and employers that you have the theoretical and practical proficiency required for the job
- Increase your earning potential – an HVACR certified technician tends to command a better remuneration than their uncertified counterparts.
How to Become Certified – HVAC License Requirements
So, let’s get down to business. How, exactly, do you acquire your HVAC certification? Since the certification rules vary from state to state, it isn’t easy to zero-in on one single approach to getting certified. To make things easy for you, we have listed the steps to become certified.
The HVAC Certification Process Explained
High school diploma
Getting a high-school diploma is the first step you should take in pursuing a career as an HVAC technician. Make sure you take an interest in mathematics and physics subjects so that your fundamentals are strong.
Like any profession, it is important to have a solid base in HVAC-related subjects through classroom training. The ideal way to learn the trade is by completing an accredited HVAC program from a community college, trade school, or vocational college.
Local associations like the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Associated Builders and Contractors run HVAC apprenticeship programs that typically last three to five years.
Most certifications require you to have a bare minimum of 12 months of practical experience, so working under an HVAC contractor to acquire on-the-job training is necessary.
Agencies like the North American Technical Excellence (NATE), HVAC Excellence, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), and Refrigeration Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) offer additional specialty certifications.
Types of HVAC Certificates
The primary types of certifications for HVAC technicians include the EPA Section 608 Technician Certification and the industry organization certifications. The Section 608 Refrigerant Recycling Rule requires technicians performing service, maintenance, or disposal of equipment that releases refrigerants and substitute refrigerants to get an HVAC license.
This lifelong certification requires you to pass an EPA test conducted by an EPA-approved organization.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates all HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants to acquire the Section 608 Technician Certification. Under EPA certifications, there are four types:
- Type I Certification: Small appliances (air conditioners, domestic refrigerators, and vending machines)
- Type II Certification: High-pressure appliances (residential air conditioners, refrigeration units, and heat pumps)
- Type III Certification: Low-pressure appliances (chillers, etc.)
- Type IV Certification: Universal (which includes all the equipment mentioned above)
Any HVAC technician who works with refrigerants must pass a written exam in one or more of these types.
The North American Technical Excellence or NATE certification ensures that you are adequately trained to perform an HVAC technician’s duties. This type of certification may include:
- Installation tests
- Servicing tests
- Specialty parts
- Core units
HVAC Certification Requirements
As mentioned above, an HVAC technician’s requirement to have a valid HVAC certification may be mandatory in some states or regions. The laws around having an HVAC certification depend on the state in question.
In some cases, you may have to complete an HVAC program from an accredited trade school, while in some others, you must have a few years of work experience. To get the certification, you are also expected to pass an exam covering local electrical codes and general HVAC subjects.
HVAC Licensing Requirements by State
The licensing requirements for HVAC technicians differ from state to state.
States like Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, New York, Vermont, and Wyoming are examples of regions that don’t require state-wide licensing. Almost every other state requires technicians to have an HVAC certification.
In states that need licensing, candidates must pass a written exam. The basic requirements for HVAC licensing in Texas, for example, are for you to pass the NATE exam and register with the state government.
Delaware offers HVACR Technician licensure that follows the traditional apprentice, journeyperson, master licensing model. In Alaska, on the other hand, you must hold separate electrical and plumbing licenses.
The terms, conditions, exams, or mandates in other states may vary. Refer to this state-wise guide to licensing laws for more details.
HVAC Degree with a Reputable Trade School
Trade schools and community colleges around the United States offer wide-ranging programs in refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating technology.
For example, New England Tech delivers a comprehensive Associate Degree Program in Refrigeration/Air Conditioning/Heating Technology that trains students as entry-to-industry level technicians.
NEIT’s Associate in Science Degree in Refrigeration/Air Conditioning/Heating (RACH)
Ready to turn your career aspirations into reality? Enter the HVAC business with a bang! Sign up to learn the nuances of these subjects and become an entry-level technician in the HVAC industry with the New England Institute of Technology.
The program curriculum combines the theoretical and practical aspects of both heating and cooling.
START YOUR HVAC CAREER
Earn your degree in HVAC from NEIT and begin your new career path today!
Here’s a quick look at some of the key courses offered under the HVAC training program:
- Introduction to the P-RACH Industry
- Refrigeration Systems Fundamentals
- Electricity for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
- Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration
- System Electrical Controls
- Refrigeration Technician Certification
- Air Conditioning
- Modern Heating Systems
- Blueprints, Pipe Fitting, and Duct Layout
Apart from these essential subjects, you will also learn:
- OSHA Construction Safety and Health
- Marine Welding and Cutting
- Renewable Energy Systems
- Small Business and the Law
- Service Industry Communications
- Technical Math
The program touches upon the basic theory of heat flow and its control and the various methods and processes to make heat flow to either cool or heat a specific area. The refrigeration and air conditioning fundamentals taught in this program align with complex modern-day commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
The program’s heating portion focuses on heating systems such as steam, warm air, and forced hot water. You will also learn about the burners used with these systems and the associated control circuitry.
Electrical wiring, heat loss calculations, and system design are subjects that the program places special emphasis on since they relate to residential and commercial applications. Courses like the installation of heating systems, gas technology, and introduction to welding are also included.
Upon completing the HVAC training program, you can explore positions as technicians in the refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating industries. You will also be eligible for testing in HVAC competency exams and certifications or continuing with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management.
Sign up or request more information today!
START YOUR HVAC CAREER
Earn your degree in HVAC from NEIT and begin your new career path today!
Costs of Certified Technician Programs
The governing state decides and regulates the HVAC certification costs. A normal two- or three-year-long license may cost you anywhere between $50 to $300.
The EPA Section 608 certification (that we talked about earlier) also depends on the jurisdiction. From $20 for a Type I exam to $150+ for a Universal exam in a proctored setting, the cost of certifications is variable.
How long does it take to become a certified HVAC?
Whether you want to be a technician or a general contractor, you will need to enroll in an HVAC training program, learn the intricacies of the field, and acquire ample hands-on training. It could take you up to two or three years to complete all the requirements to become a certified HVAC technician.
How much can I make with an HVAC certificate?
The United States Labor of Bureau Statistics could pay you anywhere between $14.94 and $30.58 per hour (depending on your skill level, qualification, and experience). The median annual wage for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics was $48,730 in May 2019. According to Indeed.com, the average HVAC technician makes $43,000 annually.
Do you have to go to school to get HVAC certified?
You don’t have to go to school or community college, but you’ll have better chances of succeeding in the field by attending one. After all, an educated, qualified, and skilled HVAC technician is better than one who doesn’t have the required qualifications, right?
Even if you live in an area where you don’t need an HVAC certification to ply your trade, it is always better to have solid credentials.
What is a master HVAC license?
A master HVAC license serves as the highest level of a technician in the HVAC business in some states. Someone with a master HVAC license can be the contractor himself. If you have a master HVAC license, you are generally considered to be better than a journeyman (in terms of wage, experience, and expertise).
Master HVAC technicians repair and maintain HVAC equipment, manage the installation and repair, and ensure that the work follows the state building codes. Although the state-wise requirements vary, you need at least one year of work experience as a journeyman to be eligible for the state’s master’s examination in most cases.
What is an HVAC engineer? Does an HVAC engineer require certification?
An HVAC engineer is a professional who designs heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems or accessories. As an HVAC engineer, you need to find solutions to everyday HVAC problems, work in labs with other engineers, or partner with architects to assess residential or commercial spaces’ right systems.
An HVAC engineer is generally required to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering and HVAC certification in some states.
What states do not require an HVAC license?
States like (but not limited to) Wyoming, Vermont, Illinois, Arizona, New York, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana don’t require technicians to have an HVAC license.
How do I study for an HVAC test? ›
- HVAC/R School Training. ...
- Hands-On Practice. ...
- HVAC Practice Exams. ...
- Review Notes, Homework and Relevant Exams During Training. ...
- Switch Between Topics of Study. ...
- Get Plenty of Sleep.
Most apprenticeship programs in Indiana last between 3 to 5 years. Many municipalities require you to work as an apprentice for at least 4 years before qualifying to work as an HVAC journeyman.What is the highest HVAC certification? ›
Master Specialist certifications are the highest credential available to technicians through HVAC Excellence. The certifications are designed for technicians with three more years of experience.How do I get my FL HVAC license? ›
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Meet the educational/experience requirements.
- Obtain a passing score on all parts of the Florida State Construction examination.
- Be of good moral character.
- Pay all applicable fees.
- Obtain workers' compensation coverage.
Self-taught HVAC Training can be tedious and inefficient, but it is possible to learn HVAC this way. The best way is to find HVAC training curriculums online and then buy the course textbooks. Then you spend your time working through the textbook and example problems.Is HVAC hard to pass? ›
For many, HVAC training is not hard to complete. In fact, HVAC is no more difficult to learn than any other trade, but you should be prepared to learn in various ways. Some people assume because HVAC is very hands-on work that, it's possible to learn just by taking a system apart and putting it back together again.How much does an HVAC tech make in Indiana? ›
The average salary for a hvac technician in Indiana is $51,000 per year. Hvac technician salaries in Indiana can vary between $20,000 to $95,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.Do you need a HVAC license in Indiana? ›
Section 875-301 requires an HVACR contractor to be licensed to install, modernize, replace, service, or repair all or any part of the following: Heating system. Space heating equipment. Cooling system.
Programs for HVAC technicians typically range in length from six months to 2 years. MIAT College of Technology offers an HVACR Technician certificate program that can be completed in as few as 9 months by full time students, assuming no interruption in training.Can I make 100k a year in HVAC? ›
Yes, HVAC techs can make 100k.
The average HVAC tech makes between $24,000 to $74,000 a year, with a median salary of $49,292. To make 100k as an HVAC tech, you would have to work excessive overtime and likely wear yourself out.
What is the best HVAC salary? ›
On average, an HVAC technician typically earns between $46,000 and $68,000 per year depending on experience. In 2020, the lowest 10% of HVAC technicians earned around $31,000 per year, while the top 10% earned around $80,000 per year.Who makes the most money in HVAC? ›
The highest-paying HVAC job is for those who own their own business. HVAC contractors typically earn anywhere from $67,573 to $209,355 a year. This amount is much higher than the average HVAC technician's average salary, 42,000 a year.How hard is it to get an HVAC license in Florida? ›
Class A and B Certified HVAC Contractor Licenses
Applicants with a 4-year degree need at least 1 year of work experience, whereas applicants without an education need at least 1 year of experience working as a foreman. Pass the Florida HVAC certification exam.
How Much Does It Cost to Get an HVAC License in Florida? Costs vary depending on the license. For the state certifications, you will pay $355 for the exam, and then $125 to apply for the certification. For state registrations, HVAC technicians pay a $100 fee to register or renew their license.How much does an HVAC tech make in Florida? ›
The average salary for a hvac technician in Florida is $45,500 per year. Hvac technician salaries in Florida can vary between $21,000 to $81,500 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.Do you need math for HVAC? ›
An HVAC career doesn't typically require advanced math skills. HVACR technicians do need basic math skills, like the ability to read a tape measure, calculate basic load requirements and use fractions. Those are covered in HVACR technician training, so you're prepared to enter the field.How do I start learning HVAC? ›
- Earn a high school degree or equivalent. ...
- Complete an HVAC training program. ...
- Get an HVAC apprenticeship and experience. ...
- Earn required state licenses and industry certifications. ...
- Continue your education or complete additional degree programs. ...
- Latest Posts.
HVAC technicians commonly work heavy amounts of overtime during peak heating and cooling seasons. Logging long work hours is undoubtedly strenuous for HVAC technicians and their bodies, though it is not without benefit, as they are compensated accordingly to reward their hard work. Think of it as a double-edged sword.Can HVAC make 6 figures? ›
Yes, HVAC techs can make 100k. Factors such as years of experience, location, and company can increase your chances of making more money. For example, an HVAC tech working as a manager in Massachusetts, the highest paying state for HVAC techs, would need to perform considerable overtime to earn six figures.Can HVAC make a lot of money? ›
Salary of HVAC Owners
The average income for HVAC owners is between $35,000 and $75,000. Few earn more than $100,000, but the ones who do are earning that much because they are employing effective systems in their business, analyzing every aspect they can, and increasing the efficiency of their work.
Is HVAC a stressful job? ›
Yes, HVAC is a stressful job.
Factors such as working conditions and long work hours all contribute to stress experienced by HVAC tech. For example, the work of an HVAC tech is physically demanding - working in tight, dark, and dirty spaces can pose a variety of mental and physical challenges.
- Radiation Therapists. ...
- Nuclear Medicine Technologists. ...
- Dental Hygienists. ...
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians. ...
- Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians. ...
- Boilermakers. ...
- Construction and Building Inspectors. ...
Where do HVAC installers make the most money? According to the BLS, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Massachusetts pay the highest average annual salaries for HVAC technicians. The District of Columbia also tops the list with an average salary of $73,460 a year.Is becoming a HVAC tech worth it? ›
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the HVAC industry is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The diversity of job opportunities and advancement in systems makes this industry an attractive and rewarding career.How much is it to get a contractors license in Indiana? ›
The fees for each license type vary: General Contractor: $90. General Contractor Superintendent: $25. Building Contractor: $90.What makes a good HVAC technician? ›
A great HVAC technician should have vast knowledge on the basics of hot water heating, steam heating, air conditioning, water cooling, and other appliances. It is especially outstanding if they specialize in an area of expertise, like residential energy recovery ventilators.How to start a HVAC business in Indiana? ›
To work as an HVAC contractor and own your own business, this county requires you to hold a heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and duct system supervisor's license issued by the building department after at least four years of work experience and passing an exam offered by Prometric.How long does an HVAC run per day? ›
As long as your air conditioner is properly sized for the room or home and summer temperatures are moderate, your compressor may only run 70% of the time. This means that every 24 hours, your compressor is running for about 16 hours. This is true whether you have central air, a window unit, or a mini-split.How many days a week does HVAC work? ›
HVAC work can be very seasonal and during extreme temperatures, some technicians may be working 10-12 hour days to help meet the demand. Some companies try to hire enough technicians to split up the work, giving each technician 10-hour days for four days per week.How many hours a day does HVAC run? ›
In general, a properly sized single stage (one speed) air conditioner will run in 15 to 20 minute cycles throughout the day, one to two per hour, and sometimes three, depending on how hot it is outside. These cycles will come to about: 8-14 hours total run time for central air. 12-18 hours run time for a window unit.
Is HVAC still a good career? ›
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there had been 376,800 HVAC technician jobs in 2019, with a predicted rise of 4 percent through 2029. From the figures, it's far clear that a profession in HVAC is in excessive demand. That method now could be the correct possibility to dive into this industry.Is HVAC a good long term career? ›
It has good earning potential
As an essential trade, HVAC has great earning potential. Even at the entry level, a career in HVAC offers a competitive wage. With several career advancement opportunities in this field, there's potential to earn even more as your career progresses.
- Build a business plan and define pricing strategy.
- Create a brand and use marketing to increase sales.
- Add value with happy customers.
You might not expect to see the HVAC trade listed as one of the most stressful professions. But the work is physically demanding, and working in tight, dark, and dirty spaces can pose a variety of mental and physical challenges.How much do HVAC techs make an hour in Florida? ›
HVAC technician career snapshot
The average wage for an HVAC technician in Florida is $22.57 per hour which comes out to $46,940 annually.
What is the average salary for a hvac apprentice in Florida? The average salary for a hvac apprentice in Florida is $28,000 per year. Hvac apprentice salaries in Florida can vary between $16,500 to $44,000 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.Can you be a millionaire in HVAC? ›
Service jobs have never left the U.S. like some other industries have, and they never will. Become a Millionaire – A lot of contractors are young millionaires because HVAC is an industry where it's possible to go from mechanic to millionaire in less than a decade.Can you become a millionaire doing HVAC? ›
However, as taxing as the HVAC industry can be, whether you believe it or not, your business can make you wealthy—as in a millionaire, multi-millionaire. But there are some obstacles that get in the way. Or, put another way, there is a key difference between the millionaire contractor and the struggling contractor.Is there a shortage of HVAC technicians? ›
We are going to have about a 40% shortage of skilled labor. That is a trainwreck,” said Adkins. Adkins says the average age of plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians is about 57 years old.How much does HVAC owner make in Florida? ›
How much does a HVAC Owner make in Florida? As of Mar 3, 2023, the average annual pay for a HVAC Owner in Florida is $41,716 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $20.06 an hour. This is the equivalent of $802/week or $3,476/month.
Can I work on HVAC without a license in Florida? ›
The state of Florida requires all HVAC Contractors to be licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations. However, if you are an HVAC Technician and want to work under a contractor's supervision, you can do so without obtaining a license to perform HVAC work.How much do HVAC sales make in Florida? ›
The average HVAC Sales Representative salary in Florida is $59,468 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $52,681 and $71,003.How long is HVAC school in Florida? ›
To become an HVAC technician in Florida, you must complete a training course from an approved institution. HVAC certification programs can be completed in as little as 15 months, attending full time. During training, you will learn all the basics to prepare you for work as an entry-level HVAC technician.How many certifications should I have in HVAC? ›
There are many different HVAC certifications, but five areas are necessary to perform HVAC maintenance. These five certifications are EPA Certification, R-410A Certification, Indoor Air Quality Certification, NATE Certification, and Preventive Maintenance HVAC Certification.Is HVAC in demand in Florida? ›
States that Employ the Most HVAC Workers.
|States||New HVAC positions anticipated (2020-2030)|
How much does a HVAC Journeyman make in Florida? As of Jan 25, 2023, the average annual pay for a HVAC Journeyman in Florida is $42,032 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $20.21 an hour. This is the equivalent of $808/week or $3,502/month.Are hvac techs in high demand? ›
The HVAC industry is booming, and there's no sign of it slowing down any time soon. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the HVAC industry is expected to grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029—much faster than the average for all occupations.How do I become a certified hvac Tech in Florida? ›
- Be 18 years of age.
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Complete a training program—either on-the-job training working under the supervision of a licensed contractor or classroom training at a vocational school or college.
- Get verified experience in the HVAC industry.
An HVAC career doesn't typically require advanced math skills. HVACR technicians do need basic math skills, like the ability to read a tape measure, calculate basic load requirements and use fractions. Those are covered in HVACR technician training, so you're prepared to enter the field.What type of test is done for HVAC? ›
Electrical, insulation-resistance, and thermal-measurement testing are three ways to inspect an HVAC system's motors and associated controls. Used on a regular basis, thermal imagers can detect potential problems, while insulation-resistance and electrical tests can determine their cause.
What is the acceptance rate for HVAC? ›
It is a small institution with an enrollment of 84 undergraduate students. The HVAC Technical Institute acceptance rate is 100%.How long does it take to learn the basics of HVAC? ›
You can choose to earn an HVAC certification or sign up for a program in refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating technology from a trade school or vocational school. Such training programs usually take anywhere between 6 months and three years to complete.Is electrician easier than HVAC? ›
Which is harder to learn HVAC or electrical? HVAC and electrical are very similar. Students are trained on real equipment, and both programs can be completed in as few as 10 months. It is very difficult to say which one is easier because they both involve hands-on learning and theory.Is HVAC one of the hardest trades? ›
According to other contractors, electrical and HVAC are among the hardest to learn, but flooring and cleaning specialists were most likely to call their own crafts the toughest. Again, carpentry was viewed as one of the most difficult by both groups.What type of math does HVAC use? ›
Rates, ratios, and proportions: These math skills are used to calculate air or water flow rates, as well as to read drawings.What is Type 2 HVAC certification? ›
Type II – Servicing High-Pressure Appliances
This EPA certification enables you to service or dispose of medium to very-high-pressure appliances, except in applications such as small appliances or air conditioners within motor vehicles.
The drop test is performed by connecting an AC voltage across the entire synchro- nous field and measuring the voltage drop across each field pole independently. If each field pole is dropping the same, or near the same voltage then the field poles can be considered in good condition.How do you test ductwork? ›
Turn your HVAC system on and return to the areas where ductwork is accessible. Check the connections between each section of duct, placing your hand over the metal. If you feel air against your hand, the connection is loose and there is an air leak. A common place for leaks is the duct joints.What pays the most in HVAC? ›
- Thermal Engineer. Salary range: $96,000-$134,000 per year. ...
- HVAC Design Engineer. Salary range: $63,500-$101,500 per year. ...
- Hvac Project Manager. Salary range: $68,500-$100,000 per year. ...
- Cfd Engineer. Salary range: $80,000-$97,000 per year. ...
- Air Conditioning Engineer. ...
- HVAC Engineer. ...
- HVAC Manager. ...
- Hvac Estimator.
Where do HVAC installers make the most money? According to the BLS, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Massachusetts pay the highest average annual salaries for HVAC technicians. The District of Columbia also tops the list with an average salary of $73,460 a year.
Is it worth learning HVAC? ›
Your Career in a Long Run
The HVAC technicians who had a high school diploma have earned about $1.6 million during their lifetime. The HVAC technicians with some college degrees have earned about $1.8 million during their career, and the technicians with an associate's degree have the same earning as well.