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How to Get an HVAC License

If you would like to pursue a career as a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning technician, you should obtain an HVAC license. Learn how to get started.


  • Step 1: Pass a licensing test. Check with state and local officials about specific requirements for HVAC licensing. All states that require licensing require you to pass a test. In addition, many states also require that you complete an apprenticeship or have 2 to 5 years experience in HVAC.
  • TIP: Search the internet for information about state licensing requirements.
  • TIP: [Acquire additional certifications] Acquire any additional certifications you will need for tasks such as purchasing and handling refrigerants. With the proper training and paperwork, you're on your way to an HVAC career.
  • FACT: Median hourly wages for HVAC technicians were $19.08 in 2008.
  • Step 2: Take additional tests to certify your competence in working with specific types of equipment. You should have at least one year of experience performing installations, and two years performing maintenance and repair before testing.
  • Step 3: Acquire field experience after you have completed the technical training program.
  • TIP: If you are still in high school and wish to prepare for an HVAC career, take courses in shop, math, mechanical drawing, physics and chemistry, electronics, blueprint reading, and computer applications.
  • Step 4: Enroll in an accredited HVAC technical training program. Many trade schools and community colleges offer 6-month to 2-year programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. You can also get your training by completing an apprenticeship.
  • Step 5: Learn about the theory of temperature control, equipment design and construction, and electronics. Study the basics of installation, maintenance, and repair.
  • Step 6: Take entry-level certification exams once you have completed the relevant coursework if you have less than 2 years of HVAC experience. Passing these exams demonstrates basic competence in residential heating and cooling, light commercial heating and cooling, and commercial refrigeration.
  • Step 7: Earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

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