What HVAC licenses are there?

What HVAC licenses are there?

There are endless amounts of reasons as to why you should never try to fix or work on your own heating and cooling system. There are also endless amounts of reasons, really a list as long as your arm, of reasons why you should hire a professional technician to work on your heating, ventilation or cooling system. The main reason is that there is a high amount of danger and risk involved with working on HVAC systems and equipment, hence why hiring an expert with a HVAC license is so important.

As a technician, having a HVAC license is proof you are professionally trained and certified. It shows the technician has a wide range of skills, from understanding heating and cooling systems, to being able to analyze air quality, as well as installing, repairing and maintaining HVAC units. Each state has different licensing requirements, with some requiring technicians to pass exams, and others having no mandatory licensing at all like Indiana, Vermont and Arizona. In others a written exam may need to be taken. For example, in Texas, technicians need to pass the North American Technician Excellence exam (NATE) for HVAC technicians. Receiving a license from the state you are working in is proof to employers and customers that you are a professional, trained technician who can take on work. Training and licensing does not transfer from state to state, so if you need a HVAC license for a new state you must contact the specific licensing department about requirements. HVAC professionals will also need to keep up to date with state regulation, as rules on licensing can be changed. There is also mandated federal certification that HVAC technicians must have. They need to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to purchase refrigerants and to dispose them.

In addition to licensing, the two main types of certifications that HVAC technicians can obtain as professionals are:

  1. North American Technical Excellence - NATE is an organization that certifies technicians. Although not legally required, it is the gold standard of certification and recommended for any HVAC professional.
  2. HVAC Excellence - HVAC is an agency that is another body that certifies technicians. It is very reputable in the industry, and technicians are only certified after completing a course or apprenticeship that is approved, and after an exam is taken. They focus much more on awarding certificates to technicians who have experience, as well as knowledge.

Types of HVAC licensing and certification can be varied, and a professional will have different levels of certification and education based on their career goals. However, now HVAC units are more complex than ever before, so technicians generally need to have undertaken detailed education to really know how they all work, and the best methods of repair. It’s important to remember that exams for licensing or basic certification are testing basic skills competency, so the more experience and certifications a HVAC professional has, the better they will probably be, and the more they are likely to charge for their premium skills.