In general, all states require some type of HVAC certificate. If you want to work legally in the state where you reside, you will need to have a certificate that proves you have the skills, knowledge, and education to complete HVAC projects. For some states, certificates are necessary when you complete work valued at $500 or more.
That said, the requirement for each state varies, so you will need to look into your state-specific laws for certification in industry jobs. The different requirements may mean you have to pursue apprenticeships or other training programs before you can apply for certification tests.
Regardless of where you live, you will need me to complete a national EPA certification to become an HVAC specialist. Specifically, the EPA has a requirement for all HVAC technicians to take an exam to handle refrigerant chemicals, regardless of where they live.
When you take this test, you will earn an EPA Section 608 certification. Without the certification, you will not be able to handle any HVAC projects that require the use of refrigerant and other similar chemicals. Some states may require you to have this certificate before you can seek state-specific certificates.
Basic Requirements for Certification
The basic requirements to get a certificate in any state include being over the age of 18, having a clear criminal record proven by a background check, and the equivalent of a high school diploma, GED, or other basic education. For some states, you may be required to obtain a bachelor's degree before you can seek certification in certain specialties.
Furthermore, your state may require you to complete a combination training program before you can submit any applications for certification. For example, you may need to have work experience equivalent to 2,000 hours or one year of practical experience, in addition to formal HVAC education programs from a vocational school, community college, or university program.
Special State Requirements
The requirements to receive certification depend on where you live. In some states, you must have journeymen experience for the last two years before you can meet the basic requirements for education and work experience. In other states, you may need a formal license in addition to a certificate that proves you have the experience to complete HVAC jobs.
States require certificates and licenses to be renewed regularly. While some states require renewal every two years, other states require renewal once a year. Additionally, when you apply for your certificate or license, you may need to specify the class of your license, which will influence the type of projects you are allowed to work on.
What Career Paths Are Available After HVAC Certification?
When most people think about HVAC technicians, they think about the installation experts who design and install HVAC systems for residential and commercial properties. However, there are several other career paths that may be available to you once you have your HVAC certificate or license.
To be sure, some of these specializations will require higher education, such as a bachelor's degree. However, each of these specializations is projected to grow in the next decade, so it may be relevant to explore the other HVAC career paths that may be available to you.
An AC tech is an HVAC technician who specializes in air conditioning. This is a specific field in HVAC installation that general HVAC contractors can also be certified for. An AC tech will be responsible for installing air conditioning units, diagnosing air conditioning units, and troubleshooting AC units when they are damaged.
Solar Energy Tech
With solar energy on the rise, one of the most popular HVAC career paths today is a solar energy technician. A solar energy tech is responsible for the installation and repair of solar equipment for residential and commercial properties. Solar energy technicians may be required to have additional certifications, such as a NABCEP certificate in certain states.
Wind Turbine Tech
Along with solar energy, wind energy is another industry that is becoming more popular. Wind turbine techs are HVAC specialists who are specially trained in managing wind turbines for energy generation. Wind turbine techs diagnose and repair wind turbines to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Furthermore, wind turbine techs also work closely with the energy industry to install wind turbines for government contracts.
HVAC technicians can also work with cars. Automotive HVAC technicians can work in mechanical repair shops or car factories to install and repair heating and air conditioning systems in vehicles. Since most vehicles now include forced heating and air technology, automotive HVAC technicians are in high demand.
HVAC technicians may also specialize in refrigeration. Refrigeration technicians service refrigeration units for homes, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial businesses. Refrigeration technicians require special certifications along with an HVAC certificate in certain states. However, refrigeration technicians have a highly rewarding job since refrigeration is a high-demand commodity.
What's the Highest Certification?
The highest certification that can be achieved by an HVAC technician is a master specialist. A master specialist can focus on general HVAC installation and management, as well as have multiple specialties such as solar and wind. The highest level of HVAC certification will generally require a bachelor's degree and a great deal of experience. You also have to take a special examination to earn a master's specialist certification in most states.
HVAC technicians must be certified to work legally in all states across the nation. In addition to certifications, your state may also require you have a license in HVAC specialties, such as solar energy or refrigeration. Additionally, the EPA requires all HVAC specialists to be certified in the handling of refrigerants and other chemicals. To learn more about how to have a successful career as an HVAC technician, visit ServiceBox today.