If you intend to live in Texas, pursuing a career in the HVAC industry is a great idea.
There are over 17 000 licensed HVAC contractors in the Lone Star State. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests that it isn’t hard to find work in this line of work.
The employment numbers are supposed to increase by 15% within a decade from 2018. However, before you start looking for HVAC jobs, you have to get licensed.
In case you’re confused, you’ll benefit from reading our guidelines on how to get an HVAC license in Texas.
- 1. Benefits of Getting an HVAC License
- 2. Texas HVAC license requirements
- 3. How to apply for a Texas HVAC contractor license
- 4. HVAC license classes and endorsements
- 5. Taking the Texas HVAC contractor license exam in Texas
- 6. Experience Requirements
- 7. Application and Fee
- 8. Exam Requirement
- 9. List of Texas HVAC Schools
- 10. HVAC business insurance requirements in Texas
- 11. Applicants with Criminal Convictions
- 12. How long does it take to get an HVAC license in Texas?
Benefits of Getting an HVAC License
Statisticians predict that by 2028, HVAC jobs in Texas are going to go up by 15%. HVAC technicians in Texas also get compensated really well. In fact, they make slightly more than the national average salary. It is possible to find employment throughout your training.
A Texas HVAC license is necessary to demonstrate your abilities to the customers and earn their trust.
Texas HVAC license requirements
A license issued by Texas governing body is necessary to find work in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. There are several ways to get a license:
Texas registered technician
This license will serve you well if you intend to work as a repair assistant to an HVAC contractor. You can’t apply if you’re younger than 18 years old. If you’re not, you can fill out an entire application, pay the associated $20 fee and wait. Working experience or training is not mandatory, but with this license, you’ll be limited to working under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor.
Texas certified technician
Having a Certified technician license proves that you’re more qualified than a registered technician. Still, you can’t work independently without the guidance of a licensed HVAC contractor. It is also prohibited to promote yourself as an independent air conditioning and refrigeration contractor.
To receive this license, you must be 18 years old, fill out an application and cover the associated 50$ fee.
You are also required to meet one of these prerequisites:
- Have worked for at least 24 months under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor.
- Within the past 48 months, graduated from an HVAC certification learning course with at least 2,000 hours of studying involved. The course be approved by TDLR.
- Have some sort of military experience that could count as relevant to this line of work.
If you satisfy all the prerequisites, you can finally apply. To finally get certified, you’ll also have to get a passing grade on the HVAC licensing exam.
Texas HVAC contractor license
HVAC contractors who plan to provide air conditioning and refrigeration services independently must hold an HVAC contractor’s license in Texas.
To work on air conditioning and refrigeration repairs or maintenance jobs, an individual must be appropriately licensed by the state of Texas.
Here’s an overview of prerequisites. We’ll go over each one of them in-depth later. Here are the prerequisites:
- Have reached at least 18 years of age.
- Satisfy the educational or experience requirements imposed by the governing body.
- Be properly licensed for the job you’re going to be doing.
- Successfully apply
- Get a passing grade on an exam
- Cover the costs associated to the application
- Prove that you have insurance coverage
By reading the passages below, you can learn more about various types of HVAC licenses in Texas.
How to apply for a Texas HVAC contractor license
In order to become a licensed HVAC contractor in Texas, you must pay $115 and satisfy at least one of the prerequisites:
- You have worked as an apprentice to an HVAC contractor who was licensed six years ago or later. The required duration for your work experience is four years.
- You’ve been awarded a technician certificate during the past year and during the past four years, you’ve accumulated a minimum of three years of working experience under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor.
- Have a convincing case for why you should be granted an exception to these rules, based on relevant training or experience.
Based on whether they’ve obtained an HVAC degree or certification, an engineering license, have had the relevant experience in their role as military members, or have been part of relevant training courses, contractors may be entitled to some kind of exemption of the experience requirements.
HVAC license classes and endorsements
When you’re applying to receive an HVAC contractor’s license, you’re asked to specify your license class and endorsement duo. Depending on your choice, you’ll be assigned a specific exam and you’ll need to meet insurance prerequisites. Also, your choice will affect your future career by defining what type of equipment you can repair. These are the choices at your disposal:
- Class A license with Environmental Air Conditioning endorsement
- Class B license with Environmental Air Conditioning endorsement
- Class A license with Commercial Refrigeration / Process Cooling or Heating endorsement
- Class B license with Commercial Refrigeration / Process Cooling or Heating endorsement
Individuals who hold Class A licenses can do repairs or maintenance work on any piece of equipment, regardless of its size. On the other hand, Class B licensees can only service cooling units with a cooling capacity of fewer than 25 tons. For heating units, the capacity must be under 1.5 million BTUs/h.
Here’s the list of endorsements that you can get:
- Environmental Air Conditioning – controlling the temperature, humidity, filtration, and flowing of the air in the room to make it more comfortable.
- Commercial Refrigeration – Utilizing mechanical or absorption units to maintain a certain temperature or humidity in a room. The purpose must be commercial.
- Process Cooling or Heating – Maintaining certain temperature, humidity, or air cleanliness to enhance production capabilities of various kinds of equipment.
Note: “Commercial Refrigeration” and “Process Heating and Cooling” only apply to refrigerator types, such as coolers, freezers, ice machines, and other machinery that allows the user to maintain desired levels of humidity and air temperature.
The licenses issued by the State of Texas follow this principle: [Title] / [Class] / [License Number] / [Endorsement] (e.g. TACL/A/000000/C).
Multiple License Classes
If you desire to receive both types of licenses, you’ll be issued a single file that contains two license numbers for both types. For every individual license, you’re limited to only one endorsement. The addresses and business associations must be identical for both licenses.
NATE and EPA Licenses
You can obtain a supplemental NATE certificate to demonstrate your qualification as an HVAC professional. Having this license can help you earn an extra $10,000 to $20,000 in salary.
EPA license, which you automatically receive by obtaining an HVAC license in Texas, lets you do repairs or maintenance work with machines with refrigerants in them. You don’t have to do any additional work to get this license and it doesn’t really affect your salary.
Taking the Texas HVAC contractor license exam in Texas
Once TDLR has received your application, the licensing division will communicate to the exam vendor, PSI Exams, that you’re qualified to participate in the Texas HVAC contractor license test.
Afterward, you create an account with PSI, log in and pay the required fee, and set a date for an exam using their website. The test is taken using computers and can be taken at one of the 22 centers that are scattered in Texas. The exam doesn’t follow an open-book principle. If you guess more than 30% of answers incorrectly, you’ll fail.
The exact amount of questions you’ll have to answer throughout this exam will depend on the individual test type. You might also have to pay a different amount for each test, have a different time limit, and encounter questions in a different way.
If you can’t pass the license exam, you will lose your chance to obtain a license quickly. There are official study materials (and a trial test) that you can use to pass the HVAC license exam successfully.
There are experience-related prerequisites. You must meet at least one of them to receive a license:
- Have at least 4 years of hands-on experience in the HVAC industry in the last 6 years. Your experience must be accumulated under the guidance of a licensed contractor.
- Your technician certification must be at least one year old and you must’ve accumulated three years of hands-on experience in the HVAC industry during the past four years. Your experience must be accumulated under the guidance of a licensed contractor.
Your relevant experience should be reported using the Experience Verification Form (PDF). Only your supervisor is qualified to fill in this form. Don’t try to fill this form yourself. It is permitted to use numerous forms.
Filled-out experience verification documents must be attached to your application when you submit it.
The governing body might deem you qualified to exempt you from proving your experience. If one of these descriptions fit you:
- You possess some type of degree in HVAC
- You have been awarded a license or a mechanical engineering degree as an engineer.
- You’ve had an HVAC-related role or received relevant instructions in the military;
- Your employer performs cooling or heating tasks industrially;
Refer to the exemptions to practical experience requirements page to help you determine possible exemptions in your case.
Application and Fee
Applying for a license involves submitting of filled-out Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor License Application (PDF) document, as well as the associated $115 fee. If you’re issued a license, it will expire in one year.
You must’ve reached the age of 18 to be eligible to apply.
Once it has received your application and all the additional documents, TDLR will let you take the licensing exam. Refer to examination requirements to get a better understanding of this topic.
All steps of the application process must be completed within one year of the initial application.
After submitting your completed license application, required documentation, and paying associated licensing fees, TDLR will approve your eligibility to take the exam.
Once TDLR accepts your qualification for the exam, PSI will reach out to your email to confirm and give you guidelines on how to take the examination. If you didn’t include your email address in the application, you’ll be sent regular mail that includes the same information as email would.
To understand the process of participating in a PSI-organized exam, request a copy of the ACR CIB:
This file will help you thoroughly comprehend the examination procedure. You can print it out and read it if that’s what you prefer, but you must have Acrobat Reader to open it. This software can be downloaded for free and is compatible with Windows as well as Apple OS.
Before qualifying to take an exam, you must submit an application first. The application submission instructions will be provided. If there’s a problem with your application, you’ll receive a warning at your email address.
Once you’ve become qualified to take an exam, TDLR will communicate that fact to PSI. Afterward, PSI will notify you about your qualification by sending an email letter, including tips for making arrangements for an exam. You’ll have to cover examination costs imposed by PSI. Refer to CIB to figure out the exact amount you’ll have to pay.
Preparing For The Test
The individuals who are applying for a Class A type of license will have to answer 120 questions in four hours. The individuals who are aiming for a class B license will have to answer 100 questions in three hours. In both cases, test-takers must get a score of at least 70% to pass. You might encounter questions that are specific to your line of work, but most of the questions will be about basic HVAC topics, such as:
- Boiler systems
- Business and law issues
- The details of HVAC systems
- Heating and cooling units
- Setting up and maintaining Ventilation
- Complying with equipment requirements
- Refrigeration units and core concepts
- Manipulating the pressure
Books and References for the Exam
You can use the following study materials to prepare for the exam. You can buy them at our online contractor’s bookstore or reach out to us on the phone to place an order. Our number is 1-800-952-0910.
The exams will follow 2018 codebooks from the start of the 2021 year.
- 2015 or 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code
- 2015 or 2018 International Mechanical Code
- 2015 or 2018 International Fuel Gas Code
- Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
- ADI Duct Size Calculator
- Manual J (Environmental Air Exam Only)
- Manual D (Environmental Air Exam Only)
- Manual S (Environmental Air Exam Only)
You can get free study materials and print them out print them out for free:
Re-Taking an Exam
If you fail to get a passing grade, you can arrange with PSI to take the exam again in the next 24-48 hour period.
Re-taking the exam is possible for one year. Once the application has expired, you’ll have to apply again to be eligible for exam participation.
Exam Pass/Fail Rates
List of Texas HVAC Schools
|School Name||Address||Phone||Recent Graduates|
|Kilgore College||1100 Broadway Kilgore, TX 75662-3299||903-984-8531||55|
|Texas State Technical College-Waco||3801 Campus Drive Waco, TX 76705||800-792-8784||39|
|The University of Texas at Brownsville||One West University Boulevard Brownsville, TX 78520||956-882-8201||10|
|Vista College||6101 Montana Ave El Paso, TX 79925-2021||915-779-8031||290|
|Southwest Texas Junior College||2401 Garner Field Rd Uvalde, TX 78801-6297||830-278-4401||17|
|Kaplan College-Brownsville||1900 North Expressway, Suite O Brownsville, TX 78521||956-547-8200||63|
|Lincoln College of Technology-Grand Prairie||2915 Alouette Drive Grand Prairie, TX 75052||972-660-5701-41100||63|
|St Philip’s College||1801 Martin Luther King Dr San Antonio, TX 78203-2098||210-486-2000||0|
|Clarendon College||1122 College Drive Clarendon, TX 79226||806-874-3571-107||2|
|South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-Corpus Christi||2000 South Padre Island Dr Corpus Christi, TX 78416||361-232-5057||33|
|Lamar State College-Port Arthur||1500 Proctor St Port Arthur, TX 77640||409-984-6342||40|
|Austin Community College District||5930 Middle Fiskville Rd Austin, TX 78752||512-223-7000||36|
|Eastfield College||3737 Motley Dr Mesquite, TX 75150-2099||972-860-7100||116|
|Del Mar College||101 Baldwin Blvd. Corpus Christi, TX 78404-3897||361-698-1255||33|
|Coastal Bend College||3800 Charco Rd Beeville, TX 78102||361-354-2200||29|
|Galveston College||4015 Ave Q Galveston, TX 77550-7496||409-944-1220||33|
|Everest College-Arlington||300 Six Flags Drive Arlington, TX 76011||817-652-7790||70|
|Texas State Technical College-West Texas||300 Homer K. Taylor Drive Sweetwater, TX 79556||325-235-7300||6|
|South Plains College||1401 S. College Ave Levelland, TX 79336||806-894-9611-2175||20|
|Everest Institute-San Antonio||6550 First Park Ten San Antonio, TX 78213||210-732-7800-341||145|
|Houston Community College||3100 Main Street Houston, TX 77002||877-422-6111||25|
|El Paso Community College||9050 Viscount Blvd El Paso, TX 79925||915-831-2000||49|
|Midland College||3600 N Garfield Midland, TX 79705||432-685-4500||8|
|Lone Star College System||5000 Research Forest Drive The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399||832-813-6500||49|
|Paris Junior College||2400 Clarksville St Paris, TX 75460||903-785-7661||56|
|Texas State Technical College-Harlingen||1902 North Loop 499 Harlingen, TX 78550-3697||956-364-4000||25|
|Lamar Institute of Technology||855 E Lavaca Beaumont, TX 77705||409-880-8321||10|
|Trinity Valley Community College||100 Cardinal Drive Athens, TX 75751||903-675-6200||50|
|Lone Star College System||5000 Research Forest Drive The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399||832-813-6500||113|
|Hill College||112 Lamar Dr Hillsboro, TX 76645||254-659-7500||0|
|Laredo Community College||West End Washington St Laredo, TX 78040-4395||956-721-5140||36|
|Grayson College||6101 Grayson Drive Denison, TX 75020-8299||903-465-6030||32|
|Western Technical College||9624 Plaza Circle El Paso, TX 79927||915-760-8107||60|
|Everest Institute-Bissonnet||9700 Bissonnet St-Ste 1400 Houston, TX 77036-8001||713-772-4200-121||153|
|Texarkana College||2500 N Robison Rd Texarkana, TX 75599||903-823-3456||99|
|Everest Institute-Austin||9100 US Hwy 290 East, Bldg 1-Ste 100 Austin, TX 78724||512-928-1933||99|
|San Jacinto Community College||8060 Spencer Hwy Pasadena, TX 77501-2007||281-998-6150||87|
|Fortis Institute-Houston||450 N Sam Houston Pkwy E Ste 200 Houston, TX 77060||713-332-0062||28|
|Tyler Junior College||1400 East Fifth Street Tyler, TX 75701||903-510-2200||32|
|Cisco College||101 College Heights Cisco, TX 76437||254-442-5000||14|
|Brazosport College||500 College Dr Lake Jackson, TX 77566-3199||979-230-3000||20|
|Vernon College||4400 College Dr. Vernon, TX 76384-4092||940-552-6291||11|
|Cedar Valley College||3030 North Dallas Ave Lancaster, TX 75134-3799||972-860-8201||126|
|Remington College-Dallas Campus||1800 Eastgate Dr Garland, TX 75041||972-686-7878||0|
|South Texas College||3201 W Pecan Mcallen, TX 78502-9701||956-872-8311||96|
|North Lake College||5001 North MacArthur Blvd. Irving, TX 75038-3899||972-273-3000||0|
|Central Texas College||6200 West Central Texas Expressway Killeen, TX 76549-4199||254-526-7161||31|
|Remington College-Fort Worth Campus||300 E. Loop 820 Fort Worth, TX 76112-1225||817-451-0017||0|
|St Philip’s College||1801 Martin Luther King Dr San Antonio, TX 78203-2098||210-486-2000||18|
|Wharton County Junior College||911 Boling Hwy Wharton, TX 77488||979-532-4560||22|
|Tarrant County College District||1500 Houston St Fort Worth, TX 76102-6524||817-515-8223||115|
|South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-San Antonio||734 SE Military San Antonio, TX 78216||210-782-8000||16|
|Lee College||511 S Whiting Baytown, TX 77520||281-427-5611||26|
|Southern Careers Institute-San Antonio||6963 NW Loop 410 San Antonio, TX 78238-4114||512-437-7500||10|
HVAC business insurance requirements in Texas
You won’t be able to obtain an HVAC contractor license without satisfying the license and insurance prerequisites imposed by the state. Once you’ve passed the licensing exam, you’re required to supply the department with a certificate of insurance, which will contain the name of a licensed individual and his/her business. It is permitted to submit the documents to customer service by email. Your license type will have an impact on HVAC insurance coverage levels:
- To obtain a Class A license, you have to secure commercial general liability insurance. The insurance will cover for accidents around the property or an injury to the workers that is over $300,000 for every individual occurrence and $600,000 in total. The threshold for products and offered services is $300,000 in total.
- To obtain a Class B license, you have to secure commercial general liability insurance. The insurance will cover for accidents around the property and workers’ injuries that are over $100,000 for every individual occurrence and $200,000 in total. The threshold for products and offered services is $100,000 in total.
- If you hold both types of licenses, you only need one insurance policy that satisfies the requirements for a Class A license to meet the mandatory insurance prerequisites.
Once you’re insured, you’ll have to provide a certificate of insurance as proof to the department. Refer to Sample Certificate of Insurance (PDF) to see how the form is supposed to look. On top of the required insurance, you should also have workers’ compensation coverage in Texas if you hire extra employees and commercial auto insurance if you have company-registered cars.
Applicants with Criminal Convictions
It is obligatory to provide the department with a Criminal History Questionnaire (PDF) if there’s anything to report. If you had a conviction or misdemeanor in your past, regardless of whether it was inside or out of the state, you must report it.
The department takes initiative to research every candidate’s past to find possible criminal records. Each crime is treated differently. The biggest factors are nature of the conviction and how far back in the past crime occurred. The researchers take from one week to a month and a half to finalize the review.
Applicants can ask TDLR to go over their past criminal offenses before officially submitting an application. TDLR uses basically the same procedure for evaluating criminal pasts as we’ve described. Refer to Criminal History Evaluation Letter to learn more.
Check out Guidelines for License Applicants with Criminal Convictions to understand the reasoning behind TDLR’s decision to refuse a candidate’s request for a license, or even revoke an existing one.
How long does it take to get an HVAC license in Texas?
If you have the educational credits and meet the experience prerequisites, your HVAC license application shouldn’t take longer than a month and a half. You can arrange to take a PSI exam approximately within a week after the day you submit a completely filled-out application.
Once you get a passing grade on your exam, PSI will notify TDLR that you’ve passed and your license should be issued in three weeks at the latest.
If you have every document in order, have paid your dues, and have gotten a successful score on your test, you can ask the department to issue you a temporary license that you can use before you get the official one.