How Long Does it Take to Get HVAC Certified?

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📝Key Takeaways:

  • This article guides HVAC tech aspirants on becoming HVAC contractors and earning certificates.
  • According to the Code of Federal Regulations Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, “Technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could emit ozone-depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere must be qualified.”
  • Certification in HVAC establishes a benchmark for expertise, quality, and safety in your industry.

Certification establishes a benchmark for your industry’s expertise, quality, and safety. Know the importance of getting certificates and licenses and how to get them. 

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a highly qualified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technician? Due to the increased demand for HVAC technicians, this profession is becoming more common in the United States and internationally.

According to Zippia, HVAC technicians are growing faster than people in general! Currently, about 212,509 HVAC technicians are working in the US.

In both residential and commercial projects, HVAC systems are essential. Although the users of these systems assume they are simple, it is important to recognize their true complexity.

An HVAC technician is the first person people contact for installation, maintenance, or any malfunction with the HVAC system. So, if you are looking for a detailed guide on becoming an HVAC contractor and HVAC certification, this article is for you.

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1. How Much Time Does it Take to Become an HVAC Contractor?

The Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Classes website indicates that HVAC training from a recognized program can be finished in 6 months or as long as 2 years. But, this period may vary from state to state on the basis of the chosen training program and the number of courses.

A recognized associate degree is the quickest path to becoming an HVAC or HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, Refrigeration) technician. This pace of growth is comparable to that of all other professions. 

Also, these processes will help you answer the question: how long does it take to get HVAC certified? 


A person may require two years of technical training from a high school, trade school, or vocational school to become an HVAC technician. In addition, a person can choose various courses to prepare for entry-level employment in HVAC. Some popular courses include heavy machinery repair, precise metalworking, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration maintenance.

fastest way to get hvac certified

HVAC technicians will continue to have career possibilities due to the rapidly changing infrastructure and the construction of new homes and businesses.

On-the-job training is a traditional form of training. If you have graduated, you can begin your career as an HVAC technician, journeyman, or master by working as their assistant.

This is typically the most time-consuming path to becoming a qualified HVAC technician, but it is still a possibility. You can learn about the workings of the industry and acquire useful skills on the job by working under experienced HVAC specialists.

You can enroll in a course in air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology at a trade school or vocational school or earn an HVAC certification. These training courses often last six months to three years to complete.


Before working as a certified HVAC technician, you might need to earn one. Numerous certifying bodies provide various certifications, but they are all technicians. The S-290 job task analysis certification, available from the National Environmental Balancing Bureau, applies to all HVAC devices and systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society are further certifying organizations. A person might need to pass a written test and attend a seminar class to become certified by one of these organizations.

You may be wondering how many types of HVAC certificates are actually there.

Three levels of certificates are offered in the majority of states:

  • HVAC Apprentice Certificate
  • HVAC Journeyman Certificate
  • HVAC Master Certificate

HVAC Apprentice Certificate: States provide apprenticeships or equivalent programs for persons undergoing training in HVAC. People must operate under the direction of a master or contractor technician, and no prior experience is necessary.

HVAC Journeyman Certificate: Upon finishing the apprenticeship program, technicians can go for the HVAC Journeyman certification. You need to complete some years of training under the guidance of a contractor or master technician and then pass a certification exam. While the work authorizations granted by a journeyman certificate or license might vary, they typically contain job capabilities with certain limitations.

HVAC Master Certificate: This certificate is intended for technicians who’ve already attained a level of experience above that of a journeyman. It often requires passing an exam and has no constraints on the kind of job a technician may perform.

2. HVAC license requirements by State

“Technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could emit ozone-depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere must be qualified,” according to Code of Federal Regulations Section 608 of the Clean Air Act.

HVAC license requirements by State

To obtain Section 608 Technician Certification, an industry- and equipment-specific certification, technicians must complete an EPA-approved test. A certifying entity that has received EPA approval must conduct the tests. Your certification is valid after you receive it.

In addition to potentially harming the environment, refrigerants are used for cooking food in refrigerators and air conditioning systems. 

Although there is no federal legislation requiring HVAC technicians to get this certification, if you work in the field, it is anticipated that you are aware of the regulations to safeguard you and the environment when handling refrigerants.

A person may need to have several years of on-the-job training and experience in HVAC to become an HVAC technician. These are a few experiences:

  • Knowledge of ventilation, air conditioning, or heating system
  • Ductwork testing expertise
  • Expertise in conducting leak tests
  • Experience checking a heating or cooling system to ensure optimal operation
  • Experimenting with different thermostat settings

3. Why Getting Certificates and Licenses Is a Good Idea

HVAC certification establishes a benchmark for your industry’s expertise, quality, and safety.

To start an HVAC firm or operate in the industry, you must be certified in many US states. In other situations, you might first need to gain experience and schooling in HVAC to work as a certified HVAC contractor.

No matter where you are in your career as an HVAC technician, having your license can be a tremendous asset if you want to advance your abilities and truly master your trade. You can gain from it in a variety of ways throughout time.

You are not required to have a license in several states, including New York, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Vermont, Colorado, and Wyoming. To practice your occupation, you must be a qualified HVAC technician in practically all other US regions. You must pass a written test in certain circumstances.

Depending on the state, there may be differences in the license standards, tests, and laws on how to get HVAC certified.

A few methods exist for obtaining an HVAC license:

Training Program for HVAC

Getting schooling in HVAC technology; it’s probably the most reliable and all-encompassing way to ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge for the job.

hvac certification cost

Make sure you enroll in a reputable college’s HVAC training program to become an HVAC technician. Besides, you should also have knowledge or hands-on experience of HVAC software for contractors.

Practical Knowledge

how to get hvac certified

You may wonder how long it takes to get HVAC certified! Well, since most certifications require a minimum of 12 months of field experience, get on-the-job training by working under an HVAC journeyman or contractor. You must also know how to price HVAC jobs.

Further Certifications

To learn more about the other specialty certifications they provide, get in touch with organizations like the North American Technical Excellence (NATE), HVAC Excellence, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), and Refrigeration Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA).

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Do professional HVAC technicians earn a good living?

    Yes, licensed HVAC contractors with the proper education and training may earn a respectable $48,730 per year. By the way, it is the median annual pay in the US for HVAC installers, mechanics, and technicians.

  2. Is it worthwhile to pursue a career as an HVAC technician?

    Yes, there is a huge need for HVAC specialists around the country due to the expanding infrastructure, construction sites, and technology advancements. Obtaining a degree in the area is lucrative since the profession continually expands and the job outlook is positive.

  3. What do HVAC technicians get paid per hour?

    HVAC technicians, mechanics, and installers earn $23.43 per hour, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (average median income). You’ll be able to demand better wages for your services if you have experience in the field.

  4. Is there a software for licensed HVAC contractors for invoice tracking?

    Yes, InvoiceOwl is the perfect software for an HVAC technician. InvoiceOwl helps professional HVAC technicians create estimates and invoices with a professional appearance in just a few minutes!

  5. How much does HVAC certification cost?

    In general, HVAC certification costs:

    • Apprenticeship: $500 to $2,000
    • Vocational education: $1,000 to $15,000
    • College/university: $5,000 to 15,000 per year

    Depending on the state’s licensing laws and the kind of training you select to fulfill those laws, the cost of obtaining the HVAC certification varies.

  6. Can HVAC work be performed without a license?

    Not all jurisdictions have licensing requirements for HVAC work. Some states allow entry-level technicians to practice without a license under the guidance and supervision of master technicians. However, you risk facing severe financial penalties and legal charges if you are discovered operating without a license in an area that requires it.

  7. Why obtain an HVAC license?

    There are perks to obtaining a HVAC license:

    • When you work for some businesses, it’s expected.
    • Certifications or licenses frequently imply that you have practical experience, so you’ll be able to begin working sooner.
    • A certification in HVAC will give you an advantage over your competitors in the future.
    • You may be able to charge extra for your services if you have certification.

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Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of InvoiceOwl and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.