West Virginia HVAC License: Everything to Know | Housecall Pro

West Virginia HVAC license:
Everything you need to know

HVAC technicians are more in demand now than ever before. If you’ve been thinking about starting a career in the HVAC industry, you’ll want to obtain a West Virginia HVAC license. With this license, you can work for an employer or start your own company.

Read this guide to learn the HVAC licensing requirements in West Virginia.

Do you need a license in West Virginia to become an HVAC technician?

Yes, you need a West Virginia HVAC license to perform HVAC work in the state.

What are the different types of HVAC licenses?

There are two main types of HVAC licenses in West Virginia: an HVAC technician certification and a contractor license with an HVAC classification. An HVAC technician certification allows you to install, maintain, alter, repair, or remodel an HVAC system or the components inside of the system. If you want to work on HVAC projects valued more than $2,500, you must apply for a contractor license with an HVAC classification.

The average annual salary of an HVAC technician is just above $40,000. Getting an HVAC contractor license commands a higher earning potential, with an average annual salary of about $65,000. To work with refrigerant in an HVAC unit, you also will need to be certified by the EPA.

Benefits of getting an HVAC license

Among the top benefits of obtaining an HVAC license is the industry growth. Employment within the HVAC industry is expected to increase by nearly 15% in the next decade.  Homeowners are upgrading their properties with energy efficiency equipment. With additional training, you can earn a contractor’s license and own a business.

How much does it cost to get an HVAC license in West Virginia?

The initial certification costs $75, while the exam fee is $42. The contractor license application fee is $90 plus a $42 exam.

How to get an HVAC license in West Virginia

Getting a West Virginia HVAC license begins with submitting an application for an HVAC technician certification.

Schooling requirements

School isn’t necessary to gain a West Virginia HVAC license. However, you can earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree to apply toward your HVAC technician certification. You also can attend a one-year program at numerous colleges throughout West Virginia. These programs and degrees require a substantial amount of hands-on coursework. Consider getting your own set of HVAC tools, too.

The best schools to attend include West Virginia Northern Community College and West Virginia University. At West Virginia Northern Community College, you can obtain an associate’s degree in refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating. At West Virginia University, they offer a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In-state tuition for the community college is just under $4,000 per year, while the tuition for West Virginia University can be about  $10,000 per year. Contact the schools to learn about the financial aid options.

On-the-job experience

To gain an HVAC technician certification, you must earn 2,000 hours of experience working with HVAC systems as well as an additional 6,000 hours of training. This experience can come in the form of an apprenticeship or education.

An apprenticeship allows you to be a technician in training while under the supervision of another HVAC technician. While you can obtain all of your on-the-job experience through an apprenticeship program, it’s possible for half of this experience to be gained with an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in HVAC or mechanical engineering. As for an HVAC contractor’s license, you can apply for this license after obtaining your technician certification.

Who actually issues the licenses?

Both the HVAC technician certification and the HVAC contractor license are administered by the Department of Commerce Division of Labor in West Virginia.

Are there exams?

To obtain an HVAC technician certification, you must pass the trade exam. It’s comprised of 84 questions to be completed within three hours. To pass this examination, your final score must be 70% or higher. The main exam topics include:

  • Load calculations
  • General regulations
  • Controls
  • Code requirements
  • Ducting
  • Insulating
  • Safety
  • Piping

Along with the trade exam, the business and law exam includes 50 questions. The exam focuses on everything from labor law and business organization to risk management and tax law. Some of the study materials include 2012 International Mechanical Code and HVAC Basics for Contractors. You also can take the free online practice tests here.

Do the licenses need to be renewed?

HVAC technician certifications and contractor licenses must be renewed every year. The renewal fee is $75 with an additional late fee of $25 for expired licenses.

How long does it take to get an HVAC license?

It can take about four years of experience to qualify for an HVAC technician certification. After passing the necessary exams, it can take several weeks before receiving your license.