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Kentucky HVAC License: Everything You Need to Know

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technicians are in high demand, and the HVAC industry is preparing people for this rewarding profession. In this guide, you'll find the information you need about earning your Kentucky HVAC license, including the requirements, earnings, and job resources.

Do You Need a License in Kentucky to Become an HVAC Technician?

The state requires all individuals practicing HVAC work possess a Kentucky HVAC license. The Kentucky Department of Housing, Building & Construction issues the license.

What are the Different Types of HVAC Licenses?

There are three types of licenses:

  • Apprentice License

  • Journeyman HVAC Mechanic License

  • Master HVAC Contractor License

Apprentices learning the HVAC trade must be directly supervised by a journeyman HVAC mechanic and generally supervised by a master HVAC contractor. For the apprentice license applications, you must show proof of your work with a signature from your master HVAC contractor.

Journeyman HVAC Mechanic License is available when you possess the knowledge and skill to maintain, install, repair, and remodel HVAC technology within requirements of Kentucky standards and codes. To apply for the journeyman license, you must submit verification of at least 3,000 work hours and two years under the general supervision and direction of a licensed master contractor.

Master HVAC Contractor License is designed for individuals who want to engage in HVAC contracting. Requirements include familiarity with the regulations, codes, and laws. To apply for the master license, you must have held a journeyman license for at least two years.

Benefits of Getting an HVAC License

Licensed HVAC technicians can work in a variety of environments and job sites. Kentucky HVAC professionals are employable and can find work on various projects, including:

  • Repairing or replacing old or outdated HVAC equipment

  • Upgrading and retrofitting existing systems to improve efficiency

  • Installing HVAC equipment in new commercial and residential buildings

The HVAC industry requires hands-on work by trained personnel on site. It’s unlikely to be outsourced to other countries, and it does not lend itself to automation. It's also a career offering potential for advancement. It is not uncommon for a technician to begin as an apprentice and start managing a company in several years.

The average salary for apprentice HVAC technicians in Kentucky is $28,771. Professionals with advanced licenses can expect to earn more money. A journeyman HVAC technician are paid $46,219 per year.

Other licenses and certifications increase the pay. Licensing by the EPA is required under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Securing certification through the North American Technician Excellence organization is an option, too. NATE certification requires working knowledge of HVAC equipment and systems. They measure the applicant's understanding of all parts of the HVAC industry, including air conditioning, heat pumps, gas furnaces, and oil furnaces. Most NATE certifications are valid for a period of five years. Recertification requires either retaking the test or completing 60 hours of continuing education.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an HVAC License in Kentucky?

The cost of getting a Kentucky HVAC License is relatively low. There is no fee to register as an apprentice mechanic and the fee for a journeyman license is only $50. The exam fees for the master license total $160, $100 for the trade exam and $60 for the law and business exam.

The Journeyman exam has a running time of 3 hours with 60 questions. The Master exam has a running time of 2.5 hours with 70 questions. You must score at least a 70% to pass either exam.

The tools required for an entry level mechanic are likely to cost between $200 and $300. These tools range from a set of screwdrivers and nut drivers to a small crescent wrench.

How to Get an HVAC License in Kentucky

The formal requirements of a Kentucky HVAC License can be met without studying at a school or in a classroom environment. You can just work as an apprentice. Still, there are advantages to classroom learning and many aspiring technicians choose this route.

Here is a list of Kentucky HVAC schools:

  • Ashland Community Technical College

  • Bluegrass Community & Technical College

  • Bowling Green Technical College

  • Hazard Technical College

  • Madisonville Community College

  • Maysville Community College

  • Meade County Area Technology Center

  • Owensboro Technical College

  • West Kentucky Technical College

Here are a few of the typical courses:

  • Electrical Technology Theory

  • Principles of Heat Transfer

  • Principles of Refrigeration

  • Work Safety

  • HVAC Laws and Regulations

  • Gas and Electric Heating

  • HVAC Systems Design

  • Energy Management and Green Building

Check with the individual schools for information about tool purchase, rental, or lending programs. It usually takes around 2 to 3 years to get a Kentucky HVAC License.

To be eligible for a Journeyman or Master license from the Kentucky DHBC, applicants must begin as apprentice mechanics. To get licensed as a Master HVAC contractor, you'll have to pass two exams and have liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 or more. Subsequent license renewal requires eight hours of continuing education coursework.


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