With its chilly winters and warm summers, Michigan has a high demand for HVAC experts. This field has jobs at all levels, ranging from service technicians to HVAC business owners.
You can find out all about the rules and regulations of Michigan's HVAC licensing process in this guide. Discover how to prepare for licensing exams and learn the average pay rates.
You will need a Michigan HVAC license if you plan to install or repair any heating, cooling, ventilating, or refrigerating system. HVAC technicians need a mechanical contractor license. In some cities and counties, there are additional local licensing requirements.
HVAC Apprenticeship: Depending on where you live in Michigan, you may need to formally apply for this license, or you can just apply for an HVAC apprenticeship. You can work on units under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor. Apprentices usually make $13 to $17 per hour.
HVAC Contractor: You can work as an independent HVAC technician on a variety of units. You do not need a supervisor. The average pay for an HVAC technician in Michigan is roughly $22 per hour.
NATE Certification: A NATE certificate is an optional license that proves you have additional education and training in the field. Technicians with a NATE certification tend to make more money. They often make $25 to $30 per hour.
EPA Certification: A Section 608 EPA certification is required for most HVAC apprentices, technicians, and contractors in Michigan. This license allows you to handle the refrigerant chemicals found in many HVAC units.
Specialty Licenses: Michigan also has specialty HVAC licenses you can get if you want to work in the fields of solar heating and cooling, solid fuel and vented gas appliances, LP distribution piping, fuel gas piping, and fuel gas venting. Technicians with these licenses tend to make $20 to $30 per hour.
Here are a few benefits of a Michigan HVAC license:
Learn a new career while getting paid to study.
Become your own boss and run a HVAC business.
Challenge yourself by learning HVAC specializations.
Reassure customers of your expertise.
Receive information to safely handle dangerous chemicals and tools.
Increase the amount of money you can charge for the work you do.
The cost to apply for a license will change based on the current year. Michigan issues licenses in three year cycles. Applying for a license at the beginning of the cycle costs $300. Registering in the second year costs $200, and applying in the third year costs $100. In addition to the application fees, you also must pay $25 for each test.
Michigan licensed technicians need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. If you have a criminal background, you must disclose this information in your application. The licensing board will decide your eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
You will need three years of experience in your specific work field. There are multiple options, including HVAC equipment, ductwork, refrigeration, and hydronic heating. Potential technicians can get this experience by applying for an apprenticeship, or they can attend trade schools like Michigan HVAC Vocational or Northwestern Technological Institute. Schooling can cost roughly $15,000, while apprenticeships usually do not have any fees.
Michigan's HVAC technicians are licensed through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). To get an HVAC license, you need to apply for a mechanical contractor's license in the HVAC equipment classification. If your application is accepted, LARA will contact you to schedule your exam. These exams are held at five testing centers around the state, so you can pick the one closest to you.
The exams cover a broad category of subjects, including HVAC concepts, basic safety rules, the Michigan State Construction Code, and the Skilled Trades Regulation Act. You can prepare by purchasing study guides like the Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Book. Or you can take an online or in-person course that covers the exam topics. To pass, you need to score at least 70% on the exam.
If you pass, the state will notify and send your Michigan HVAC license in the mail within a few weeks. Once you get your license, it is good until the end of the three year period. You will need to renew it online 45 days before your license expires and pay a $75 renewal fee.
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