North Carolina HVAC License: Everything You Need to Know

Becoming an HVAC technician in North Carolina involves work experience and education requirements. Plus, if you want to run an HVAC business, you'll need to get a North Carolina HVAC license. This guide covers everything you need to know to get started.

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

Yes, you will need North Carolina HVAC license to perform HVAC work in the state. . Additional licensing is also necessary if you want to work with commercial refrigeration units.

What are the Different Types of HVAC Licenses?

HVAC licenses are divided into refrigeration contractor licenses and heating and cooling licenses. The sole refrigeration license allows you to work on commercial HVAC or refrigeration units. As for the heating and cooling licenses, there are three basic classes,  labeled as H1, H2, and H3. You also can choose to obtain a contractor license or technician license in each of these three classes. A contractor license is ideal if you want to run an HVAC business.

The H1 license allows you to work on water-based heating systems in any building. The H2 license allows you to work on forced air heating and cooling units that weigh more than 15 tons. The H3 license lets you work on forced air heating and cooling units that weigh less than 15 tons. 

The average salary for HVAC technicians is $40,000. Someone with an H1 license can make about $43,000 per year, while someone with an H2 license makes an average salary of $53,000. As for an H3 license, the average salary is around $58,000.

Benefits of Getting an HVAC License

HVAC licenses give you flexibility to work in different areas of the HVAC industry. You'll routinely encounter new challenges with HVAC units that will require your problem solving skills. HVAC technicians help the environment with the work that they do. Installing new heat pumps and switching old filters for newer ones reduces the environmental impact.

HVAC technicians are in high demand for a variety of reasons, including the increase for indoor climate control by homeowners. These modern systems require trained technicians who can adapt to the digital landscape.

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

Depending on the type of licensing, licensing fees can range from $65-$130. If you're training to become an HVAC technician, your fees are $65. Contractors usually need to pay $130. Along with the licensing fees, a surety bond is required. The surety bond is typically $2,000. However, the exact amount can differ slightly from city to city.

How to Get an HVAC License in North Carolina

Schooling Requirements

Whether you obtain a refrigeration license or a heating and cooling license, half of your on-the-job experience can be obtained through education. You can receive a certificate or associate's degree to help you qualify for a North Carolina HVAC license. The best schools that offer HVAC programs include Central Piedmont Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, and Wake Tech. Each of these schools offer an Associate of Science degrees. The average tuition is about $5,000-$8,000. Ask your school about financial aid options.

Top-tier universities, like Duke University and N.C. State University, also offer bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering. The tuition for these universities ranges from $20,000-$50,000 per year. No matter which school you attend, most coursework must be completed on campus.

On-the-Job Experience

To obtain a refrigeration license, you must have 4,000 hours of experience in commercial refrigeration. Half of this experience can be obtained through academic or technical training. The other half must be training working under the supervision of a refrigeration contractor or a professional engineer.

To take the contractor exam for any type of heating and cooling license, you will need two years of on-site experience in the maintenance, service, repair, or installation of heating systems or plumbing. Two years of experience equates to 4,000 hours. Half of this experience can be sought through technical or academic training. For the standard HVAC technician exam, 3,000 hours of on-site experience is required.

Who Actually Issues the Licenses?

The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors issues the heating and cooling licenses. The State Board of Refrigeration Contractors administers the refrigeration licenses.

Are There Exams?

The primary heating licensing exam for HVAC contractors and technicians is 4 hours. An additional business and law exam is required, which is 1.5 hours. The North Carolina State Board of Examiners has an extensive list of references to help you study for these exams. You can find them here. You also can take some free practice tests at this link.

You might want to obtain an additional refrigeration contractor license. To sit for this exam, you will fill out and submit an application as well as provide evidence of least 4,000 hours in commercial refrigeration. This experience can be a combination of education, technical training, or an apprenticeship.

The refrigeration exam is split into four separate parts, all of which you must pass within a year. In total, these exams contain 100 questions. You can use any books during the tests.

Do the Licenses Need to Be Renewed?

You will need to renew your North Carolina HVAC license every year. In the event that you don't renew for three years, you will need to retake the exams.

How Long Does It Take to Get an HVAC License?

It can take up to 3 years to get your North Carolina HVAC license.


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