Are you thinking about starting an HVAC career in Florida after high school?
It could be a good option because Florida employs more HVAC workers than any other state in the U.S., according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of May 2019, there were 31,710 heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics working in the state of Florida.1
So, you know there could be HVAC jobs in the Sunshine State, but what might you need to land one?
Take a look at the HVAC certification and licensing requirements in Florida in this article.
Do You Need a License to Do HVAC in Florida?*
Yes. Virtually all contractors in Florida need to be licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, including HVAC contractors.2*
Have You Considered a Career in Welding or HVAC?
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Certified vs. Registered HVAC Licenses
There are two different general types of license groups for Florida contractors, “Certified” and “Registered”:2
- The “Certified” license class allows contractors to perform work anywhere in the state of Florida.
- The “Registered” license class only allows a contractor to perform work in the city or country where he or she holds the license.
Class A vs. Class B Air Conditioning Licenses
For air conditioning professionals, Florida offers two types of “Air Conditioning Contractor” licenses, Class A or B:2
- Class A air conditioning licenses are unlimited in scope and allow HVAC contractors to work on most types of HVAC systems, with some exceptions.
- Class B air conditioning licenses are limited in scope and prohibit the contractor from working on systems larger than 25 tons of cooling or 500,000 BTU of heating.
Both Class A and Class B licenses may be either Registered licenses (local) or Certified licenses (statewide).2
There may be other specialty licenses to consider as an HVAC tech, as well, depending on the type of work being done. For example, Florida also has a “Mechanical Contractor” license, which allows a contractor to perform HVAC installation, maintenance and repair work, such as duct work.2
If you’re interested in HVAC training but not sure which HVAC career path would be right for you, you can call the career representatives at the Tulsa Welding School campus in Jacksonville, Florida, for assistance at 1-855-806-4921. The Jacksonville campus offers vocational training in Electro-Mechanical Technologies, Refrigeration Technologies and Electrical Applications.
What Certifications Should I Get for HVAC?
In addition to complying with any state or local licensing laws, HVAC technicians may earn HVAC certifications. Some HVAC certifications are required, and others are optional.
EPA HVAC Technician Certification
All HVAC workers nationwide who handle refrigerants must be certified with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is a federal requirement and is not optional.3
How can you prepare for EPA HVAC technician certification? The labor department notes that many trade schools offer HVAC training programs that can help students get ready to take the EPA exam.3
Industry HVAC Certifications
Some technicians decide to get other HVAC certifications with accredited national organizations, for example, North American Technician Excellence (NATE).4
Why get NATE certification? Because it’s a way to validate your HVAC skills to potential employers. Plus, some home and business owners might prefer to hire HVAC contractors with NATE-certified techs because they have more confidence they’ll get the job done right.4
Typically, HVAC workers are only required to abide by the EPA and state or local licensing guidelines, but it’s not uncommon for them to earn industry HVAC certifications like NATE.3,4
Whether you are just now considering enrolling in HVAC training to become an HVAC technician or are on your way to advancing your career, it might be worth it to consider the advantages of industry certifications.4
How Do I Get My HVAC License in Florida?
This is the general process for applying for an HVAC license in Florida:*
Step 1: Gain Experience in the Field
To be a Certified Contractor in Florida, you need four years of experience in the field. One of those years must be supervisory experience. You can also use three years of military experience or postsecondary school credit to be eligible.5
To be a Registered Contractor, you would need to comply with any specific local laws, which may have different eligibility requirements.5
Step 2: Determine which License You Are Qualified For
Because there are different specifications and license classes, you’ll want to be sure to choose the right license type.2
For example, if you plan on working only in a specific region of Florida, you may just need a Registered license, but if you plan on working all over the state, you may need a Certified license.2
Class A and B licenses for Air Conditioning Contractors are different from Mechanical Contractor licenses. Be sure to check all official guidelines and instructions.2
Step 3: Schedule and Take a Construction Exam6
Once you know which type of license you want to apply for, you would then schedule directly on http://www.floridaexam.com/ for an upcoming test near you.7
- The Class A Air Conditioning exam and Mechanical Contractor exam both consist of 130 questions, and each candidate has 7.5 hours to finish.8 Exam content for Class A can be found here.
- The Class B Air Conditioning exam consists of 80 questions, and candidates have 5 hours to finish.8 Exam content for Class B can be found here.
Be sure to access all the resources available to you before sitting for the exam, such as the Candidate Information Booklet for Construction Licensure Examinations, which can be found here.
Step 4: Pass the Exam and Submit the Application to the Construction Industry Licensing Board6
The applications for licenses contain a lot of information so be sure to take your time and read it over thoroughly.9
Each application for each license type and class may have their own specific instructions and requirements. For example, some licenses may require you to obtain worker’s compensation insurance coverage or demonstrate financial responsibility.9
Make sure to fill the application out completely. Remember that you can call the Board or contact them online to clarify any questions you may have.9
Be sure to check all updated fee schedules and include the appropriate fee with the application. Once it’s all complete, congratulations! Time to mail it in!9
Start Your HVAC Career Path at TWS in Jacksonville, Florida
What can you do now to get started on the HVAC technician career path? HVAC training at a trade school is an option many aspiring technicians take and one that could give you a competitive advantage in the job market, suggests the labor department. This is because many employers prefer to hire HVAC techs who’ve completed formal HVAC training programs.3
Get in touch with a TWS team member today to chat about HVAC training at its Jacksonville, Florida, campus. Call at 1-855-806-4921.
*State licensing or certification testing is not included in TWS programs. Contact the campus regarding specific certification testing available in the programs.