So you’re looking for HVAC training in Texas? Not a bad decision.
Texas HVAC jobs are booming, earning you anywhere between $35,447 to $53,076 a year.
Where you fall in this pay scale depends on your HVAC training in Texas, and what type of HVAC certification in Texas you hold.
In this article, we’ll help you find which type of HVAC license is best for you, how to get one, and where it’ll lead to.
Let’s get started.
The Three Stages of HVAC Training in Texas
If you’re thorough and would like to view the full document about the law around HVAC licenses in Texas, here’s a printable version.
Don’t want to read 19 pages of legal talk? We’ll summarize it for you now. Under Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Law, “a person may not engage in air conditioning and refrigeration contracting unless the person holds an air conditioning and refrigeration contractor license.”
What this means is, unlike some trades, you can’t decide one day you want to work with air conditioning and refrigeration. Before you pick up a tool or put on your overalls, you’ve got to get a license.
There are three HVAC licenses in Texas, each a step towards getting a certification in HVAC. They come in three stages, each step leading to the next.
We’ll break down the requirements of each HVAC certification now so you know what to expect.
Texas Registered Technician
When it comes to HVAC training in Texas, this is your starting point.
Think of it as an entry-level qualification everyone must complete before they’re fully certified.
Similar to an apprenticeship, you can become a Texas Registered Technician with no experience or education required.
– You must be 18 years old or older.
– You must complete an application form.
– You must pay a fee of $20.
The Good News
– You’re able to start getting practical HVAC training in Texas.
– You get paid while you learn.
The Bad News
You can only work under the supervision of a mechanic with an HVAC license in Texas.
If your air conditioning broke down at home in summer, you’d want to know the mechanic you called to help knew what they were doing, wouldn’t you?
So you can see why getting a certification in HVAC in Texas is a process that needs to be followed.
If you apply and you enjoy your new career as a Texas Registered Technician, what’s next?
Texas Certified Technician
This is the next step in getting your full HVAC certificate in Texas.
– You must be 18 years old or older
– You must complete an application form
– You must pay a fee of $50
– You need to have completed two years as a Texas Registered Technician
– You need to pass an HVAC license exam
– You need to complete an HVAC certification approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation within the past four years.
The Good News
If you’re trained in or performed air conditioning and refrigeration work as part of your military experience, it can count towards the experience requirement! You need to include the Military Supplemental Application Form as part of your application.
The Bad News
You still can only work under the supervision of a mechanic with an HVAC license in Texas.
Texas HVAC Contractor License
Up to now, the Texas Registered Technician and Texas Certified Technician both require all your air conditioning and refrigeration work to be completed under the watchful eye of a qualified HVAC technician.
But if you want to work by yourself (to set up your own company for example) you’ll need a Texas HVAC Contractor License.
– You must be 18 years old or older
– You must complete an application form
– You must pass the HVAC Contractor Exam
– You must pay a fee of $115
– You must submit proof of insurance
– You must have the right license class and endorsements for the units you want to service
As you can see, there are extra steps you need to take to become fully qualified, but that’s to be expected.
In addition to the above, you must
1. Have on-the-job experience with air-conditioning and refrigeration-related work totaling at least 48 months under the supervision of a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration contractor in the past 72 months, OR
2. You’ve held a Texas Certification Technician license (like we discussed above) for the past year and you have at least 36 months of practical experience in air-conditioning and refrigeration-related work supervised by a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration contractor in the past 48 months.
To keep a log of and prove your experience, you must document it on an Experience Verification Form. Note: You must not fill this out by yourself.
You’ll probably need to use more than one form to log all your experience, which is absolutely fine.
Exemptions to experience requirements for a HVAC certification in Texas
You may qualify for an exemption which will mean you won’t need as much practical experience as we outlined above. Exemptions are awarded for the following things:
1. You’ve got training in air-conditioning and refrigeration as part of military experience.
2. You have a degree in mechanical engineering.
3. You are a licensed engineer.
4. You’ve got a certification in air-conditioning and refrigeration like a degree or diploma.
5. You work for an industrial operation that performs heating and process cooling work.
Some of the exemptions, such as having a four-year degree in mechanical engineering, can be substituted for 24 months of practical experience.
In fact, you may be able to substitute 48 months of the experience requirement for any military experience you have. All exemption cases are considered on a case-by-case basis, so it’s worth checking the full list of exemptions and contacting the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Will Criminal Convictions Effect Your Application?
The department carries out a criminal history background check on anyone who applies for any of the three HVAC licenses in Texas.
Although the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation review each case on an individual basis, check this list of convictions which are likely to see your application rejected before you take the time to fill in all the paperwork.
You’ll need to fill out a Criminal History Questionnaire, which asks you questions like the county and state of conviction, the date of conviction, the crime you were convicted of, the sentence imposed by the court, and a detailed description of your actions and why you made those decisions.
If you’d like more detailed information on applying for an HVAC license in Texas with criminal convictions, see the full guidelines here.
The Three Final Steps To Getting A Certification in HVAC in Texas
By this point you’ll have completed all the required experience, or checked your exemption is valid. Now you’d be in a position to apply for your license.
Before you’re fully certified, there are three last things to do:
1. Decide what kind of HVAC work you want to do.
2. Get the right insurance.
3. Pass the exam.
Decide What Kind of HVAC Work You Want To Do
You need to decide this first because depending on the kind of HVAC work you’re looking to do, you’ll have to apply for different license classes, endorsements, pass different exams and attain different insurances.
If you want to work on any size unit, you’ll have to apply for a Class A license.
If you think your work will be on cooling systems of 25 tons or under, and heating systems of 1.5 million BTUs/hour and under, you’ll want to apply for a Class B license.
Endorsements, simply put, decide the kind of units and machines you’ll be working on. There are three types to choose from:
- Environmental Air Conditioning.
- Commercial Refrigeration.
- Process Cooling or Heating.
What do they all mean?
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation define Environmental Air Conditioning as work that includes treating the air to control temperature, cleanliness, humidity, circulation, and ventilation to meet human comfort requirements.
Commercial Refrigeration refers to the use of equipment to control the temperature of humidity for the intended use of a specific space.
While Process Cooling or Heating includes controlling humidity, cleanliness, or temperature for production requirements or operation of equipment.
Can you apply for more than one HVAC Endorsement?
You can apply for more than one license, but each license can only have one endorsement. If you decide to do this, you’ll get one document with two license numbers on it.
Once you’ve decided which specific kind of HVAC work you’ll do, the next step is to pass the HVAC Contractor Exam.
Passing The HVAC Contractor Exam
How does the HVAC Contractor Exam work?
Once you’ve completed all of the steps up to now, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will notify the exam board (PSI) that you’re ready to take the test. You’ll get an email to tell you when they’re ready for you to apply.
The first thing you need to do is register with PSI, input all your personal details in their system, pay the fee, and schedule your exam.
Figure 2 – Sign up instructions for your PSI account. Read the full guide here.
Download the full PSI guide here. This will tell you everything you need to know about signing up.
Where Do You Do Your HVAC Contractor Exam?
PSI has test locations in the following locations in Texas:
Abilene – 1290 S Willis St., Suite 109
Amarillo – 4312 Teckla Suite 500
Arlington – Centerpoint IV, 2401 East Randol Mill Road
Austin – 8000 Anderson Square, Suite 301B
Austin – 6448 Hwy 290 East, Suite F111
Corpus Christi – 2820 South Padre Island Dr., Suite 105
Dallas – 1140 Empire Central Dr., Suite 610
Richardson – 1701 N Collins Blvd., Suite 130
El Paso – 1155 Westmoreland Suite 110
Fort Worth – 6801 McCart Avenue., Suite B-1
Harlingen – Executive Central, 722 Morgan Blvd., Suite C
Houston – 9800 Northwest Freeway, Suite 200
Houston – Atrium Tower, 11811 East Freeway, Suite 260
Houston – 650 North Sam Houston Pkwy, East Suite 535
Houston – 9555 W. Sam Houston Pkwy South, Suite 140
Lubbock – 4413 82nd Street, Suite 210
McAllen – 7112 N. 10th Street Suite 100
Midland – 4200 W. Illinois Avenue Suite 200
San Antonio – 9502 Computer Drive, Suite 105
San Antonio – 6800 Park Ten Blvd. Ste 174W
Tyler – 3800 Paluxy Dr., Suite 310
Waco – 345 Owen Lane, Suite 124
How Long Is The Exam?
Class A Exams consist of 120 questions with a time limit of 240 minutes.
Class B Exams have 100 questions with a time limit of 180 minutes.
Can You Retake The Exam?
If you fail to answer at least 70% of the questions correctly, you’ll fail the exam. If this happens, you can retake it within one to two days of your failed exam. Depending on which exam you take, the average pass rates vary. Here are the pass rates statistics for the fiscal year 2019:
Figure 3 – Contractor Exam Statistics for 2019. See 2018 and 2017 results here.
It’s best not to think worst-case scenario and prepare properly for the exam.
After all, wouldn’t you prefer to pass the first time and not experience any delays to your application? After all, by this point you’ll have come so far since applying for your Texas Registered Technician license.
Tips To Pass The HVAC License Exam
Fail to prepare or prepare to fail, as they say.
Make sure any source you’re using to revise from is legitimate and credible. The last thing you want to do is to spend hours learning out of date information.
We recommend using an official Texas HVAC license practice test. Books such as the 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code should be a good start, but double-check yourself before buying anything to make sure they’re still in date.
Assuming you do your homework and pass your test, you’re almost fully qualified.
HVAC Business Insurance
Once you pass your test and before you get your full HVAC certification in Texas, you’ll have to prove you’ve got the correct insurance for your license type:
Class A licenses – liability insurance for at least $300,000 and $600,000 for aggregate. This needs to cover bodily damage and property damage per occurrence.
Class B Licenses – liability insurance for at least $100,000 and $200,000 for aggregate. This too needs to cover bodily damage and property damage per occurrence.
Can You Use Your Out of State License to Get an HVAC License in Texas?
Are you a fully certified HVAC contractor in another state and want to get a job as an HVAC contractor in Texas? There’s good news: you may be able to use your current qualifications to get an HVAC license in Texas.
All you need to do is complete an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor License Application and pay a fee of $115. As we explained above, you’ll have to decide which license class and endorsement you want.
Continuing Education – Applicable Only For Renewals
You may hear the term ‘continuing education’, so we’ll cover what it means quickly now. It’s not relevant when first applying for your HVAC certification in Texas, but when it comes to renewal, you’ll need it.
To renew your license, you must do eight hours of continuing education, one hour of which must be dedicated to Texas state law. You must complete this before your license expires.
Make sure you double-check your training provider is an official partner.
Congrats! You’ve now, theoretically, have your HVAC certification in Texas.
That is, once you follow all the steps above you will. It’s certainly not a quick job, but if you follow the processes we’ve outlined in this article you’ll have everything you need to be a success in the HVAC field.
HVAC and Workrise
Once you’ve got your certificate in HVAC in Texas, check back with Workrise for employment opportunities. We match quality workers with the best employers via our Workforce Marketplace.
Considering multiple career opportunities? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Electrician Apprenticeships and GWO Training.
Still Got A Question About HVAC Training in Texas?
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