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How to get an HVAC License in Florida

Florida is known for its beaches, its oranges, and—most of all—its sunshine. From Miami to Tallahassee, such rays are great for laying out and snagging a tan—though they also bring the heat—which is one of the reasons why being an HVAC Florida contractor continues to be an in-demand occupation in the Sunshine State.

If you’re thinking about starting your own heating and cooling business in Florida or becoming a Florida HVAC technician, the following steps will provide a quick and easy roadmap for securing your HVAC license.

1. Florida HVAC license requirements: Overview

To obtain your Florida state HVAC license, you’ll need to meet several requirements, all of which differ depending on the type of HVAC license you want to secure. The following are the general conditions you’ll need to fulfill before getting your licenses:

  • You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age.
  • You’ll need to have at least a GED or high school diploma.
  • You’ll need to have completed a training program of on-the-job work while being supervised by a licensed contractor, or you’ll need to complete a classroom training program at a college or vocational school.
  • You’ll need to take and pass a business and finance knowledge exam and a trade knowledge exam.
  • You’ll need to submit a criminal background check.
  • You’ll need a credit score above 660.

Ultimately, each license has its unique requirements, so you’ll need to thoroughly understand what’s required before forging ahead on your licensing procurement path.

2. What are the different types of HVAC certification in Florida?

To legally perform refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating work in Florida, you’ll need to be licensed as a Class A air conditioning contractor or a technician apprentice working under a licensed contractor.

The following are the 4 HVAC licenses issued by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations—a division of Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board—with each license having its own application process:

  • Class A State Certified License: Allows contractors to install, repair, and maintain cooling systems of all sizes. The contractor can also work anywhere in the state with this license.
  • Class B State Certified License: Allows contractors to install, repair, and maintain heating systems with heating capacities below 500,000 BTUs per unit and cooling capacities less than 25 tons per unit. The contractor can also work anywhere in the state with this license.
  • Class A or B State Registered License: Contractors with a Class A or B State Registered License can only work on heating and cooling systems in specifically designated local areas. The county licensure requirements dictate the parameters for these licenses.

3. How to apply for an HVAC license in Florida?

When applying for your Florida HVAC license, you’ll want to allow roughly 3 months for the entire application process. The 3 months does not include any education or experience requirements, which can extend the application approval timeline anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks.

Additional factors that will influence your HVAC license processing time are the type of license you’re applying for, how many other license applications the Construction Industry Licensing Board is processing, and if the board requests additional documentation from you.

To begin the application process for your HVAC license, you’ll need to register, study, and take a license exam. You’ll then need to round up documents that show proof of your education and work experience and will then need to submit to a background check from an approved Livescan Service Provider that includes fingerprinting.

With your exam, background check, and required documentation in hand, you’ll need to wait for the Construction industry Licensing Board to schedule your board review meeting. Should you be approved for your license after the meeting, your license will typically be issued to you within 2 weeks.

Class A and B Certified HVAC Contractor Licenses

While Class A and B certified contractor licenses both require a state licensing exam, the trade knowledge portion of the Class A exam is longer than the Class B exam and evaluates more industry knowledge. All other requirements are the same for both A and B certified licenses:

  • Continuing education and work experience must total at least 4 years combined. Applicants with a 4-year degree need at least 1 year of work experience, whereas applicants without an education need at least 1 year of experience working as a foreman.
  • Pass the Florida HVAC certification exam.
  • Submit your background check to prove you have no current legal entanglements.
  • Submit proof of a FICO or credit report score over 660 to demonstrate your financial responsibility.
  • Pay the application fee of $249 or $149, which fluctuates depending on the time of year you’re applying.

Class A and B Registered HVAC Contractor License Requirements

No state HVAC license exam is needed for Class A and B registered contractor licenses. However, there may be a contractors exam requirement administered at the local level where the contractor is working. All other conditions are the same for both A and B registered licenses:

  • Submit a copy of the local competency card.
  • Submit a completed application for a registered state license.
  • Pay the application fee of $309 or $209, depending on the time of year you’re applying.

The key takeaway is that costs, application requirements, and timelines will vary depending on the license you’re applying for, so be sure to have a thorough understanding of the conditions and timeline before applying.

4. HVAC contractor license vs. HVAC business license in Florida

As you embark on your HVAC contractor license journey, it’s important to consider the difference between a contractor license and a Florida HVAC business license.

An HVAC contractor license allows you to legally perform the day-to-day operations of a heating and cooling professional who services HVAC systems. An HVAC business license is a license provided by the State of Florida that grants you the ability to perform your work in a specific area of the state or within a particular industry.

5. Getting HVAC insurance for your business

The last housekeeping item you’ll need to take care of before locking in your HVAC contractor license is securing proof of insurance coverage. This proof of coverage must meet the Florida HVAC insurance requirements for license holders within the construction industry, as put forth by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

HVAC insurance keeps you and your HVAC services legally protected from the unexpected, which helps put your mind at ease knowing you can spend more time growing your business and less time navigating potential legal headaches. While there are many insurance options available to your company, the following are the types of insurance you’ll need to secure depending on your license type:

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance: For Class A licenses. This general policy offers a wide range of liability protection from potential lawsuits to you and your LLC. In Florida, all division 2 license holders—including HVAC contractors—must carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance and at least $25,000 in property damage insurance. General contractors must have at least $300,000 in liability insurance and at least $50,000 in property damage insurance.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: If you’re traveling in company-owned vehicles for your HVAC business, you’ll need to secure a commercial auto insurance policy.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, it’s also advised that you hold workers’ compensation insurance in Florida. Workers' compensation insurance provides coverage to your employees in the event of illnesses, on-the-job injuries, or even death.

Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to obtain your HVAC contractor license in Florida! But before you start promoting your business across the Sunshine State, don’t forget to snag a quality business insurance policy to keep you, your assets, and the future of your HVAC business safe and secure.

For all things business insurance, Huckleberry has you covered. In less time than it takes to cook a steak, Huckleberry can provide you with many insurance quotes and policy options that will protect your HVAC business now and in the years to come.

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