How to get an HVAC license in Georgia
There's no denying that skilled trade positions have become one of the fastest-growing fields over the past decade. As many workers move closer to retirement, there aren't enough younger skilled tradespeople to fill their places. This has created an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to enter the industry or start their own HVAC business.
However, opportunity alone isn't enough to establish a successful company. You'll also need to focus on other aspects of the business, such as attracting customers, documenting processes, and training new employees.
Another area you'll want to ensure you spend time thinking about is your small business insurance.
Throughout this guide, you'll find everything you need to know about obtaining your HVAC license and setting up an HVAC company of your own.
What is HVAC certification?
For aspiring HVAC technicians, the HVAC certification is a license that will allow you to legally provide services such as repairs, maintenance, and replacements of different types of heating and cooling systems.
Georgia HVAC license requirements: Overview
Working as an HVAC professional in Georgia will mean that you need to take and pass the appropriate HVAC licensing exam. Having the certification will ensure that you have a solid foundation for working on both heating and cooling systems.
Let’s jump in and explore the HVAC license requirements for Georgia further.
How long does it take to get an HVAC license in Georgia?
While many factors affect how long it takes to obtain your HVAC license, the average HVAC professional spends 3 to 6 months before becoming certified, not including schooling and apprenticeship.
One of the main reasons for the extended length of securing an HVAC license is how the application process works. In Georgia, application reviews happen in different rounds, meaning that if you miss a round, you'll have to wait until the next one to apply again. As for exams, they’re generally scheduled 3 months after an application deadline has passed.
Does Georgia require a refrigeration license?
Even though HVAC technicians aren't required to obtain a refrigeration license, they’re still required to obtain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification. This certification is a requirement for any technicians who service, repair, or dispose of equipment that has the potential to release refrigerant into the air.
Since you won't be able to apply for your conditioned air contractor license without your EPA certification, this is generally the first step in the licensing process.
Currently, there are 4 different types of EPA certifications available. The type you'll need will depend on what systems you plan to work on after obtaining your license.
Here's a quick look at each of the EPA certification levels:
- Type I: Allows technicians to work with small appliances containing less than five pounds of refrigerant
- Type II: Allows technicians to service systems that contain more than five pounds of refrigerant
- Type III: Allows technicians to service and dispose of any low-pressure appliance or system
- Universal: Allows technicians to work with any type of system and or appliance with refrigerant
What is the difference between HVAC and refrigeration licenses in Georgia?
The most common difference between HVAC and refrigeration licenses is the type of system the technician can work on. You can work on heating and cooling systems with an HVAC license but can't work on appliances or systems with refrigerants unless you have the appropriate refrigeration license.
What is the HVAC license renewal fee?
Whether you have a Class I or Class II conditioned air contractor license, you'll need to pay a $75 fee every 2 years to keep your license active in Georgia. In addition to the fee, you'll also need to complete at least 4 hours of continuing education classes.
What license do you need for HVAC in Georgia?
You'll need at least 2 different licenses to legally work as an HVAC technician in Georgia. The first type of license is the EPA certification which allows you to work with systems that have refrigeration. The second type is a conditioned air contractor license which will allow you to service other heating and cooling systems.
The Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board—Division of Conditioned Air Contractors is a wonderful resource for questions on HVAC licenses.
What are the different types of HVAC certification in Georgia?
Generally, the top license available for HVAC professionals in Georgia is the conditioned air contractors license. This license has 2 different classes, each allowing technicians to perform work on different systems. Let's take a closer look at what each license class includes:
Conditioned air contractors license Class I:
The Class I license is often referred to as a restricted license as the certification only allows technicians to service systems and equipment with less than 175,000 BTU of heating and 60,000 BTU of cooling.
To qualify for Class 1 certification, you'll need to have 4 years of work experience. For the experience requirements to be met, you must also have the following experience:
- 2 years of experience as a lead mechanic working on residential installation
- 1 year of experience as a service technician
- 1 year of experience as a residential supervisor
Prospective applicants must also have passed a board-approved heat loss and gain and duct design course.
Conditioned air contractors license Class II:
Unlike the Class I license, the Class II certification isn't a restricted license. However, it does have more requirements than technicians have to meet. For instance, to qualify for the license, an applicant must show documented experience working with conditioned air systems that exceed 60,000 BTU of cooling and 175,000 BTU of heating.
Along with the documented experience, you'll also need to have the following:
- 2 years of experience working as a lead mechanic with a minimum of 1 year of experience in a commercial environment
- 2 years of commercial supervisory experience
- 1 year of experience as a service supervisor or technician
- Board-approved heat loss and gain and duct design course
Do you need a contractor’s license in Georgia?
If you plan to work as a residential HVAC contractor or perform work on projects that total more than $2,500, you'll be required to obtain a contractor's license by the state of Georgia.
Will a conditioned air contractor license transfer to other states?
A few states have reciprocity agreements in place for HVAC technicians who currently have a conditioned air contractor license. For instance, South Carolina and Texas allow HVAC technicians from Georgia to work in the state without a new license.
What is the difference between a mechanical contractor and an HVAC contractor?
There are several differences between mechanical contractors and HVAC contractors, but the biggest difference revolves around the scope of work. For example, HVAC professionals generally work to provide air conditioning and heating for residential, commercial, and multi-functional spaces.
On the other hand, mechanical contractors focus more heavily on the actual design and construction of buildings.
How to apply for an HVAC license in Georgia
Applying for your HVAC license is an important and exciting step in your career as an HVAC professional. To help ensure that you complete all the steps required to obtain your license, we have outlined a licensing guideline below:
- Complete your high school diploma or GED
- Obtain the necessary work experience (4 years for Class I and five years for Class II licenses)
- Submit your completed application with the necessary fees
- Take and pass the license exam with a minimum score of 70%
- Pay any outstanding fees
- Submit 3 references and prepare for a background check
- Secure a $10,000 surety bond before bidding on projects
Can I get my HVAC certification online?
You can obtain your HVAC certification online either through a technical certificate program or with an online technical school. However, most students lean towards an in-person class over a virtual learning experience. The main reason why in-person courses are preferred by students is that you have the opportunity to learn through hands-on projects.
How much does an HVAC license cost in Georgia?
Even though most people assume that there is only one fee for obtaining an HVAC license in Georgia, that isn't the case. In fact, there are several fees you'll need to pay before you can get your license.
Below is a short breakdown of the costs associated with HVAC certification.
- Application fee: $30
- Exam fee: $240
- EPA certification: $25
- Underwriting fee for $10,000 surety bond: $100 to $200
HVAC contractor license vs. HVAC business license in Georgia
As an HVAC professional in Georgia, you might hear "HVAC contractor license" and "HVAC business license" interchangeably. However, the truth is that each license offers the ability to do different things.
For instance, with an HVAC contractor license, you're legally allowed to work on different heating and air conditioning systems throughout the state. On the other hand, an HVAC business license allows you to operate and run a company in Georgia.
The importance of small business insurance
Once you have your license and an idea in mind for how you're going to run your new HVAC business, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to protect your company with HVAC insurance.
Most new business owners feel overwhelmed with the thought of purchasing insurance to protect their organizations. However, with Huckleberry, finding the perfect coverage is simple and easy. In fact, most customers can locate their ideal insurance policy within minutes.
Try out our free small business insurance estimator to determine how much you can save on key coverages such as workers’ compensation, general liability, and commercial auto insurance.