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How to get an HVAC license in Texas

Nothing’s as brutal as enduring hot Houston summers indoors without air conditioning or chilly winters without heat in Austin, which is why the HVAC contactor continues to be an in-demand occupation nationwide, particularly in Texas. According to some sources, Texas HVAC jobs are anticipating over 15% growth by 2028, and the entire Texas HVAC industry has one of the highest employment rates for that type of work.

If you’re looking to start your own heating and cooling business in Texas, your first step is to obtain an HVAC license. The following guide will provide you with all the information you need to secure an HVAC license in Texas so that you’re on the road to successfully delivering climate control to Texans in the safest, most efficient way possible.

Texas HVAC license requirements: Overview

There are 3 main types of HVAC licenses in Texas, each with its own application process:

  • Registered Technician License: If you’re looking to assist a licensed HVAC contractor, you’ll want to obtain a registered technician license. You must be 18 years old and pay a $20 application fee.
  • Certified Technician License: If you’re looking to level up and demonstrate you meet higher standards of experience and education in the HVAC space, you’ll want to secure technician certification or a certified technician license. You must be 18 years old and pay a $50 application fee to do so. You’ll also need to have either 24 months of practical experience under a licensed HVAC contractor or complete HVAC certification training for at least 2,000 hours through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) within the past 4 years. If you have military experience, that will also fulfill the mandatory experience requirements.
  • HVAC Contractor License: As a certified HVAC technician and after working for a licensed HVAC contractor for 4 years or more, you’ll then need to fill out an HVAC contractor license application, pass an exam, and pay a $115 license fee.

You will not need any continuing education prerequisites to take the HVAC contractor's exam, though you may be subjected to other regulations if you have a criminal history. You must also be at least 18 years old to take the exam.

The exam is administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which you can apply to take in-person or online. If you’re taking the exam in person, the TDLR will inform you of the time and location of your exam. Should you fail the exam for any reason, you will be able to retake the exam within the 24-hour time limit.

Another important element to remember about your HVAC license is that the license is only valid for 1 year. When your license expires, you’ll need to take an 8 hour continued training course to keep up with changing safety standards, new regulations, and updates to current technology. Mandatory training is the state’s way of ensuring its contractors stay up-to-date on all industry shifts.

What are the different types of HVAC certification in Texas?

There are 2 main types of HVAC license certifications in Texas—Class A and Class B—each of which has different endorsements:

  • Class A License—Environmental Texas Air Conditioning Endorsement
  • Class A License—Commercial Refrigeration, Process Cooling, or Heating Endorsement
  • Class B License—Environmental Texas Air Conditioning Endorsement
  • Class B License—Commercial Refrigeration, Process Cooling, or Heating Endorsement

The type of license exam that you take—as well as the type of business insurance you’ll be required to obtain to run your HVAC business—is determined by the license class and endorsement you select. There are also a few specific limitations that come with each license.

There is no restriction on the size of equipment license holders can service for Class A licenses. For Class B licenses, cooling systems can only be serviced by license holders if their cooling capacity per unit is less than 25 tons, and license holders can only service heating systems if the heating capacity is less than 1.5 BTUs/h.

For license holders selecting the Commercial, Refrigeration, Process Cooling or Heating Endorsement, only coolers, freezers, ice machines, and other appliances with built-in humidity and temperature controls can be serviced, making this endorsement option a great one for refrigeration contractors and those seeking a refrigeration contractor license.

All types of circulation and ventilation systems can be serviced for license holders selecting the Environmental Air Conditioning Endorsement.

How to apply for an HVAC license in Texas

When applying for your Texas HVAC license, you’ll want to allow 4 to 6 weeks for the entire application process. After submitting your application, it will take another 7 to 10 days to receive your exam information and schedule the test through PSI Exams.

Your exam scores will then be sent to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which typically will issue you your license within 3 weeks. However, suppose you need to expedite your license. In that case, the TDLR can give you a temporary license that’s valid until you receive your official license or for 21 days—whichever comes first—as long as you have completed your application, passed your test, and paid your fees.

HVAC contractor license vs. HVAC business license in Texas

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

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

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—or certificate of insurance—that meets the Texas HVAC insurance requirements as determined by your license class.

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 Texas, the minimum policy limits for bodily injury and property damage are $300,000 per occurrence, with an aggregate of $600,000. The minimum policy limit for completed operations and products is an aggregate of $300,000. Class B licenses also require general liability insurance but with different coverage limits. The minimum limit for bodily injury and property damage coverage is $100,000 per occurrence, with an aggregate of $200,000. The minimum policy limit for completed operations and products is an aggregate of $100,000.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: If you’re traveling in company-owned vehicles for your HVAC business, you’ll want to secure a commercial auto insurance policy, regardless of your HVAC license classification.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, it’s also advised that you hold workers’ compensation insurance in Texas. 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 Texas! But before you start promoting your business across the Lone Star State, don’t forget first 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. 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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