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How to get an HVAC license in Maryland

Like many skilled professionals, HVAC technicians help homeowners ensure their properties function properly. Generally, most HVAC professionals diagnose and repair issues with a building's heating and air conditioning systems. However, special certifications allow them to perform other tasks as well.

If you currently own or are planning on starting your own HVAC business in Baltimore, Annapolis, or Ocean City, you'll want to make sure you follow the proper steps. In addition to the appropriate small business insurance, a general HVAC license is also required to operate in Maryland.

For aspiring HVAC professionals who need to obtain their Maryland HVAC license, the following guide will walk you through the licensing process and provide additional information about becoming a certified HVAC technician.

What is an HVAC license?

In simplest terms, an HVAC license is a competency guarantee to customers. By obtaining your Maryland HVAC license, you demonstrate that you have passed all the required training programs, certifications, and experience necessary to diagnose and repair different heating and cooling issues.

Maryland HVAC license requirements: Overview

Professionals who are either just starting in the HVAC industry or who plan to own their own HVAC business one day will need to complete the appropriate licensing requirements. And believe it or not, getting licensed in Maryland is different from getting it in Delaware or Virginia. Let's look at the different types of HVAC licenses available in Maryland and the requirements to obtain each.

Does Maryland require an HVAC license?

The first thing to understand is that regardless of experience, you'll need to obtain an HVAC license if you plan on performing work for a client. Even individuals who are just starting will need to get a license and work as an apprentice under the guidance of an experienced licensed HVAC professional.

What are the different types of HVAC certification in Maryland?

There are currently 5 different types of HVAC certifications in Maryland:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman
  • Limited
  • Master restricted
  • Master

Each level has its requirements that HVAC contractors must meet before receiving the designation.

Here's a brief breakdown of the criteria an HVAC technician must meet to qualify for each level:

  • Apprenticeship license: Every HVAC professional in the industry must start with a Maryland apprenticeship license and work under a licensed HVAC contractor.
  • Journeyman license: To obtain the designation of journeyman license, you'll need to have 3 years of experience as an apprentice and complete 1,875 hours of training under an HVACR contractor.
  • Limited license: As an HVAC professional looking to obtain a Limited license, you must work as an HVACR journeyman for 2 years under a master HVAC contractor and complete 1,000 hours of supervised work the year before applying.
  • Master restricted license: HVAC professionals must work as a journeyman for 3 years under a licensed master contractor and complete 1,875 hours the year before applying.
  • Master license: Like HVAC professionals looking to get a master restricted license, the master license requires applicants to be a journeyman for at least 3 years under an HVACR master contractor and complete 1,875 hours the year before applying. The difference between master and master restricted is the depth of understanding of each principal area of HVAC.

How to apply for an HVAC license in Maryland

Most people assume obtaining an HVAC license is complicated, but that isn't the case. In fact, to get started in the industry, you only need to complete the schooling/training and experience requirements to obtain your license.

Let's look at what it takes to obtain your first license.

How do I get my HVAC license in Maryland?

Generally, there are a couple of ways to obtain a journeyman HVAC license. One option is to go to a vocational school or a college that offers an HVAC certificate. These programs allow students to learn about different HVAC systems and prepare them for real-world applications.

Once the program is complete, graduates would still need to work under a licensed HVACR professional for a year or 2 before being able to apply for their license.

Another option for obtaining a journeyman license is to enter into an apprenticeship program where you'll work under an HVAC journeyman for 3 years or 1,875 hours. This route allows you to forgo the need for a continuing education program before starting in the industry.

Is an HVAC apprenticeship a requirement for an HVAC license in Maryland?

Even if you plan on doing an HVAC program at a vocational school or college, you'll still need to get hands-on experience working under a licensed HVAC professional before becoming a journeyman. Often, an apprenticeship is the easiest way to gain the necessary experience and perfect your craft before moving up in the industry.

How do I become an HVAC apprentice in Maryland?

To become an HVAC apprentice in Maryland, you need to do two things. First, you must acquire an HVACR apprentice license before beginning an approved apprenticeship. Once you have your license, you'll need to join a state-approved HVAC apprenticeship program.

The state of Maryland offers a portal on its website to assist students and new HVAC professionals in finding a paid HVAC apprenticeship program.

How many hours of training are required for an HVAC license?

Typically, most HVAC licenses will require you to complete a minimum of 1,875 hours of supervised work with a more experienced HVAC professional before applying for a more advanced license.

The one exception to the 1,875-hour requirement is for HVAC professionals who move from a limited license to a master restricted license. For these individuals, the hours required are only 1,000.

How long does it take to get an HVAC license in Maryland?

The length of time it takes to get an HVAC license in Maryland will depend on the type of license you’re applying for. If you're currently working as an apprentice, you'll need to work under a licensed contractor for 3 years before applying for your own journeyman license.

You'll generally need at least 2 to 3 years of experience at your current level for more advanced licenses before moving up to the next license.

What are the benefits of having an HVAC license in Maryland?

There are many benefits to having an HVAC license in Maryland. One of the most significant advantages of obtaining an HVACR license is job security. In fact, the demand for qualified heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration contractors is expected to grow by more than 20% over the next decade.

Along with job security, here are a few other benefits that come with an HVAC license:

  • Apprentices earn $40,000 on average when starting out
  • More job opportunities open up as you obtain higher licenses
  • You can work on more challenging projects with a more advanced license
  • An advanced license will allow you to hire other HVAC professionals to work under you

What is the cost of an HVAC license in Maryland?

Regardless of your level, you'll be required to pay a license fee for each license you obtain. Here are the following fees for each type of license:

  • Apprenticeship - $10
  • Journeyman license - $20
  • Limited license - $75
  • Master restricted license - $75
  • Master license - $75

What is the HVAC license renewal fee in Maryland?

After obtaining your HVAC license, you'll need to renew it every 2 years. To renew your license, you'll need to submit a renewal application with the Maryland Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors and pay a $20 renewal fee.

HVAC contractor license vs. HVAC business license in Maryland

HVAC professionals looking to start their own business will notice 2 different types of licensure—an HVAC contractor license and an HVAC business license.

Both are essential to running your Maryland small business but serve different purposes. For instance, an HVAC contractor license will allow you to offer HVACR services such as repairing cooling and heating systems in homes. On the other hand, a Maryland business license permits you to operate your business in the state.

Securing your business with HVAC insurance

Once you have your license and are ready to start your HVAC company, it's time to consider the different types of insurance you'll need. Since there isn't a specific HVAC insurance policy, you'll want to ensure you have a lineup of small business insurance products that protect your company.

It's generally good to purchase coverages such as general liability insurance, property damage insurance, and business interruption insurance to maintain a solid layer of protection for yourself and your business.

To keep you from buying all of the policies separately, Huckleberry offers a comprehensive BOP, or Business Owner's Policy, that provides all of these coverages and more.

Huckleberry has you covered for all things business insurance in Baltimore County and beyond. Huckleberry can provide you with several quotes and policy options to protect your HVAC business now and in the years to come.

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