How to Get an HVAC License in California?

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems of today require specialized care that can only be provided by specialists. Therefore, most employers today look for competent individuals who can handle and take care of various types of HVAC units. In this guide, you will find important details about the licensing procedure for HVAC technicians in California.

Requirements to Get an HVAC License in California

HVAC licensing/certification requirements vary from state to state. In California, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is responsible for licensing HVAC technicians and engineers. The CSLB does not require you to have any specialized education to take the licensing exam. You do, however, need to have at least 4 years of work experience (qualifying experience) as an HVAC technician or engineer.

Steps to Get an HVAC License in California

  1. Apply for a license with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB)

This is the first step in the licensing process. You can apply for a license with the CSLB when you are able to fulfill all eligibility criteria.

  1. Get your relevant work experience verified

All work experience that you claim must be backed up with proof and supporting documents. Your experience can be verified by a past or a current employer, colleague, superior, subordinate, etc. It has to be someone who knows your work and is familiar with your expertise.
Furthermore, if you possess any specialized education, then this may be considered as part of your work experience. You will, however, still need to have practical work experience of at least 1 year.

  1. Take the CSLB exam for HVAC licensing/certification

The California HVAC licensing exam consists of the following two sections.

  • Law and Business Exam
  • HVAC Trade Specific Exam

You will have to obtain a passing grade in both sections.

  1. Fulfill the requirements to have your license issued
  • Licensing fee payment
  • Contractor bond or cash deposit
  • Qualifying an open-book asbestos exam
  • Submitting individual bond if applicable
  • Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Fulfilling all fingerprint requirements
  • LLC Employee/Worker Bond and/or LLC liability insurance whichever applicable

How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License in California?

Once you apply for your California HVAC license, you must pass the exam within the next 18 months. In case you fail the exam on the first attempt, there is a possibility to take it again by paying a $60 exam fee. So, the time taken to obtain your license will depend on how soon you can pass the exam.

How Much Does an HVAC License Holder Make in California?

As per the record available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website (May, 2018), heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in California earn an annual mean wage of $58,130.

Career Outlook and Job Growth for an HVAC Licensee in California

The future will have a considerable demand for HVAC technicians as the systems become more sophisticated. Between 2016 and 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15 percent national increase in jobs for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers. With California being one of the higher-employment states, the career outlook for HVAC technicians in the state is quite bright.

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