HVAC License and Certification in Arizona

Choosing Appropriate Licensing
A newly certified Arizona HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technician is not required to attain a commercial license; however, any newly certified contractor who wishes to attain journeyman status in the state of Arizona has the challenge of acquiring the appropriate professional licenses from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. To be considered for HVAC Journeyman status, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors requires that the contractor pass licensing examinations in addition to providing documentation of up to four years minimum work experience as a technician or an apprentice.

Comprehensive information about the HVAC education and training requirements in Arizona and HVAC schools is available in a different section of the HVAC in Arizona training website. California HVAC licensing is very different from Arizona, and if you plan on working there you may want to study up on their requirements before embarking on your education.

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Categories of Licensing

The state of Arizona does not have a specific license related to heating but there are multiple options for licensing when working with air conditioning, refrigeration, or solar contracts. Three of the five classes of contract licensing in the state of Arizona are applicable to HVAC work and are selected based on the type of work that will be completed: the L class indicates a specialty commercial license, for example, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration would fall under license L-39, Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration is L-49, Comfort Heating Ventilation and Evaporative Cooling is license L-58, of Air and Refrigeration with Solar would be L-79.

The C category licenses are more appropriate for specialty residential contractors. The choice between category L and category C licenses is determined by the estimated cost of the contractor’s job. A category C license may be more appropriate in Arizona when the cost of the work is under $25,000. Licenses C39 and C39R are for Residential Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor including solar. There is also a category K licensing classification relevant to air conditioning and refrigeration, K-79; the K category licenses combine the commercial and residential under one dual license and K-79 is the dual residential and commercial license appropriate for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Including Solar.

All of these licenses require successful completion of a Business Management Exam and Trade Exam; L-79, C-39 and K-79 also require completion of a Solar Exam. The exams are computer based and can be administered by an approved testing facility. Accommodations are also available at these testing centers. The exam cost is varies depending on the specific license and the subsections required.

Licensing Exams
The first exam required for all Arizona HVAC licensure is the trade exam for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. This exam is quite comprehensive including five major content areas: HVAC system design, HVAC system fabrication, HVAC system installation, HVAC system maintenance, and safety. HVAC system design questions relating to design layout and calculations, duct system design and layout, codes, definitions, and formulas, HVAC system fabrication questions are regarding fabricate duct systems and preparations for installation. HVAC System Installation questions are generally regarding specific electrical, plumbing and refrigeration components, HVAC systems, air distribution and duct systems. HVAC System Maintenance is covered with questions regarding HVAC system tests and checks and HVAC system maintenance or repair. And finally, safety components like personal protective equipment, safety precautions taken at work site, and documentation of hazardous materials.

The second mandatory exam for licensure in Arizona is the Arizona Contractors Law and Business Examination is also very thorough and includes at least eight major categories of questions that fall into 12 subsections. The categories of questions are: business organization, business financial, employment requirements, bonds, insurance, and liens, contract requirements and execution, licensing requirements, safety requirements, and public works. The business organization category includes questions regarding company and project organization. The business financial category includes questions about cash management, budget and planning, taxes, and financial reporting.

Employment Requirements are covered by questions about employment regulations, evaluation and record-keeping, and also payroll. The category of bonds, insurance, and liens also includes questions regarding workers’ compensation insurance, and other insurances. The fifth category, contract requirements and execution specifically covers bidding, labor and cost control, contracts, and payments. Licensing Requirements category includes questions regarding business license, contractor’s license, and activity regulation. The Safety Requirements category includes questions about training and reporting requirements, as well as general safety, and also hazmat. Finally, there are questions regarding public works including prevailing HVAC wage requirements, bonding requirements, and insurance requirements.

If necessary, the contractor may be required to take an additional Solar Exam. The exam content for the Solar Exam includes eight content areas: components, installation, collection loops, maintenance, mounting, principles, and finally solar systems piping.

Licensing and Recovery Fees
The licensing fees are variable and generally run higher for commercial work. The category L commercial licensing fee is initially $645 and is good for two years. The renewal fee for category L licenses is reduced and only $490. The category C residential licensing fee is slightly less than half the cost of commercial at $320 initially, and is again good for only two years. Renewal for category C licensees is $240. Finally, the dual commercial and residential category K licenses are the most expensive at $815, and must be renewed after two years. Renewal license for the HVAC K-79 license is reduced to $730.

Upon completion of the relevant exams, payment of the license fee, and submission of a signed application, the licensed Journey man will also need to have documentation of payment of a Recovery Fund Fee. A Recovery Fund is governed by the state of Arizona and is a financial protection for a contractor’s residential and commercial clients. In Arizona, the recovery fund fees for contractors are $300 for the first year and $150 for the second year. Alternatively, if the contractor chooses not to participate in the Recovery Fund, they must provide evidence of a minimum consumer bond in the amount of $200,000.

Finally, certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be required, if the contractor will do any work with or handle refrigerants. EPA certification is obtained, by passing an exam at an EPA-approved testing center, like Prometric. This exam cost $63.00 and the contractor must be certified for each category of refrigerant that will be handled. There are specific training companies like American Trainco that have offered training and certified more than 10,000 technicians with an EPA 608 certification.