In the Lone Star State, the HVAC industry looks promising. Texas has over 31,000 licensed HVAC contractors and one of the country's highest employment levels.1
Before you start a heating and cooling business, however, you’ll need a license issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). To become a licensed HVAC contractor, you must meet certain experience requirements, pass an exam and show proof of insurance. There are also licensing options available for HVAC technicians.
Not sure where to start? Here’s what you need to know about how to get an HVAC license in Texas:
- Texas HVAC license requirements
- How to apply for a Texas HVAC contractor license
- Taking the Texas HVAC contractor license exam in Texas
- How long does it take to get an HVAC license in Texas?
- HVAC contractor insurance requirements in Texas
Texas HVAC license requirements
To work in air conditioning and refrigeration in Texas, you must have a license. Texas offers the following three pathways for licensing:
Texas registered technician
The registered technician license allows you to assist a licensed HVAC contractor in performing repair work.
To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old, complete an application and submit a $20 application fee. No experience or education is required, but you can only work under the guidance of a licensed HVAC contractor.
Texas certified technician
The certified technician license demonstrates that you meet higher standards of experience and education than a registered technician. However, you still must work under the supervision of a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration contractor. You also can't advertise your air conditioning and refrigeration services.
To become a certified technician, you must be at least 18 years old, complete an application and submit a $50 application fee.
Additionally, you must meet one of the following requirements:
- Have two years of experience working under a licensed HVAC contractor
- Complete a TDLR-approved HVAC certification training program consisting of 2,000 hours of combined instruction and practical experience within the past four years
Military experience can also count toward the experience requirement.
After submitting your application and meeting the requirements, you'll need to take and pass an HVAC licensing exam to become fully certified.
Texas HVAC contractor license
HVAC professionals who plan to provide air conditioning and refrigeration services independently must hold an HVAC contractor's license in Texas.
To qualify, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Meet the necessary education or experience requirements
- Hold the right license class and endorsements for the units you plan to service
- Submit the application
- Pass the exam
- Pay the required fees
- Submit proof of insurance
Read on to learn more about becoming a licensed HVAC contractor in Texas.
How to apply for a Texas HVAC contractor license
To obtain a Texas HVAC contractors license, you must pay a $115 licensing fee and fulfill one of the following experience requirements:
- Have at least four years of experience working under the guidance of a licensed HVAC contractor within the past six years
- Hold a technician certificate for the past 12 months and have at least three years of experience working under the guidance of a licensed HVAC contractor within the past four years
- Qualify for an experience exception based on education or training in a similar field.
Contractors may qualify for a full or partial exemption of the experience requirements by earning an HVAC degree or certification, holding an engineering license, demonstrating related military experience or fulfilling other apprenticeship programs.2
HVAC license classes and endorsements
On the application for an HVAC contractor’s license, you must select a combination of license class and endorsement. The options you choose will affect which licensing exam you take, the insurance coverage you need and the equipment you can service.
There are two license classes:
- Class A license
- Class B license
Class A license holders are not limited in the size of equipment they can service. Class B license holders can only take jobs on cooling systems if the cooling capacity per unit is less than 25 tons and on heating systems if the heating capacity per unit is below 1.5 million BTUs/hour.
In addition, there are three license endorsement options:
- Environmental Air Conditioning
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Process Cooling or Heating
Contractors with Commercial Refrigeration/Process Cooling or Heating endorsements can only work on coolers, freezers, ice machines and other units with built-in temperature and humidity controls. Contractors with Environmental Air Conditioning endorsements can work on all equipment, including circulation and ventilation systems.
Taking the Texas HVAC contractor license exam in Texas
Once your application is on file with TDLR, the licensing department will notify the exam vendor, PSI Exams, that you are eligible to take the Texas HVAC contractor license exam.
Register with PSI, create an online account and use their online portal to pay your test fee and schedule your exam. It's an open-book, computer-based test administered at testing centers throughout Texas. You must score a 70% or higher to pass.
The number of Texas HVAC license exam questions will vary based on which licensing test you take. The test fee, time limit and distribution of questions will also vary by exam type.
Failing the license exam will slow down the license application process considerably. To prevent that problem, you may want to use a Texas HVAC license practice test or other official Texas HVAC license exam study materials.
How long does it take to get an HVAC license in Texas?
If you already have the necessary experience or education to meet the application requirements, you should expect the process to get your HVAC contractor license in Texas to take approximately four to six weeks. Once you submit the completed application, it will take approximately seven to 10 days to receive the testing information from PSI Exams and schedule your test.
After passing your exam, PSI will send your scores to TDLR, which will issue your license within three weeks.
If you have a completed application, payment of fees and passing scores on file, the licensing department can issue you a temporary license valid for 21 days or until you receive your official license.3
HVAC contractor insurance requirements in Texas
Before you can receive your HVAC contractor license, you must meet certain insurance requirements. In addition, some types of Texas business insurance coverage in can help protect your contracting business.
General Liability insurance
General liability insurance in Texas can help provide coverage for work-related accidents to nonemployees and damage to someone else’s property.
You must have general liability insurance to become a licensed HVAC contractor in Texas. The required liability coverage for HVAC insurance varies based on your license class:
- Class A licenses: The minimum limits for property damage and bodily injury are $300,000 per occurrence and $600,000 aggregate. The minimum limit for products and completed operations is $300,000 aggregate.
- Class B licenses: The minimum limits for property damage and bodily injury coverage are $100,000 per occurrence and $200,000 aggregate. The minimum limit for products and completed operations is $100,000 aggregate.
Once you get coverage, you will need to file a certificate of insurance with the department.
Workers’ Compensation insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance can help provide wage protection and other benefits if an employee gets ill or injured on the job.
Tools and Equipment insurance
Tools and equipment insurance can help cover the cost of replacements and repairs for damaged or stolen work gear.
Commercial Auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance can help cover costs related to accidents, such as property damage and medical expenses, if you drive for work.
Commercial Property insurance
Commercial property insurance can help protect your business in the event of damage to your property, including buildings, inventory and equipment.
How NEXT covers HVAC businesses in Texas
NEXT offers HVAC insurance that can help you meet Texas requirements for all license classes. To demonstrate proof of coverage, the Texas licensing department will ask for a certificate of insurance, which you can send instantly from our online portal after you purchase coverage.
It takes less than 10 minutes to get a quote, explore your options and purchase an insurance package online. Our licensed, U.S.-based insurance advisors are standing by if you have any questions.
If you’re planning to work as an HVAC contractor in another state, visit our guide to HVAC license requirements in every state.