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HVAC Technician

How to get an HVAC contractor license in Texas

Matt Crawford image
By Matt Crawford
Oct 8, 2020 min read

If you live in Texas or are moving to the Lone Star State, the HVAC industry is looking promising. The state has over 17,700 licensed HVAC contractors and one of the highest employment rates for HVAC contractors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Texas HVAC jobs are expected to grow by over 15% from 2018 to 2028. But before you start a heating and cooling business, you’ll need a license. 

Not sure where to start? Here’s all you need to know about how to get an HVAC license in Texas. 

If you’re planning to work in another state, visit our guide to HVAC license requirements in every state.

Texas HVAC license requirements 

To work in air conditioning and refrigeration in Texas in any capacity, you must have a license. Texas offers the following three pathways for licensing: 

Texas registered technician 

The registered technician license is valid if you plan 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 an HVAC certification training program of 2,000 hours approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) 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 contractors who plan to provide air conditioning and refrigeration services independently must hold an HVAC contractor’s license in Texas. 

Here’s a quick list of the qualifications, which we will outline in more detail in the following sections. 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 the details about an HVAC contractor’s license type 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 an HVAC contractor that is licensed within the past six years
  • Hold a technician certificate that you earned within the past year 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 not officially designated by TDLR.

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 option you choose will affect which licensing exam you take, the insurance coverage you need and the equipment you can service. You can choose from: 

  • Class A license with Environmental Air Conditioning endorsement
  • Class B license with Environmental Air Conditioning endorsement
  • Class A license with Commercial Refrigeration / Process Cooling or Heating endorsement
  • Class B license with Commercial Refrigeration / Process Cooling or Heating endorsement

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/h. 

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 as well as circulation and ventilation systems.

HVAC business insurance requirements in Texas 

Before you can receive your HVAC contractor license, you must meet the Texas HVAC license and insurance requirements. The HVAC insurance coverage levels vary based on your license class:

  • For Class A licenses, you need commercial general liability insurance. 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.
  • For Class B licenses, you also need commercial general liability insurance. 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. In addition, it’s advised that you carry workers’ compensation coverage in Texas if you have employees and commercial auto insurance if your business uses company-owned vehicles. 

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. 

You must register with PSI, create an online account and use their online portal to pay your test fee and schedule your exam. It’s a computer-based test administered at 22 testing centers throughout Texas. Tests are not open-book, and 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 that is valid for 21 days or until you receive your official license. 

How Next Insurance covers HVAC businesses in Texas

Next Insurance 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 cover. 

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. 

 Get an instant quote online today

Matt Crawford image
By Matt Crawford
Matt Crawford is Associate Content Director at Next Insurance and a small business insurance specialist. He has worked throughout his career to help small business owners grow and protect their businesses.
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