The nature of the hot and humid climate in Florida lends itself to a lucrative HVAC business, and the high demand creates job security for technicians and contractors. To start your career as an HVAC professional, you need to know how to get an HVAC license in Florida. This guide includes information on licensing requirements, applicable fees, exam details, and a list of schools that offer HVAC programs.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
Technicians and contractors must possess a license to service heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration work in the state of Florida. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations issues HVAC licenses.
HVAC License Types in Florida
Florida offers four types of HVAC licenses for technicians:
- The State Certified Class A license is the most inclusive option. It allows work on any size unit in any location.
- The State Registered Class A license also allows work on equipment of any size, but only in specific locations.
- The State Certified Class B license specifies that technicians may work on cooling systems weighing less than 20 tons and heating systems less than 500,000 BTU.
- The State Registered Class B license allows work only in certain local areas on cooling systems under 20 tons or heating systems lower than 500,000 BTU.
Additionally, the North American Technician Excellence organization offers a voluntary certification that adds between $10,000 and $20,000 more to your salary annually. The NATE certification signifies possession of additional knowledge.
Florida HVAC License Requirements
Florida HVAC license requirements dictate that you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Possess a high school diploma or GED
- Complete training, either on the job under the supervision of a licensed HVAC professional or by completing the educational requirements of an accredited HVAC program through a vocational school or community college
- Pass two exams: the business and finance knowledge exam and a trade knowledge exam
- Gain verified work experience in the field
- Prove financial responsibility with a credit score minimum of 660
- Complete a criminal background check
Verified work experience may come in any of the following forms:
- Four years of experience divided into two years as a worker, one year as a foreman, and one year of college credits
- Complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field and 2,000 hours of work experience
- Four years of experience divided into one year as a worker, one year as a foreman, and two years of college credits
- Complete a four-year apprenticeship and work as a foreman for at least one
- Complete three years of college and one year of work as a foreman
Any of the above combinations of experience qualify you to apply for an HVAC license.
HVAC technicians must have general liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $100,000 and $25,000 for property damage. Contractors planning to acquire an HVAC license or hire a licensed HVAC license must have the insurance required for Florida general contractors, including public liability and property damage insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if they employ others.
General liability insurance protects you in the case of injuries to others or damages to the property of others. Workers’ compensation covers damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, for employees that are injured on the job site. Contractors who own and operate vehicles should have commercial auto insurance.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
Florida HVAC Licensing and Registration Fees
The four different types of HVAC licenses in Florida are divided into two categories: registration and certification. The cost of registration is $209 for applications submitted between September 1 of an even year and April 30 of an odd year. It is $309 for applications between May 1 of an odd year and August 31 of an even year.
Certifications carry a fee of $149 for applications submitted between the start of September of an odd year and the end of April of an even year. It is $249 for applications submitted between the start of May of an even year to the end of August of an odd year. Additionally, Florida requires license renewal every even year for a fee of $209.
(The exam costs for certification and registration given here are accurate as of February 2022 but are subject to change.)
Florida HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
Education is required instead of an apprenticeship and conjunction with some work experience. The educational requirements vary depending on the amount of work experience you have, and there are many good online and in-person training programs to help you build your career as an HVAC professional. See below to request free info on education programs in your area:
HVAC License Exam Details
The Class A general trade knowledge exam is a 130-question exam administered on a computer. Questions relate to the following content:
- Basic mathematics
- Reading plans and specifications
- Reading and interpreting codes
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation offers a detailed outline of the content found on the Class A exam. The Class B general trade knowledge exam consists of 80 questions covering the same topics as the Class A exam. The Florida DBPR offers a detailed outline of content for the Class B exam as well.
All examinations are open book, computer-based, and administered in central Florida at a location designated on your admission slip. Application restrictions include:
- You must finish all parts of the exam within four years from the start date.
- You cannot take the exam within 21 days of the scheduled review.
- You cannot repeat the exam for a license you already hold.
- If you register for additional exam dates and pass before they are exhausted, you will not receive a refund for the remaining dates.
Within the four years allotted, you have an unlimited amount of chances to pass the exam. The fee is $355.
HVAC Training Schools in Florida
Several vocational schools and community colleges in Florida offer HVAC programs lasting six months to two years:
- Traviss Technical College, Lakeland, FL (863) 499-2700
- Lively Technical College, Tallahassee, FL (850) 487-7555
- Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth, FL (561) 967-7222
- Pinellas Technical College, St. Petersburg, FL (727) 893-2500
- Suncoast Technical College, Sarasota, FL (941) 924-1365
- Suncoast Technical Education Center, Brooksville, FL (352) 797-7091
- Withlacoochee Technical College, Inverness, FL (352) 726-2430
The above programs received accreditation from HVAC Excellence or Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation, which are the two main agencies responsible for evaluating Florida HVAC programs.
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
HVAC Apprenticeships in Florida
Apprenticeships offer a professional route to HVAC training in Florida. The average apprenticeship lasts between three and five years with a minimum of 144 hours of formal training and 2,000 hours of mentorship under a professional. Most apprenticeships are available through one of these industry associations:
- Sheet Metal Works International Association
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America
Contact the local chapter of any of these associations for further information on apprentice opportunities.
Florida License Application
The Florida HVAC license application requires the following for qualification:
- Proof that you possess general liability insurance
- A good FICO credit score of 660 or higher
- A licensing bond or letter of credit if your credit score is below the qualifying limit
- A criminal background check and submission of fingerprints
The Florida DBPR website provides a list of all certified air conditioning contractor applications, including the requirements and a link to the online application.
Registration and Permitting Requirements
Under Florida Statute Chapter 489, HVAC contractors must obtain a building permit to install, remove, or replace an HVAC system.
HVAC Registered Contractor Requirements in Florida
Florida offers three types of HVAC contractor licenses:
- The Class A certified air-conditioning contractor license allows the installation of systems of any size.
- The Class B certified air-conditioning contractor license allows the installation of systems with a 500,000 BTU heating capacity and cooling system of 25 tons or less.
- The Class A or Class B registered air-conditioning contractor only allows work on systems in a designated area.
All applicants must take a business and finance test as well as a trade knowledge test. Applicants with a four-year trade-related or construction degree from an accredited program are exempt from taking the trade knowledge test. The total fee for both exams is $160, or $80 each.
EPA Certification in Florida
Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires HVAC technicians in every state to hold an EPA certification that proves you are trained to maintain, service, repair, and dispose of equipment that could release refrigerant into the atmosphere. To get the license, you must pass a certification exam.
There are four types of EPA certification:
- Type I permits servicing small appliances with five pounds or less of refrigerant.
- Type II permits servicing high-pressure systems containing five pounds or more of refrigerant.
- Type III permits servicing low-pressure appliances
- Universal allows servicing under the stipulations of all three types.
The core section of the EPA certification exam covers:
- Section 608 regulations
- Ozone depletion
- Refrigeration and substitute refrigerants and oils
- Relevant legislation, such as the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol
- Recovery techniques
- The Three R’s (recover, recycle, reclaim)
- Dehydration evacuation
By now you should understand how to get an HVAC license in Florida. Check your local government website for any additional licensing, registration, and permit requirements specific to your area.
HVAC License Florida FAQ
How Long Is My Florida HVAC License Valid?
Florida HVAC licenses must be renewed every two years on the even year.
Can I Use My Florida HVAC License in Any of the Other States?
Florida has not entered into an HVAC reciprocity agreement with any other state.
Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions?
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has a correspondence page where you can submit questions regarding HVAC licensing. You may also call (850) 487-1395 with inquiries.