According to a recent study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Colorado will see a boom of nearly 30% more positions available for HVAC technicians with an equivalent to an HVAC license in Colorado. If you are interested in learning how to get an HVAC license in Colorado, start with the Colorado HVAC license requirements. Assess your experience level and what steps you should take next.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
There is no licensing requirement at the state level in Colorado, but many counties and municipalities require certain certifications for HVAC technicians and require contractors to be licensed in electrical and plumbing specialties.
HVAC License and Certification Types in Colorado
Colorado HVAC technicians have several possible voluntary certifications. HVAC Excellence certification offers three subtypes:
- The Employment Ready certificate is for entry-level positions.
- The Professional Technician certificate denotes proficiency in a chosen specialty.
- The Master Specialist Hands-On certificate is only available to technicians with three years of experience in the field.
The North American Technician Excellence certification offers entry-level and specialty certificates as well. The highest of these is the Senior Level Efficiency Analyst certification.
HVAC technicians and contractors also have several licensing options available in electrical and plumbing work:
- Residential wireman license
- Journeyman electrician license
- Master Electrician license
- Residential plumber license
- Journeyman plumber license
- Master Plumber license
Contractors may also earn a plumbing contractor license or an electrician contractor license. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issues all licenses.
How To Get an HVAC License in Colorado
Since there are no state-level licensing requirements, there is no minimum age limit to begin training. However, most employers require a minimum age of 18 and at least a high school diploma or GED for employment. A driver’s license and a clean driving record are also important to employers because HVAC technicians must travel to job locations.
The most common paths to a career as an HVAC professional in Colorado are:
- Apprenticeship under the supervision of a licensed contractor
- Formal education at a community college or technical school
- Online learning through the Residential HVAC Online Certificate Program.
You can gain experience and get paid by working as an apprentice and completing an HVAC training program simultaneously.
Colorado HVAC License Requirements
The licensing requirements vary by city and county, but these are the standard requirements for the aforementioned licenses and certifications:
- A residential wireman license requires a minimum of 4,000 hours of work experience completed within two years and an active apprentice license.
- A journeyman electrician license requires at least 8,000 hours of work experience completed in four years and an active apprentice license with 288 hours of classroom education. Of the 8,000 hours, 4,000 must be commercial work and completed within two years.
- A master electrician license requires the same qualifications for a journeyman license as well as 2,000 additional hours of installation experience completed in one year.
- A residential plumber license requires 3,400 hours of experience over two years.
- A journeyman plumber license requires 6,800 hours of experience over four years.
- A master plumber license requires 9,780 hours of experience over five years
- A plumbing contractor license requires a master plumber status or employment of a master plumber as well as the proper insurance, including workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation.
- An electrical contractor license requires a master electrician license and the proper insurance.
All licenses require an exam covering the topics in the respective field and a passing grade of 70% or higher.
In accordance with Colorado EPA Section 608, all HVAC technicians must be certified to work with refrigerants. Certification requires passing a multiple-choice exam with 70% or higher within a three-hour limit. The exam fee is $120.
There are three different types of certification available to HVAC technicians:
- Type I allows working with small appliances with no more than 5 pounds of refrigerant.
- Type II permits technicians to work on high-pressure appliances.
- Type III permits work on low-pressure appliances.
EPA certification does not expire and is transferrable between states.
Colorado contractors with HVAC licensing are required to carry general liability insurance with a minimum policy limit of $100,000. Some counties and municipalities set specific insurance requirements. For example, the city of Longmont requires contractors to have $1 million in single limit liability and $4 million total in general and products aggregate liability insurances.
Colorado state law requires contractors with company vehicles to have commercial auto insurance, and all businesses with employees must provide workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
Colorado HVAC Licensing and Registration Fees
Each type of license has application and examination fees. At the time of this writing, the residential wireman and journeyman electrician licenses cost $175 to apply as well as a $75 exam fee. A master electrician application fee is $140 plus the $75 exam fee. The residential plumber license application and exam fee are a combined $175. The journeyman plumber license and exam fee is $195 and a master plumber license is $215. A background check is not required for licensing in the state of Colorado.
Colorado HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
No education or licensing is required at the state level. However, formal training and certification are available and provide a competitive advantage in the job market.
HVAC License Exam Details
Since there is no state HVAC licensing requirement, there is no general HVAC license exam. However, each of the aforementioned certifications has an examination for the specific field and level.
HVAC Training Schools in Colorado
Some high schools offer vocational training for seniors, and there are several accredited community colleges and vocational schools that offer HVAC programs:
- Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs, CO (719) 502-3232
- IntelliTec College, Colorado Springs, CO (970) 245-8101
- Front Range Community College, Longmont, CO (303) 678-3722
- Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, CO (303) 914-6600
- Emily Griffith Technical College, Denver, CO (720) 423-4700
- Lincoln College of Technology, Denver, CO (303) 722-5724
- Pickens Technical College in Aurora, (303) 344-4910
The cost of HVAC training in Colorado and the education required varies depending on your chosen institution and program. Vocational school costs range between $1,200 and $15,000 for programs lasting six to 12 months. Community colleges average $4,000 to $9,000 per year for a two-year degree.
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
Salary for Colorado HVAC Professionals
The average salary for an HVAC technician in Colorado is $54,000. The top 20% earn an annual salary of more than $77,000. The cities of Colorado Springs, Englewood, and Fort Collins pay the highest salaries.
Application for an HVAC License in Colorado
Regulations for electricians and plumbers are set at the state level by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. However, all Colorado HVAC and general contractor licenses are issued at the municipal level and have varying application processes. To learn more, search your local licensing agency.
HVAC Registration and Permitting Requirements for Contractors in Colorado
There are no registration or permitting requirements for HVAC technicians in Colorado. General contractors with HVAC certification are subject to the same licensing, registration, and permitting requirements for generation contractors as set by your respective municipality.
Benefits of Being an HVAC Professional
The advantages of becoming an HVAC professional in Colorado include:
- You can own a business and be your boss.
- Apprenticeships allow you to earn an income as you learn the trade.
- Possessing a trade skill gives you a competitive advantage in the job market and creates job security.
- If you need to relocate, you can find HVAC job opportunities almost anywhere.
- It is a rewarding position that makes a positive difference for customers and the environment.
Understanding how to get an HVAC license in Colorado requires more information from your local licensing agency. With no formal state HVAC license in Colorado, gaining experience is the most common place to start. Colorado HVAC license requirements primarily apply to contractors, but anyone planning to specialize only in HVAC should consider formal education and pursue an apprenticeship opportunity.
HVAC License Colorado FAQ
How Long Is My Colorado HVAC License Valid?
There is no HVAC license issued in Colorado at the state level. All Colorado HVAC and general licenses are issued at the municipal level, and length of licensure may vary from city to city.
Can I Use My Colorado HVAC License in The Other States?
Colorado does not issue a state license; all licensing is done at the municipal level.
Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
If you would like further information on acquiring a municipal license for HVAC work in Colorado, please contact your local city office to see what may be required.
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become an HVAC-R technician in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Colorado, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: