The HVAC industry has been on a steady incline in the U.S. for decades, primarily because it grows in tandem with the construction industry. As of 2020, the median annual salary for an HVAC technician in the U.S. is nearly $51,000, and the career offers stability. The laws, regulations, and licensing requirements are mandated at the state level, with some states being far more restrictive than others. If you want to know how to get an HVAC license in Massachusetts, this guide provides the information that you need, including application requirements, training programs, and renewal requirements.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
Massachusetts does not require any formal licensing for HVAC technicians. However, anyone planning to perform refrigeration work at a large capacity must obtain a refrigeration technician license.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts defines a refrigeration technician as someone who performs “refrigeration work subject to inspection under any law, ordinance, by-law, rule or regulation but does not employ other technicians or contractors.”
HVAC License Types in Massachusetts
There are no official HVAC licenses in Massachusetts. However, contractors working in commercial and industrial areas often work with HVACR systems. They must have a refrigeration license to work with 10 tons of refrigerant.
There are three types of refrigeration licenses:
- Refrigeration apprentice
- Refrigeration technician
- Refrigeration contractor
Additionally, anyone working with refrigerants in the U.S. must have a federally mandated EPA certification.
Massachusetts HVAC License Requirements
All three types of refrigeration licenses require specific work and training experience.
Refrigeration Apprentice License Requirements
Applicants for an apprenticeship must meet these requirements:
- Provide a Division of Apprentice Standards ID card.
- Provide a copy of a high school diploma or equivalent
- Provide a passport photo
- Provide an ID proving that you are 18 years old or older
All proof should be submitted with the application.
Refrigeration Technician License Requirements
The requirements for a refrigeration technician license include:
- Minimum age of 18
- A high school diploma or equivalent
- Completion of an apprenticeship with a minimum of 6,000 hours of experience approved by the Division of Apprentice Standards
- A recent passport photo
- Certification to work with chlorofluorocarbon byproducts
- Complete an application and provide a processing fee of $75
- Complete 100 hours in a refrigeration theory course and 150 hours in electrical code training from an OPSI-approved school
Instead of the 6,000 hours of apprentice experience, 100 hours in coursework, and 150 in electrical code training, you can complete one of the following:
- 4,000 hours of apprentice experience, 250 hours of shop work, 100 hours of theory coursework, and 100 hours of electrical code training
- 2,000 hours of apprentice experience, 700 hours of shop work, 100 hours of theory coursework, and 100 hours of electrical code training
- Provide a copy of a refrigeration technician license from another jurisdiction and proof from an employer that you have the required experience listed above
The license is issued by the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections, Division of Professional Licensure, and approved by the Bureau of Pipefitters, Refrigeration Technicians, and Sprinkler Fitters.
Refrigeration Contractor License Requirements
To apply for a refrigeration contractor license, you must have 2,000 hours of work experience as a refrigeration technician and 100 hours of refrigeration training on top of the training required for a technician.
Refrigeration technicians and contractors should have the following insurance:
- General liability insurance to protect them in the event of an accident causing an injury or damage to someone else’s property
- Workers’ compensation insurance to cover workers injured on the job
- Commercial property insurance to cover any business-related property that they own
- Commercial auto insurance to cover any business-owned vehicles
- Tools and equipment insurance to add on to the general liability coverage when work gear needs repair
All of the above are only recommended except for general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, which Massachusetts requires all contractors to carry.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
Massachusetts HVAC Licensing and Registration Fees
The individual fees for each of the licensing applications are:
- Apprentice license: $40
- Technician license: $75
- Contractor license: $150
These fees are accurate as of February 2022 but are subject to change.
Massachusetts HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
No formal education is required to work in the HVAC field. However, completing an HVACR program provides preparation for refrigeration licensing. The refrigeration technician and contractor licenses require the aforementioned hours of education from an OPSI-approved school.
HVAC License Exam Details
There is no examination requirement for an HVAC professional or a refrigeration apprentice license in Massachusetts. Both the refrigeration technician and contractors licenses require a written and technical exam. Information on the exam is provided upon approval of your application.
Approved Schools for Refrigeration Training
The Office of Public Safety and Inspections approves the following schools for refrigeration technician and contractor training in Massachusetts:
- Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston, MA (877) 400-2348
- Blue Hills Regional Technical School, Canton, MA (781) 828-5800
- Branford Hall Career Institute, Springfield, MA (413) 732-0546 x16
- Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School, Taunton, MA (503) 823-5151
- Essex Norths Shore Agricultural & Technical School, Hathorne, MA (978) 304-4700 est. 2105
- Gould Construction Institute, Woburn, MA (781) 270-9990 x106
- Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation, Leominster, MA (978) 534-7735
- Lincoln Technical Institute, Brockton, MA (508) 941-0730
- Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Lynn, MA (781) 477-7420
- Massasoit Community College, Canton, MA (508) 588-9100
- Technology Learning Center, Oxford, MA (508) 987-1852
For a full list containing all the approved technical high schools as well, visit mass.gov.
HVAC Training Schools in Massachusetts
The following accredited schools offer refrigeration and HVAC training in Massachusetts:
- The Peterson School, Woburn, MA (781) 938-5656
- The Peterson School, Westwood, MA (781) 320-3293
- The Peterson School, Worcester, MA (774) 823-3047
- New England Institute of HVAC, Lowell, MA (978) 735-4979
- Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA (413) 781-7822
- Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Boston, MA (877) 400-2348
- Porter and Chester Institute, Brockton, MA, Chicopee, MA, and Worcester, MA (888) 983-3851
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
Massachusetts License Application
All three refrigeration license applications are available online:
- Application for Refrigeration Apprentice License
- Application for Refrigeration Technicians License
- Application for Refrigeration Contractor License
At the bottom of each application, you will find the complete list of required documentation and the mailing address. Complete the application and mail it to the address listed at the end.
Registration and Permitting Requirements
HVAC professionals and general contractors in Massachusetts must check with their local government for information on required permits for each project.
HVAC Registered Contractor Requirements in Massachusetts
HVAC professionals are not required to register in Massachusetts, but refrigeration technicians and contractors are registered with the Professional Licensure Office of Public Safety and Inspections upon approval of their licenses.
EPA Certification in Massachusetts
Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates that all HVAC professionals in the country obtain EPA certification. The four types of certification are:
- Type I permits servicing of small appliances with less than five pounds of refrigerant.
- Type II permits servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances with the exception of small appliances.
- Type III permits servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances.
- Universal permits the servicing or disposing of all appliances without restrictions.
Technicians must pass an exam specific to the type of certification they seek. Each test covers topics specific to the certification, but they all include the Core section, which covers:
- Safety and Shipping
- The Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocol
- Environmental impacts, such as ozone depletion
- Substitute refrigerants and oils
- Recovery techniques
- Dehydration evacuation
- Regulations under Section 608
- The three Rs: recover, recycle, reclaim
By now you should understand how to get an HVAC license in Massachusetts. If you do not intend to work with refrigerants on an industrial level, you can begin your career with HVAC training at an accredited school and enter the job market.
HVAC License Massachusetts FAQ
How Long Is My Massachusetts HVAC License Valid?
Refrigeration apprentices, technicians, and contractors must renew their licenses every two years. Apprentices may only renew twice unless otherwise approved.
Can I Use My Massachusetts HVAC License in the Other States?
Massachusetts does not have reciprocal agreements for HVAC technicians or refrigeration technicians with any other states.
Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
For more information, contact the Office of Public Safety and Inspections, Division of Professional Licensure through the agency website.