There is a growing demand for qualified HVAC technicians and contractors in North Carolina. If you are wondering how to get an HVAC license in North Carolina, this guide is for you. Use it to navigate the licensing process so you can get on the road to a rewarding HVAC career.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors oversees contractor licensing for work on heating, cooling, plumbing, and fire sprinkler systems in residential and commercial buildings. According to their rules, anyone engaged in the operation, maintenance, repair, design, testing, or construction of heating, cooling, or plumbing systems must obtain the appropriate license.
There are additional refrigeration contractor licensing requirements in the state. This type of license is needed to work on commercial HVAC or refrigeration units.
HVAC License Types in North Carolina
HVAC contractor licenses have three designated groups which are further broken down into two classes. The heating groups refer to the type of heating equipment you can work on. They are:
- Group 1: water-based heating systems in any building
- Group 2: forced-air heating and cooling units weighing more than 15 tons
- Group 3: forced-air heating and cooling units weighing 15 tons or less
Classes designate the type of building you can work in. A class one license means you can work in any type of building, while a class two license limits you to working in single-family homes.
For example, a contractor with a Group three, class two (H3-II) license can work on forced-air heating systems up to 15 tons in single-family buildings.
HVAC Technician Licenses in North Carolina
Technicians perform much of the same work as contractors, but they must be supervised. Each group has three technician licenses. These are general, State & Local Government, and Private Education institutions. The latter two require the technician to be employed by an appropriate government or educational entity.
North Carolina HVAC License Requirements
To apply for a North Carolina HVAC contractor or technician license, you must work a minimum number of hours under the supervision of a licensed contractor. Education may be substituted for up to half of the required hours. In addition, applicants must pass a specialty exam. Those seeking a contractor license must also pass a business and law exam.
North Carolina HVAC license requirements do not mandate industry-specific insurance coverage. However, it is prudent for businesses engaging in HVAC work to have sufficient liability coverage. Workers’ compensation insurance is required of all companies in the state with three or more employees.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
North Carolina HVAC Licensing and Registration Fees
Getting an HVAC license in North Carolina is relatively affordable, although a few fees are associated with the process. These include:
- Exam application fee: $50
- License activation fee: $150
- License renewals: $150 annually
- EPA Certificaiton fee: $40
- Background Check: $30 and up
Please note that all fees are accurate as of the time of writing, but they are subject to change. Therefore, it is always good to verify current fees and license costs with the state Board of Examiners before proceeding with the application process.
North Carolina HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
You can apply to become an HVAC technician once you complete 3,000 hours (18 months full-time equivalent) of relevant experience. Technicians must work under the supervision of a similarly licensed contractor and cannot enter directly into contracts.
To apply for a refrigeration or HVAC contractor’s license in North Carolina, you must be able to document a minimum of 4,000 hours of relevant experience. This is defined as HVAC-related work performed under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor. A maximum of 2,000 hours or related academic or technical training can make up half of this requirement.
Although there are no formal educational requirements to obtain a North Carolina HVAC license, proper training can prepare you for the work you will be expected to perform. Many good programs offer HVAC training in North Carolina — both online and in-person — that will help prepare someone for a career in HVAC.
Documented military training and experience may be substituted for all or part of the specialty work requirements. Additionally, North Carolina recognizes South Carolina licenses for the specialty portion of qualification. However, contractor candidates must still pass the business and law exam to receive a state license.
HVAC License Exam Details
The licensing process starts when your exam application, fees, and supporting documentation are submitted. This can be done online or by mailing them to:
State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors
1109 Dresser Court
Raleigh, NC 27609-7302
The contractor exams are administered daily at seven locations throughout the state. They are located in Asheville, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Greenville, and Wilmington.
HVAC Training Schools in North Carolina
Several high-quality programs offer specialized HVAC training in North Carolina. Some of the top-rated programs include:
- Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC (704) 330-2722, ext. 7431
- Guilford Technical Community College, Greensboro, NC (336) 334-4822
- Pitt Community College, Winterville (252) 493-7200
- Wake Tech, Raleigh, NC (919) 866-5000
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
North Carolina License Application
The first step in how to get an HVAC license in North Carolina is obtaining the education or work experience needed to qualify for the exam. Once you have that, you are ready to submit an exam application. The state Board offers the following checklist to ensure you have everything ready to submit your application:
- W-2s, 1099, or other approved proof of earnings
- A printed copy of the Castle branch criminal background check
- Form 1-B, 1-C, or 1-D (use a separate form for each qualification)
- Payment (check, money order, online billing)
- A statement describing any criminal charges, convictions, etc.
Registration and Permitting Requirements
Individuals performing HVAC work in North Carolina must maintain an active license with the state. Additionally, anyone operating a business in the state must register it with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
North Carolina HVAC License Renewals
North Carolina HVAC license requirements for renewal are straightforward to meet. Licensees must submit a renewal form with the appropriate fee ($150 for contractors and $75 for technicians) annually. There are no continuing education requirements for license renewal in North Carolina.
HVAC Registered Contractor Requirements in North Carolina
North Carolina HVAC licensees do not need to be registered as general contractors to do HVAC work. However, contractors may also choose to obtain a refrigeration contractor license to work on commercial air conditioning systems.
EPA Certification in North Carolina
Anyone who handles refrigerants or performs work on equipment containing refrigerants must apply for EPA section 608 technician certification. There are four types of certification you can receive, each requiring passing an exam. Exams must be administered by an EPA-approved program. The certification does not expire.
HVAC License North Carolina FAQ
There are many things to consider when exploring how to get an HVAC license in North Carolina. These answers to commonly asked questions may help you take the next steps toward a rewarding career.
How Long Is My North Carolina HVAC License Valid?
North Carolina HVAC licenses expire at the end of each calendar year and must be renewed annually to remain current. This can be done by submitting the appropriate form and fees to the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating & Fire Sprinkler Contractors.
Can I Use My North Carolina HVAC License in the Other States?
North Carolina does not have full reciprocity agreements with other states for its HVAC or refrigeration licenses.
Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
If you still have questions about how to get an HVAC license in North Carolina, direct them to the Exam Coordinator at the State Board of Examiners office. You can reach the office by calling 919-875-3612.
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 North Carolina, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: