People will always need heating and cooling services in their homes and offices, which means that the need for HVAC contractors who can install, maintain, and repair their equipment will always be there. In the state of Ohio, the average licensed HVAC contractor earns about $47,000 per year, with plenty of room for advancement and more earnings. Learning how to get an HVAC license in Ohio is the first step on your career path.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
In the state of Ohio, you do not need an HVAC license to work on residential properties. However, those who wish to work on commercial properties must receive a license from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. You must be at least 18 years old to obtain your HVAC license in the state of Ohio.
HVAC License Types in Ohio
There is one main type of HVAC license in Ohio. The state-level Commercial Contractor license for HVAC is issued for people who wish to provide HVAC services in commercial buildings. However, there are several types of special certifications that someone can earn as well.
HVAC contractors who wish to work with coolants will need to receive their EPA certification. There are several subcategories, including small appliances, high-pressure coolants, and low-pressure coolants. Contractors can opt to become certified in all three if they wish. Although it’s technically elective, most HVAC contractors will need to work with coolants, so it’s a good idea to get the certification.
HVAC engineers must possess all optional certifications as well as hold a bachelor’s degree. Engineers can design and build HVAC systems.
Contractors who have journeyman certification work under Master HVAC technicians.
Master HVAC Technicians
People who receive their Master’s HVAC certification can own their own HVAC businesses and hire employees.
North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification shows off HVAC contractors’ experience and knowledge.
Ohio HVAC License Requirements
The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) is responsible for issuing licenses to commercial HVAC contractors. Those who hope to receive their license must meet several requirements.
- Contractors must be at least 18 years old
- Contractors must be United States citizens or provide proof of being a legal alien
- Contractors must have been an HVAC tradesperson for at least 5 years immediately prior to filing their application
- Have no disqualifying offenses as outlined in H.B. 263
- Pass the HVAC examination
- Pay all fees
Insurance requirements vary in the state of Ohio. An HVAC contractor that wants to be able to work all over the state must carry at least $500,000 in general contractor liability insurance. However, those who wish only to work in specific cities may not need to carry as much insurance.
- Cleveland – In the city of Cleveland, HVAC contractors must carry $200,000 in liability insurance and a $25,000 surety bond with a power-of-attorney form.
- Columbus – In Columbus, HVAC contractors must have $300,000 in liability insurance and a $25,000 surety bond.
- Cincinnati – In Cincinnati, HVAC contractors must have $100,000 in liability insurance, have a certificate of insurance for workers’ compensation coverage, and provide a list of subcontractors if relevant.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
Ohio HVAC Licensing and Registration Fees
There are several costs associated with becoming a licensed HVAC contractor in Ohio. The exam itself is two sections, costing $69 each for a total of $138. There is a license application fee of $25 as well. State-issued licenses require renewal on a yearly or three-year basis. If you plan to renew yearly, it is $60 per year. If you want to renew your HVAC license every three years, it is $180. Keep in mind that you will also need to get both state and federal background checks, which typically cost about $25 each. Background checks must be paid for with a money order or certified check made payable to the Treasurer-State of Ohio. Once obtained, you’ll need to the following address:
Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of Industrial Compliance
Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB)
6606 Tussing Road
P.O. Box 4009
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-9009
If you have any questions about the background check process, you can call 614-644-3494. These prices are accurate as of the time of publishing but are always subject to change.
Ohio HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
Hopeful HVAC contractors in Ohio must pass the HVAC licensing examination as well as a Business and Law examination. Pre-approval is required, and testing centers are set up in larger cities throughout the state. There are a variety of in-person and online training centers to help people prepare for the exams.
HVAC License Exam Details
The Ohio HVAC Contractor Exam consists of 100 questions and takes about 4 hours to complete. The open-book exam requires a 70% grade to pass. Topics include general knowledge, warm air heating and distribution, air conditioning, equipment and appliances, pretest items, testing and inspection, piping systems, and ventilation and exhaust systems.
The Ohio Business and Law Exam consists of 50 questions and takes about 2 hours to complete. The open-book exam requires a 70% passing grade. Topics include business, estimating and bidding, project management, OSHA recordkeeping and safety, financial management, lien laws, pretest items, tax laws, personnel regulations, insurance and bonding, contract management, and licensing.
At the time of this writing, the cost of the exams is $69 each or $138 total. There are several locations for taking the exam. To find out which one is closest to you and learn how to take the exam, you can contact the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board directly at 614-644-3493. You can also search the PSI Exams website.
HVAC Training Schools in Ohio
There are plenty of schools that provide HVAC training in Ohio.
- Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical School, Groveport, OH, 614-836-4530
- Southern Ohio Technical Institute, LLC, Cincinnati, OH, 513-753-7684
- C-TEC Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County, Newark, OH, 740-364-2832
- University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, OH, 419-998-3120
- Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Brecksville, OH, 440-526-5200
- Miami Valley Career Technology Center, Clayton, OH, 937-837-7781
- Great Oaks Institute of Technology, Cincinnati, OH, 513-771-8840
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
Ohio License Application
To become a licensed HVAC contractor in Ohio, you must first be pre-approved to take the licensing exam. You can download the exam application form on the OCILB website.
After you complete your exam, you’ll need to undergo the business licensing procedure, as it’s a requirement for all contractors in the state. First, you’ll need to register your business with the Ohio Secretary of State. If you plan to use a different name from your company name for doing business, you’ll also need to file a trade name registration. Finally, you’ll need to register with the Ohio Department of Taxation.
After you’ve registered your business, you’ll need to complete your Ohio general contractor license forms. The procedure is a bit different for each city. Columbus and Cleveland are listed below. Contact your local licensing authorities for information on how to complete the process in other cities.
Fill out the general contractor application form (scroll to the bottom of the page to save it) and submit it to the following address.
City of Columbus
Department of Building and Zoning Services
757 Carolyn Avenue
Columbus, OH 43224
Fill out the application form and submit it to the following address.
City of Cleveland
Department of Building and Housing
601 Lakeside Ave. E #505
Cleveland, OH 44114
Common information that you’ll need to include is your name, your company name, your home address, the mailing address for your company, and its federal ID number. You’ll also need to provide your license number, experience, and answer a variety of questions about your experience and background. Remember to sign your forms, date them, and include any necessary payments before mailing them.
Registration and Permitting Requirements
In the state of Ohio, you must register and maintain a business license as an HVAC contractor. In addition to maintaining this license, you’ll need to renew your contactor’s license either annually or every three years. Depending on which you choose, the cost is $60 or $180, respectively.
Ohio HVAC contractors must also undergo continuing education to maintain their licenses. When renewing, you’ll need to provide 4 hours of continuing education for annual renewal or 12 hours of continuing education for renewal every 3 years.
HVAC Registered Contractor Requirements in Ohio
In the state of Ohio, registered HVAC contractors must either register as home improvement contractors or general contractors. Most opt to register as general contractors, as it keeps options open for bidding on jobs.
EPA Certification in Ohio
While HVAC contractors in Ohio are not required to carry EPA certification, it is a good idea to do so. Most contractors do because you cannot work with refrigerants without certification. Without the EPA certification, the types of jobs you can do are severely limited. EPA certification allows you to service small appliances, work with high- and low-pressure appliances, service all types of equipment, and properly dispose of appliances.
HVAC License Ohio FAQ
Check here for answers to some of your most common questions.
How Long Is My Ohio HVAC License Valid?
Your Ohio HVAC license is valid for 1-3 years, depending on the renewal options that you choose.
Can I Use My Ohio HVAC License in the Other States?
Ohio HVAC contractors have reciprocity agreements with several other U.S. states. Keep in mind that reciprocity is only offered to those who took the state-recognized test. Those who grandfathered in cannot reciprocate. Currently, Ohio HVAC contractors can also work in Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions?
If you have questions regarding HVAC contractor licensing and examination requirements, you can contact OCILB directly at 614-644-3493.
Learning how to get an HVAC license in Ohio is just the first part of the process. To find out more about furthering your HVAC career, check out General Contractor License Guide.