Have you considered becoming an HVAC technician? HVAC is a growing field, and Washington is a great place to begin your career. In Washington state, the average salary for HVAC technicians is higher than the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average nationwide salary in 2020 was $53,00, while the median salary was $65,000 in Washington. There are also plenty of job opportunities in the area, with nearly 7,000 HVAC professionals currently working in Washington. Learn everything about how to get an HVAC license in Washington, including license types, HVAC training, and EPA requirements.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
There is no official HVAC license in Washington. However, you are required to have an electrical license to perform HVAC duties. You need an electrical license to inspect, repair, install, and alter heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration units.
An electrical permit is required in order to perform work in residential and commercial buildings. To be eligible for an electrical license, you need to meet specific educational requirements and pass a state-mandated exam.
HVAC License Types in Washington
There is no formal HVAC license in Washington, but everyone who wants to work in the industry must hold an electrical permit. There are two types of electrical licenses: trainee and journey level. Certain cities have different license requirements for HVAC technicians, and you should check with your local board regarding specific Washington HVAC license requirements.
Here is more information about these licenses:
The trainee license is the first step to obtaining a higher-level electrical permit. This is a beginner’s license and does not require formal education, practical experience, or an exam. However, you must be at least 16 years old and have a valid social security number to apply. You can submit your application online through the Washington Department of Labor and Industries website.
You must renew the license every two years if you do not pursue a higher electrical license. When you renew your license, you must provide proof you have taken 48 hours of approved continuing education courses.
Journey Level 06a Electrical License
You need to obtain a journey-level electrician license to work in all specialty electrical categories in Washington. This license is known as EL06A. This license has several specialties that you can choose from, including HVAC and refrigeration systems. To obtain this license, you need to satisfy the following requirements:
- Provide evidence of at least 8,000 hours of practical experience as an electrical trainee under the direct supervision of a licensed electrician. At least 4,000 of your work hours should be devoted to working in industrial or commercial installation projects.
- Complete 96 hours of classroom instruction from an approved course.
- Pass the EL06A examination and pay the appropriate fee.
Until you become fully licensed, a certified electrician must supervise you at least 75% of the time. Once you are permitted, you are limited to line voltage work within HVAC systems.
Washington HVAC License Requirements
The are several steps for how to get an HVAC license in Washington. These steps include meeting education requirements, passing the state-mandated exam, and submitting your application. You do not need to pass a background check to obtain a license.
Applicants also need to submit the appropriate fees to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, the state body that grants all professional licenses in the state.
You must acquire the trainee license or equivalent experience before pursuing the journey-level license. It can take up to two years to receive the journey-level electrical license. This includes time for you to complete the required education and experience requirements, take the examination, and submit the application.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries requires HVAC technicians to register as specialty contractors. To obtain a specialty contractor license, you need to complete the following steps:
- Register with the Washington Secretary of State
- Submit a business license application
- Obtain an employer identification number from the IRS if you plan to hire workers
- Purchase bond and liability insurance
- Pay the required registration fee
Keep in mind that the contractor registration process is separate from the license application process.
HVAC technicians in Washington who perform unsupervised work must hold insurance and surety bonds. Specialty contractors, such as those working in the HVAC industry, must purchase a Washington Continuous Contractor Surety Bond worth $6,000.
Specialty contractors also need to buy a minimum of $200,000 worth of general liability insurance. Proof of the proper insurance must be provided when applying for your license. You also need to obtain workers’ compensation coverage if you plan to hire employees.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
Washington Licensing and Registration Fees
All HVAC technicians are required to register as specialty contractors, pass the
EL06A examination, and apply for a journey-level electrical license. At the time of writing, the contractor application fee is $117.90. There is also a fee to take the examination, which PSI administers. Test fees are paid directly to PSI when you schedule your exam. Contact PSI Exams for current information on examination fees.
Washington HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
You must meet specific education requirements to sit for the EL06A examination. You need to provide evidence of 8,000 hours of practical experience as an electrical trainee and complete 96 hours of approved classroom instruction. Military experience may count toward your education and experience requirements.
Contact the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for specific information.
HVAC License Exam Details
All technicians applying for the Washington journey-level electrical license must pass the EL06A examination. Once your application is approved, you can schedule your test directly with PSI Services. The test is challenging, and many applicants take an HVAC course to prepare. The test covers local electrical codes, so ensure you study this information.
There are many online and in-person requirements to help you prepare for the Washington HVAC licensing exam.
HVAC Training Schools in Washington
Many schools offer HVAC training in Washington. Here are some accredited schools that provide HVAC courses or programs:
- Northwest HVAC/R Association Training Center, Spokane, WA (509) 747-8810
- HVAC Business and Technical Institute, Kent, WA (253) 548-7726
Northwest HVAC/R Association Training Center is a popular program because students who complete the program are guaranteed a job upon graduation. The program combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training.
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
Washington License Application
Washington HVAC license candidates need to complete the application and submit it along with the required fees to begin the application process. You can submit this application online on the Washington State Department of Labor’s website. The application consists of the following main sections:
- Contact information
- License history and education information
- Payment information
You can contact a Washington State Department of Labor representative at (800)-647-0982 if you have questions about the application process.
Registration and Permitting Requirements
Everyone performing HVAC work in Washington must have a trainee or journey-level electrical license. However, the City of Seattle requires HVAC technicians to obtain a separate refrigeration license. You can find more information about Seattle’s licensing requirements by visiting its permitting page.
Further, the Washington cities of Spokane, Yakima, Pullman, and Kennewick have additional licensing requirements for HVAC workers. Contact your local board for specific information.
Your electrical license expires two years from the date of issue.
You can submit the renewal application and the $117 fee online before it expires. You must also complete a minimum number of continuing education classes every two years to keep your license active.
HVAC Registered Contractor Requirements in Washington
All specialty contractors must register with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. This registration process is separate from the journey-level electrical license application process. You must have both a contractor’s license and an electrical license to perform HVAC work in Washington legally.
Specialty contractors can only perform contracting work in the specialty they are registered in and cannot bid on general contracting jobs. If you have questions about the contractor application process, watch the contractor overview video.
EPA Certification in Washington
All HVAC workers in Washington must obtain the EPA Section 608 certification. Obtaining this certification is an essential part of working with environmentally sensitive chemicals. Many programs that offer HVAC training in Washington provide EPA instruction as part of their programs.
HVAC License Washington FAQ
How Long Is My Washington HVAC License Valid?
Washington trainee and journey-level electrical license expire two years from the issue date.
Can I Use My Washington HVAC License in the Other States?
Washington journey-level electrical licenses may be valid in Oregon if specific requirements are met. Contact the state licensing board for more information.
Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
Please visit the contractor registration section on the Washington Department of Labor and Industries website if you have questions.
Start Your HVAC Career Journey
Do you want to know how to get an HVAC license in Washington? Learning about HVAC training in Washington and Washington HVAC state license requirements is crucial if you’re going to start a career in this growing industry. Learn more at General Contractor License Guide.
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 Washington, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: