HVAC equipment is becoming increasingly complex as technology advances. Learning how to install, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units takes time and effort, but this trade is booming in Wisconsin. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 375,000 HVAC technicians in the U.S, and nearly 5,000 of them work in Wisconsin. Learning how to get an HVAC license in Wisconsin is the first step to beginning a career in this growing industry. Here’s everything you need to know about HVAC licenses, including HVAC training in Wisconsin, licensing requirements, and renewal instructions.
Who Needs an HVAC License?
There is no statewide regulation to work in the HVAC industry in Wisconsin. Instead, most cities establish their own license requirements. However, an optional HVAC Qualifier Certification is available that satisfies local and state license requirements. Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services regulates this optional certification. DSPS also issues the HVAC Contractor Registration, a permit that is required to legally operate a business.
HVAC License Types in Wisconsin
There are two different HVAC licenses offered at the state level. One license is a technical permit, while the other is a business credential. Here is more information on the differences between the two licenses:
Wisconsin’s DSPS issues the HVAC Qualifier Certification. The HVAC qualifier is not required by state law but is considered a vital certification to demonstrate your industry knowledge. An individual who obtains the HVAC Qualifier certification is deemed qualified to install and service heating, ventilating, or air conditioning units. Obtaining this state-level license means that a technician does not need a separate local certification to demonstrate their skills and qualifications.
An HVAC Contractor license is required for individuals to work in the HVAC service industry. While this license is not meant to demonstrate industry knowledge, it is necessary to show that you have the proper structure to operate a business legally. A Contractor License is required for both residential and commercial HVAC work. Only licensed Contractors can legally perform the following functions:
- Operate an HVAC business
- Advertise HVAC services
- Acquire commercial insurance
- Bid on government or public projects
- Pull building permits
- Pass inspections
However, a permit is not required if you own the building or structure in which an HVAC project is taking place.
Wisconsin HVAC License Requirements
Wisconsin HVAC license requirements include work experience, formal education, and a satisfactory examination result. Technicians also need to obtain the EPA Section 608 Certification. HVAC technicians may receive training on the job, but many receive formal instruction from an accredited trade school program.
A combination of education and on-the-job training is often the best way to gain the skills necessary to succeed in the HVAC industry.
Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services does not require HVAC Contractors or HVAC Qualifiers to hold insurance to apply for a license. In addition, the state board does not require applicants to have a bond to apply for a contractor license.
However, most local boards require contractors to hold general liability insurance or workers’ compensation insurance before legally performing work in a certain jurisdiction. Generally, it is not safe to perform commercial HVAC work without insurance to protect your customers and employees.
Use the tool below to request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners.
Wisconsin Licensing and Registration Fees
At the time of writing, the fee to apply for the HVAC Qualifier license is $15 and the cost to take the exam is $25. There is also an initial credential fee of $60. The fee to renew your license is $60. The price to apply for the HVAC Contractor license is $15, and the initial credential fee is $160. The cost to renew the license is $160.
Wisconsin HVAC License Education Requirements and Exam
HVAC systems are complex and improper installation, or maintenance of a unit can be a safety hazard. Thus, Wisconsin requires those applying for the HVAC Qualifier Certification to have four years of education or experience or a combination of the two.
If you use experience alone to qualify for the exam, you need to provide evidence of at least 1,000 hours of HVAC work per year for at least four years. The experience must be in a supervisory role. Your employer must submit documentation verifying the experience.
If you plan to use your education to qualify, you must provide evidence of at least four years of attendance in a qualifying engineering program or a four-year diploma from an HVAC-related program. A combination of education and experience is acceptable in some instances. You must submit transcripts to verify your education.
Many online and in-person programs help you prepare for the Wisconsin HVAC licensing exam.
HVAC License Exam Details
DSPS administers the HVAC Qualifier license examination. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that you must complete within four hours. You need a score of at least 70% to pass. The exam is open book, and the fee is $25.
HVAC Training Schools in Wisconsin
There are multiple schools in Wisconsin accredited to provide HVAC education services to students. Ideally, you should choose a program that is certified with HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation. These are national organizations that set HVAC education standards. Many of these programs are accredited with one or both of these entities:
- Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire, WI (715) 833-6300
- Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville, WI (608) 758-6900
- Moraine Park Technical College, Fond du Lac, WI (800) 472-4554
Great HVAC training can be found both in-person and online. Use our tool below to find additional programs near you.
Wisconsin License Application
The HVAC Qualifier and the HVAC Contractor applications should be submitted to Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Division of Professional Credential Processing.
You can apply in person or online. Submitting an HVAC Qualifier application allows you to sit for the exam if approved. The application must contain basic biographical information, work experience, and education data. Both the application fee and the exam fees must accompany the application.
A comprehensive guide outlining the application process is available on the DSPS website.
Registration and Permitting Requirements
While Wisconsin offers a statewide HVAC Qualifier Certification, local jurisdictions set registration and permitting requirements. You should check with your city or county board for Wisconsin HVAC license requirements. You will likely need to complete more licensing requirements if you employ workers.
Licenses expire four years from the issue date. You do not need to take continuing education classes to renew your Wisconsin HVAC Qualifier or Contractor license. The renewal cost is $60 for the Qualifier license and $160 for the Contractor license. You can complete the renewal process in person or online.
HVAC Registered Contractor Requirements in Wisconsin
An HVAC Contractor license is generally required for individuals to work in the HVAC trade industry. You need a Wisconsin HVAC Contractor permit if you want to operate a business, advertise HVAC services, buy commercial insurance, or bid on government or public HVAC projects. However, a permit is not required for all projects, including if you own the building where the work is taking place.
EPA Certification in Wisconsin
Wisconsin abides by federal EPA laws that require technicians who work with refrigerants to obtain a certification. EPA Section 608 HVAC Certification is required for any technician who performs refrigerant line-pressure examinations or handles air condition refrigerants. If you complete your HVAC training in Wisconsin, many programs cover EPA regulations.
HVAC License Wisconsin FAQ
How Long Is My Wisconsin HVAC License Valid?
Your Wisconsin HVAC Qualifier license must be renewed every four years.
Can I Use My Wisconsin HVAC License in the Other States?
Since there is no statewide HVAC licensing credential in Wisconsin, there are no reciprocity agreements with other states.
Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
Individuals with questions can directly contact the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional via email at [email protected].
Get Started Today
Do you want to know how to get an HVAC license in Wisconsin? Learning about Wisconsin HVAC state license requirements is the first step to starting your new career. 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 Wisconsin, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: