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Looking to pursue a career in HVAC? HVAC technicians earn on average $20 per hour nationally and the demand for techs is on the rise. Before entering the HVAC workforce though, it is important to know the different certifications and credentials you might need to work in your state. Different states have different requirements. To put you ahead of the curve, this article will discuss both Georgia’s mandatory requirements as well as additional certification opportunities.
HVAC Licensing Requirements for Georgia
While you may not be required to attend an HVAC program at an educational institution in Georgia to work in HVAC, you will need a Conditioned Air Contractor license to service any conditioned air systems or equipment. Like most other states, it is also necessary to have your high school diploma or a GED to work in HVAC.
Fill out the form below to learn how you can become certified in Georgia
In addition to getting your conditioned Air license you should also consider getting an EPA 608 certification or a NATE certification, or both! The more certifications the better when it comes to securing higher paying jobs at well-established companies.
Conditioned Air Contractor License
This license is mandatory for bidding, contracting, installation, repair, or service of air conditioned systems. Even servicing the electrical connections to the systems requires this licensing. There are two different classes of certification to work in air conditioning. You will need to apply to see if you are eligible before sitting for the exam.
Class I (restricted)
Allows contractors to work in conditioned air contracting with equipment less than 175,000 BTU for heating and 60,000 BTU for cooling.
Class II (unrestricted)
These licenses are unrestricted and Class II techs can work with any air conditioning equipment and systems.
Here are the eligibility requirements:
Three letters of reference for both Class I and II
Documented minimum four years of experience
Documented two years of installation as a lead mechanic or one year as a service tech or service supervisor, one year of residential supervisory experience and a board-approved heat loss and gain and duct design course
If you have received an engineering or engineering technology diploma from a technical school it can count towards no more than two years of experience
If you have completed a certificate program you can count it as no more than one year of experience
- Documented five years of experience
- Documented experience with installations of conditioned air systems that exceed 175,000 BTU of heating and 60,000 BTU of cooling
- Two years of installation as a lead mechanic with at least one of the years being exclusively commercial work, one year as a service tech or service supervisor
- Two years of commercial supervisory experience and a board-approved heat loss and gain and duct design course
- If you have received an engineering or engineering technology diploma from a technical school it can count towards no more than two years of experience
- If you have completed a certificate program you can count it as no more than one year of experience
NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. Statistics show that 87% of clients prefer certified technicians. Passing the NATE tests demonstrates your knowledge in a specific subject area related to HVAC. While it is not mandatory in the state of Georgia, it can be very useful to have on a resume.
Mandated by Section 608 Refrigeration Recycling Rule, the EPA requires HVAC professionals to learn about environmental protection when working with dangerous materials. The good news about EPA certifications is that they never expire. Once you pass your exam you will be certified for life.
There are three different certification types a technician can acquire:
- EPA Section 608 HVAC Type I
Certifies techs to work on small appliances containing five pounds of less of refrigerant
- EPA Section 608 HVAC Type II
Allows techs to work with high- and very high-pressure appliances, including non-automotive systems and split systems.
- EPA Section 608 HVAC Type III
This certification permits techs to work on low-pressure appliance
Georgia HVAC Salaries
A service technician in Atlanta, Georgia makes on average $20.38 per hour. If you have additional skills and certifications you are more likely to make above average wages. Median annual salary for a Georgia HVAC tech is $42,270. Entry level technicians can expect to start around $27,000, while more senior techs make up to $63,000.
HVAC Job Market in Georgia
According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2014, 8,270 people were employed in the HVAC industry in Georgia. Georgia’s HVAC salaries fluctuate by location within the state. Those techs with the highest annual wages, coming in at $47,000 annually, work in the Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta area. Augusta/Richmond County have similar salaries. More urban areas aren’t the only great locations for work in Georgia - Gainesville has only 110 techs in the area. This has created a demand that has helped to drive up the wages, like Atlanta’s $24/ hr average.
To apply for your Conditioned Air License, you must first get an application from the Georgia State Construction Industry Licensing Board. The application fee is just $30.00 and your application must be approved by the Board 60 days prior to your exam.
Conditioned Air License Exam
- The test is open book
- There are 100 questions that you must complete within 7 hours
- You will need to get 70% of the questions correct to pass
- The exam costs $240
- The exam covers: regulations, laws, system design, installation, maintenance and repairs
If you pass your exam, you will receive your identification card in the mail. Georgia has state agreements that license you in South Carolina and Texas as well. If you happen to fail you will need to process a New Examination Scheduling Form to apply for an upcoming exam date. To keep your license valid, it is required you complete an extra 4 hours per year of additional education.
Here are the basic steps you will need to take to get your NATE certification:
- Choose your technician type, whether it be installation or service.
- Identify which specialty exam you would like to take in addition to the core exam
- Register for a testing session in your area
The Section 608 EPA certification is available both online and on site in Georgia. There is a comprehensive and concise 12-page manual that will help prepare techs prior to the exam. You can purchase and take your exam online at ESCO Testing.
The certification cost is $24.95 for the first attempt and $5.95 for each additional attempt at the certificate.
Georgia only expects to see job growth over the next decade within the HVAC industry. With tech jobs paying well over the national average and growth anticipated at 14% up through 2024, there has never been a better time to work in HVAC or get certified. By putting a little bit of time, money, and effort into your career you can secure higher paying jobs through getting certified.