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Looking to learn HVAC in the state of Hawaii? Wondering about certifications, licenses, or becoming an HVAC contractor? Now is a great time to pursue further education within the field. The median salary in Hawaii for HVAC techs one of the highest in the country coming in at an impressive $61,330 annually. This article will serve as a guide to HVAC trainings and certifications within the state.
HVAC Licensing Requirements for Hawaii
To become an HVAC tech in Hawaii you will not need any licensing or certifications. Only contractors will need licensing in their specialty trade. This is convenient for those HVAC techs who have attended a vocational school or have already gained hands-on experience.
One popular specialty trade license in Hawaii is the C-40 Refrigeration Contractor license, which allows tradesmen to assemble and install devices, machinery, and units, including temperature insulation units, ducts, blowers, registers, humidity, and thermostatic controls for the control of air temperature below fifty degrees Fahrenheit in refrigerators, refrigerated rooms, and insulated refrigerated spaces and to construct walk-in refrigerator boxes.
Here are the eligibility requirements to obtain your contractor license (in tandem with a C-40 or other specialty) and your Section 608 Certification:
Contractor’s Licensing Requirements in Hawaii
Worker’s compensation insurance
Bodily injury liability minimum of $100,00 per person and $300,000 per occurrence
Property damage liability of $50,000 per occurrence
Proof of business residency
Four years of, recent (within the past 10 years) full-time supervisory work as a journeyman, foreman, supervisor, or contractor in the field (like refrigeration if you would like to pursue a C-40)
Pass business, law, and trade exams
Pay $50 application fee
Contractor’s fees once you pass your exam is $545 if you have been licensed between October 1st of an even-numbered year and September 30th of an odd numbered year.
If you have been licensed between October 1st of the odd-numbered year and September 30th of the even-numbered year the fee is $415
If you are not the business owner but a Responsible Managing Employee the fee is $335 between October 1st of the even-numbered year and September 30th of the odd numbered year and $225 if licensed between October 1st of the odd-numbered year and September 30th of an even numbered.
It is required that you must register with the state Department through the Business Registration Division to be eligible for licensing:
Business Registration Division
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
State of Hawaii
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, HI 96810
EPA Certification Requirements
Under the EPA Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, it is required that techs who work with any equipment that is liable to release refrigerants that could harm the atmosphere must be certified, making it a great companion certification to a C-40 Refrigeration Contractors License.
You must pass an EPA test to get your Section 608 Tech Certification. Technicians are required to pass an EPA-approved test to earn Section 608 Technician Certification.
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 appliances
HVAC Examination Process in Hawaii
To become a licensed contractor, you will need to prepare not only for the business and law exam, but the companion exam that is related to your specific trade, in this case the C-40 Refrigeration exam. You will take schedule and take both exams together with Experior or Prometric.
Contractor Licensing Exam
The general contractor exam in Hawaii requires the following:
Contact Experior or Prometric to schedule your exam at a test site near you
Pay the exam fee of $65
The exam has two parts: business and law & trade specific
The exam is not open book so you will really need to prepare
Part I’s question topics include (in order of question percentages, greatest to least): contract management, estimating, bidding, licensing, risk management, project management, financial management, safety, labor laws, tax laws, public works laws, lien laws, and business organization.
Part II covers: trade specifics, construction codes, regulations, building codes, trade materials, tools, equipment and methods.
Trade Specific C-40 Refrigeration Exam
80 questions answered within the allotted 3-hour time frame
This exam is not open book so preparation will be very necessary
The exam covers refrigeration, commercial refrigeration, controls, sizing and estimating, test and inspection, walk-in construction, ventilation, and troubleshooting
You will need a 75% to pass
You will first need to pass the Business and Law exam described above
Section 608 Certification Exam
To get ready for the EPA Section 608 exam, you should be aware of the following:
There is a 12-page manual you can use to prepare
For the Type I, the exam is open-book, but the passing grade is 84% for each section and the core questions must be repeated in a proctored environment if other certifications are pursued later on. It might be easiest to find a test site and take a proctored exam the first time you test.
Decide whether you would like to test for Type 1, 2 or 3
Certification costs $24.95
If you fail your test on the first attempt will cost $5.95 for each additional attempt
Topics covered on the core of the exam: ozone depletion, Clean Air Act, 608 regulations, substitute refrigerants, refrigeration, recovery techniques, recovery, recycling, safety, dehydration evacuation, and shipping
Job Outlook for HVAC Technicians in Hawaii
Over the next decade it is projected that there will be 13.6% job growth in the field. There is a great demand for technicians and salaries reflect this. The national average for HVAC techs is $45K annually. There is little fluctuation in salary from island to island or city to city in Hawaii. All major locations have an annual base salary between $42,000-44,000 for HVAC techs.
Hawaii’s tropical climates and tourism makes the demand for great air conditioning very high. Since the location is isolated there is less competition for HVAC jobs in the area.
And what could be better than working and living in paradise?
Getting a contractor’s license as a business owner or employee in Hawaii can be incredibly beneficial. Choose a specialty trade, whether it be refrigeration or solar energy systems and take your business and law exam following the procedures described above. It will allow you to bid on larger projects and have a more lucrative business or become a more valuable employee with project management experience and the licensing to prove it.