How to Get Licensed as a Certified HVAC Tech in Alabama – Updated For 2020

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Heating and Air Technicians must be licensed to practice the trade in Alabama. New technicians have two options for becoming licensed. You must either graduate from a two year or community college with an approved Heating and Air Conditioning or Commercial Refrigeration curriculum or have completed 3,000 hours of coursework or on the job work experience.

In Alabama, HVAC technicians have the opportunity to earn between $35,000 and $41,000 yearly with an average wage of $20 per hour.

How to Become an HVAC Technician in Alabama

The completion of the application procedure initiates an HVAC career. Once you are done with all formalities successfully, you enter the race for employment where several advantages, bonuses, amenities, and the most coveted pays await you.

To avail of these facilities, you will need to fulfill some easy and basic requirements. These include:

  1. A minimum age of 18 years. 

  2. The person must go to an HVAC school to get a graduate degree in any program relevant to the field. The procedure will not proceed further unless the person shows his degree.

  3. As far as the license is concerned, no license is compulsory for HVAC technicians.

  4. Technicians who deal with refrigerants must also achieve an EPA 608 Certificate. Many institutes in Alabama award candidates with genuine EPA Certificates.

What Makes Alabama a Great Place to Start an HVAC Career?

The HVAC field is itself so opportunistic that there would hardly be any person who would not want to get in it. With a stronghold of the HVAC industry, the USA fascinates many individuals towards this particular career path.

With that said, Alabama stands among the top states where services are provided on a large scale. Many reasons contribute to the field's worth in Alabama, such as:

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Extensive Use of HVAC Products

Due to extremely hot weather, it is a reality that HVAC equipment, including refrigerators, air conditioners, and ventilating units, are widely used in Alabama. This situation sets forth the need to call for experts who can install, repair, or maintain these units at residential and commercial levels.

Attractive Earnings

Any career becomes resourceful if it offers handsome salaries. Alabama is part of the list of states that provide mind-blowing wages to technicians. So, in Alabama, employees and technicians in this field earn quite a wholesome amount compared to local technicians in other states.

Quality Education in HVAC Schools

Apart from so many job opportunities, Alabama strives to impart high-level education on HVAC/R systems. Due to this, the state is home to a huge number of HVAC schools that introduce relevant courses consisting of different durations.

Ultimately, people get a chance to learn skills, implement them in the practical world, and receive decent earnings.

HVAC Licensing Requirements For Alabama

HVAC technicians in Alabama must be well-trained and licensed to be able to practice legally in the state. The Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors regulates the licensure of HVAC technicians who service heating or cooling units that are not window units and are not inside automobiles or farm implements.

HVAC technicians are licensed to work on HVAC and refrigeration systems that include: central heat, heat pumps, ventilation, forced air systems, gas piping, walk-in coolers, reach-in coolers, and commercial refrigerators.

HVAC technicians are trained as air conditioner mechanics. They are taught to read blueprints and technical plans. They are also taught to repair or replace defective electrical equipment such as fuses and breakers. HVAC training includes pipe fitting, how to discover a gas leak, and how to add freon to an air conditioner unit. They are also taught to use nitrogen to find leaks and how to handle refrigerants safely.

Find HVAC schools and certified programs in Alabama by putting your zip code in the box on this page.

Licensure By Examination

New heating and air technicians must pass an examination. The Alabama application fee for the examination is $150.00. To be able to take the exam, you must provide proof that you have completed an apprenticeship or have graduated from an approved curriculum. Approved curriculums in Alabama include the following:

  • Alabama Power Company
  • NARS Training System
  • Construction Education Foundation of Alabama
  • Trenholm State Technical College
  • Fortis College
  • West Georgia Technical College
  • Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
  • George Stone Technical Center HVAC Program
  • Virginia College – Birmingham
  • Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School
  • J. F. Drake State Technical College
  • Columbus Technical College

You must supply proof of your work experience as an HVAC technician. Your W-2 tax form along with a signed affidavit from your employer is often sufficient proof of your experience. However, the Board will review it and approve it at their discretion.

After you pass the exam, you must have a performance bond of $15,000 to be considered for active status as a contractor. If your license is inactive, you must not perform any HVAC repairs or installations.

Licensure by Reciprocity

Alabama honors the licenses of HVAC technicians in the nearby states of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi. If you are currently licensed in one of these three states, you may become licensed by reciprocity.

The reciprocity application includes submitting notarized application forms and a processing fee of $165.00 for active status or $82.50 for inactive contractors. The application should include a Performance Bond of $15,000 in the name of the contractor’s business.

You must disclose if you have had any administrative penalties regarding your practice in Refrigeration or HVAC in any locale and whether or not you have had any formal reprimands or had your license suspended for any reason.

Additional Requirements

After a technician successfully passes the exams and submits the application forms, the HVAC contractor must complete four hours of continuing education each year. In addition to the initial licensure exam, HVAC technicians must also be EPA certified to be able to purchase the refrigerants. HVAC technicians must be aware of all the federal regulations regarding refrigerants.

Examination Process

The EPA Certification exam and the Alabama Licensure Exam are two exams that must be passed to become licensed HVAC technicians in Alabama.

EPA Certification

Section 608 EPA certification is required for HVAC technicians. Persons who are not certified many not legally purchase refrigerants in the United States. This certification is available in Type I, Type II, and Type III and the Universal certification.

The Universal certification covers all three types of appliances. Type I certification certifies an HVAC technician to work on small appliances. Type II certification is required for working on high-pressure appliances. Type III certification is required for disposing of or servicing low-pressure appliances.

These are proctored exams. Mainstream Engineering is a reputable source for exam preparation materials.

Alabama Licensure Exam for HVAC Technicians

The test for HVAC licensure in Alabama costs $125. This fee is paid to the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors at the time of registration for the exam. The test consists of 80 questions.

Each candidate is given four hours to complete the exam. To successfully pass the test, you must obtain a score of at least 66.25 percent. PSI Exam Services administers the exam. You may register for the exam online or via telephone after you have been approved for testing by the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors. The test is administered in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery.

You should arrive at least thirty minutes before the exam’s start time so that you can sign in and have your identification checked prior to the exam. You must provide two forms of identification that have both your signature and your printed legal name. One form of identification must bear your photograph.

The exam covers residential load calculations, ventilation and exhaust, refrigerants, air conditioning and heat pump systems, and furnaces and heaters.

The following reference materials are permitted in the exam room at the time of the exam:

Each of these reference materials must be either spiral bound or hole-punched and placed in a binder. Reference materials may be obtained from the PSI Online Store or downloaded and printed from the internet. You may highlight, index, and write notes in your copies of the reference materials prior to the test date.

You may not have any removable pages added, bookmarks, or post-it notes placed in your reference materials at the time of the exam. Permanent tabs may be added to your reference material’s pages. These tabs must be affixed in such a way that they cannot be removed without tearing the original page.

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You must not write on the reference materials during the exam. If you write on the reference material during the test it must be given to the test proctor because any material that has been written on cannot be removed from the exam room.

In addition to these reference materials, you may bring a calculator that is non-programmable, silent, and does not contain an alphabetical keyboard.

You may not bring in any other personal items such as cellular phones, electronic watches, cameras, laptop computers, pagers, tablet computers, iPods, smart watches, or electronic games.

You may not wear bulky clothing that could conceal notes. This includes hooded clothing, heavy jackets, overcoats, or shawls. You may not wear a hat or headgear that is not worn for religious reasons. You may not bring your lucky rabbit’s foot or any other good luck items into the exam room. Purses, notebooks, briefcases, backpacks, wallets, food, and drink must be left in the secured storage area at the testing site.

Other people may not accompany you to the testing center, and they may not wait outside on the test site’s property. Your eyeglasses and tie tacks may be checked to ensure that recording devices are not in use. Proctors may ask you to empty your pockets before the exam begins.

Test Topics

The Refrigeration section of the test contains 60 questions. You must get 40 questions correct to pass this exam. You will be given 150 minutes to complete this portion of the exam.

This exam covers testing, inspecting, and troubleshooting refrigeration appliances. It also covers refrigerant piping, refrigeration systems and controls, and general knowledge of the subject area.

The HVAC section of the test contains 80 questions. You must answer 53 items correctly to pass the test. You will be given 240 minutes to take the test.

This exam tests your knowledge of insulation, load calculations, piping, safety, combustion air, ducts, chimneys, flues, vents, heating and cooling principles, furnaces and heaters, and air conditioning and heat pump systems.

Licensed HVAC technicians are journeymen who can train apprentices on the job.

Job Outlook and Salary for HVAC in Alabama

Besides numerous benefits, we also get to see that HVAC technicians make the most bountiful wages in Alabama. Here, salaries are assigned to employees according to their job's rank and level of experience.

Entry-level

If we consider the earnings of an entry-level technician working in this state, he gets around $20,150 yearly, which will be equivalent to $12.57 per hour.

Mid-level

On having adequate experience, a mid-level technician can receive an average income of $41,000 per year. 

Master-level​

Since higher posts bring us the most advantages, the annual pay of an expert or high-level HVAC technician goes high up to $60,760. To acquire such high-ranked positions and enjoy awesome salaries, you must invest a lot of time and effort into mastering skills relevant to this field.

Those engaged in apprenticeship also earn salaries for their services as an intern. Their wages range from $11 to $20.69 per hour.

Upon acknowledging the rapid increase in HVAC companies' employment rate, the job outlook seems to be elevating exponentially in the upcoming years. According to research, the career's success rate in this field is expected to flourish by 13-15% by 2028.

Alabama Cities with Highest Average HVAC Salaries

HVAC job opportunities in Alabama are plentiful since the state includes various cities that contribute to the rise in employment for this industry. 

Some highest-paid HVAC places in Alabama are.

Decatur

Decatur is listed in the first position, with an average annual pay of $51,010. The salary ranges from $31,350 to $74,610.

Tuscaloosa

With salaries of approximately $45,470 per year, Tuscaloosa occupies the second position on the list. Starters make up to $32,130, and senior HVAC staff get as much as $61,260.

Northeast Alabama Non-Metropolitan Area

The Northeast Alabama Non-metropolitan Area on the third rank offers wages between $28,310 and $68,850. The average annual pay is $44,610.

Montgomery

For providing yearly earnings of around $43,220, Montgomery comes in the fourth position. The yearly salary for an early-stage HVAC technician is $22,300 and raises to $62,370 for a proficient employee.

Mobile

In Mobile, workers earn $42,640 annually. Here, people get from $27,180 to $63,230, depending on their experience and qualification.

What is a Master HVAC License, and How Do I Get One in Alabama?

Master HVAC employees are also known as HVAC/R Contractor. This post is one level superior to a journeyman. Also, it demands next-level talent and experience, and the responsibilities are also far greater than those of a journeyman or an apprentice.

It is a position where HVAC employees become efficient and adept at installing, repairing, maintaining, building, and modifying units, and can even oversee an apprentice. Industries readily employ these individuals because of their experience and expertise in the field.

Moreover, they earn more too. 

  • A license will be required to join the industry as a master HVAC. The following are some criteria you need to meet before you can obtain a license and start practicing legally.
  • An applicant younger than 18 years will not be accepted.

To make the procedure more convenient and feasible for all, the industry allows the applicant to meet any of the following requirements: 

  1. The candidate must possess a diploma received from any high school
  2. A graduate degree secured in an HVAC program from a well-recognized school.
  3. The candidate can work as an apprentice for two years under the guidance of an HVAC/R Contractor and can present the contractor's approval to get the license.
  4. Another requirement for air conditioning and refrigeration contractors is to get 66% or 70% marks in an HVAC/R license exam. This exam is an open-book challenge and consists of 80 questions, and applicants have three hours to finish it.
  5. Upon passing the exam, the candidate must register as a legal or professional HVAC/R contractor.

Conclusion

In Alabama, the apprentice must work a total of 3,000 hours before they can take the exam to become licensed. This is an alternative licensure opportunity. Most new HVAC technicians complete an approved trade training curriculum at a two year community college.

After the initial licensure is obtained, heating and air conditioning technicians must complete continuing education courses to maintain licensure in Alabama.

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People Also Ask

Numerous people are inclined to be a part of the HVAC industry and earn a significant income. But a lack of information about the field and its resources sometimes drops your confidence. Here are some common questions that help clear up things about becoming an HVAC technician in Alabama. 

How Long is an HVAC Program in Alabama?

HVAC programs are of different durations so that every person can catch up on the course according to his schedule. Courses that earn you a diploma end within a month or so, associate programs take up to two years, and graduate degrees can be completed in three to five years.

When Can I Retake My Alabama HVAC Exam if I Fail?

Yes, you can definitely try to pass the exam once again. The industry doesn't take talent for granted. It cares for its esteemed candidates and allows them to give a retest. But if you fail the exam, you should plan a better strategy to overcome your shortcomings and inculcate HVAC skills effectively.

How Long Does Alabama HVAC Certification Last?

The validity of a license lasts for a single year only. So, the employee should be vigilant for the renewal of the license as he approaches the expiry date.

How Much Does HVAC School Cost in Alabama?

HVAC schools in Alabama stand among the most reputed institutes in the USA. Some colleges offer graduate degrees, while some award associate degrees. All in all, the average estimated cost for the HVAC programs is somewhere between $4,000 and $10,000. These values are exclusive of admission or stationary charges.

I Passed the AL HVAC Exam, Now What?

First, you must take the HVAC exam and pass it with approvable marks. Then, you will be required to get qualified for certification. For this, you will pay $15,000 as a performance bond besides a registration fee. After that, you will be recognized as an official HVAC technician.

How Many CE Hours Do I Need For an HVAC License in AL?

The policy in Alabama has made continuing education (CE) mandatory for the license's renewal, meaning that a worker will have to show four hours of CE per year, whenever he requests for a new license. Some people might not know about CE - it's a study program for people who have completed their HVAC studies.

How to Apply for an Apprenticeship in AL

Getting an apprenticeship in this field is easy. To obtain hands-on training to repair, install, replace, and analyze the functionality and issues of HVAC systems, apprenticeship applicants have to practice under the supervision of an HVAC-licensed contractor for about two years.

Meanwhile, they also earn good money and can carry on with their training courses. They must also register themselves, so the state identifies them as apprentices.

Looking For Information On Nearby States?

You might also be interested in HVAC licensing requirements in bordering states:

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