How to Get Licensed as a Certified HVAC Tech in Alabama

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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.

Alabama HVAC licensing

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.

Use the form below to find HVAC schools and certified programs in Alabama:​

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:

    1. 2009 International Mechanical Code, 2006 or 2009 edition

    2. 2009 International Energy Conservation Code

    3. 2009 International Fuel Gas Code

    4. 2009 International Residential Code

    5. ACCA Ductulator, Air Conditioning Contractors of America

    6. Code of Federal Regulations (OSHA) 29 CFR Part 1926 with the latest amendments

    7. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology, 6th edition, Whitman/Johnson/Tomczyk/Silberstein.

    8. Manual J – Residential Load Calcs, reprinted 2006, Eighth abridged edition (ACCA)

    9. Manual D –Residential Duct Systems, 2009, (ACCA)

    10. International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, 2006 or 2009

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.

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

Alabama HVAC exam 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.

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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About Author

My name is Bob and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs.

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