Have you always been interested in HVAC but don’t know where to begin? Are you already a tech, but looking to earn additional certifications and licensing? With the median hourly wage for HVAC technicians in Alaska come in at $30, there has never been a better time to hop on the HVAC band wagon.
From contractor’s licensing to EPA certifications, this article will give you the low-down on Alaska’s HVAC industry.
You may not need any licensing to get started in your HVAC career in the state of Alaska, but consider this your step-by-step guide to becoming a top-earning HVAC professional running your own business.
Licensing as an HVAC Contractor
What responsibilities fall under the scope of HVAC Contractor in Alaska? The primary purpose of this position, more formally known as ‘Mechanical Administrator’, is to oversee the safety of people and the property. Mechanical Administrators manage a job site and ensure there is qualified personnel in place to complete the job.
Other responsibilities of a licensed Mechanical Administrator:
- overseeing the installation or modification of mechanical piping systems, devices, fixtures, equipment, or mechanical materials
- certifying that all installation and modifications comply with codes
- protect the safety of people and property in the state from danger by serving as assurance to the public that those make modifications are qualifed, and ensuring a suitable number of qualified workers on the site.
The procedure for applying for licensing through in-state examination or through prior credentials are nearly identical. The only way an applicant can forgo the examination process is if they have already passed their exam and are licensed in another state.
Listed below are the basic procedures all applicants must comply with. Following that are the separate procedures for examination if necessary and for proof of out-of-state examination for those with established credentials.
Basic License Procedures for all Applicants:
- Pay $250 filing fee
- Submit a completed application identifying license category
- Take and pass an examination, or prove credentials
- Submit evidence of insurance, liability and workers comp; a surety bond of $5,000 required.
- Send college, university, or trade school transcripts from a regionally-accredited or approved by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
- Provide resume detailing education and experience within the field of the license category identified on the application
- Offer a notarized certificate in support of experience, skills, and qualifications sent to the department from three separate persons who are:
- Employed in the mechanical industry in any state
- Have direct personal knowledge of applicant’s work experience and can speak to qualifications
- Are able to verify that the applicant has obtained within the past 12 months a score of at least 70 percent on the mechanical administrator examination administered by Experior Assessments LLC or by the department
- Comply with biennial reviews once license is received
Steps to Achieving Licensure by Examination
To get your Alaska Mechanical Administrator license by examination, you must:
- Schedule and take Mechanical Administrator exam
- Pass exam and provide proof of passing score to the department
The department may require you to submit additional documentation if they find it necessary
Taking the Mechanical Administrator Exam
The exam will be administered to show the mechanical administrator's:
- Ability to understand plans, design specs, and engineering terms
- Knowledge of mechanical installations and piping
- Familiarity with codes currently in effect in Alaska (Uniform Plumbing Code, Uniform Solar Energy Code, Uniform Mechanical Code etc.)
- Personal skill and ability
- The exam is offered biannually at an approved testing site
- A minimum 70% score is required to pass
Licensure by credentials (no exam)
If you’re licensed in another state, you may be exempted from taking the exam again in Alaska. You’ll need to do the following:
- Verify current, active license from another state, sent directly to the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing from the equivalent office in your state of licensing.
- Verify that you have passed an examination in another state. Again, proof must be sent directly from the other state’s relevant office to the Alaska division.
Again, if they find it necessary, the department may require additional documentation.
If you expect to work with refrigerants, you are required under federal law to have EPA Certification under Section 608. This will certify you on a national level to work with hazardous refrigerants. While it isn’t required in any state, it will demonstrate your knowledge, skill, and initiative within the field to acquire this extra certification.
The only requirement is that you pass an EPA-approved test. You can find more information on the three types of EPA certification here.
With greatly anticipated job growth and demand for more techs with each passing calendar year, it’s important to look at your options for certification and licensure as a technician or contractor. Top-earning HVAC technicians earn over $80,000 in the state of Alaska and Mechanical Administrators earn even more. Start preparing to prove your credentials and schedule those examinations to max out on your earning potential.