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If you are looking to pursue a career in HVAC, it is important to know the different credentials you might need. Different states across the country have different certification standards.
Even if certifications are not mandatory in your state, they are a great way to demonstrate your skill set for prospective employers.
This article will discuss the mandatory licensing for the Massachusetts HVAC industry.
HVAC Licensing Requirements for Massachusetts
Working as a general HVAC technician in Massachusetts does not require a certification. This means that techs can start working right out of school or with just limited amounts of hands-on experience. Only those techs working in the field of refrigeration need to obtain their CFC certification before becoming a licensed refrigeration technician.
You can get started with your certification training below:
Those techs working with industrial refrigeration units that hold 10 tons of capacity or more need additional special licensing. Even if you aren’t working in refrigeration, it is still a good idea to pursue different certifications to make you a more-appealing job candidate. You can find a full list of HVAC schools in Massachusetts here.
All refrigeration technicians need this certification before working in refrigeration. There are three different levels of certification a tech can achieve.
- Type I Certification
This certification covers the smaller systems that involve less than 5 pounds of refrigerant total. The systems must also be manufactured and hermetically sealed. An example of a small system would be an ice maker or vending machine.
- Type II Certification
This allows techs to work on appliances that have a boiling point between -50 and 10 degrees Celsius. This includes high-pressure appliances that have this boiling point at atmospheric pressure.
- Type III Certification
Type III pertains to low-pressure refrigeration appliances that have a boiling point above 10 degrees Celsius at atmospheric pressure.
Other related careers that require licensing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are as follows:
Contractors must obtain a license for any unit 10 tons or over and must own their own contracting business in addition to having four years of experience in the field to qualify for the certification. The exam fee is $150.
- Refrigeration Technicians
As previously mentioned, refrigerator techs working with units 10 tons or over need licensing. These technicians must have at least three years of experience working in refrigeration and have to pass an exam which costs $75.
Trainees must have licensing to work with any unit 10 tons or over and have to be 18 years old to be eligible. Additionally, trainees must be participating in a formal apprenticeship program. There is a $20 fee for this license, but no exam is required.
Another certification that is not specific to Massachusetts, but is nationally recognized, is the Environmental Protection Agency’s refrigerant recovery and recycling certification. 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 appliances
Massachusetts HVAC Salaries
According to 2016’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC technicians in the state of Massachusetts earn a median salary of $56,520. Not bad for a job that requires no certification or educational requirements. Entry-level positions generally start at around $17.16 per hour but having additional certifications can help newer HVAC techs secure higher-paying jobs. Top earning HVAC professionals in Massachusetts make up to $80,530 per year.
Application and Examination Processes
Refrigeration Technician License
There are baseline requirements for getting a refrigeration technician license in Massachusetts. First you must present basic information and the appropriate forms to be eligible for licensing. Then there are four different options you can choose from to qualify for the certification thereafter.
- Fill out this application
- Present a copy of a high school diploma or GED equivalent
- Provide a photo that is 1 inch by 1.25 inches
- Pay $75 + a processing fee
- Attach your CFC Certification
- Option 1
Proof from an employer that you have worked 6,000 hours or more as a refrigeration trainee or apprentice in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to your refrigeration hours you will need proof of 150 hours in electrical code training from a state approved educational program.
- Option 2
4,000 or more apprentice or trainee hours in refrigeration documented by an employer and 100 hours of refrigeration theory from an accredited school. Additionally, for this option you will need proof of 500 training hours from an approved organization, 100 hours of electrical code training, and 250 shop hours.
- Option 3
An employer must prove that you have had 2,000 hours or more of refrigeration apprenticeship or worked as a trainee in this capacity. You will also need 700 hours of related shop work, 100 hours of refrigeration theory, 100 hours of state, electrical specific training, and other supplementary training that will make this total amount add up to 1000 training hours.
- Option 4
If you do not fit into any of the previous options, you will need approval from the board through a majority vote. The board might provide an exception for someone who has a lot of experience, but not necessarily these exact hours within the specific categories.
To get your CFC certification (which is necessary for your refrigeration license) you must take a one- or two-day course followed by an exam. The course will cover topics related to refrigeration and is designed to help you successfully pass the certification exam.
The certification lasts two-and-a-half hours and is in four sections:
- Regulatory Knowledge
- Small appliance service
- Service of medium-to-high pressure appliances
- Low-pressure applicance services
The Section 608 EPA certification is available both online and on site in Massachusetts. 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.
If you would like to take the exam on site, it is offered at this Massachusetts location:
225 Turnpike St. (Route 138)
Canton, MA 02021
The future of HVAC in Massachusetts looks bright for technicians. Jobs are currently in demand and the pay is well above the national average. With expected job growth coming in at 19% through the year 2024 in the Bay State, there is no better time than the present to get a career in HVAC.
Putting in a little bit of effort to get certified to work with refrigeration can have big salary pay offs. Taking the initiative to receive an EPA certification under Section 608, will leave you with a lifetime certification in any state to work with appliances. Certifications will not only qualify you to work with different systems and appliances, they will help make you a valuable asset to hiring HVAC companies.