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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.
This article will discuss the mandatory licensing for the Massachusetts HVAC industry.
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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 EPA certification before becoming a licensed refrigeration technician.
Massachusetts law focuses specifically on refrigeration technicians. In particular, anyone working with more than 10 tons of refrigeration must be licensed. That means most residential applications do not require a license, except for the largest homes.
At the apprentice, technician and contractor levels there are specific requirements. All use the same form, which can be found here.
The requirements for each level of license are given here. For both technicians and contractors, there is a written exam after applying. Apprentices do not have to pass an exam.
You can find a list of HVAC schools in Massachusetts here. Check with the state board to make sure all necessary approvals are in place.
- Completed application
- Copy of your high school diploma or equivalency certificate
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must include an approval letter from the Division of Apprentice Training
- $40 Fee
The license is valid until your birthday in the second year of the license
Your trainee license can be renewed up to two times, although the Bureau of Pipefitters, Refrigeration Technicians and Sprinkler Fitters has discretion in this.
After you have completed your apprenticeship, you will receive a Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship. You must submit this along with the application and a $75 application fee to be licensed as a technician.
You will need to submit your EPA Certification along with your application, as well. On the Massachusetts application, this is referred to as “CFC Certification”.
You must show that you’ve completed the following:
- Documentation of 6000 hours as a Refrigeration Apprentice in Massachusetts and
- Documentation from an approved school of 250 hours in a refrigeration course, made up of 100 hours refrigeration theory and 150 hours of related state electrical code training
- Documentation of 4000 hours as an apprentice and
- Documentation from an approved school of 500 hours in a refrigeration course, including 250 hours of shop-related work, 100 hours refrigeration theory and 150 hours of related state electrical code training
- Documentation from your employer of 2000 hours as a Massachusetts refrigeration apprentice and
- Documentation from an approved school of 1000 hours in a refrigeration course, including 700 hours of shop-related work, 100 hours of refrigeration theory, and 100 hours of related MA electrical code training
If you are already licensed in another state as a technician, master or the equivalent, you may submit that license along with documentation from your employer that you have met the requirements listed above.
If you are ready to set out on your own as a contractor, you need to have already obtained the technician license. Your employee must vouch that you have and use the license, with a 2000 hour minimum of work as a technician.
You must also attend classes in an approved school on refrigeration theory for an additional 100 hours.
The application fee for the Refrigeration license is $150.
Preparing For Your Exams
Within four to eight weeks following your application, the state should notify you when the examination will be, and provide further information. You can prepare with these resources:
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. Getting your refrigeration certification opens even more doors for you. Top earning HVAC professionals in Massachusetts make up to $80,530 per year.
EPA Certification for Refrigerants
Another certification that is not specific to Massachusetts, but is a national requirement, 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
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.
If you intend to work specifically with refrigeration, be sure to officially register as an apprentice and start documenting your experience and studying. Time will go by quickly and you’ll soon be able to get licensed as a technician then move on to being your own boss as a contractor!