The Badger State isn’t nearly as fierce as its namesake when it comes to HVAC license and certification. With starting salary over $31,000 a year and experienced techs making nearly $47,000 - and even better earnings for those who score the most elite jobs - it’s important to develop your skills. Wisconsin does offer an optional certification, which can also be a big aid to increasing your earnings potential.
Anyone working as an HVAC contractor in America’s Dairyland is required to register with the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Registration consists of filling out a simple, two-page form. This may be done by the owner, a partner, or the chairman of the board or CEO if it’s a corporation.
The registration costs $160, plus a $15 filing fee. It’s valid for four years.
If you are only to be working on your own property - including a property owned by the business entity - you do not have to register.
Certification in Wisconsin is optional but can help your job prospects. With certification, you are categorized as an “HVAC Qualifier.” This also makes your employer a certified HVAC business. One advantage is that by law, local jurisdictions cannot put further requirements on you.
There is an exam associated with this. The prerequisites for taking the exam are any one of the following:
Experience: at least 1000 hours per year for at least 4 years “in supervising or performing the design, installation, servicing or maintenance of HVAC systems or equipment”.
Education: a minimum of four years in a school of mechanical engineering or in an accredited college; technical, vocational or apprenticeship school; or university, in an HVAC-related program.
A combination of the experience and education totaling four years. Exam dates are listed on the application form itself. Fees are $15 for an application fee and $25 for the open-book exam.
Under state law, cities, counties, town and villages are restricted in what further restrictions they can make requiring certification.
If you are an “HVAC Qualifier” under state law, you are covered everywhere. Other than that, you only need to be registered unless the locality had laws in place prior to the mid-1990s. If you have doubts, check with local licensing offices.
EPA Section 608
Federal, not state, law governs the handling and purchase of refrigerants. You must obtain a 608 certification if you’ll be handling refrigerants in the course of your work - including purchasing them. The Environmental Protection Agency offers three types of certification, as well as a “universal certification” that covers all three. The types are based on the size or type of appliance you’re working with.
Wisconsin offers optional certification for HVAC Qualifiers and contractors. We recommend this because it offers prospective employers more confidence in your skills.
Contractors must register, but this is simply a matter of filing paperwork and paying a fee. Doing so helps to show that you are a law-abiding contractor and gives your clients greater confidence in your work!