How to Get your HVAC Certification in Virginia

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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are an essential part of our daily lives. With a recent rise in new technology, skilled technicians are in demand now more than ever to help install more advanced systems and repair the old ones. The wages reflect this demand, with the national average salary for HVAC techs coming in at over $42,000.

Want to learn HVAC in the state of Virginia? Keep reading for information about licensing, certification, and exam processes that you will need to undergo to complete your HVAC training.

HVAC Licensing Requirements for Virginia

In the Virginia HVAC business, there are three levels of licensing you can attain: journeyman, master, and contractor. There are three different classes of contractor licenses you can apply and test for: A, B, and C. A contractor’s license is mandatory any time a project has a budget over $1,000.

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Pre-approval from the board is mandatory before you go through any licensing exam process. If you are moving from another state and are already a licensed journeyman or master you can sit for the same level by simply providing a copy of that license or card. Outlined below are the requirements you will have to meet to be eligible for each license:

Journeyman Licensing Requirements

To obtain a journeyman HVAC license in Virginia, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Two years of trade experience and a degree or certification proving you have completed a two-year trade, tech, or community college program

  • Four years of experience in the trade and 240 hours of vocational training

  • Five years of trade experience and 160 hours of vocational training

  • Six years of trade experience and 80 hours of vocational training

  • A bachelor’s degree in an engineering related curriculum and 1 year of hands-on experience

  • Ten years of experience verified by affidavits from employers or others in the field

Master Licensing Requirements

To be licensed as a master, you need either one year of experience as an in-state licensed journeyman, or ten years of experience verified by affidavits from employers or others in the field.

Class A Contractor Licensing Requirements

The Class A contractor licensing allows HVAC contractors to work unlimitedly on any project, no matter how large. They have no monetary cap restricting them.

HVAC contractors may requires licenses

Here are the Virginia requirements to become a Class A Contractor:

  • Complete an eight-hour pre-licensing course

  • Submit an application to the state

  • Minimum 5 years of experience, proof of that experience, and a net worth of > $45,000.

  • Pass specialty exams required for the specific trade

  • Pass the General, Advanced, and Law exams

  • Carry insurance

  • Pay $385 application fee

Class B Contractor Licensing Requirements

Class B contractors can work on projects up to $120,000. They are not allowed to accumulate total projects beyond $750,000 annually. They must also meet these requirements:

These are the requirements for a Class B contractor license in Virginia:

  • Complete an eight-hour pre-licensing course

  • Submit an application to the state

  • Minimum 3 years of experience, proof of that experience, and a net worth of > $15,000.

  • Pass specialty exams required for the specific trade

  • Pass the General, Advanced, and Law exams

  • Carry insurance

  • Pay $370 application fee

Class C Contractor Licensing Requirements

Class C contractors can work on projects costing no greater than $10,000. They cannot take on projects worth a cumulative total beyond $150,000 annually.

To become a Class C contractor in Virginia, you need to meet these requirements:

  • Complete an eight-hour pre-licensing course

  • Submit an application to the state

  • Minimum 2 years of experience

  • Pass specialty exams required for the specific trade

  • Pass the General, Advanced, and Law exams

  • Pay $235 application fee

Applying for HVAC certification

How to Apply

To apply for licensure, you need to contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation State Board for Contractors at 1-804-367-8511.

Examination Process

After your application has been approved and you have been deemed eligible for your desired licensure, you must schedule and pass your exams. For the journeyman and master HVAC exams there are two exam parts. One is the traditional trade portion of the exam and the other is the statutory and regulatory exam. Here are some more details that can help you schedule and prepare for your license exam.

Virginia HVAC Exam Master + Journeyman

This section of the exam is the same for both levels of licensing. It consists of 85 questions within a 210-minute time limit. There is $100 fee (Journeyman) or $125 fee (Masters). You will need a 60% for a Journeyman license and a 64% for masters.

Topics on the exam to become an HVAC journeyman or master in Virginia include:

  • Warm air heating

  • Ventilation

  • Air conditioning

  • Ducts

  • Chimneys

  • Flues

  • Vents

  • Piping

  • Combustion air

  • Insulation

  • Refrigerants

  • Standards for conduct

  • Standards for practice

  • Fire safety

  • Licensure procedures

  • and more.

You can schedule your exam with PSI at (1-800-733-9267)

In addition, there are at least two further exams to take, or three, if you want the Class A license. For these two sections, the exam fee is a combined $72, and $85 if you are taking all 3 portions. You must also have passed the specialty exam for your field. The exams can be scheduled through PSI.

Virginia Portion of the Contractor Exam A + B

Virginia includes this section on their Class A and B contractor exams:

  • 24 Questions within 48-minute time limit

  • 75% to pass

  • Topics include: regulations, board rules, codes, and transaction recovery fund

General Portion Exam A + B

The contractor exam in Virginia also includes these general sections:

  • 50 questions within a 100-minute time limit

  • 70% to pass

  • Topics include business organization, estimation, bidding, project and contract management, risk management, general safety, state labor laws, fiscal responsibility, taxes, and lien laws.

Advanced Class A Exam

If you're taking the Class A contractor exam, you'll have to complete one more section of the exam:

  • 24 questions within a 60-minute time limit

  • 71% to pass

  • Topics include: business organization, estimation, bidding, project and contract management, risk management, general safety, state labor laws, fiscal responsibility, taxes, and lien laws

Class C

While there is no exam to become a Class C contractor you will still need to apply and take the specialty exam in your field.

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Job Outlook for HVAC Technicians in Virginia

The median hourly technician wages in the state of Virginia as of 2017 is $22.77. For entry level techs the wages fluctuate between $13.88 all the way up to $31.99. The average median salary for the state is $47,370, which is on the high end of the national salary for techs. The job market is expected to experience national growth at an alarming rate over the next decade, offering even more opportunity for licensed journeyman and masters.

Conclusion

If you are looking to get higher paying work in the state of Virginia as an HVAC tech, getting your journeyman or master level license is an excellent idea. In the growing HVAC job market, it will make you a hot commodity or help you move up within your current company.

Becoming an HVAC Class A, B, or C contactor is definitely well worth the paperwork and exam process. It can allow you to become your own boss and work on bigger projects as you move up the scale from C to A.

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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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