How to Get your HVAC License Certification in North Carolina

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Working in North Carolina as a refrigeration or HVAC technician offers great opportunities and rewards. Regarded as one of the best states to work in as an HVAC technician, North Carolina is an attractive destination for technicians and engineers from out of state and others looking to join the trade. Like most states in the country, North Carolina requires HVAC and refrigeration technicians to be state certified before undertaking work.

You must sit and pass the Refrigeration Contractor’s Exam. On passing the exam, you will receive the Refrigeration Contractor License which enables you to practice your trade. This article guides you through the certification process and covers the:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Application process
  • Preparing for the exam
  • Taking the exam and what happens after

At the bottom you will also find reference to some recommended HVAC training facilities within the state.

Eligibility Requirements for the Refrigeration Contractor’s Exam

If you are an individual working in the refrigeration industry performing installation, maintenance, servicing and repair work on refrigeration equipment and devices, you must be actively registered with the state’s Refrigeration Board. To be able to sit the exam, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete and submit an application form with a non-refundable application fee or examination-license fee.
  2. Provide evidence that you have completed a minimum of 4000 hours in commercial refrigeration.

Experience is a critical aspect for gaining the contractor license. The experience may take the form of an academic qualification in a field recognized by the board, or technical training or apprenticeship. Only 2000 hours of academic or technical training hours will be accepted as part of the experience eligibility criteria. Any other practical work experience must:

  • Have been acquired while working under the supervision of a licensed refrigeration contractor Or
  • Be a professional engineer Or
  • Holds relevant experience.

If you’re looking to gain academic qualification through an HVAC school then you can find programs that are near you by filling out the form below.

Search HVACR Certified Technician Programs

Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

If you are in doubt about the validity of your experience, please contact the board who may be able to help you determine whether you have the applicable experience to meet the eligibility requirements.

The Application Process

Once you are satisfied you meet the eligibility requirements, the next step is to download and complete the exam application form. To complete the application form, you will need the following details:

  • Any history of licensing applications.
  • Your educational information if educational or technical training forms part of your eligibility criteria.
  • Work experience history including names of employers and dates employed.
  • For the practical experience aspect of your eligibility, you will need your current or former supervisor to fill in part of the form and attest to the number of hours completed.

Once you complete the form and have signed it, you can submit the form to the board with the exam-licensing fee.

Preparing for the Contractor Licensing Exam

It is vital that you thoroughly prepare for the exam before sitting to enhance your chances of passing the first time. The exam is split into 4 different parts, and you will be required to achieve passes in all parts to receive your license. You will have no more than 3 consecutive attempts at passing each part of the exam and all parts have to be passed within a year. Failure to achieve passes in all parts within a year or within 3 tries will mean you have to start the exam all over, even if you have passed some parts of the exam. The four parts are as follows:

  • Part A covers the Law, Administrative Code and Refrigeration Safety. (15 questions)
  • Part B tackles Equipment, Equipment performance, Refrigeration theory and electrical aspects. (40 questions)
  • Part C covers electrical and mechanical codes. (20 questions)
  • Part D includes plans, specifications and estimating. (25 questions)

Note: This is an open book exam and so you can bring the books you think will help you pass the exam.

If you are applying for transport refrigeration certification, the exam is slightly different and has only three parts with fewer questions than the commercial/industrial refrigeration exam.

Passing the exam and receiving your license

Once you have successfully taken the exam, the State Refrigeration Board will issue you with a Refrigeration Contractors License. Your license will require renewing every year and the board will send you renewal notifications.

If you fail to renew your license, it is an offense to continue working in the industry without a valid license. Also, your license number should appear on all permit applications. You must ensure you meet all the licensing conditions, or you may lose your license or face prosecution.

Practicing as a licensed refrigeration contractor in North Carolina is a legal requirement. Getting certification is easier if you know the requirements and the examination process. This article has shown you what you need to be eligible for taking the exam. The State Board website also contains more detailed information to help you through the application process. There are some companies which will offer support towards earning your certification and they may be worth looking into.

If you have found the information in this article useful, please share it with other technicians and professionals looking to get certified. 

HVAC Schools in North Carolina

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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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