Are you considering a career in HVAC in Oklahoma?
If your answer is yes, you are making a great decision. Oklahoma offers great career opportunities for HVAC professionals and they are among the top earners in the trade careers throughout the country.
Of course, you do have to make sure you comply with state laws regarding licensing. This article will guide you through the process from registration as an apprentice to licensing as a contractor. We’ll also talk a little about what you should study to get ready for the exam.
How Much Can You Earn?
HVAC technicians in Oklahoma earn a median hourly wage of $20.34. Top-end technicians can earn up to $29.92. The median yearly salary is $ 42,300 with a median in the top tier of $62,240. Even though the median salary in Oklahoma is slightly less than the national level, the state is witnessing rapid growth of HVAC industry.
The kind of new demand and opportunities arising for HVAC professionals in the state make a career HVAC a smart career choice.
Starting Out As An Apprentice
Like most of the trades, the HVAC field is a great area in which to do an apprenticeship. To make sure you’re going through a genuine program with a legitimate master, Oklahoma requires apprentices to register. There’s no testing involved in this. But you and the licensed HVAC contractor you are working with must complete a form.
You need to be at least 14 years old and legally able to work in the United States to undertake this program. There’s a $25 fee for your first card, which is valid for one year. To renew, the fee is $20.
You’ll also need to fill out a page verifying that you are lawfully in the USA. This page has to be notarized, which will cost a few more dollars. You can find the complete form - both the general registration and the affidavit of lawful presence, here.
HVAC/R Journeyman and Contractor Licenses: Work Allowed
HVAC/R licenses in Oklahoma fall under the broad category of “Mechanical” and are issued by Construction Industries Board. There are two primary categories in licensing for HVAC professionals. There are different classifications under each of these general levels.
HVAC Limited Journeyman/Limited Contractor
With this license, you are allowed to work on cooling products, equipment or systems up to 25 tons. For heating products, the limit is 500,000 Btu/h per appliance. You may also work on refrigeration, natural gas piping and sheet metal.
HVAC Unlimited Journeyman/Unlimited
As the name implies, this license doesn’t bind you to the same size restrictions mentioned for the Limited Journeyman license. So it allows you to work on any size heating or cooling unit.
Limited Residential Journeyman
This license is for you if you only intend to work on detached one- or two-family dwellings or townhouse-type dwellings not more than three stories high. They must have “separate means of egress” - in other words, you can’t work on apartment houses or buildings. Here you are allowed to work on cooling systems up to 5 tons or heating systems up to 150,000 Btu/h.
You can also install related accessories, such as clothes dryer ventilation, kitchen vent hoods, or exhaust fans. However, you cannot do welding, soldering or brazing; fuel gas piping, or final electrical connections.
There is no equivalent contractor license for this. You will need to apply as a Limited Contractor if you expect to only do residential work.
Refrigeration Journeyman/Refrigeration Contractor
This license allows you to work on refrigeration systems, equipment or products. Of course, you’ll also need Section 608 certification if you will need to purchase or work with refrigerants. That license is part of federal law through the Environmental protection agency.
HVAC/R License Requirements
To work as an HVAC journeyman in the Sooner State, you must be at least 18 years old. You must also meet one the following requirements:
- Three (3) years of verifiable experience in HVAC;
- Any of these combinations of classroom education and experience:
- Associate’s degree that required at least 1000 years of an educational program and 1 year of experience;
- Vocational diploma that required at least 500 hours of an educational program, and 2 years experience;
- Vocational diploma that required a minimum of 375 hours of an educational program, plus 2 ¼ years of experience;
- Vocational diploma from a program requiring a minimum of 334 hours of an educational program, and 2 ⅓ years of experience;
- Vocational diploma requiring at least 250 hours of an educational program, and 2 ½ years of experience
- Equivalent experience in the US military;
- Have a verifiable out-of-state license in HVAC.
- The license must:
- be current,
- be in good standing, and
- meet qualifications listed above for training and experience
- The license must:
In all cases, experience must be verifiable.
Once you meet these requirements, you must submit an application to take the exam. The fee for a journeyman is $75. For a contractor, the fee is $330. You use the same application form as the journeyman. Once you’ve completed the requisites and submitted the application, you’ll be notified to take the exam.
Additional Requirements For A Contractor
An HVAC/R Contractor in Oklahoma must meet all the requirements of a journeyman, with the addition of one additional year of experience.
The contractor also needs to provide a $5,000 surety bond, workers’ compensation and liability insurance of $50,000.
Licensure Procedure and Examination Process
Once your application is approved and you are eligible for examination, you will receive instructions to contact PSI Exams to set the date, time, and location of the examination. PSI will also provide you with information about study resources. You can find some great HVAC reference works in our blog entry “The Best Resources For Your HVAC Bookshelf.”
The Oklahoma Constructions Industry Board recommends the following additional reading material:
- Oklahoma Fine Schedule of the Construction Industries Board, Oklahoma Code, Title 158, Chapter 10, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Worker's Compensation Act, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 85, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Rules of Workers' Compensation Court, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 85, Chapter 4, Appendix, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Mechanical Licensing Act, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 59, Chapter 43A, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Mechanical Industry Regulations, Oklahoma Code, Title 158, Chapter 50, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
- Oklahoma Lien Law, Oklahoma Statutes, Title 42, Chapter 3, Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
The exams are open book and require a score of 70% to pass. Their length and time allotment are given in the chart below.
|Name of the Exam||No. of Questions||Time allowed|
|Journeyman Unlimited||70||180 minutes|
|Contractor Limited||80||210 minutes|
|Contractor Unlimited||90||240 minutes|
|Refrigeration Contractor||80||210 minutes|
Topics Covered In The HVAC Journeyman And Contractor Exams
PSI will provide you with details on what to study, but here are the general topic areas:
- Electrical Knowledge and Controls
- Natural Gas Air Distribution Systems
- Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Systems
- Heating Systems Safety
- Refrigeration Contractor
- Electrical Knowledge and Controls
- Refrigeration Equipment and Components
- Refrigeration Systems Operations
Applicants for the Journeyman or Contractor license must also pass the Oklahoma Business and Law Exam.
Ongoing Education Requirements
To be able to keep your license active, you’ll need 6 continuing-education credits (CEU) every 3 years. The board will provide a list of approved programs.
To renew your license, submit the renewal form. For a journeyman, the cost is $75. For a contractor, it costs $200. However, if you delay more than a month after your current license expires, the cost for a contractor is $300.
Oklahoma gets its fair share of extreme weather, which makes great HVAC technicians indispensable. Start charting your hours and education so you can work toward the next step on your career path. We hope it will be as fulfilling as ours has been!
Interested in Nearby States?
You can find the licensing information for the states that border Oklahoma here: