North Carolina is said to be one of the best states to work in as a HVAC technician. It offers great chances and salaries to HVAC technicians.
That is why it even attracts engineers from other states, as well as other people who want to work in the HVAC industry.
To be a HVAC technician in North Carolina, you need to acquire a license.
You will have to pass the Refrigeration Contractor Exam. Once you have done that the Refrigeration Contractor License will be awarded to you.
This license will allow you to practice your trade.
This article will provide you with information you need in order to become a HVAC technician in North Carolina.
Heating and Cooling Licensing
In terms of licensing, refrigeration is separated from the hearing and cooling contractors.
There are three types of heating and cooling license: H1, H2, and H3.
H1 – “Wet” or “water-based” comfort heating systems in any building (residential, commercial, industrial).
This type is further divided into classes 1 and 2.
Class 1 license allows you to service any building, and Class 2 is limited to single-family detached dwellings.
H2 – This type allows you to work on air heating and cooling for units of over 15 tons.
H3 – This type is for forced air heating and cooling for units under 15 tons.
It has two classes. Class one can service any building, and class two can only service single-family detached dwellings.
Each of these can have a T designation. T stands for technician.
Technicians are not contractors.
However, they need to be sublicensees of contractors. These groups are: H1-T, H2-T, H3-T.
There is also a possibility of a SGLT designation (SGLT-H1, etc.). This is for employees of state and local governments.
To be eligible to take a test for any class you need to fulfill the following:
- You need two years of on-site full-time experience in the in the installation, maintenance, service, or repair of plumbing or heating systems which has to do with the license category you are applying for. It does not matter whether that area of work requires you to have a license or not. This means that you need 4,000 hours of relevant working experience.
- The academic or technical training can, if you have completed it, add 2,000 hours (30 semester hours) to your experience. The training must be in the field that you want to be licensed in.
- If you are an applicant who wants to take the technician exam, you need to have 18 months (3,000 hours) on-site full-time experience in the installation, maintenance, service or repair of plumbing or heating systems, which is related to the field you want your license to be in.
It, again, does not matter whether or not a license must be obtained for the work experience you have gained.
Academic or technical training is not mandatory.
Whether you are taking the contractor or the technician license, the examination lasts four hours.
In case you want to be a contractor, you will need to pass an additional business and law exam.
That exam is an hour and a half long.
The materials you need to prepare for your exams can be found on a comprehensive list on the state’s licensing website.
The list is different for each test.
You can find more information about the exam and the application process here.
Refrigeration Contractor Exam
To perform installation, maintenance, servicing and repair work on refrigeration equipment and devices; you need to be properly licensed with the Refrigeration Board of North Carolina.
Eligibility requirements for this exam are as follows:
- Completed application form with a non-refundable application fee or examination-license fee
- Proof of completion of at least 4000 hours in commercial refrigeration.
Contractors who hope to obtain a license need to have experience.
It can be gained by means of academic qualification in a field recognized by the board, or technical training or apprenticeship.
This training needs to have 2000 hours to be accepted as a part of your experience criteria.
If you have practical work, the experience must be acquired while working under the supervision of a licensed refrigeration contractor.
Another case in which the experience will be accepted is if you are a professional engineer, or if you hold relevant experience.
The board may help you determine if your experience is valid and can count towards your eligibility requirements.
Currently, there are no reciprocity agreements between North Carolina and any other state.
As it was mentioned, you can gain relevant experience to meet the eligibility requirements through attending and completing official HVAC training.
These training programs feature both theory and practice, so you will be ready both for the exams and the job itself.
Here is a table of schools that have approved HVAC programs in North Carolina:
40 HVAC Schools in North Carolina
|Ashworth College||6625 The Corners Pkwy NW #500, Norcross, GA 30092|
|Alamance Community College||PO Box 8000, Graham, NC 27253|
|Ashville Buncombe Technical College||340 victoria Road, Asheville, NC 28801|
|Bismark State College||1500 Edwards Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58506|
|Blue Ridge Community College||College Drive, Flat Rock, NC 11111|
|Brunswick Community College||50 College Road, Supply, NC 28462|
|Cape Fear Community College||411 N. Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401|
|Catawba Valley Community College||2550 Hwy 7055, Hickory, NC 28602|
|Central Carolina Community College-Harnet Campus||1075 E. Cornelius, Lillington, NC 27546|
|Central Piedmont Community College-Southwest Campus||PO Box 35009, Charlotte, NC 28204|
|Cleveland Community College||137 S. Post Road, Shelby, NC 28150|
|Coastal Carolina Community College||444 Western, Jacksonville, NC 28546|
|College of Albemarle||PO Box 2327, Edenton, NC 27932|
|Craven Community College||800 College Court, New Bern, NC 28562|
|Davidson County Community College||PO Box 1287, Lexington, NC 27295|
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||PO Box 35236, Fayetteville, NC 28303|
|Forsyth Technical Community College||2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103|
|Gaston Community College||201 Highway 321 South, Dallas, NC 28034|
|Guilford Technical Community College||601 High Point Road, Jamestown, NC 27282|
|hvacredu.net (Online Training)||P.O. Box 77, Heron, MT 59844|
|Johnston Community College||PO Box 2350, Smithfield, NC 27577|
|Lenoir Community College||PO Box 188, Kinston, NC 28502|
|Martin Community College||PO Drawer 866, Williamston, NC 27892|
|Mayer Electric Supply||1150 N. 23rd Street, Wilmington, NC 28405|
|Mitchell Community College||500 W. Broad Street, Statesville, NC 28677|
|Nash Community College||522 N. Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804|
|Pitt Community College||1986 Pitt Tech Road, Winterville, NC 28590|
|Roanoke-Chowan Community College||109 College Drive, Ahoskie, NC 27910|
|Rockingham Community College||PO Box 38, Wentworth, NC 27375|
|Rowan-Cararrus Community College||PO Box 1595, Salisbury, NC 28145|
|Sampson Community College||PO 318 Hwy 24W, Clinton, NC 28328|
|South Piedmont Community College-West Campus||721 Brewer Drive, Monroe, NC 28112|
|Southeastern Community College||PO Box 151, Whiteville, NC 11111|
|Southwestern Community College||447 College Drive, Sylva, NC 28779|
|Stanly Community College||141 College Drive, Albemarle, NC 28001|
|Surry Community College||630 S. Main Street, Dobson, NC 27017|
|Vance-Granville Community College||PO Box 917, Henderson, NC 27536|
|Wake Technical College||9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603|
|Wayne Community College||3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27534|
|Wilson Technical Community College||902 Herring Avenue, Wilson, NC 27893|
When you meet the eligibility requirements, you need to fill out the exam application.
To complete it, you will need the following:
- History of licensing applications
- Educational information; proof of whether or not technical training is a part of your eligibility criteria
- Work experience history with names of employers and dates employed
- Practical experience aspect of your eligibility needs to have proof. Therefore, you will need your current or former supervisor to fill in part of the form and attest to the number of hours completed.
Having completed the form, you should submit it to the Board along with the paid exam-licensing fee.
Refrigeration Contractor Licensing
This exam consists of four parts.
To pass it, you will need to have a passing score on each part of the exam.
That is why you should thoroughly prepare for the exam.
You need to pass all parts with in the period of a year.
In addition to that, you will not have more than three consecutive attempts at your disposal to pass each part of the exam.
If you fail to pass the exam within a year, or if you need more than three attempts, you will need to start the exam all over.
It does not matter if you have passed some parts of the exam or not.
Here are the four parts of the exam:
- 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)
The exam is open book.
That means that you can bring in materials that you find helpful into the exam.
The exam will be different if you want to acquire the transport refrigeration certification.
There will be fewer questions comparing to the commercial/industrial refrigeration exam.
Receiving the License
Licenses are awarded by the State Refrigeration Board.
The license awarded is a Refrigeration Contractors License. This license needs to be renewed annually.
You will receive notification of when your license should be renewed.
Without a valid license you cannot work in the HVAC industry legally.
Therefore, if you don’t renew your license in time and continue working, you are committing an offence.
All permit applications should have your license number.
In case you do not meet all licensing conditions, your license will be taken away and you might face prosecution.
Your salary as a HVAC technician will vary.
There will be several factors that will determine the height of your earnings.
Those factors are skills, experience, education; licenses and certifications you hold.
If you are interested in what your salary might be like in the ten largest cities in North Carolina, you can look that up in the following table:Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of HVAC Techs in North Carolina
To work as a refrigeration contractor in North Carolina, you need to be licensed.
Once you know which type of a license you want to apply for you need to understand the eligibility requirements.
That will make the whole examination and the licensure process easier for you.
If you need more information you can find it on he State Board website.
Some companies need certified HVAC technicians and are willing to support your certification process.