HVAC Tech Classes in Washington (Top Schools)

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Washington State has a booming HVAC industry.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there had been 6,320 employed HVAC professionals as of May 2021.

With a high level of employment, many skills-driven individuals pursue this profession.

If you’re one of them, read on to learn what you need to do to work professionally in Washington State.

HVAC Programs in Washington State

The first step toward an HVAC career is to enroll in an approved HVAC program.

In this way, you can acquire knowledge and receive practical training and experience in the field, such as:

  • Installation, repair, and maintenance of HVAC/R systems
  • Federal, state, and local laws and building codes
  • Industry best practices like customer relations

In addition, completing the program will prepare you for the certification and licensure exams.

Typically, the program will run from 6 months to 2 years.

The table below lists some of the schools offering approved HVAC programs in Washington State.

18 HVAC Schools in Washington

School NameAddress
Ashworth College6625 The Corners Pkwy NW #500, Norcross, GA 30092
B R Engelking/HVAC School23024 Brier Road, Brier, WA 98036
Bates Technical College1101 South Yakima Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98405
Bellingham Technical College3028 Lindberg Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
Brudvik School of Refrigeration20926 63rd Avenue W. Suite B, Lynnwood, WA 98903
Clover Park Technical College4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
hvacredu.net (Online Training)P.O. Box 77, Heron, MT 59844
Inland Northwest HVAC Training Center811 E. Sprague #6, Spokane, WA 99202
Lake Washington Technical College11605 132nd Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
Lewis-Clark State College500 8th Avenue, Lewiston, ID 83501
North Seattle Community College9600 College Way North, Seattle, WA 98103
Northwest HVAC/R Association and Training Center204 E Nora Ave, Spokane, WA 99207
Perry Technical Institute2011 W. Washington Avenue, Yakima, WA 98903
Renton Techncial College3000 NE 4th Street, Renton, WA 98056
Seattle Area Pipe Trades Education Center595 Monster Road, SW #100, Renton, WV 98055
Spokane Community College of Spokane1810 N Greene Street, Spokane, WA 99217
Walla Walla Community College500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Wenatchee Valley College1300 5th Street, Wenatchee, WA 98801

How to Get Certified in Washington State

In Washington State, there’s no state-level HVAC technician or contractor license.

Instead, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) will require specialty electrical certification before you can perform HVAC services.

All levels of HVAC professionals will need special certification, from trainees to contractors.

Trainees and Apprentices

As a trainee or apprentice, you’ll need to obtain the Electrical Trainee Certificate to work under the supervision of a certified electrician.

To qualify, you must…

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a valid SSN

Then, apply for the certificate online through the L&I website with the applicable fees.

Do note that your certificate will only be valid for 2 years.

As such, you need to renew it every 2 years until you become a journey-level or specialty electrician.

To renew, you must complete 48 hours of approved electrical basic trainee classes.

Journeymen

There are 2 electrician levels you can apply for:

  • General journey level electrician (EL01)
  • Specialty electrician, which has 2 HVAC-related classes:
    • HVAC/refrigeration system (EL06A)
    • HVAC/refrigeration – restricted (EL06B)

For all levels and classes, you must meet the training and experience to qualify for the exam administered by PSI.

To take the exam, L&I must approve your application first.

If you successfully pass the exam, L&I will mail your certification within 2 to 4 weeks.

Do note that your certification is only valid for 3 years and will expire on your birthdate.

To renew, you must complete 24 hours of approved continuing education credit, which includes:

  • 8 hours of code update
  • 4 hours of RCW/WAC

EL01 Certification

A general journey-level electrician has the certification to work in commercial/industrial and all specialty electrical categories.

To qualify, you must complete the following:

  • At least 8,000 hours of experience as a trainee under the supervision of a certified journey level electrician
  • At least 4,000 of these hours must be spent on commercial or industrial installation work
  • Was given at least 75% supervision as a trainee
  • 96 hours of basic classroom instruction

Update, effective July 1, 2023:

To qualify for the EL01 examination, you must have completed a recognized electrical apprenticeship program.

To work on a commercial jobsite, you must be registered in a recognized electrical apprenticeship program, unless performing specialized work.

Taking the EL01 Exam

Here are the exam requirements for the EL01 certification:

  • Completed, signed, and dated In-State Application for Electrical Examination form
  • Payment of application fee of $95.20, payable to L&I
  • Notarized Affidavit/s of Experience form/s

In the exam, you’ll be tested for the following:

  • National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • Basic electrical theory knowledge (theory)
  • Washington laws and rules (WA codes)

Here are the exam details:

  • NEC and theory
    • Duration – 3 hours
    • Fee – $65
  • WA codes
    • Duration – 1 hour
    • Fee – $45
  • If taken at the same time, exam fee is $75

EL06A Certification

As a special electrician with an EL06A certification, your scope of work is as follows:

  • HVAC/R systems with 30 volts and less control
  • Limited line voltage work within HVAC/R systems only

To qualify, you must complete the following:

  • At least 4,000 hours of work experience in the HVAC/R specialty as a trainee
  • Was given at least 75% supervision by a certified EL06A or journey level electrician
  • 48 hours of basic classroom instruction
Taking the EL06A Exam

EL06A exam has the same requirements as the EL01 exam.

Here are the exam details:

  • NEC and theory
    • Duration – 2 hours
    • Fee – $55
  • WA codes
    • Duration – 1 hour
    • Fee – $45
  • If taken at the same time, exam fee is $65

EL06B Certification

As a special electrician with an EL06B certification, your scope of work is as follows:

  • HVAC/R systems with 30 volts and less control
  • Limited voltage line work within small (250 volts, 125 amp, single phase) HVAC/R systems only

To qualify, you must complete the following:

  • At least 2,000 hours of work experience in the HVAC/R specialty as a trainee
  • Was given at least 100% supervision by a certified EL06B or journey level electrician
  • 24 hours of basic classroom instruction
Taking the EL06B Exam

For EL06B exam test takers, you will take the 0% Supervision Modified Electrical Training Certificate and Specialty Exam.

To sit for the exam, submit the following requirements to L&I for approval:

  • Completed, signed, and dated 0% Supervision Modified Electrical Training Certificate and Specialty Exam form
  • Payment of application fee of $84.90, payable to L&I
  • Notarized Affidavit/s of Experience for Washington Electrical Trainees form/s

Here are the exam details:

  • NEC and theory
    • Duration – 1 hour
    • Fee – $45
  • WA codes
    • Duration – 1 hour
    • Fee – $45
  • If taken at the same time, exam fee is $55

Masters

A Certified Master Electrician has the following scope of work:

  • Acts as an administrator to make sure an electrical contractor’s work follows the electrical laws and rules
  • May work with the tools of the trade performing electrical installations
  • May provide supervision of electrical trainees

It has 2 levels:

  • Journey-level master electrician
  • Specialty master electrician

Do note that your master electrician certification is only valid for 3 years and will expire on your birthdate.

To renew, you must complete 24 hours of approved CE, which includes:

  • 8 hours of code update
  • 4 hours of RCW/WAC
Taking the Master Electrician Certification Exam

To take the exam, you must be certified as a general journey-level or specialty electrician for a specified period.

Here are the exam qualifications you need to meet for each level:

  • Journey-level master electrician – must be a certified EL01 for at least 4 years by L&I
  • Specialty master electrician – must be a certified EL06A or EL06B for at least 2 years by L&I.

Here are the exam requirements for both levels that you’ll submit to L&I for approval to test:

  • Completed, signed, and dated Application for Master Electrician Examination form
  • Payment of $169.80, payable to L&I

If you’re applying online, submit the following instead:

  • SSN
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Required fees
    • Application fee of $169.80
    • Applicable exam fees

Here are the exam details:

  • 01 General Master Electrician
    • NEC and theory
      • Duration – 4 hours
      • Fee – $75
    • WA codes
      • Duration – 1 hour
      • Fee – $45
    • Major load calculations
      • Duration – 2 hours
      • Fee – $55
    • If taken at the same time, exam fee is $105
  • 06A HVAC/R Master Electrician
    • NEC and theory
      • Duration – 3 hours
      • Fee – $65
    • WA codes
      • Duration – 1 hour
      • Fee – $45
    • If taken at the same time, exam fee is $75
  • 06B HVAC/R Restricted Master Electrician
    • NEC and theory
      • Duration – 2 hours
      • Fee – $55
    • WA codes
      • Duration – 1 hour
      • Fee – $45
    • If taken at the same time, exam fee is $65

If you pass the exam, you’ll receive the certificate by mail within 4 weeks.

Contractors

Electrical contractors engage in the business of providing electrical work.

This certification has 2 levels:

  • General electrical contractor (EC01) – can perform work in commercial/industrial and all specialty electrical categories
  • Specialty electrical contractor, which has 2 HVAC-related classes:
    • HVAC/R (EC06A) – 30 volts and less control, and limited line voltage work within HVAC/R systems only
    • HVAC/R – restricted (EC6B) – 30 volts and less control and limited voltage line work within small (250 volts, 125 amp, single phase) HVAC/R systems only

To qualify for this certification for both levels, you must meet the following:

  • Valid UBI number issued by the Department of Revenue or Secretary of State’s office
  • A certified, assigned electrical administrator or master electrician
  • Original, $4,000 electrical contractor’s surety bond, or assignment of savings account
  • Workers’ compensation account if the business hires employees

To apply for the contractor’s certification for both levels, submit to L&I the following:

  • Completed Application for Electrical Contractor’s License form
  • Payment of the required fees:
    • License application fee of $293.60
    • Assignment of administrator fee of $44.00
  • Notarized Change Assignment of Administrator/Master Certificate form
  • Completed Electrical/Telecommunications Contractor’s Bond to the State of WA form
  • Notarized Electrical/Telecommunications Contractor Assignment of Savings Account form

Although not required, you’re encouraged to obtain general liability insurance by L&I.

Do note that your certification is only valid for 2 years.

To renew, you must submit to L&I the following:

  • Completed, signed, and dated Electrical/Telecommunication Contractor’s License Renewal Notice form
  • Renewal fee of $293.60; if online – $254.00

EPA Certification

Over the course of your career, you’ll handle refrigerant-containing equipment.

To ensure that you can safely work with refrigerants, you must obtain the EPA Section 608 Technician Certification.

This is a mandatory certification wherein you can apply for any of these types:

  • Type I
  • Type II
  • Type III
  • Universal

To learn which type you need to get, read our guide to the EPA certification.

Potential Salary

Per BLS, an HVAC technician in Washington State can earn between $37,770 and $94,740 a year, with an average of $62,310.

As you grow your skills and expertise, you can become one of the top 10% earners in the state.

The table below shows the salaries in 10 of Washington State’s cities.

Annual Salary Range:
$37K
$62K
$94K

Average Salary of HVAC Techs in Washington

City NameSalary
Seattle$51,277
Spokane$46,354
Tacoma$49,816
Vancouver$48,716
Bellevue$51,277
Everett$49,999
Federal Way$49,816
Kent$49,717
Yakima$46,308
Bellingham$47,709
* Salary information last updated 2022

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