HVAC Contractor (General/Commercial)

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing


License required in 40 states
5th most burdensome licensing requirements
7th most heavily regulated occupation

(Last updated April 24, 2012)


HVAC contractors contract with clients to install, service and repair heating and air conditioning systems in residences and commercial establishments.

Typically, only contractors require licenses, not those who work for them. Licensing requirements differ based on the scope of the work. Those with a residential license may work only on residential properties, while those with a commercial license may work on commercial properties. In some states, work on commercial properties requires a general contractor's license that is not specific to HVAC work; the requirements are generally the same as a commercial license, and they are treated the same here.


Forty states require HVAC contractors to obtain a license to work on commercial sites. In addition to being widely licensed, states place the fifth most burdensome entry requirements on commercial HVAC contractors. Twenty-eight states impose significant education/experience requirements ranging from just under two years to a full seven years or more, as in Rhode Island and Ohio.

Additionally, some 31 states require contractors to pass one or two exams. Kansas only requires HVAC contractors to register with the state. In 2007, the New Jersey legislature authorized the establishment of a new board to issue HVAC contractors' licenses, but the board has not yet completed all of the draft regulations or fully issued licenses.

(Last updated May 2, 2012)

State Licensing Requirements

Burden RankStateFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age

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