HVAC License Reciprocity By State

October 13, 2021
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It can be difficult to anticipate where an HVAC job will take you. After all, new opportunities can pop up in any office building, house, city, or state.


If you find yourself facing a potential move, there's a lot that you'll need to consider. Will you be opening a second location? Do you have the right systems in place, like good HVAC business software? Is there a central area where you can establish a new office that will bring in foot traffic? Have you thought about advertising costs or the average wage or HVAC salary in this state? Most importantly, what about licensing? Will you be able to work in your new state with your current contractor license class? Or will you need to become recertified? And if recertification is the only option, how much will it cost?


We get it. These questions can be overwhelming at first. Each state has its own regulations and requirements for HVAC contractors' licenses. You’re already established in your old state. You've already spent a lot of time studying to get your current license. So, it's hard to imagine having to spend even more time and effort retaking those tests. You'd rather be able to jump straight into work in your new state.


Thankfully, there's a fast and cost-efficient option for a newly relocated HVAC technician or business: HVAC license reciprocity. This option makes the move simple, allowing contractors to start working in their new state almost immediately.

What is HVAC License Reciprocity?

License reciprocity can help you start working in your new state faster. HVAC license reciprocity lets contractors transfer their existing license between states. This means you likely won't have to retake all the necessary tests for an HVAC business license. Or at least you won't have to take them when you first move to the state. Instead, your current license will be enough proof that you have the practical experience, are in good standing in that state, and meet that board’s licensing standards. That means it can count towards part of - or all - of your new state's contractor licenses requirements. Depending on the state's laws, you may even be able to avoid fees and having to pass exams.


Even if states don’t offer any reciprocal licensing agreements, it’s a good idea to contact your local licensing boards before applying. There may be waivers for certification requirements available that aren’t listed on the website.


How Much Does A Reciprocal License Cost?

Reciprocal license costs differ by state and can range anywhere from $0 to $650. The average reciprocal license cost is generally between $75-$140. Some states require you to pay a fee to submit the license as well as a fee to process or send out the license. Others may not charge anything as everything is done digitally. However, getting licensed in a new state can come with additional costs and requirements, like a licensing exam fee or liability insurance. Additionally, the license class you apply for (journeyman and master) can impact cost.


What Other Requirements Are Needed For Contractor License Reciprocity?

You may need to take trade exams or get specific HVAC certifications when moving to a new state. Most states require you to have a journeyman license in order to work independently, but some may require a master’s or restrict what kind of what you can do based on your existing  license class. So, you may need to apply for a different license class. Licensing requirements are always changing, so you’ll want to confirm requirements with resources like your local licensing board. And many states will typically require some sort of insurance, namely liability coverage.


What Kind of HVAC Insurance Do I Need?


Most states require contractors to have liability coverage. Liability insurance usually costs between $300–$10,000 a year, or $700 a year on average. The amount of insurance coverage you need often varies state to state, with some requiring as high as $200,000. Others may have additional insurance requirements like Disability Insurance and Workers Compensation. 


Types Of Insurance HVAC Contractors May Need

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Surety Bonds
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Inland Marine Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance


Applying For State License Reciprocity


Each state has different requirements and a different application process when applying for licenses. It's important that you do as much research as possible on reciprocity before relocating, so you're well prepared to start working in or expand your business to a new state. For example, you'll want to learn whether there are continuing education requirements when it comes time to renew your license, liability insurance is required, which license types are necessary to do the work you do, or whether that state's licensing exam is required after a set period of time. The better prepared you are when moving, the faster you'll be able to get legally established and be ready to find new jobs.


Some states' HVAC reciprocal license agreements allow other states' licenses to count for all of their requirements, so no additional testing is needed. You'll still have to register and fill out a license application before working, just to prove and establish yourself as a registered HVAC contractor, but other than that, it's a faster and (relatively) easier road to beginning work in your new state.


Other states will allow your current license type to count for part of their requirements. This means that you may be authorized to do some work in your new state under certain codes, but maybe not all of the work you're licensed to do in your previous state under their codes. For example, you might be qualified to do residential work, but not commercial.


Again, research is your friend here. You'll be able to find out exactly what required license is needed for an HVAC technician to perform the work you want to do with some Internet searching or phone calls, and get more information about how to expand your work under your new state's codes.


Where Can Contractors Find An Application To Apply For A License?

First, you’ll need to navigate to the state licensing board’s website, which we’ve listed below. From there, you’ll want to search for the HVAC licensing section. This section’s name can differ wildly. Mechanical contractor, refrigeration contractor, conditioned air contractor, and construction contractor are just a few of the names you'll see HVAC licensing under. From there, you’ll find either a form you can submit through email or email as indicated at the top of the form, or an online portal to fill out this information digitally.


What States Do Not Require An HVAC License?

ALT: States Do Not Require An HVAC License


States that do not require an HVAC license include:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming


However, you’ll want to check local level licensing requirements. Some cities have their own separate requirements. You can check our list of HVAC license requirements by state for more information.


HVAC License Reciprocity By State


Unfortunately, not all states offer HVAC license reciprocity. Even some cities or localities may have differing reciprocity rules. Should you face this issue, look at your local board's requirements. Even if there isn't full reciprocity, the board may validate your licensing on a case-by-case basis.


If you have a choice between states to relocate to, determining their HVAC license reciprocity should be a huge factor in that decision. It'll be worth it when you're able to start looking for jobs or projects within your first few days.


We've been encouraging you to do your own research, but we understand it can be overwhelming. That's why we've compiled a cheat sheet. You'll find a list of each state’s reciprocity agreements and links to local licensing requirements below!





Alabama

Certification Authority: Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors

Reciprocity: Alabama has a reciprocal licensing agreement with Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Louisiana.

Renewal: Yearly by December 31st

Renewal Cost: $190

Changes: $25 for re-issuance, with notarized statement for stolen, lost, etc.

Replacement: $25 for re-issuance


Alaska

Certification Authority: Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Yearly by December 31st

Renewal Cost: $200 if longer than two years, $100 if prorated.

Changes: HVAC contractors can submit this form to make changes to their state license in Alaska.

Replacement: Duplicate self-print for free or here for $5


Arizona

Certification Authority: Arizona Registrar of Contractors

Reciprocity: Arizona doesn’t offer state reciprocity, but applicants from another state can apply for a waiver. This waiver does not waive Arizona Statutes and the state exam (Rules Training Course and Exam - or SRE). However, it does transfer other aspects of your licensing, like hours and experience.

Renewal: Every 2 years

Renewal Cost: Between $480 and $650

Changes: n/a

Replacement: n/a


Arkansas

Certification Authority: Arkansas Department of Labor & Licensing

Reciprocity: While Arkansas has had reciprocity with other states in the past, it currently has no known reciprocal license agreements.

Renewal: Yearly

Renewal Cost: $200 licensing plus $25 fee

Changes: You can make changes to your license using these forms.

Replacement: You can request a replacement HVAC business license using these forms.


California

Certification Authority: Contractors State License Board

Reciprocity: California does not accept any other state license, but applicants from Nebraska, Utah or Arizona may be able to get a California license without taking part of the accredited trade exam.

Renewal: 2-4 years depending on contractor license type and class

Renewal Cost: Between $225 and $675 depending on active, inactive, or late renewals.

Changes: You can make changes to your license here.

Replacement: Replacing or changing information on your license has a $150 fee.


Colorado

Colorado does not require licensing on the state level, check local authorities’ requirements.


Connecticut

Certification Authority: Department of Consumer Protection

Reciprocity: Connecticut does not have a reciprocal agreement with other states.

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: $150

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes to and renew your license by logging in here.


District of Columbia

Certification Authority: Board of Industrial Trades

Reciprocity: None mentioned

Renewal: Every 2 years

Renewal Cost: $155.00 for mechanical, $180 for contractor

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes to your license through the online booking portal here.


Delaware

Certification Authority: DELPROS, Division of Professional Regulation

Reciprocity: Delaware offers a reciprocal license to contractors from Connecticut, Iowa, and Maryland.

Renewal: Delaware requires HVAC contractors to renew their license October 31st of even years.

Renewal Cost: No fee mentioned

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes to your license by logging in here.


Florida

Certification Authority: Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Reciprocity: Florida does not currently reciprocate HVAC licenses. It has not formally entered into an HVAC reciprocity agreement with another state. However, it has made requirements to transfer a license less stringent for contractors. You can read more here.

Renewal: August 31st every odd year

Renewal Cost: $209-$259

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes to your license or get a replacement license using these forms.


Georgia

Certification Authority: Division of Conditioned Air Contractors of the Construction Industry Licensing Board

Reciprocity: Georgia has licensing reciprocity with Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas. You can submit your reciprocity application using this form.

Renewal: Every 2 years including four hours continuing education.

Renewal Cost: $75

Changes/Replacement: Use the portal here to make changes or request a replacement.


Hawaii

Certification Authority: Hawaii Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Reciprocity: Hawaii has no known reciprocal license agreements.

Renewal: Sept 30 of every even numbered year.

Renewal Cost: Between $160 and $338

Replacement/Changes: Use the portal here to make changes or request a replacement.


Idaho

Certification Authority: Idaho Division of Building Safety

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Annual, may be issued for up to 3 years.

Renewal Cost: $150- $185

Changes/Replacement: Use the forms here to make changes or request a replacement license.


Illinois

No licensing requirement on state level, check local requirements.


Indiana

No licensing requirement on state level, check local licensure requirements.


Iowa

Certification Authority: Iowa Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Renews every 3 years, you can renew online here

Renewal Cost: $50-$230

Changes: You can make address changes to your contractor's license here.

Replacement: N/A

Kansas

No contractor's license requirement on state level, check local requirements.


Kentucky

Certification Authority: Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction

Reciprocity: Kentucky has a reciprocity agreement with Ohio.

Renewal: Last day of birth month, annually.

Renewal Cost: $250-$300

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes and renew your state license using the online portal here.

Louisiana

Certification Authority: Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors

Reciprocity: Louisiana has HVAC reciprocity agreements with the following states: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah.

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: n/a

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes to your license through the Louisiana State Licensing Board website and order a replacement by logging into the online portal here.

Maine

No HVAC contractor requirement on state level, check local requirements.

Maryland

Certification Authority: MD Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors

Reciprocity: HVAC contractors in Maryland's licenses will carry over to Delaware and Virginia.

Renewal: Every two years

Renewal Cost: $20

Changes: You can use the online portal here or send an email to the address mentioned under this link with any necessary documentation. Replacements are free.


Massachusetts

Certification Authority: Only HVAC professionals working in the field of refrigeration (on systems of over 10-ton capacity) require a license, so most residential HVAC applicants do not require a license. Refrigeration licenses are issued by the Division of Professional Licensure Office of Public Safety and Inspections.

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Renew your license using the form here.

Renewal Cost: $75

Changes/Replacements: Changes and replacement contractor licenses can be requested using the form here.


Michigan

Certification Authority: Dept of LIcensing and Regulatory Affairs

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Every three years

Renewal Cost: $75

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes or request a replacement license by logging into the online portal here.


Minnesota

No licensing requirements on state level, check local requirements.


Mississippi

Certification Authority: Mississippi State Board of Contractors

Reciprocity: Mississippi has a reciprocal licensing agreement with: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: $400-$450

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes or request a replacement license using this form. Replacements cost $50.


Missouri

No contractor's license requirement on state level, check local requirements.


Montana

Certification Authority: The Department of Labor and Industry requires HVAC professionals to register as a Construction contractor here.

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Every two years

Renewal Cost: $70

Changes/Replacement: Unknown, contact the certification authority for more information.


Nebraska

In Nebraska, you'll need a general contractor license on the state level. Check local requirements for HVAC business license requirements.


Nevada

Certification Authority: Nevada State Contractors Board

Reciprocity: Nevada has a reciprocal licensing agreement with the following states: California, Utah, and Arizona.

Renewal: Every two years. You can log into the online portal here to renew your license.

Renewal Cost: $600.

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes to your address using the form here and make other changes or request a replacement here.


New Hampshire

No licensing requirements on state level for an HVAC contractor, check local requirements.


New Jersey

Certification Authority: State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) Contractors

Reciprocity: Unknown, however the board has determined the following states' hvac contractors do not qualify for reciprocity with New Jersey: Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Arkansas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and West Virginia

Renewal: Licenses expire every 2 years on June 30th of even-numbered years. Along with submitting your license application, you must complete the necessary continuing education requirements: five credits of Board approved courses.

Renewal Cost: $160

Changes/Replacement: You can change your address and request a replacement license through the online portal here.


New Mexico

Certification Authority: New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Every three years

Renewal Cost: Maximum of $300

Changes/Replacement You can make changes and request a replacement state license through the online booking portal here or contact the contractor licensing board’s department directly. 


New York

No contractor licensing requirement on state level, check local requirements.


North Carolina

Certification Authority: State Board of Refrigeration Contractors

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: $120

Changes: Submit this form

Replacement: Submit this form with the required $25 fee


North Dakota

Certification Authority: Secretary of State

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: Between $30-$90

Changes/Replacement: Log in to the portal here to make changes or request a replacement license.


Ohio

Certification Authority: Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board

Reciprocity: Ohio has a reciprocal licensing agreement with the following states: Kentucky, Louisiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina.

Renewal: $60 per year or $180 every 3 years. Must continue education with 4 years of online credit each 1 year renewal, 12 each 3 year renewal period.

Renewal Cost: $10 per course, plus $1 per credit hour. For more information, see here.

Changes: You can make changes here.

Replacement: Replacements cost $25 unless your HVAC technician license is in a renewal period (90 days prior to expiration).


Oklahoma

Certification Authority: Oklahoma Construction Industries Board

Reciprocity: None but Oklahoma may waive some requirements for specific states - check here for more information.

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: $200

Changes/Replacement: You can renew or make changes to your license using the forms here.


Oregon

Certification Authority: Oregon Construction Contractors Board

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Every three years

Renewal Cost: $100

Changes/Replacement: Use the online portal here to make changes or request a replacement license.


Pennsylvania

No refrigeration contractor requirement on state level, check local requirements.


Rhode Island

Certification Authority: Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Every two years

Renewal Cost: Between $60 and $480 depending on license type, see full list here

Changes: Submit this form

Replacement: Submit this form


South Carolina

Certification Authority: South Carolina Contractor's Licensing Board

Reciprocity: While South Carolina doesn't offer full reciprocal license agreements with other states, it will waive the trade exam for licenses from Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

Renewal: Every two years

Renewal Cost: $160 for Residential Specialty Contractor or $350 for Commercial Mechanical Contractor

Changes: South Carolina contractors will need to log in here to make chances.

Replacement: See above


South Dakota

No HVAC licensure requirement on state level, check local requirements. However, some cities have their own requirements, like Sioux Falls and Rapid City.


Tennessee

Certification Authority: Board for Licensing Contractors

Reciprocity: While Tennessee doesn't have full reciprocal license agreements with other states, it will waive the trade exam for licenses from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Renewal: Annual

Renewal Cost: $75

Changes: Submit this form on the Tennessee board website.

Replacement: Submit this form and $25


Texas

Certification Authority: Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

Reciprocity: Texas only reciprocates licenses from South Carolina and Georgia, but you may be able to use your current qualifications to obtain licensure in Texas with a fee of $115. You can learn more here.

Renewal: You can renew your license online here.

Renewal Cost: $65

Changes: You can submit changes using this form, which will cost $25.

Replacement: You can get a replacement for $25 here.


Utah

Certification Authority: Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

Reciprocity: Utah has reciprocity agreements with the following states: California, Nevada, Arizona

Renewal: Every two years

Renewal Cost: $114

Changes/Replacement: An HVAC contractor can change their Name/Address on the licensing website here, under the Licensing drop down menu. For a replacement, you'll need to submit a $10 reprint fee for name change.


Vermont

No HVAC contractor license requirement on state level, check local requirements.


Virginia

Certification Authority: Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

Reciprocity: Only available to electrical and plumbing contractors; no reciprocal agreement with other states for HVAC.

Renewal: Every two years

Renewal Cost: $90 or $140 for expired

Changes: Submit this form to change your name and this form to change your address.

Replacement: You can request a replacement refrigeration contractor license here.


Washington

Certification Authority: Washington State Department of Labor and Industries

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Two years

Renewal Cost: $118

Changes: N/A

Replacement: You can apply for a replacement license on the website here for $12.60


West Virginia

Certification Authority: West Virginia Dept. of Commerce, Division of Labor

Reciprocity: West Virginia has a reciprocal agreement with Tennessee, Ohio, and Alabama.

Renewal: Annually

Renewal Cost: $90

Changes: Notify the Contractor Licensing Board in writing for name or address change

Replacement: Send a request to the Contractor Licensing Board. Replacements cost $10.


Wisconsin

Certification Authority: Wisconsin Dept of Safety and Professional Services

Reciprocity: None

Renewal: Licenses must be renewed every four years

Renewal Cost: $160

Changes/Replacement: You can make changes or replace your HVAC contractor license using the online portal here.


Wyoming

No licensing requirement for HVAC contractors on state level, check local requirements.


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