Licensing Guides

HVAC License Delaware: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Delaware

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Table of Contents
  1. HVACR Licensing Requirements in Delaware

  2. Types of HVACR Licenses in Delaware

  3. Steps to Becoming an HVAC Technician in Delaware

  4. Benefits of Getting Your HVACR License in Delaware

  5. What Is the Mean Salary for an HVAC Technician in Delaware?

  6. How to Become an HVAC Professional in Delaware

  7. How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in Delaware? 

  8. Delaware HVAC Training programs and schools 

  9. Delaware HVACR License Exam Details

  10. EPA Certification

  11. Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Delaware?

  12. Does My Delaware HVAC License Work in Any Other State?

  13. National HVAC Certifications

  14. Continuing Education/Renewal

  15. Other Requirements Unique to Delaware

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Contractors and technicians are in demand. If you are looking for a career that provides tangible skills and job security, HVAC may be for you. We all rely on climate control and refrigeration systems in our homes and businesses. Those systems break down and wear out, and now with more emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution, systems need to be retrofitted, upgraded or replaced entirely to remain compliant.

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According to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 380,400 Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers in the United States and 1,280 work in Delaware. That number nationwide is expected to grow 5% from 2020 to 2030 — adding 19,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. In Delaware, though, that growth rate is expected to be more than double that. According to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website, the projected growth rate is 11% for HVAC mechanics and installers in Delaware.

HVAC license requirements vary from state to state and in some cases from locality to locality. In Delaware, licensing is uniform statewide.

HVACR Licensing Requirements in Delaware

Is a license required for HVACR Professionals in Delaware? Yes. You must possess a Delaware Master HVACR license or be training under direct supervision of someone who holds a license to legally perform any HVACR services in the state.

The state of Delaware licenses HVAC professionals asit does electricians and plumbers through the Division of Professional Regulation. Specifically, the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners licenses and regulates the industry. Its website states that the purpose of the board is to “protect the public from unsafe practices and practices which tend to reduce competition or fix prices for services. The Board must also maintain standards of professional competence and service delivery.” The state requires licensure at the apprentice, journeyman, master, and contractor levels.

Types of HVACR Licenses in Delaware

What are the different types of HVACR related licenses in Delaware?

HVAC Apprentice:

The state of Delaware begins regulating this workforce at the apprentice level. HVAC apprentices are required to register with the State of Delaware Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship and enroll in an approved training program.

HVAC Journeyman:

Delaware requires journeymen to obtain a Journeyman Certificate of Completion from an apprentice program that combines four years of hands-on training with at least 144 hours of education for each of those years, and at least two years of work under the direct supervision of a Master HVACR licensee. The only other option is to work for seven years under the supervision of a Master HVACR licensee and pass the Apprentice By-Pass Exam.

Master HVACR:

To obtain Master level licensure, you must be certified as a journeyman and pass the appropriate Master HVACR exam.  The state offers a Master HVACR License and several kinds of Master Restricted HVACR Licenses. An individual holding one of the restricted licenses may provide services in only one of the following areas:

  • Heating — forced air systems; ventilation; and gas piping

  • Heating — hydronic systems and gas piping

  • Commercial hood systems

  • Refrigeration

  • Air-conditioning

  • Gas piping

If a license holder wishes to provide two or more of these services, they must hold a Master HVACR license.

HVACR Contractor:

An individual who wishes to receive an HVACR Contractor license must hold a Master level license and also be licensed as a contractor through the Delaware Division of Revenue.

Steps to Becoming an HVAC Technician in Delaware

  1. Typically be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent unless beginning as a high school student through a Career and Technical Education program.

  2. Must enroll in an approved apprenticeship program that combines four years of training with at least 144 hours per year of education and register with the Delaware Department of Labor.

  3. Complete registered apprenticeship and work for two years under the direct supervision of a Master HVACR licensee to receive Journeyman Certificate of Completion; or

  4. Work for seven years under direct supervision of a Master HVACR licensee and pass the Apprentice By-Pass exam to receive the Journeyman Certificate of Completion.

  5. Must apply online to take the Master HVACR or Master HVACR Restricted exam and pay application fee.

  6. Upon approval from the board, pay a testing fee and pass the exam to be awarded your Master level license.

  7. If you wish to own your own HVACR contracting business, you must be licensed as a contractor through the Delaware Division of Revenue. This will involve unemployment insurance if you have any employees, general liability insurance and additional fees.

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Benefits of Getting Your HVACR License in Delaware

There are many benefits to getting licensed in the HVAC field in Delaware:

  • Most important, it is required by law to be licensed in Delaware to perform heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration work.

  • You will earn as you learn with a potential for pay increases as you develop new skills.

  • A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.

  • By meeting the high standards set in Delaware, you will receive industry-recognized credentials that can go with you anywhere.

  • Having a license protects your company and customers.

  • A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market and increases your earning potential. 

  • You can own your own business and be your own boss. 

What Is the Mean Salary for an HVAC Technician in Delaware?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean salary for HVAC mechanics and installers nationally as $54,690, so Delaware is about on par at $55,170. The salary for an HVAC Technician increases, as you might expect, as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.

  • HVAC Installer: The average wage for an HVAC installer is $24.51 per hour in Delaware and $6,250 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Technician: The average wage for an HVAC Technician is $28.02 per hour in Delaware and $6,375 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Mechanic: The average wage for an HVAC Mechanic is $28.73 per hour in Delaware and $8,925 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Supervisor: The average base wage for an HVAC Supervisor is $71,772 per year in Delaware and $9,375 overtime per year. 

Pay can vary widely, depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession. 

What Business Owners Need to Know

Getting the most out of an HVAC technician, no matter where they are in their licensing journey, takes work. ServiceTitan’s cloud-based, all-in-one HVAC software gives technicians and business owners the technology they need to do the work efficiently, and the data they need to do it smartly. 

ServiceTitan features:

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  • Location-specific service history, including recorded calls, accessible from the mobile app.

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How to Become an HVAC Professional in Delaware

To enter the HVAC field in Delaware you need to learn and gain work experience. Delaware offers a few options for doing this but has rigid requirements before permitting applicants to test for licensure. You’ll need to acquire some combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training. Those are the two components of any U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is the preferred path to working in the HVACR field in Delaware.

APPRENTICESHIP: If you decide young that this is your path, you can get a jump on that instruction. Through Delaware’s Career and Technical Education, some high schools offer vocational programs combining the trade education with the high school curriculum. New Castle County Vo-Tech, for example, offers a Construction Technologies pathway that includes a Heating, Ventilation & AC program, a Plumbing program, and an Electrical Trades program. The HVACR program covers training on the installation of refrigerant piping, electrical power wiring, temperature control and monitoring devices, as well as the interpretation of blueprints, design specifications, and electrical schematics, and the interpretation of EPA refrigerant laws. Students who complete the program can earn three certifications:

  • HVACR Technician Training Accreditation

  • NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research)

  • CFC-EPA Certification (Chlorofluorocarbon – Environmental Protection Agency Section 608)

The county vocational schools offer adult education in addition to the high school programs.  If you don’t get started in high school, you can turn to these programs to satisfy the classroom component of being an apprentice.

Apprenticeships are sometimes referred to as “The Other Four-Year Degree,” because it’s like college for the trades. If you get one of the coveted apprentice openings through your local United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Techs it’s like getting a scholarship to college. UA local 74 serves Delaware out of Wilmington and has a five-year apprentice program. The Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee receives applications in the spring, usually in April and May. Call for exact deadlines — 302-636-7400. New classes begin every September. 

Applicants must apply in person at:

Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 74 office

203 Executive Drive

Newark, DE 19702

Alternatively, you can find an apprenticeship through the Delaware Department of Labor Division of Employment and Training. The website explains the benefits of apprenticeship and allows you to search for registered sponsors. Or you can find an entry-level job and ask your employer to act as your apprentice sponsor. Your employer must agree to register you with Delaware’s Apprenticeship program, which meets the U.S. Department of Labor standards that are recognized nationwide, so your credentials move with you. You will be required to attend classes at night or on weekends to get the requisite theoretical training, but you’ll be getting your academic instruction in tandem with your practical experience, and you probably won’t be paying for it. In fact, the State of Delaware pays the tuition at vo-tech schools for apprentices whose Delaware companies have registered them with the Delaware Department of Labor.

The only other way is to work seven years under the supervision of a Master HVACR licensee and pass the Apprentice By-Pass exam.

APPLY FOR EXAMINATION/LICENSE: The type of license you hold determines the HVACR services that you are permitted to provide. A Master HVACR can design, install, construct, maintain, service, repair, alter, or modify a product or equipment including gas piping in heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, ventilation, or process cooling or heating systems. A Master HVACR Restricted can provide HVACR services limited to one of the following specialties:

  • Heating — forced air systems; ventilation; and gas piping

  • Heating — hydronic systems and gas piping

  • Commercial hood systems

  • Refrigeration

  • Air-conditioning

  • Gas piping

  •  

If you wish to provide services in more than one of these specialties, you must apply for a Master HVACR license. If you already hold a restricted license, you must apply to upgrade to an unrestricted license. You need a Master Plumber license in addition to a Master HVACR or Master HVACR Restricted license if you design, install, construct, replace, service, repair, alter, or modify the pipes, fixtures, and other apparatus used for bringing the water supply into a building and removing liquid and water-carried wastes from a building.  You can also install and connect gas piping. To apply for a Master Plumber license, see Master Plumber Licensure.

Once you determine the type of license you are seeking, you will apply to sit for the appropriate exam. You will need to submit your license application to the licensing board along with all supporting documents such as your Journeyman Certificate, your apprenticeship program Certificate of Completion and proof of work experience after receiving the certificate. The application fee is $153. If you pass the exam with at least a 70% you will receive your Master HVACR or Master HVACR Restricted license from the state board.

CONSIDER BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR: If you wish to own your own business in the HVAC field in Delaware, then you will also need to register as a general contractor with the State of Delaware Department of Revenue. You will need workers’ compensation insurance if you have employees and other forms of insurance and you will pay additional fees. A professional license from the Division of Professional Regulation is not the same as a business license from the Delaware Division of Revenue.  Most businesses, including HVAC contractors, need both licenses to operate in Delaware. For information about Delaware business licenses, see One Stop Business Registration and Licensing.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in Delaware? 

It can cost very little to get started as an HVAC professional in Delaware. If you figure out this is your intended path while you’re still in high school, you can begin free of charge as a high school student through the Career Technical Education System. Three vocational-technical school districts in the state are: New Castle County Vo-Tech in New Castle County, PolyTech in Kent County, and Sussex Tech in Sussex County. If you have graduated from high school and decide you want an HVACR career in Delaware, you will need to find an apprentice position or program. The tuition at any of the vocational technical schools will be waived for you as long as you are in a recognized apprentice program. There are also apprenticeships through union and trade organizations. UA Local 74 offers a five-year apprentice program for which tuition is fully covered as well. As an apprentice working for a private employer or a union job, you will be working full-time and earning money while you are trained, with increases as you learn more until you are making a full journeyperson wage. You will have to pay a registration fee to the state and renew it yearly as well as eventually pay to take the licensing exam and pay for that license. The same is true at the contractor level. The Delaware Master HVACR License and Master Restricted HVACR license each costs $153 and must be renewed every two years.

How Long Does it Take to Become an HVAC Tech in Delaware? 

As an HVACR apprentice in Delaware you begin working and learning the trade under a licensed master from day one. Apprentice programs for HVACR take at least four years of on-the-job training and 144 classroom hours for each of those years. Then you will need to work for two more years under the direct supervision of a master licensee. At that point you can be certified as a journeyman. To get your master license, you will need to pass the Master HVACR exam. So, from apprenticeship through master licensing, you’re looking at about six years total to complete that process, but again you will be earning while you’re learning.

Delaware HVAC Training programs and schools 

There are many programs to get the training you need to become an HVAC professional in Delaware, and they are located all over the state. The U.S. Department of Labor’s careeronestop.org website lists 279 training programs for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Engineering Technology Technicians in Delaware. 

Most HVAC technicians hold some kind of post-secondary degree or certificate, and classroom instruction is a required piece of a registered apprenticeship. There are currently two main organizations that approve HVAC programs and schools nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

There are no schools in Delaware that are accredited by HVAC Excellence at this time, but PAHRA has accredited one.

  • Delaware Technical and Community College in Georgetown

HVACClasses.org breaks down the credit-hour requirements for this and some other programs across the state. There are also Delaware Tech campuses in Dover, Stanton, and Wilmington.

The vocational-technical school districts offer adult education/classroom instruction for HVACR apprentices too. There are a number of ways you can get started. Contact your local vocational-technical division to register for class at night. The tuition will not be waived until you are a registered apprentice and sponsored by an employer, but this will begin the necessary classes. You also may meet other apprentices who can inform you of employer sponsors who are hiring. Additionally, vocational-technical schools may have career services departments that may be able to assist you with employment with a sponsor. Contact numbers for local vocational-technical schools in each county are below so you can get information on tuition, programs, and registration/class start dates.

  • Sussex Tech Adult Education Division (Sussex County): 302-856-9035

  • PolyTech Adult Education (Kent County): 302-697-4545

  • New Castle County Adult Education (New Castle County): 302-683-3652

You could also create an account on joblink.delaware.gov and search for employers hiring in your field. In your job search, explain to employers that you are interested in taking advantage of the State’s Registered Apprenticeship program. Doing this in either order is totally acceptable.

Tuition: Tuition varies from school to school. For instance Delaware Tech charges in-state students $152.50 per credit or $2,287.50 per full-time semester. At PolyTech, each of the four year-long classes for HVACR apprenticeship costs $349-$398, but tuition will be waived as long as you are a registered apprentice.

Program Prerequisites: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED. 

Union Apprenticeship: UA Local 74 offers a five-year apprenticeship that includes fully paid tuition and is very competitive. According to the website, there are usually more applicants than there are openings. To apply candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Have reliable transportation

  • Have a valid driver’s license

  • Provide a birth certificate

  • Provide copies of high school diploma or GED equivalent

  • Provide official high school transcripts and/or GED scores

On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you will need good customer service skills, be detail-oriented, have some mechanical capability, and be physically fit because the job can include some heavy lifting and hours of walking, standing and working in tight spaces.

Delaware HVACR License Exam Details

Delaware requires an examination for Master HVACR licensure. You must receive permission to sit for the Master HVACR exam from the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners. A full explanation of how to apply for the exam is on the website. Currently the board has contracted with Prometric testing services to administer the examination, but that contract expires at the end of June 2022. The state is not looking to renew but pursue a new outside testing vendor to proctor the licensure examinations. The way it works now with Prometric, once an applicant has submitted their application and it has been reviewed by the credentialist and deemed sufficient for board review, it is then reviewed and approved by the board at the next available monthly meeting. The applicant is then issued examination information to their email linked to their Delaware Professional Regulation Online Service (DELPROS) account. This correspondence contains all of the information necessary to schedule and prepare for the licensure examination. It will also include a prefilled registration form with the examination name and number correlating to the license type. The applicant then uploads/calls/mails Prometric their registration and payment information to schedule their examination. Once the board receives the score report for that examination date from Prometric with proof of a passing score of at least 70%, the license is issued immediately. 

EPA Certification

Everywhere throughout the country, including Delaware, EPA regulations under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act require that technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere must be certified. EPA section 608 HVAC Certification is required for any professional who conducts refrigerant line-pressure tests or handles or adds refrigerant to existing air conditioning systems.

Most training programs can direct you to how and where to get that certification and many even make it part of the curriculum, or your employer will require you to get it before handling refrigerant. You can also go to EPA.gov and key in 608 Certification in the search bar to find out which institutions in your state offer certification programs.

Certification Exam: You must acquire your EPA Certification from an approved organization. A list of these organizations can be found on the EPA’s website. There are four types of EPA Certifications for Refrigerant. They allow for different levels of certification for different scopes of work.

  • Type I – for servicing small appliances containing five pounds of refrigerant or less.

  • Type II – for servicing high-pressure units that contain five pounds or more of refrigerant (including most small commercial and residential systems).

  • Type III – for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances.

  • Universal – for servicing all systems and appliances covered under Types I, II, and III. Generally more useful than targeting any one specific certification. 

Core Exam 

For all certifications, you must pass the “Core Section” of the EPA certification exam. It covers the following topics:

  • Ozone depletion

  • Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol

  • Section 608 regulations

  • Substitute refrigerants and oils

  • Refrigeration

  • The Three R’s (Recover, Recycle, Reclaim)

  • Recovery techniques

  • Dehydration evacuation

  • Safety

  • Shipping

Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Delaware?

The Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners issues Master HVACR and Master Restricted HVACR licenses in Delaware. The board falls under the purview of the Division of Professional Regulation and makes sure that heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration professionals meet all standards for competency and adjudicates complaints against practitioners and, when necessary, imposes disciplinary sanctions.

Does My Delaware HVAC License Work in Any Other State?

Delaware does not have reciprocal agreements with any other states but does offer the opportunity to apply by reciprocity under certain conditions. A chart on the Master HVACR and Master HVACR Restricted Licensure web page explains that if none of the jurisdictions where you hold a current license has licensure standards that are “substantially similar” to those of Delaware, proof of experience is required. So, if you hold a current HVACR license in Connecticut, Iowa, or Maryland where licensure standards are substantially similar, you do not need to submit any proof of experience. If you hold a current license in Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, or West Virginia, you will need to submit  proof of your experience under the supervision of a master licensee for at least seven years after licensure. If you hold a current license in any other state or territory, the licensure standards must be evaluated by the board, and you must submit a copy of the other jurisdiction’s law and regulations for evaluation.

National HVAC Certifications

Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certification, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) certification and other professional certifications are not required but can add to your marketability as a service provider and therefore increase your opportunity to make more money.

Continuing Education/Renewal

Delaware Plumbing and HVACR licenses expire on Oct. 31 of even years. A few months before the expiration date of your license, a renewal notice will be sent to the email address on the record. This notice will explain how to access your online renewal application in DELPROS, the online professional licensure system. To complete the online renewal application, you must log in to your account, answer questions, and use a credit card to pay your renewal fee. You are notified of the amount of the renewal fee at the time of renewal. When you submit a renewal application after the expiration date, you must pay a late fee in addition to the renewal fee. The late fee is 50% of the renewal fee.

All notices about professional licenses, such as renewal and audit notices, will be sent by email only. It is important to keep your contact information up to date so that all the notices reach you. To check and update your contact information online, click on the Manage Profile link in DELPROS.

Other Requirements Unique to Delaware

Delaware requires everyone seeking licensure to apply online and gives a detailed explanation of how to apply on the Division of Professional Regulation website. You will want to review it carefully to avoid the most common mistakes. There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions page on the website that can help.

Resources

You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways:

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